Results tagged ‘ Roberto Alomar ’

If I Possessed a BBWAA 2010 Hall of Fame Ballot

 

 

HALL-OF-FAME.jpg

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I am not a voting member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Nor do I profess or pretend to be the “almighty and all seeing” eyes of the game, but I can bet the farm easily today that there will be a controversy extended at 1 pm when the official Inductees are announced for this year’s class for Induction this Summer to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Some may say I am posting this at 11:49 am because I know something, but I do not. I am instead wondering just like the rest of you who will join former Philadelphia Phillies writer Bill Conlin who was announced in early December as the J G Taylor Spinks Award winner in the BBWAA first ballot of the year. And within the next hour or so countless other BBWAA members and media savvy folks will be typing away either giving you their 2011 ballot for discussion, or writing prose in defense of them not submitting a certain name or the reasons why they were left off their ballot.

This year there are 14 carry-overs from the potential HOF nominating class of 2010 including two former players who just missed the Hall threshold with less than 75% of the BBWAA votes in 2009. Former slugger and ex-Tampa Bay Rays Second Baseman Roberto Alomar just missed his election in his first year of eligibility after receiving 73.7 percent of the vote. He was joined in that “just missed by a hair” club for men with fellow nominee Bert Blyleven (74.2 %) who missed a 2009 HOF election by a paltry.8 percent of the vote.

Here is the entire list of eligible former MLB players who comprised the voting community that the BBWAA members had to choose from in 2010 (anyone receiving votes in 2009):

Carlos Baerga, Jeff Bagwell, Harold Baines (6.1%), Bert Blyleven (74.2%), Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson, Barry Larkin (51.6%), Al Leiter, Edgar Martinez (36.2%), Don Mattingly (16.1%), Mark McGuire (23.7%), Raul Mondesi, Jack Morris (52.3%), Dale Murphy (11.7%), John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Dave Parker (15.2%), Tim Raines (30.4%), Kirk Rueter, Benito Santiago, Lee Smith (47.3%), B J Surhoff, Alan Trammel (22.4%) and Larry Walker.

Also under consideration are 4 former Tampa Bay Rays, which include 2 former nominees Roberto Alomar (73.7%) and Fred McGriff (21.5%). The other two are first time nominees this year former Rays First Baseman Tino Martinez and Catcher Charles Johnson.

The list is an impressive selection that includes 2 former AL MVPS, 2 former AL MVPs, 2 Rookie of the Year winners, plus the MLB All Time pinch hit leader and a member of the exclusive 3,000 hit and 500 Home Run fraternity. With these 19 names it was hard to even pick a possible 10 that I would list on my own BBWAA ballot if I ever got a lucky break, but there are also a few that I will never vote for, and maybe that list should be easier for me to compile here. But instead of dragging someone’s MLB career through the mud for my own dislike of them personally, maybe I will just list my 10 personal nominees.

1. Edgar Martinez. I always loved the way the former Mariner always seemed to take the game and molded it into his own style. He is the first HOF nominee who can be mostly classified as a Designated Hitter, and his tenure on this list before Induction might be a testament to the struggles other DH’s will have in the future. But he has been class from the get-go to me, and has a sure fire check next to his name from me.

2. Roberto Alomar. I might not like the way the former Ray left the team before the season, but I can not detest him enough to leave him off the list because of the way he controlled and provided more than a book load of awesome moments both at the plate and turning the pivot in his career. Some might say his exclusion in 2009 might have been a nudge for his spitting incident, but the former Jays/O’s player has more problems currently in Tampa Bay where his wife is claiming some outrageous behavior that makes his spitting seem tame. But based on his skill and grace on the field….He get a head nod and a “sure thing” check mark.

3. Bert Blyleven. Here is another head scratcher for me from the 2009 HOF results. I thought the Manager of the Netherlands WBC squad was more than deserving, but I think 2010 is the year the former Twin hurler gets to be greeted by his already inducted peers on the steps of Cooperstown. He is one of my two sure thing picks.

4. Fred McGriff. What can I say about the former Rays 1B and Special Advisor. When you get a moniker like “Crimedog”, you know he took a bite out of someone. In this case it was 200 Home Runs in each MLB League. But some say his struggle to get to 500 HR might be his downfall. But this character of great integrity and grace deserves a spot in the hallowed halls, even if he will not bear wearing a Rays capo.

5. Don Mattingly. This is the first time I have included “Donny Baseball” on my personal HOF wish list. More and more I have come to admire and respect the former pinstripe for what he did for his city, his team and the accolades he achieved. Now that he is finally getting the reins of a MLB team, hopefully this will be the first of two possible inductions, one as a player, and the second as a MLB Manager.

6. Tim Raines. I never got to see Raines stretch one out for extra bases or see him deliver a pinch hit that produced a walk-off win or moment. And maybe I am bitter about that. But in reality it is the type of player that Raines was, and the fear he instilled in his competition after a long career manning the outfields that should get his name called for Cooperstown. Hopefully he is not the last former Expos to get a chance to grace the Hall of Fame.

7. Dale Murphy. Here is a guy I got to see a lot in regional broadcasts of baseball games since the state of Florida got a lot of Braves games in his heydays. I respect the way he took this team on his back for so many years and lead by example and power to show some of us how the game should be played. The ATL would have been a totally different MLB town if not for the likes of Murphy stroking those long balls out of Turner Field. His HOF speech might be sponsored by TBS, which during his induction would mean, The Best Story”.

8. Jeff Bagwell. I do not know how this ballot could not include Bagwell. Has it really been 5 years since he last strapped on a pair of cleats? I still have that moment in my mind in the Astros dugout when my buddy Brandon Backe came off the mound during a 1-hit miracle in the World Series and “Bags” pumping Brandon up for the next inning with talks on the bench. He could make it on inspiration alone, but his talent will show he is Hall worthy (possibly 2011).

9. Mark McGuire. I am on the fence some days as to the effect that PED’s had on the game. But back in his era, Andro was not a condemned products until it was seen in a photo in McGuire’s locker and then investigated. For that I can not keep him off the HOF ballot, but his recent statements and also his willingness come back back and give of himself as a St. Louis Cardinals Coach speaks volume to the character underneath “Big Macs” now smaller pecs.

10. Shoeless Joe Jackson. I know this is just a personal statement, but Jackson ceased to be a “person” long ago and in it, his MLB restriction should have been lifted. How can the guy Babe Ruth copied his swing from not be HOF worthy. He was a Georgia farm boy who could not write with clarity and possibly buckled to the pressures of his White Sox teammates in the World Series scandal. Until the day I also cease to exist, I will bang the drum the Jackson deserves to be in the Hall of Fame as much as 50% of the guy already deserving of the bronze plague.

Only one guy is on my black list of not getting a vote ever on my HOF ballot. Rafael Palmiero to me boldfaced lied to our collective faces, and Congress, then got caught and suddenly was as silent as a clam. I personally have a problem with someone who put out a mighty persona only to have it crumble down like a house of cheap cards. If he had not produced a positive drug test, then he might have been one of my favorites on this ballot for consideration. But he has tarnished the game in my mind, and for that you get a thumbs down for eternity. If he ever does get inducted, I will gladly turn my back to the screen during you induction, but that is the Renegade way.

Hope you enjoyed reading my little muses on the Hall of Fame ballot I would have submitted if given the chance. Some days I wish there was a few fans votes included into the actual Hall of Fame voting academy, but then someone would be writing from field level instead of the high palace that is the press box.

Recent Rays Moves………….My View from Rightfield

 

 

Wow!

Here it is a few days from the Winter MLB meetings in Opry-ville and we made a few needed moves that will help define our current and future goals for our squad.

 

First off, let me get that off my chest right now. I am not a Delmon Young hater in anyway, but, from my seat in Right Field, I could read some of his body language and tell  he was just buying time before the poisoned axe or his actions  dictated a move to new Fieldturf pastures.

 

 Have fun in the pillow-dome Delmon. You complained about not being able to clearly see balls at the Trop. Wait until you look up in that sea of lights and  true white roof at the Metrodome………..you will wish for the grey white roof of the Trop. I do wish him alot of luck in his future and success with that “Young” brothers curse of having a small attitude adjustment problem. His brother seemed to have finally gotten his attitude to shine with the Nats, let’s hope it doesn’t take Delmon as long to fine the right basepath to being the great teammate. Delmon’s departure will come back to haunt us at times,…………..but only for 6 or 7 games a year.

 

Now the players we got for Delmon are quality guys. Matt Garza is a young player that can br dialed into this rotation for years and will be a positive and needed upgrade to our constantly inproving and maturing pitching staff. Garza has not even hit the stride in his career yet, so the sky is the limit right now with him.

By the way, in Garza’s last 2007 start in, he pitched 6.2 innings with 4 hits and 1 ER against the Royals and Lost the game. We will take 6.2 inning outting any day with only 1 ER…….with the offensive power we have on our roster right now, it should always  be a “W” with the Rays.

 

The additon of Garza is great because this staff can grow into a huge AL East  pitching monster. Scott “The K” Kazmir is just getting started. James Shields was perfecting a few of his pitches last year, and gaining a boatload of knowledge about American League hitters.

 

 Those two will hold down the front of the rotation for a long time. Matt Garza is a great addition to help get those extra ( hopefully) 10-15 wins a year to get close to that hallowed 82-82 mark.

 

They only curious point to this trade is Jason Barlett,the second player involved in this trade.  He is destined to be just a stop-gap fill-in until protege’ Reid Brignac is ready to man the 5 hole for years to come. Bartlett  hit .265 last year, but only has 10 HR’s in his career and only 1,079 AB’s in his career.  He has primarily been a utility man during his career in the bigs, and this is his first extended playing time in the shortstop position.

 

Now he knows the role he will play here in Tampa Bay, but who knows, someone could come to camp to even replace him ( maybe Ben Zobrist ). Worst things have happened to our team.  Remember Danny Batista and Roberto Alomar retiring from our squad with only days to go in Spring Training. Losing these ex- All-Stars was viewed at the time as a failure by the team. It turned into the emmergance of Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes as “go-to” guys for the Rays for  that year.  So, sometimes a bad look can turn into a solid gold treasure when you only look at the surface of a situation. But that is why we play the games and do not award a trophy for roster potential, but game results.

 

With that in mind, let me wander a bit. and fantasize here.

 

 Can you go back home again in baseball? Not to a home per se, but to an old team that left you unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, and you selected to a good NL team that did not even know if you could play an entire season because of health and personal concerns.

 

Josh, I have always wanted success for you and knew that you could and would pull yourself together and show the world what a ture 5-tool player looks like up here. You went on to  prove you can play at the highest level and even make their opening day lineup in Right Field. the start of the season offensive expolsion you provided made everyone’s jaws dropped in awe. You finally had an entire country knowing you had it in you, and you proved it to everyone.

 

Hey Josh, I was there the day you came back after your off field problems that took you from baseball and the Rays. I was the Pepsi  guy in the locker room talking to Tim M. right before you went out the door of the training complex and first met the media.

 

I knew then that you had it again. That your head and attitude felt right to me, and I wanted the sky for you. Can you forgive the powers from beyond the Trop’s D-rings and just listen to them if they want to trade and include you on our squad.  I would cheer and enjoy watching you in Right Field again. And a huge plus that people forget, you can be the left-handed bat that Joe has been searching for in the lineup. Could be a sea of pluses for both the team, and yourself.

 

Okay, fantasy time is over……… Trade number two might not seem big on paper or even in reality, but it can be the jump start for each player. Elijah Dukes and Glen Gibson both needed a team that wanted them and believed in them. Now I do not think the Rays ever disliked or wanted harm for Elijah. His off-field and on-field distractions just took their toll on himself and the front office. Both parties knew that a change of scenery can work wonders for you, as a  person and a player.

 

 I wish you a cartload of homers in that new park Elijah. And we will not see you for  about 6 years. It take a few years for the schedule to again list the Nats’ as a interleague opponent again.So this trade might be a hidden blessing for you.

 

 Now Glen Gibson is  daily becoming a more polished pitcher.  Baseball America rated Gibson’s changeup and curve the best in the Nats’s farm system. Now we  know he has inherited talent and a great barometer a phone call away from him. Not every guy has a father that pitched in the majors. That could end up being a hidden blessing for him and the Rays.

 

Fantasy time again…………this time Minor edition.  The Rays’ top draft pick last year, David Price has set high expectations of himself and his progression in the Rays farm system this year. Now I will never argue with a Vandy grad, but I just want him to have a shot to know the systems and not rush his progress. When he gets called up to the Big club, he may  get hit like a pinball for a few weeks, but being a Southeastern Conference pitcher is a bit of a farm system in its own right. The best have had a rough beginning until they adapt and conquer the unique strike zones and brutal power potential of a MLB batters’ box.

 

I love to hear bravado and throwing caution to the wind, but I think a year in triple-A and a call up down the line could be his best medicine. There are a great amount of talent in Double-A and Triple-A right now biting at the bit to get that Spring Reporting date here and start to show their stuff. Jeff Neimann, Jeff Ridgeway, JP Howell,Mitch Talbot, and ex-big club guys like Chad Orvella, Jae Kuk Ryu want another shot up here as well. And that does not include the future power pitchers scattered in the Montgomery, Columbus, and Vero Beach teams. The future looks really bright for this team in the pitching department.

 

Having a prospective rotation of………Scott Kazmir, James Shields,Matt Garza, and add any of these  current teammates names,………Andy Sonnanstine, Jason Hammel and my favorite, Edwin Jackson to the mix, make for an exciting rotation problem  that could win anytime they hit the rubber.

 

Back to reality.  The addition of  closer extrodinaire, Troy Percival only makes the 6th through 9th inning  a more secure spot for the Rays.

 

What I am talking about is the fact that  Gary Glover,Al Reyes, Dan Wheeler are proven MLB relievers who can make it a challenge for any team to try and score after the starter leaves the game.  We have had great relievers before, but never in the middle roles.

 

 I think Reyes showed a huge amount of class in knowing that what is right for the team is great for the future of this squad. I think that is why they picked up his option. There is no doubts or questions he is a plus everytime he hits the mound for us.

 

 He might be the last guy to get the ball on most nights, but he is the first to know that this team has  within reach lofty goals, and they are within reach most nights, even in Fenway Park.

 

Now I have heard a bushel basket of rumors about additons and subtractions to this team. I want to address my views on a few subtractions here.

 

 Delmon might have been a player with a career that will bury his older brothers, but he also has the Young family cancer of that hidden danger and aggression that could ruin all that is good with……..a simple, casual walk to first.  Rays’ fans know what I am talking about here. I enjoyed watching Aubrey Huff hit for years here, but when he started to jog down to first is when he got that dreaded “Ben Grieve” epidemic. Maybe it is in the aura of Right Field that our players get that attitude and begin to falter right in front of us. 

 

Brendan Harris and Josh Wilson were the “blue collar” guys last year. Each guy experienced  a banner year. they got to play ball almost every night and did it the right way. Both got rewarded in different ways.

 

 Brendan got to play in another Dome, but has a great chance to be the everyday guy in the 5 hole up in Minn. Josh Wilson was put on the daily MLB waiver wire with the hopes he could pass through without a hitch. One big hitch, some people actually read those waiver wires daily.  The Pirates took a gamble, and got another quality infielder for their rebuilding ballclub. We wish you a ton of success Josh……you did a great job for the short time you were a Rays. Just a reminder, we did get Josh on waivers from the Nationals last year.  Karma?  you never know.

 

The last two trades I want to discuss did not happen as of the writing of this blog. That does not mean that the teams are not on their cellphone right now mending the deal or twisting the pieces to fit both teams.

 

 The First is the rumor of Edwin Jackson shipping off to Seattle for  1b/DH Ben Broussard. Now I am a huge “Action” Jackson fan, just ask him (lol). I liked Ben Broussard when he was an Indian, but I think his production has slowly seem a downward spiral. We could have done better even in a rumor than this one.  Another rumor had the Mets again this year coveting Jackson.  I do not know what the Mets’ still have left in their farm system. They have been active the last few years adding the missing pieces to their squad. But I am not sure their farm system is as strong as when we plucked Scott Kazmir from their clutches.

 

The second  non trade is a two-parter.It is the “non” trading of Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli.

 

I know that Carl would love to be a part of the first winning team in this franchises’ short history.  He should be a part of this celebration……front and center. Rocco I believe will come out of Spring Training in better shape, and better condition than any other time in his short Rays tenure.

 

 I used to be out at the Rays complex delivering alot, and when Rocco was mending from his surgeries and bumps and bruises, he was  always eagerly training and building himself up for his return. If you remember, Joe used to like to have Rocco in the dugout at home games and selected road series because of his great attitude and zest for success.

 

 I think this time it is totally personal for Rocco. I feel he knows that the team took a gamble and signed him to a long term deal. He is a proud guy, and he is probably the most excited about reporting in  Feb. 2008. Rocco stated in a news article he will relax this off season for a change. I believe that like I believe the “Clear” was a muscle relaxing ointment.  FDA approved too………right? He is probably getting in the best condition both mentally and physically for this team.

 

Right Field has been a concern for the big wigs upstairs since Delmon hit the road for the Great White north.  I think Jonny Gomes, Rocco, or even the tandem of Triple-A studs Fernando Perez or Jason Ruggiano can man it better than Cliff Floyd, Geoff Jenkins, or Darin Erstad. No disrespect to Darin, Luis Gonzalez, or Cliff. I even recently heard a rumor of my old baseball buddy Trot Nixon maybe being a good fit for us. He did hit great here against us, But remember fans,so did Jose Cruz Jr. when he was with the Jays and then got suddenly an average hitter at the Trop.

 

I think the Rays can have a perfect “wait and see” attitude here, unless Josh Hamilton is truly availiable….hint hint Andrew and Matt.

 

In conclusion, the non-tendered list of players will be announced in the coming weeks. This is a huge announcement that always has a few jaw dropping names on it. Things can change dramatically if a huge or unexpected name is released.  There always seem to be a  a few  high dollar drops, or a player with  health questions when  these names hit a wire……………We shall see.

 

 Kick the tires and look  real close under the hoods  there guys. This team is finally in a position to take quality over quantity in a players signing.

 

This team will have Carlos Pena back with a projected one year deal.  Pena has two years until he is a Free Agent, but both sides are working towards a agreement in place before the Spring Training report date.

 

I think this might happen to both prove both sides points.  His agent,Scott Boras says that “Carlos is just heating up”, and the Rays are hoping it was not  just a fluke year offensively for Pena. Either way, Carlos will be a rich guy come Feb. 2008.

 

 And we are a richer team both in knowing the talent is the best this team has fielded in its 11 years in the MLB. Sorry Fred McGriff, Wade Boggs and Jose Canseco. I wanted the “Hit Show” to be the thing that we measure our successes by, but that is not the case.

 

I will end this with a note about the hardest working Rays I have nkown in my years watching and following this team.  Bullpen Catcher Scott Cursi  is always working with the pitchers and providing BP pitching and foul pole comments and analysis. I have known Scott for years and truly feel blessed to have ever met him. We have had a routine of him coming to give me some grief before every game down the Right field line after he tosses with the Rightfielders.

 

 We have a habit of tipping our caps after the last out before he heads into the locker room for the night. Scott is a guy who has invited me out a few times when I have gone on road trips to celebrate with himself and a few people on the team. I have cherished these moments in Seattle and Cleveland. I look forward to 2008 for both the Rays sucesses, and seeing my baseball buddy again manning the Bullpen with Bobby Ramos. As always Scott, I tip my hat to you for what you do for the Rays, and our  Section 138 fans group.

 

Only ( as of Dec 7th, 2008) 77 days until Pitchers’ and Catchers’ report ……..and I can’t wait until 8 am that day.

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