Tag Archives: Mark McGwire

WTF Is Baseball Going To Do About The Hall Of Fame Now? I’ve Got The Answer! (You’re Welcome!)

8 Feb

Baseball has some problems.  It may not be the biggest of its many challenges, but perhaps baseball’s most intriguing  problem right now is its Hall of Fame situation and I’ve got the answer.

Let’s rewind.  Remember when Mark McGwire captured America’s fascination by hitting home runs by the bushel?  Eventually, he even broke Roger Maris’ all time one season home run record.  Not only did he break it, but he and Sammy Sosa engaged in a riveting chase that brought many back to baseball.  McGwire was a class act the whole way.  He was terrific to Maris’ family.  While they might not have wished for Roger’s mark to be overtaken, the Maris Family couldn’t have asked for anyone to be more sensitive to them while doing it.

McGwire was a clear Hall of Famer.  He broke one of the game’s most cherished records with class.  He was going to end up among the top five or so home run guys of all time.  There was no doubt at the time that Big Mac was going to Cooperstown on the first ballot.  And from what we knew at the time, he deserved it.

Of course, it didn’t last long.  Soon enough we figured out that Big Mac was a big cheat.  Suddenly his treatment of the Maris Family didn’t feel so good anymore.  Then, to seal his fate, he struck out in front of Congress.  He looked foolish and very guilty.  Since then, Big Mac has basically been in hiding.

Since then, Big Mac has been no where near Cooperstown either.  In the few elections that McGwire has been eligible for, Hall of Fame voters have given him precious little support.  Based on the numbers alone, he should be in.  Now that we know that some portion of those amazing stats are artificial, baseball’s keepers of Cooperstown seem determined to keep Mark McGwire out.

Barry Bonds is currently having troubles with the Feds, who seem determined to get to the bottom of his steroid usage.  While not yet convicted, you’d be hard pressed to find too many people now who don’t think Barry cheated.  With one year out of the game, Bonds has to wait at least another four years before being eligible for the Hall.  Given the cloud he’s under and the reaction to McGwire’s candidacy, it’s not looking good for Barry to go in on the first ballot (which his numbers would merit) or perhaps forever.

Today, comes the revelation that the game’s best current hitter, A-Rod, tested positive for steroids back when he played for the Rangers.

So, in the next decade or so, baseball will be faced with what to do with Mark McGwire who was the closest thing to Babe Ruth in our time, Sammy Sosa who hit over 600 home runs,  Barry Bonds who broke Aaron’s career mark and now Alex Rodriguez who may yet pass Bonds.

That’s a problem, people.  How do you keep McGwire out but someday elect Bonds or Alex Rodriguez?  How can you have a Hall of Fame that doesn’t include those guys?  Who were truly the best clean players of this era?  We’ll never know and that’s yet another problem.

Here’s the solution.  Go the route of South Africa.  Baseball should establish a truth commission.  Players would be able to come before it and admit how they cheated.  Once they had done that, Hall of Fame voters would be instructed that they could not use allegations or rumor or even admitted abuse of steroids or HGH against those players.  Player who came clean would only be judged on what they did on the field, which would keep things simple.

If McGwire or Bonds or Sosa decided to tell the truth, than any one of them would only be judged on their numbers and gain easy access to Cooperstown.  If one of them refused to admit anything, that’s ok too.  It’s their choice after all.   But, voters would not be instructed to have to disregard allegations or rumors of cheating.

Players would have their fate in their own hands.  It would be up to them to decide if they thought coming clean would be worth the better shot at Cooperstown. 

Finally, Cooperstown should create an exhibit on baseball  in the ’90s and on that addresses steroids and HGH.  It should tell the full history of how guys like Sosa, Bonds and McGwire and even A-Rod ended up tainted by it.  It should note that we’ll never know what numbers are fully real and which are artificial, but that at least some of the game’s stars came clean when given the chance.

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A-Rod Takes The Innocence Of A 42 Year Old Hetrosexual Male!

8 Feb

Yup, that’s me I’m referring to in the post headline.  I’m 42, male, hetro and have a pathological hatred for all things Yankee.  Yet, today A-Rod crushed my innocence.

How was this possible you ask?  Well, let’s start with Barry Bonds.  For some crazy reason, I bought that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa smashed Roger Maris’ season home run legitimately.  Looking at both of them, I thought they were freaks of nature who benefited from the advanced training methods available to today’s multi-millionaire athletes as well as from the decline of quality pitching.  McGwire and Sosa had always hit bunches of home runs so it didn’t seem so strange they not only passed but obliterated the mark that had taken so much out of Maris.  Plus, for whatever I think of McGwire and Sosa now, it must be said that they both handled the chase for Roger’s record with a great deal of charm and class.  I bought it all.

Barry Bonds is a different story.  Bonds was, of course, more talented than either Sosa or McGwire.  He just didn’t hit as many home runs as they did.  Until, that is, he began to in his mid thirties.  Suddenly, Bonds’ totals were skyrocketing.  No one in the whole history of the game had gone from really great to all time freaking amazing great in his mid thirties.  Usually, players slow down as they age.  Not Bonds.  Bonds was busy breaking McGwire’s home run record.  Something wasn’t right.  Players don’t do what Bonds did at his age without help.  They cheat.  It’s more than obvious that Bonds juiced.  The Feds may never nail him, but most of America could sleep at night if they were on a jury that convicted him of steroid abuse.  I hate statements like this upcoming one, but we all know he did it.

Bonds cheating to pass Hank Aaron on the all time home run list personally offended me.  Hank Aaron is a gracious man.  Bonds, despite his legion of apologists, is a sour personality who really doesn’t seem to appreciate what the game has given him.  Hank Aaron endured death threats and all kinds of racism during the quest to pass Babe Ruth.  Hank Aaron did it the right way.  He didn’t cheat and he overtook the Babe with dignity.

On the other hand, Bonds would let nothing slow him down on the way past Aaron.  He added steroids to his training regime to keep up with McGwire and Sosa.  Then, as he was closing in on Hammering Hank, it all started to fall apart.  We started to hear about how Barry Bonds had been cheating.  His home runs were artificial.  They were fueled by steroids.  Bonds, wouldn’t let the controversy get in his way.  He just kept  knocking them out of the park.  MLB was weak and did nothing.  Bud Selig held his nose and attended the game in which Barry cheated his way past Hank.

You have to give it to Barry.  Nowhere along the way did he crack.  Never did he express regret.  He somehow held it all together and just kept stepping on home plate.  Too bad such determination couldn’t have been applied to a better cause.

If Barry Bonds had any conscience or class at all, he could have made the ultimate gesture.  He could have stopped.  He could have given up the chase, admitted he’d cheated and realized he didn’t want to pass a quality human being like  Hank Aaron in such a tawdry way.  Barry Bonds could have turned it all around.  I would have been writing about how Bonds had made a mistake, come clean, and punished himself by giving up the chase.  For me, that would have been enough to say let’s forgive and forget.  For me, that would have been enough to say he belongs in Cooperstown, since after all he was a Hall of Fame caliber player way before the ‘roids.

Of course, all of that is a dream, a fantasy.  The world doesn’t work that way.  Today, Alex Rodriguez taught me that.  You see, despite my 42 years on this planet, I still like to believe in things.  I believed in Alex Rodriguez.

Sure, I hated seeing him go to the Yankees.  And certainly seeing him up close now that he plays in my home market, I’ve come to see that he has some personality issues too.  Yet, I never doubted that Alex was clean.

The guy started in the game so young and never seemed very big, yet the homers were always there.  I believed he was something special.  I believed he was the best hitter of his generation.  I even heard sports talk hosts and journalists stating that he was obviously not a steroid guy.  Like Bonds, he had us all fooled.

I believed.  As much as Bonds sitting atop the all time homer list gnaws at me, I was content in my anticipation of the clean living A-Rod passing Bonds’ cheating ass in the next few years barring injury or unexpected decline.  It was poetic justice.  I’ve taught my kids that the real home run champ is Hank Aaron.  I was looking forward to teaching them about how A-Rod took back the crown that Bonds had stolen and restored baseball’s reputation in the process.  It was going to be a great lesson about how you can achieve things the right way.

So, today we find out that A-Rod flunked a test in 2003 and was on at least two steroids while he played for the Texas Rangers.  I feel like a fool.  I feel let down.

What do I teach my children now?

Thanks, A-Fraud.  Now we know Joe Torre was right the whole time.  And my kids will learn a whole new lesson from you.

Another Amazing Week In Sports, Politics & Nonsense!

24 Jan

What an utterly amazing week to be alive to blog!  Unfortunately, other obligations AKA my paying job, got in the way of being able to write too much.  I realize that given these uncertain times I should feel lucky to have a good job.  And I do.

I also feel lucky to have this blog and to be able to present my thoughts on the week we all just got through together. 

Here goes!

Another Giants’ receiver gets shot!  Seriously what are the odds of the guy who replaced Plaxico Burress on the Giants roster also getting shot so soon after Burress accidentally capped himself?  Better than back to back Big Blue championships, I guess.  Here’s hoping Taye Biddle gets better soon.

Jeff Kent – when you look at his numbers even after accounting for the slugging era he played in, they are very impressive for a second baseman.  As a Mets fan, I saw quite a bit of Kent in the 90s.  He never struck me as a Hall of Famer.  Maybe that early impression is what keeps me from seeing him as Cooperstown-worthy now…

Alonozo Mourning – Zo has once again decided to retire.  Somehow this one feels more real.  After battling through kidney problems and leg issues through the years, I think he’s done.  Does anyone remember how limitless the Charlotte Hornets future looked way back when they had the young versions of Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson playing for them?  Maybe the young & current version of Chris Paul will deliver on that long ago promise for the franchise that fled Charlotte for New Orleans…

Brian Schottenheimer – I don’t get it.  What’s the big deal whether he comes back to the Jets as their offensive coordinator?  In three years with the Jets, Marty’s son has produced the 25th, 26th and 16th ranked offenses in the NFL.  This gets him serious consideration for the head job?  And this merits the Jets’ brass losing sleep over whether he’ll be happy to return?  Maybe it’s just that they figure if they keep Shottenheimer and the current offense in place the odds are better Brett Favre will return?

Rex Ryan – Maybe it’s cause he’s a twin and I have twins.   Maybe it’s cause he’s Buddy Ryan’s son and for some reason I always found Buddy entertaining despite my being a Giants’ fan.  I don’t know.   But, for some reason, I like Rex Ryan and feel like he’ll do a nice job with the Jets.  If nothing else, his press conferences are already better than Eric Mangini’s.

Goodbye Guantanamo! – The new president carries through on his promise to close Gitmo.  Good riddance!  Call me crazy but simply “disappearing” people just doesn’t seem real American to me.  Feels like we all ought to have more faith in our system than to resort to that kind of third world dictatorship kind of move.

Goodbye Torture! – Barack Obama delivers again!  Nice first couple of days for him by the way.  So far so good, but we’ve got a long way to go.  Thanks to President Obama, now the US will not be allowed to torture suspects anymore.  Another good move. America should not tolerate torture.  Beside not being in keeping with our constitution, it’s not all that effective.  How about just making them sit through a full episode of the “Color Honeymooners”?  Yikes!

Pope’s On Youtube – He’s got his own channel there.  How long til he’s got his own development deal with some cable channel?

Mark Ivaroni Fired – Is every NBA franchise going to fire their head coach this season?  And will it make any difference in Memphis anyway??  Especially when you hire Lionel Hollins for the THIRD time to coach your franchise.  What’s he going to do different this time??  Third time!  I’m not making this up!

New York’s Got a New Senator – And it’s not a Kennedy.  Would have been poetic to see Caroline Kennedy take the seat her uncle once held.  But, after her disastrous couple of weeks in the spotlight think we all learned why she’s stayed private all these years. You know, uh, you know….

Manny Ramirez – Being a pain in the ass can cost you a lot of cash.  Now, not even the Mets are interested in one of the game’s very best hitters.  As a Mets’ fan, I’m very worried about the pitching rotation and just don’t think they have enough hitting.  Manny could go a long way toward solving half their problems.  Course, he’d add a whole other set in the process but that’s just Manny being Manny.

Mark McGwire  –  Not only does his brother Jay introduce him to roids, now he outs him.  Would I love to be a fly-on the wall at the McGwire family reunion!

Herm Edwards Fired – Had to see this coming when the Chiefs brought in a new GM.  And although Edwards isn’t saying it, I will.  Clark Hunt has a lot of nerve firing Edwards after signing off on the youth movement that put the Chiefs at 2-14 last year.  If Edwards had known he had just one year to work with, maybe he’d have rethought going young.

Who’ll Bail Out The Veteran NFL Coaches? – Maybe it will be the Chiefs who are rumored to be pursuing Mike Shanahan.  It’s amazing to me to see all these young guys getting hired for head coaching jobs this year while big names like Shanahan, Jon Gruden, Marty Schottenheimer and Bill Cowher may be sitting out next season. 

Let’s take them and a few others case by case:

Mike Shanahan – Not surprised KC would want him.  After all, they had to play against him for so long and know how good he is.  Am surprised that he’d go somewhere so quickly after Denver, especially without being able to have Denver-type control.  Really thought that once again he’d replace Wade Phillips.  This time in Dallas.  If Jerry Jones were smart and Shanahan were interested, he’d make sure history repeat itself.

Jon Gruden – Tampa’s entire roster seems to be dogging him in the press, but you have to believe he’ll get another chance.  When he does, he’ll win again.

Marty Schottenheimer – All Brian’s dad ever has done is win.  Ok, not in the playoffs so much.   Still, I don’t buy he’s not one of the top 30 coaches in the pro football world.  Don’t see Norv Turner really lighting things up in San Diego either…

Bill Cowher – he strikes me as the least interested in coming back this year.  Still, think the Jets blew it by not overwhelming him.

Dan Reeves – He wants back in.  So much so that at age 65 he’s interviewing for the offensive coordinator spot for the 49ers.  Like Marty Schot, he’s another guy who has done nothing but win.  Unfortunately, both he and Marty may never get a crack at a top spot again.  Here’s hoping they both do.  The ultimate of course, would be to see Reeves get another team to the Super Bowl only to watch them get crushed by Marty’s first ever Super Bowl team. 

Denny Green – I’m just throwing him in here.  I haven’t even heard he wants to coach again.  But, with the Cardinals going to the Super Bowl, it’s worth noting that Green brought in some of the guys who have gotten them there.  You may have heard of one of his guys.  Kurt Warner??

Deep breathe!  Think that was everything I wanted to get out.

Thanks for taking a look!

Bud Selig Finally Grows A Pair!

31 Mar

 

Baseball’s do nothing, see nothing commissioner is finally getting tough.  According to reports, Bud Selig is insisting that any players named in the Mitchell Report be punished somehow. 

Predictably, baseball’s player association is balking at any punishment for their members named in the steroid/HGH report.  This is, of course, what happens when a union becomes too big and successful.  It becomes tone deaf.  Their members are making millions on a game that depends on an even playing field and the union refuses to hold those that have tarnished the game and risked future prosperity for all members accountable.

But, this post isn’t about the union.  It’s about the other sad half of baseball’s pathetic leadership equation.  It’s all about Bud Selig.  Why is Mr. Selig digging his heels in now?

For Selig, this fight is all about Selig.  It’s about a legacy.  Think about it.  What is Selig’s legacy right now?  He’ll forever be the commissioner tied to the steroid era in baseball.  Sure, in many ways it’s been an extremely successful time.  At what cost is the question?  Steroids and HGH pose the biggest threat to the game right now, perhaps ever, and Selig is the one who turned a blind eye to their entrance into baseball’s mainstream.

Would you want that on your Hall of Fame plaque?  Selig doesn’t.  So, that’s why he’s clamping down now.  It’s protecting his legacy.  Nothing less and nothing more.

I only wish Selig had thought more about his legacy in the 1990s when cheaters like Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and finally Barry Bonds destroyed a record a decent man like Roger Maris went through so much to set.

Of course, the Maris record, amazing as it is, takes a back seat to the biggest record of them all.  Like Maris, Hank Aaron went through a ton of pressure and ugliness to set the all time homer mark only multiplied by racism on top of everything else.  Where was Selig when a gracious decent man’s honest accomplishments were surpassed by an arrogant cheater named Barry Bonds?  Keeping a low profile and trying to figure out how to dig baseball out of the whole he let it fall into.

Selig is a disgrace as a commissioner, but I guess that’s what you get when you hire a fellow owner to do a job that’s supposed to be all about doing what’s in the best interest of baseball.

Rice Undercooked by Hall of Fame & Other Horrible Puns

9 Jan

Go to fullsize imageLet’s get this out of the way first.  Congratulations to you Goose Gossage.  Well deserved and long overdue.  As a Red Sox fan growing up in the 70s, I hated you more than the Ayatollah Khomieni.  However, unlike my hatred of Iran’s former leader, my dislike of you was based on respect and a healthy dose of fear.  I knew if the Sox hadn’t put the game out of reach before you got in, that there was a very good chance I was going to sleep unhappy that night. 

Go to fullsize image

I remember my many Yankee fan friends (in between relentless taunting) hating Jim Rice for much the same reasons as I hated the Goose.  For a good ten years, Jim Rice was the dominant hitter in the AL.  I could spout numbers all day long, but the reality is with most HOFers you know it simply by your memories of the threat they presented to you as an opponent or how they delivered for you if you were lucky enough to have them on your side.  It’s the dreaded “it factor”.  It’s the same in politics, acting (mainstream or porn), and blogging.  You either have it or you don’t.  Jim Rice had it.  He was feared by opponents and came through for the BoSox faithful.

With any luck, the steroids story will continue to spin out of control (PS – Roger Clemens, time for a new team of advisers) and expose how inflated offensive numbers  became in the 90s and beyond.  Rice looks better and better the more you realize how many people above him on career statistic lists cheated to get there.

Let’s put it this way.  Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa all dwarf Rice on the career home run list.  Minus steroids (and in Palmeiro’s case even WITH the steroids), do you take any of the three before Jim Rice at his prime if you were starting a team today? 

Answer:  Only if you are an idiot.  In which case, you’d have a HOF vote and undoubtedly use it to deny Jim Rice his place in Cooperstown.

 

Gossage, Rice & Morris are Hall of Fame Worthy

29 Dec

images1.jpgGoose Gossage, Jim Rice and Jack Morris need to go into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame right now!  I’m going to keep the explanations brief for tonight, but here’s my list on who is Hall Worthy, who is not and who I’m not sure about at this late hour:

images11.jpgWhy Aren’t These Guys in Already?images6.jpg

Goose Gossage – I grew up hating the New York Yankees and the Goose personally made the late 70s very tough for me.  He lasted longer and was better that Sutter or Fingers.

Jim Rice – Most feared hitter in the AL for a good long time even though his career was shorter than some would have liked.  Plus nobody hit into a double play like him (kidding Jim! Still love ya!).

Jack Morris – The ace of about a thousand World Series winners and so very clutch.  Sure his ERA is a bit high, but so is his win total which if memory serves led the majors in the 80s. 

Why Do We Talk About These Guys & The Hall at All?

Mark McGwire – I bought it all at the time.  The super human home run rate, the Paul Bunyan body and his grace toward the Maris Family.  Too bad it all seems to have been a sham.  He got his millions.  He shouldn’t get into the Hall of Fame, but remains a shoe in for the Hall of Fake.

Don Mattingly – Shoulda, woulda, coulda.  He ended up being a lot better than Darryl Strawberry who came up around the same time as him, but a back injury robbed him of his power.  It’s a sad thing but a fact that Donnie Baseball just didn’t put enough good years together to make the HOF cut.  And I don’t buy the Kirby Puckett comparisons, but that’s for another day. 

And Finally Some I Need To Think More About:

Andre Dawson – Never struck me a HOFer, but many disagree.  Love the cool Hawk nickname though.

Dave Parker – Coke will mess up your life and HOF chances.

Tim Raines – Should get some serious consideration.

Bert Blyleven – Never seemed like he was on the Seaver or Carlton level, but there are some strong numbers there and he’s oh so close to 300 wins despite playing on mostly bad teams.

Alan Trammel – Do not understand how this guy is so undervalued.  You have to compare his stats to other shortstops of his day.

Harold Baines – Where’s that one moment of greatness or super fantastic season?

Lee Smith – Saves are cheap.  Get Gossage in there first and then we’ll talk.