Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Monday evening, Dec. 5.
Last night I found out that Bud Selig and John Schuerholz had been voted into the Hall of Fame. John Schuerholz I have no issue with. I can’t see why Bud Selig is in and George Steinbrenner isn’t.
Schuerholz remains President of the Atlanta Braves even though their stock has tumbled to worthlessness in the last few years. No fan can forget how he took the impossibly bad Braves and guided them to pennant after pennant. He was their general manager from 1990-2007 and has been team president since then. He spent 22 years with the Royals, 9 as their general manager and was the architect of the 1985 World Series winners. This year marks 50 years in the game for him.
Putting Bud Selig in the Hall of Fame is like putting Richard Nixon in the presidential Hall of Fame. Under Selig the game suffered a scandal that made Watergate look like a prank. the game was nearly ruined forever by a strike in 1994–95. The ravaged game was only salvaged by allowing rampant cheating in terms of steroids turning banjo hitters into bombers while Selig napped. Pitchers suffered as never before during the decade following the strike and beyond. Selig was in fact considered “acting” Commissioner from 1992–98, then became full commissioner until 2015. Allan Huber Selig, now 82 years of age supervised baseball’s darkest period since the Black Sox Scandal. He began his baseball career buying the Seattle Pilots (an animal that should have been put to sleep) and moving them to his native Milwaukee where they have been an embarrassment to the game in all seasons but one, 1982. He even made a mess of the All-Star game when it came to his city in 2002, allowing a 7-7 10-inning tie rather than mandating the managers to play the game to a finish like a normal baseball game. He tried to correct that mistake, declaring that whoever won the All-Star game from then on, their league would get the home field in the World Series. This idea was universally hated and has been removed in the new CBA (collective bargaining agreement.) Selig had the right idea in contracting the Twins and Expos but didn’t have the means to back it up. The idea doesn’t go far enough in my opinion, as I think at least 6 teams don’t belong in MLB who are there now. One is his own Brewers, plus the Reds, Braves, Padres, Mariners (or Marlins, flip a coin) and D-Backs. Instant replay and the manager’s ability to challenge everything (including the quality of the hot dogs) is another blight Selig has brought to the game, taking a game that should be done in two and a half hours and making it a 4-hour marathon especially during the postseason.
Meantime, players have begun to move in earnest and probably will over the next couple of months. Some are famous, some not. The Braves actually signed a young pitcher, Jacob Lindgren off the Yankees roster. He’ll turn 24 during spring training. He had no record and an ERA north of 5 with the Yankees. He’s a local for the Braves, hailing from Mississippi and playing his college ball in Starkville at Mississippi State. He was the Yankees’ second-round pick in 2014. He had elbow surgery in 2015 and the big one, Tommy John surgery in 2016 so he won’t throw a pitch with intent for the Braves or anybody else until at least his 25th birthday.
The next two signees are much older. Carlos Beltran signed with the Astros and Matt Holliday signed with the Yankees. Holliday will be 37 before the new season starts, making me wonder if Greg Bird is as healthy as he would want to be. Admittedly he’s a career .303 hitter but he’s been in the game since 2004. He’s played most of his games for the Rockies and Cardinals with a very short hitch in Oakland. He was an All-Star 7 times and once a World Series winner with the 2011 Cardinals. he spent half of 2015 on the DL with a quad injury. His 2016 ended early owing to a broken thumb. Does anybody recall Mark Teixeira?
Carlos Beltran will turn 40 before the end of April 2017. The Yankees considered bringing him back yet again but didn’t. His career began with the Royals in 1998. He played sparingly then and won Rookie of the Year in 1999. The Astros had him briefly in 2004. He finished 2016 with the Rangers after being traded from the Bronx. He has over 2600 hits in his career. He’s been an All-Star 9 times, the first coming in 2004.
The Blue Jays probably ended Edwin Encarnacion’s tenure by signing Steve Pearce. a 33-year-old from Lakeland, Florida, Pearce was with the Orioles this season. He’s not the bomber that Encarnacion was, not even in hitter-friendly Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Dodgers brought back pitcher Rich Hill, who had an excellent record in 2016 until blisters bedeviled him late in the season and throughout the postseason. The Giants have signed closer Mark Melancon who made his bones with the Pirates and spent part of 2016 in Washington.0