Posts Tagged ‘Manny Ramirez’

The Class of 2017: Some Thoughts

January 19, 2017

So we now know who is and who isn’t in the Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Here’s a few notes on the results. As usual, in honor of a nine inning game, there are nine of them.

1. Congratulations to all five winners. My list might have been different, but this is a solid slate of inductees.

2. I feel a little sorry for both Trevor Hoffman and Vlad Guerrero. Both managed to pick up 70% plus in the voting (Hoffman missed the class by four votes) but failed election. It must be tough to get that close and not make it. But it bodes well for both next year.

3. The steroid boys ended up a mixed bag. Both Clemens and Bonds are rising. Neither Sheffield nor Sosa are doing well. Ramirez did not debut particularly high (apparently “Manny being Manny” wasn’t a big enough draw). It seems that the writers still haven’t made up their mind about the issue, although it’s possible that the pre-steroid careers of Clemens and Bonds have more weight than do the pre-steroid careers of the others. All this mimics “conventional wisdom” about if and when the five of them started using the stuff, not my own opinion (which is strictly my own).

4. I’m surprised Jorge Posada dropped off the list after one vote. He was, after all, part of the “Core Four,” the greatest single combination of baseball talent together on one field since Abner Doubleday (or maybe not). Seriously, I thought he’d do better because of the positive press he and his team had gotten over the years. He was an important member of the multi-pennant winning team that played in New York and that got him a lot of recognition. I never expected he’d make a run on the first ballot, but I didn’t expect him to fall off entirely. Shows what I know.

5. There are a lot of allegations about PED use by Ivan Rodriguez. His election, along with Bud Selig’s, now makes it easier for others to reach Cooperstown. Again, I make no comment on whether the allegations are true.

6. They tell me that the openness of the balloting this year, and the publishing of the complete balloting next year is changing the vote. OK, maybe. But I see no actual proof of that. It’s possible that removing the “dead weight” after last year’s voting may be making more changes than the new “openness.” We’ll see in a year or so.

7. Edgar Martinez made a big move. Hooray. Come on, people, DH is a position like first base is a position. So they’re played differently. First base and second base are played differently. So are second and shortstop. At some point baseball is going to have to deal with the DH being a position that is no longer merely the refuge of old guys who can’t run the bases anymore. The Hall came close with Paul Molitor, so now it’s time to deal with it with Martinez.

8. Mike Mussina is doing better. Curt Shilling isn’t. I have no idea how much Shilling’s politics is involved in that trend. It shouldn’t be at all.

9. It seems the gap between traditional stats and the newer ones is narrowing when it comes to election to the Hall of Fame. I have no idea it that’s good, bad, or indifferent.

Trashing the Place

May 2, 2011

So I’m back after slogging through the trenches that can be the First World War. I asked people not to trash the place while I was gone and it seems they didn’t, at least not too bad. Of course MLB has decided that my team is being trashed, so maybe I got trashed after all.

I see that MLB decided to take over the Dodgers, arguing that it was in the best interest of baseball for Frank McCourt to go away and leave the team alone. So Bud Selig now is going to be the savior of the Dodgers, is he? Do you have any idea how hard it is to write “Selig” and “Savior” in the same sentence? It’s as bad as Maximilian Schell asking Montgomery Clift to form a sentence using the words “hare”, “hunter”, and “field” (see the 1960s flick “Judgment at Nuremberg”).  Anyway, McCourt’s crime seems to be that he was using Dodgers funds for this own personal use. He was using team money to, among other things, pay for a haircut. Hey, Frank, a haircut at the local barber around here is ten bucks. If you’re that short on cash, I’ll loan you a ten. Why do I know it wasn’t a 10 haircut?

I don’t really know what I think of this whole idea. McCourt hasn’t been a bad owner. The team got better. It’s been to the playoffs with some consistency and even won a round or two. But I keep looking  at the team and ask myself  “Self, why isn’t this team more impressive?” Think about it for a minute. The team is the premier baseball franchise in the second largest market in the USA. I don’t count the Angels who can’t seem to figure out if they are in Los Angeles or Anaheim. The Angels have nowhere near the Dodgers draw and there’s no professional football team in the immediate area (and, yes, I know there is USC, but it doesn’t count–they’re supposed to be amateurs) so the Dodgers have little real competition for the professional dollar outside the Lakers, whose season ends in June at the latest and starts in November at the earliest. So money shouldn’t be  a problem. The team has a certain amount of talent. OK, this isn’t the 1927 Yankees, but the 2010 Giants weren’t the ’27 Yankees either and they won the whole thing. So talent alone isn’t the problem. Having said that, the talent could be better. McCourt did bring in good talent in the front office and managed to marginalize his wife’s influence. I was horrified at her “we need more diversity in the front office” line. What “we” need is more people who know what they’re doing, diverse or otherwise, and McCourt seemed to be bringing them in. And I know the divorce is a problem and so was betting long-term on Manny Ramirez, who was an aging flake, but the team is solid, if not spectacular. I wish they had a real four hitter and never understood why Joe Torre kept putting James Loney there, but then how do you argue with Torre?

So, see my dilemma? I don’t know that McCourt was a bad owner, but I think he could have done better. I don’t know that MLB will be the best steward of a storied franchise, but at least the money should go back into the team. I hope they find a new owner who knows what he’s doing. I keep wondering if Nolan Ryan wants to move to LA.

Anyway, I’m back and at least this place didn’t get trashed too badly. Thanks, guys.

Best of a Decade

January 1, 2010

Yesterday I commented on a variety of the top baseball things of the 200’s. Today I give you my all-decade team. These are my choices for best of the decade. One proviso, no one tainted by the steroids scandal can make the team, so no Bonds, no Sosa, no Palmeiro, no Clemens, no Rodriguez. I’m making no judgement on guilt or innocence, but exclude the player until such time as we can determine if his numbers are bogus. If they aren’t, I’ll be glad to change the list, but until then, here they are. The outfielders are designated A, B, and C. The order is alphabetical and nothing else should be construed from the order.

1b-Albert Pujols. This may have been the easiest choice of all. Maybe the greatest First Baseman I’ve ever seen and I can go back to Gil Hodges and company. It’s been a great era for First Basemen and Pujols is clearly the best.

2b-Chase Utley. It’s not been a great era for Second Basemen, but Utley is the best of the lot. He’s a good fielder and a first rate hitter with some speed and power. He does have a tendency to tail off a bit at the end of a season and gets hurt a lot.

ss-Derek Jeter. Yankees captain and sparkplug. Not as good as some people seem to think (he is not the second coming of Honus Wagner) but still one heck of a shortstop. Seems to be on the downside of his career, but still putting up excellent offensive numbers. He may be next to 3000 hits.

3b-Chipper Jones. The Braves seem to want to move him to the outfield but always end up putting him back at third. Good bat, but now in the decline phase of his career.

Outfield A-Torii Hunter. Superb centerfielder. Also a good hitter. Seems to be a positive influence in the clubhouse.

Outfield B-Manny Ramirez. I get a little tired of his act and I cringe when the ball is hit his way, but wow can he hit the ball. World Series MVP and major contributor to breaking an 80 years plus championship drought in Boston.

Outfield C-Ichiro Suzuki. An absolute hitting machine. Most hits in one season, speedy, good fielder, helped make Japanese players more acceptable to US audiences. Between US and Japan he may end up with 4000 hits.

Catcher-Joe Mauer. May become the greatest hitting catcher ever. Certainly already among the best. Also a fine defensive backstop. Has 3 batting titles (no catcher has more and only 1 has as many as 2) and an MVP.

DH-David Ortiz. Dominent DH for much of the decade. Lots of power, little speed, not much of a fielder, but crucial to Boston winning in 2004 (when he was league championship MVP) and in 2007. Seems to be deeply on the downside of his career.

Pitcher-Randy Johnson. I saw Spahn, Koufax and Carlton so it’s tough to call him the greatest left hander I ever saw, but he is very, very good. Three Cy Young Awards in the decade, one World Series win and the MVP to go with it, and lots and lots of wins and strikeouts. He’s through now and I hope he hangs it up (I’ll get to see him in Cooperstown quicker).

Closer-Mariano Rivera. The best postseason closer ever, although he botched game 7 of the 2001 World Series and 2 chances to close out the 2004 AL championship. Still he’s just better than anyone else, and he’s not bad in the regular season either.

There they are, team. So who’d I forget?