Writers didn't want to induct anybody into the Hall of Fame this year, a decision with no small consequences.
The writers struck out looking. They were lobbed a fat pitch over the heart of the plate and they failed to even take a swing at it. Defenders will note, correctly, that it isn’t the ninth inning. But it was the last at-bat of the eighth, and they face an exceedingly difficult challenge in coming back to win this thing.
The biggest takeaway is that there is a sizable contingent of voters who will refuse to vote for any player, no matter how qualified, if there’s the barest taint of steroids on him, up to and including “playing the majority of his career after 1993.” Many will cast this as a referendum on Bonds and Clemens, two of the sports’ greatest stars who ended up in legal hot water over the use of performance-enhancing drugs. But a litany of deserving players, including Biggio, Bagwell, Piazza, and others, have been punished too, with little more than hearsay to incriminate them. This was a well stocked ballot, filled with newcomers with impressive resumes and a handful of players (like Raines and Trammell) who have been sadly overlooked. It’s easy for even a seasoned analyst to find himself having to trim his list to meet the 10-player limit established by the voting process.
Sorting and separating the best and worst baserunners from the rest.
"I don't really like to run, and that's why I didn't go out for track in high school. I ain't no fool, I see those dudes running around a track for a living. I wouldn't want to run against them. I wouldn't want to embarrass myself." --Willie Wilson
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Sometimes the line between the two gets particularly thin.
I spent Game Seven of the ALCS talking about the game with a bunch of BP readers in our chat module, and you can see a lot of the first-take reactions to the game's events there. Today, I want to look back at the game through the people who mattered the most, in some rough order of importance.
The Indians take a 2-1 lead in the series by getting execution from some of their second-tier stars--their third starter, their set-up man, and Kenny Lofton.
CLEVELAND-Casey Blake pondered the numbers for a moment as he stood in front of his locker in the victorious clubhouse. The Indians third baseman had just been told that teammate Kenny Lofton had just played in his 91st post-season game, spanning 11 years and 21 series.
Greg Maddux throws a gem as Derek watches the Giants and Dodgers duel.
Taking the Dodgers first, they've hit the top of the division after residing in the cellar just a little over two weeks ago, going on an 11 game streak which was broken on Wednesday in Colorado, followed by a three game winning streak coming into today's matchup. Let's take a look at how a few Dodgers have performed during this stretch (courtesy of Dave Pinto's Day by Day Database):
It's the all-underdog series, where virtually everyone outside of the greater St. Louis and Miami metropolitan areas seem to be entertaining fuzzy Cubby thoughts. After all, the Cubs are supremely telegenic, feature a healthy dose of celebrity, and some of the best pitching on the planet. But there's another organization in this series, one with a recent World Series win a couple of owners ago to its credit, something achieved with almost galling ease compared to the decades of North Side misery. Moreover, these latest Marlins are an interesting collection of homegrown talents, other people's prospects, a rented superstar, and the definitive retreaded manager.
The Cubs made a steal of a deal; the Expos are getting Vladimir Guererro back, and not a moment too soon; the A's are investing their money unwisely; the Cardinals take another hit in losing Matt Morris; and the Padres get a small-scale boost in regaining Phil Nevin. All this and much more news from around the league in your Tuesday edition of Transaction Analysis.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Traded CF-L Kenny Lofton to the Giants for RHP Felix Diaz and LHP Ryan Meaux. [7/28]
Kenny Williams' strategy with Kenny Lofton wasn't unsound, at least the initial part of it. Sign a veteran down on his luck for a low price and a one-year contract. If you contend with him, that's great, you have the financial flexibility to help yourself down the stretch. If you don't, he's cheap and therefore interesting to other contenders. If he doesn't hit, then you didn't spend all that much money.