I always have to remind myself that the Hall of Fame is a joke. Not the museum and library parts which are all sorts of awesome, but the ridiculous system of voting players and other people into the game into some sort of special honor. I wouldn’t have voted for Lee Smith, but if you’re going to start putting closers in as a separate category, then OK. Smith isn’t a bad choice.
Brian Giles was a better player than Harold Baines. Paul O’Neill was a better player than Harold Baines. Fred Lynn was a better player than Harold Baines. Will Clark, who was on the ballot, was a better player than Baines. And this doesn’t even count guys like Jim Edmonds, Lou Whitaker, Bobby Grich and Dwight Evans who really do belong in Cooperstown but can’t get a sniff because they aren’t friends with people on the committee.
The worst part of all this is that Baines was a very good player. A fine, admirable player. But now the first thing that anyone is going to think of when his name is mentioned is that his selection to Cooperstown was a joke. Like Lloyd Waner or Chick Hafey. This doesn’t honor Baines. It insults him.
I should mention that there are a few players already inducted in the Hall who were worse players than Baines. No one in the Hall was an actual bad major league ballplayer. So I guess this decision won’t make the joke any worse.
There’s my rant. Now I have to remind myself not to care again.
Get ready for a whole week of gambling puns in your baseball coverage.
- I’m not the only person who is questioning Baines’ induction into the Hall of Fame.
- Jon Tayler calls Baines’ induction “an embarrassment.”
- On to the Winter Meetings. Tom Verducci takes the effort to write about how much the Winter Meetings have changed since he started covering them in 1985. Back then, a trade could be announced and no one may have seen it coming. Now, there are a thousand tweets before every deal and every non-deal.
- David Schoenfield gives his Winter Meetings preview. Oh, like mine isn’t enough for you.
- Mark Feinsand has ten things to watch for this week in Las Vegas.
- Matt Snyder has ten “bold” predictions for the Winter Meetings. Except that he admits some of them aren’t so bold.
- Here’s a list of needs for each MLB team. The Orioles’ list just says “everything.”
- Here are some trades David Schoenfield and Bradford Doolittle would like to see this week. Kyle Schwarber for Corey Kluber? On the one hand, sure. On the other, that doesn’t make a ton of sense for either side.
- Joe Frisaro reports that Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto could be traded this week but the Marlins are in no hurry to get a deal done. So Realmuto could still be a Marlin on Christmas.
- Nationals owner Mark Lerner said that he doesn’t expect that Bryce Harper will be with the Nationals next season. He would know, I guess.
- Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig isn’t happy about the amount of playing time he got last season and could very well be traded this week.
- Jonah Keri has some ideas about what the Dodgers should do this winter.
- Keri also offers some advice to the Rockies front office on their offseason plans.
- Andrew Simon argues that if your team needs a starting pitcher (and which team doesn’t?), then your team should really take a look at signing free agent Charlie Morton.
- The sad story of the death of Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo just gets worse. It turns out that the “accident” that killed them was no accident and four people have been arrested for rolling the rock onto the road in order to rob them. So they were murdered.
- Tim Brown has a wonderful column celebrating the life of Valbuena and why he was loved so much by his teammates and those who covered him.
- You’ve probably heard this by now, but Athletics first-round pick Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football. Katherine Acquavella has a scouting report on Murray (as a baseball player) and why he’s going to play baseball and not football. His agent, Scott Boras, reiterated that Murray will report to the A’s this spring. Also, in case you don’t know, Murray is the nephew of ex-Cub Calvin Murray. (The final six plate appearances of Calvin Murray’s major league career came with the Cubs in 2004.) He finished his career with the Iowa Cubs in 2005.
- Here’s something that a lot of you will be very happy about. Sunday Night Baseball games will start one hour earlier in 2019.
- The Athletics are scrambling to find a home for their radio broadcasts in 2019. They currently do not have a radio deal.
- Kevin Reichard gives the history of the Oakland Coliseum and asks if the venue is worth saving and converting to a different use after the A’s leave.
- Mike Napoli announced his retirement.
- Former Cubs catcher Miguel Montero said that he’s “pretty much retired.” No Cubs fan will ever forget that grand slam in game one of the 2016 National League Championship Series.
- Former Giants pitcher and former Cubs’ first-round draft pick Pierce Johnson is off to Japan to pitch for the Hanshin Tigers of NPB.
- And finally, I get to do another soccer story and it doesn’t even involve the MLS Cup. (Congratulations to Atlanta United, by the way. The first title for the city of Atlanta in anything since the Braves won the World Series in 1995.) Several mascots from the English Premier League traveled to New York for a fan fest and they were given a tour of Citi Field by Mr. Met.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.