Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'd Still Like To Talk About The Hall of Fame

I know it's been five weeks since I said I was going to to do this, and the results had already been released then, but I'd still like to throw my opinion out there, for the hell of it if nothing else.

I'm going to start with the returning choices, and then touch on the new options.

Harold Baines: Still has those fine hitting stats, still was primarily a DH. No.

Dale Murphy: His counting and rate stats are roughly similar to Baines, except in areas like hits (Edge to Baines) and stolen bases (Advantage, Murphy). Murphy was supposed to be a fine centerfielder in his heyday, though Baseball-Reference's numbers aren't so high on his skill in CF. They do say he was pretty good in RF into his early-30s. Like I say below, I can't see that Dawson's numbers are much better than Murphy's and I'm absolutely voting for the Hawk, so Yes.

Dave Parker: He's in the same general statistical range as Murphy (though Parker hit for higher average, and Murphy drew a lot more walks), but without the defensive skill Murphy had. So, No.

Don Mattingly: His stats don't look that much better than the first three, and he plays a less challenging position, so No.

Alan Trammell: Like I said last year, he's not quite the hitter Ripken was, and he's not the gloveman Ozzie was, but I think his overall numbers are good enough for inclusion. Yes.

Mark McGwire: Really good at drawing walks and crushing home runs, when healthy. For better or worse, played a part in something that helped baseball's popularity. If the Hall's going to be about the history of the game, you can't exclude him. Yes.

Tim Raines: Speed, patience, a decent amount of power, a funny anecdote connected to him. Yes.

Lee Smith: Apparently never seen as dominating, but he seemed that way to me when he was in St. Louis in the early 90s. His ERA+ is good, but not great, and his WHIP is even less inspiring. No.

Jack Morris: ERA+ and WHIP are decidedly underwhelming. Stats in general don't stack up well to Bert Blyleven. Does have a memorable quote, and a memorable postseason start. I'm less certain this year than I was last year that's enough. No.

Bert Blyleven: I have a hard time arguing with almost 5000 innings, and over 3700 strikeouts. Plus all the complete games and shutouts. He certainly merits inclusion ahead of Morris. Yes.

Andre Dawson: It's harder for me to ignore how lousy that on-base percentage is, but I still love the power-speed combination and his defensive prowess. Logically, there probably isn't anyway I can justify voting for Dawson, but not Murphy and Parker. Certainly not Murphy (Parker's lesser defensive ability might undercut his argument). Still, I'm going to, for now. Yes.

OK, that's the 11 returning nominees, and 5 spots on my ballot are taken. On to the 14 newbies.

Todd Zeile: *Laughs hysterically* No. Maybe if he put up the offensive numbers he did while being the franchise catcher the Cardinals hoped he was, rather than being a guy who couldn't throw the ball to second to save his life? if you're going to catch like that, you better hit like Piazza, and he didn't.

Ray Lankford: I'd like to give Ray a vote, just so he could have one, and if I wind up with a spare spot, I just might. Still, I pretend he's good enough for inclusion into the Hall of Fame. I do think Cardinals' fans undervalue him, because many of the teams he played on at his peak were lousy. Not his fault, but Cardinals' fans don't remember the pre-McGwire 90s fondly. Screw it, Yes.

Shane Reynolds: ERA+ of 103, WHIP over 1.3, 1400 Ks? No.

David Segui: I'm inclined to give him a vote just for being defiant about his steroid use. He was honest about the fact he took it because he wanted to hit more home runs and make more money, and fuck yeah, he'd do it again. Refreshing candor. Still, No.

Kevin Apper: I'd imagine his numbers would be better if he hadn't wasted his best years in Kansas City. 'You could probably say the same for both Dawson and Raines, though, since they say the turf in Montreal did no favors to Dawson's knees. Appier has a better argument than Reynolds, but No.

Pat Hentgen: His numbers are in the same ball park as Reynolds, but generally worse, so No.

Ellis Burks: Ellis has some pretty fair offensive numbers, kind of an upgraded version of Dawson, but with less longevity. Playing in Coors in the mid-90s probably didn't hurt his numbers any. Burks always struck me as one of those players who would have been better remembered if he could only stay healthy. No.

Eric Karros: His numbers aren't up to Lankford's level, and Karros only played first, so No.

Robin Ventura: If his numbers were a bit better, I'd couple those with his whupping at the hands of Nolan Ryan and give him the vote. They aren't quite there. No.

Andres Galarraga: Like Burks, moving to Coors in the mid-90s helped his numbers out considerably. He was supposed to be pretty smooth with the glove, but my memory is the Cars traded Ken Hill for him, and Andres was so bad, the team released him mid-season, preferring to take their chances with Gerald Perry and Rod Brewer at first. No.

Fred McGriff: Hell, I don't know. His numbers aren't anything spectacular, but he was consistently good for a pretty decent stretch. There's no evidence he was juicing, if that's relevant to you. It isn't really to me. No.

Edgar Martinez: Great, another DH. From what I remember, Martinez is a DH in the same mold as Molitor: a good defensive player who just couldn't stay healthy, rather than a stone-handed butcher in the field. Those are some mighty fine rate stats (.312 average, .418 OBP, .515. SLG), but I really don't like DHs. They're part of the game, but I really wish they weren't. Still, I would have voted for Molitor, so Yes.

Barry Larkin: Larkin's numbers are as good or better than Trammell's, so Yes. I wasn't particularly fond of him when I was younger, because you'd hear people insisting he was better than Ozzie, and no way I was accepting that statement, but his numbers are really good.

Roberto Alomar: He'll probably get in next year, but he ought to have gotten in this year. I don't know whether it was this recent stuff with an old flame claiming he gave her AIDS, or the spitting on the ump incident, or just a "He doesn't feel like a first-ballot Hall of Famer" bullshit argument that kept him out. Either way, he should be in. 2700 hits 200 HRs and over 400 SBs from a second baseman? Won a ton of fielding awards, hit for average, hit for power, drew some walks, what's not to like? I can't even hold the fact he was a Met against him. Yes.


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Saints Win Super Bowl

Well, that's nice.

I wouldn't say this was a great game, strictly from the play on the field, but it had its moments. The Saints defense managed to hold their ground just often enough, and they forced one of those turnovers they're so good at getting. They seemed to adjust on offense after the first quarter. Brees seemed to more readily find the underneath receiver, since the Colts were doing their best to prevent any deep throws. Except a team can have a pretty decent offense just throwing short passes on target and letting big receivers run with it.

The Colts ran it better than I expected, maybe better than New Orleans expected as well. I'm a little curious about the playcalling by Indy on that last drive, once they were inside the 10. OK, so pass interference pushes them back on 1st down, they get some of it back on 2nd, then they try a run. I know they'd had success running inside in the game, but it isn't their strength, and if they fail, they either have to burn their second time out, or run a quick 4th down play, which is the option they chose. Perhaps they thought by calling the play quickly the Saints would be confused. I could see that being the reason. The run still surprises me.

I wonder how this performance will effect Peyton Manning's image. There was at least one fellow (Ross Tucker) who said that if Peyton won, he'd would consider him the best QB of the last 30 years, and there were some similar sentiments elsewhere that when it came strictly to passing, Peyton was as good as there's ever been. Still, he's never been that superb of a postseason performer. In the Colts' prior Super Bowl run, he threw more INTs than TDs, which is hardly the stuff of legends. He's still a really good QB, but I think he's going to need to do more in the postseason to be considered an all-time great.