Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Baseball Roundup: Hall of Fame, Chapman, McGwire

Hall of Fame Passes on Alomar
The Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA) continues to demonstrate that they are incapable of selecting the right players to get elected to the Hall of Fame.  For some reason, there is some sort of distinction to them between a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer and someone elected on a different ballot.  Roberto Alomar is one of the best second basemen of all-time but yet, he fell short by a handful of votes.  I expect him to make it in next year with no issue, but he should have gotten in this year.  Why does one year make a difference to the voters?  There is nothing on a player's plaque that indicates how many ballots he was on before getting elected.  He won't accumulate any more hits between now and next year.  I just don't get it.  Speaking of one year making a difference, Bert Blyleven fell five votes short of election.  When he was first on the ballot, he only earned 17% of the vote.  Now, 12 years later, he's up to 74%.  That makes no sense to me.  How do writers decide to vote for a guy one year after saying "no thanks" for several years before?  It's such a frustrating process.

Chapman to the Reds
Over the weekend, the Reds reached an agreement with Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman.  There is no doubt that he throws hard, but his control is suspect, according to scouts that have watched him throw.  I will applaud the Reds for actually going out and spending money on a free agent, but I don't think Chapman deserves the six years, $30 million he got.  I see him as more of a long term project and I wouldn't be surprised to see him start out the season in AA or AAA, maybe not even getting called up until September or 2011.  ESPN analyst Tim Kurkjian called Chapman "raw" and if that description is accurate, Cincinnati better be ready to allow Chapman to develop.

McGwire Comes Clean
You want to know why all the "experts" say America is willing to forgive athletes who took steroids?  Because we're so tired of hearing about it.  I honestly don't care what Mark McGwire took and I formed my own opinion of him a long time ago.  I think most people feel the same way.  I'm tired of the analysis of every word of every apology speech, trying to find loopholes in rhetoric or better yet, lies.  I've said it before in this space - during a stretch of the game's history, a lot of players were not clean.  We should judge those players against their peers, not against other great players, and remember that their numbers could possibly be inflated.  I'm glad McGwire finally came clean and I hope he's able to move on with the rest of his life and his new job as the Cardinals' hitting coach.   

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