Boycotting baseball

I’ve been a life long fan of major league baseball. I attend several games a year and watch at least part of a game most days during the season. But this is just too depressing. I won’t be following my favorite sport again until they allow fans to attend games. These players have a higher chance of being killed in the car on the way to the ballpark than they do of dying from COVID-19. But MLB has to virtual signal so in addition to no fans in the stands, here are some of the ridiculous rules they will be implementing for the abbreviated 2020 season. Hopefully, none of it will be permanent:

— No mascots.

— No fans.

— No spitting.

— Masks to be worn by batting practice pitchers.

— Nobody may touch his face to give signs.

— Players must “social distance” during the national anthem.

— Showering on premises is discouraged.

— No socializing with opponents.

— Lockers should be six feet apart.

— No restaurants, no hotel restaurants, and no hotel gyms.

— No high-fives, fist bumps, or hugs.

— Anybody not in the game is supposed to sit in the otherwise empty stands 6 feet apart rather than the dugout.

Baseball Hall of Fame

I tend to have a very high bar for letting a former player into the Hall. I think too many guys are in there. There are quite a few subpar players let in by the various incarnations of the Veterans’ Committee. This is where the former players and coaches get to vote on people who were snubbed by the writers initially. Back in the seventies, they had a few guys who just let in all their old teammates and this has continued over the years culminating in last year’s absurd election of Harold Baines.

Baines especially bothers me, because if you let in a designated hitter, he has to be a better hitter better than every other guy that has ever played. You can’t just say he was one of the better designated hitters ever because his defensive value is negative. His lack of defensive skill hurts the team because you can’t rest other players while still keeping their bat in the lineup. Instead, you have a permanent DH clogging up your lineup. Not to mention he has essentially zero value to National League teams unless you want to argue you could have just played at First Base or something. But then his negative defensive skills should come into play and offset some of his offensive production. The only way Baines’ offensive stats could be considered Hall of Fame worthy is if he had played a position like catcher or a middle infielder. Even if he had gone out there every day and played a decent Left Field, he still shouldn’t be in.

Based on how I view the DH I don’t think Edgar Martinez should have gotten in and I don’t think David Ortiz belongs in.

Anyway, rant on last year is over. I’ll focus on this year. I was surprised to see Ted Simmons get in, but looking at his stats, I can’t really argue against him since he was a catcher.

While I think Jeter’s wildly overrated (Give him the exact same stats but have him play on the Royals or Reds and think about how he would have been viewed) he’s still an obvious Hall of Famer. You get that many hits and you come up big in a few playoff series and you’re in.

Larry Walker, I just don’t see it. His stats were obviously inflated from playing in Colorado in the 90s. Just look at his OPS on CO: 1.044 vs .839 on Montreal and .908 in St. Louis. His Coors Field OPS was 1.172. The only other stadium where he had over 200 at-bats that was even close was Wrigley (1.002). Look at an actual pitcher’s park, Shea Stadium: .685. The guy was good, but he’s not a Hall of Famer.

Schilling is being kept out for another year because writers don’t like him. I really think that’s all it is. If Smoltz got in then he should too.

And then you still have enough voters hung up on steroids to keep out Bonds and Clemens which is absurd (but I’m sure they’ll vote for David Ortiz despite the fact he failed a drug test and was a DH).

Here’s how they finished and how I would have voted:

Jeter: 99.7% Yes

Walker: 76.6% No

Schilling: 70% Yes

Clemens: 61% Yes

Bonds: 60.7% Yes

Vizquel: 52.6% No

Rolen: 35.3% No

Wagner 31.7% No

Sheffield 30.5% No

Helton 29.2% No

Manny Ramirez 28.2% Yes

Kent 27.5% Yes

Andruw Jones 19.4% Yes

Sosa 13.9% Yes

Pettitte 11.3% No

Abreu 5.5% No

Konerko 2.5% No

Giambi 1.5% No

Soriano 1.5% No

Eric Chavez 0.5% No

Cliff Lee 0.5% No

Ibanez 0.3% No

Putz 0.3% No

Penny 0.3% No

Dunn 0.3% No

Carlos Pena 0% No

Heath Bell 0% No

Furcal 0% No

Brian Roberts 0% No

Valverde 0% No

Figgins 0% No

Beckett 0% No

MLB Cheating Scandal

So the Astros were apparently stealing signs using technology which is illegal. At first, I was of the opinion this was relatively minor and would blow over rather quickly. However, it’s become a big story in the professional sports world resulting in the firing of three managers and a GM. Three of the four were also suspended.

I have to say I agree with the harsh punishments. MLB would have a hard time disciplining any players under their collective bargaining agreement so the coaches and executives have to take the fall. That way it will be made clear they can’t allow their players or underlings to do this in the future.

Sign stealing’s always been part of the game, but if you’re going to use the television broadcasts to assist you in violation of the rules it will get downright ridiculous. Can you imagine watching the game as a fan and knowing the batter knows what pitch is coming? It would make a mockery of the whole situation.

In the old days, you could probably rely on pitchers just throwing at somebody’s head to police this sort of thing. I kind of like that and I certainly think that a lot (not all) of the recent changes in baseball have been for the worse. But given the money involved and the general camaraderie among opposing players these days, you just can’t rely on old fashioned on-field justice to correct blatant cheating like this.

I feel kind of bad for someone like Carlos Beltran who was a player back in 2017 when the cheating occurred and had just been hired for his first managerial job. No other players have been called out or suffered any consequences so it seems a bit unfair. But since he’s now in the managerial class and no longer in the players union, he’s being made an example of. And quite frankly Major League Baseball needs to come down on this quick and hard if they want to maintain the integrity of the game.