Around the Sphere

BJUpton.jpgOur friend at Rays Renegade
won the blogger-ID contest in the last post, so we’re starting off this
post with a public-service announcement to go check out his MLBlog!
Does it ever just suddenly hit you sometimes that the TAMPA BAY RAYS
just made it to the World Series? That is one time when, to me, it
honestly does not matter much if you lost. Have to say it was really
cool just sitting in the Rays’ dugout during that downpour rain delay
on the Monday, before the decision finally was made to suspend Game 5
(for two full days)…and seeing BJ Upton next to me holding his hand
to his ear on the top dugout step as if to tell Phillies fans to keep
trash talking. It was amazing to see the Rays in this setting. Congrats
to them.

May everyone around the MLBlogs Network (also known as MLB.com/Blogs) have a terrific Thanksgiving holiday. You can count on a lot of post-turkey blogging in this community. Actually it probably will be busier than usual at that time. You have a blog, you’re at the family gathering, and there’s a computer with a connection and, voila, suddenly you forget where you are as others sleep and exchange repartee. This time of year always reminds me of November 2003. Red Sox brass flew out to Phoenix to dine with Curt Schilling and woo the right-hander. Late that Thanksgiving night, he got on his home computer, and posted a message on our redsox.com boards that said in the subject line: “Will be hard to believe I’m sure.” It was a rarity for a Major Leaguer to interact digitally in that way; now the author of 38pitches.com, he was a serious trailblazer in those days. Schilling was giving Red Sox fans the lowdown on his thoughts, and soon enough he went to the Sox, and the next autumn was pitching with a bloody sock and leading a team through the greatest comeback in sports history and into the promised land.

The e-book promo was here (naturally in my own story if you notice byline) and because eventually the link disappears, one day I posted it as the world’s longest MLBlogs posting. For posterity.   :)

Luke.pngPlease welcome a couple of new MLBloggers: Braves Buzz with Luke and summerball101. Hey, Luke, thanks for moving your blog over to this ballfield — we wasted no time stealing your profile pic to help spread the buzz.

Here’s a great opportunity to ask a Major Leaguer a question and have it answered: Twins pitcher Kevin Slowey just jumps right in there wherever he is this offseason and comments in reply to your comments. How many other pro athletes do that? Hopefully young players like him will be carrying the torch for increased “fan networking” in ways like this.

Speaking of players, our belated condolences go out to MLBlogger Bengie Molina. The Giants catcher wrote a very poignant and honorable post about his father, who passed away this fall. It is nice that Bengie’s Dad got to see three sons become Major Leaguer catchers — and all three of them (also Jose and Yadier) became world champions! Amazing.

Waiting for my Hall of Fame Ballot

So I’m waiting for my annual Hall of Fame ballot to show up in the next two or three weeks, and I can tell you right now that you have five years to make a more persuasive argument for Mike Mussina than any I’ve heard so far. Never during his career did I think of him as a Hall of Famer. While I appreciate Brian Cashman’s lengthy rationalization of why Mussina belongs in Cooperstown (in a nutshell he pitched in the “toughest” division, which in itself is debatable), if you need more than a few sentences to explain why someone is deserving, sorry. Jim Kaat is having arguments made for him right now by peers; I loved him and the Twins when I was a boy; did I ever, ever think of him as a Hall of Famer? No, not ever. Rod Carew, yes. I would not check next to Mussina if he were on the ballot next month, and I am sure the argument will rage loud over that five-year waiting period, especially loud when it has East Coast volume.

WalterJohnson.jpgThe best litmus test is always to march right up to the little hamlet of Cooperstown, enter the Gallery room, and gaze upon the hallowed plaques. I love doing that, more than almost anything. In that moment, you know in your heart who is a Hall of Famer. You look at Babe just to remind yourself of why the place exists. You leave there, and you listen to arguments about why this or that player belongs, and you consider it your duty to make sure it remains the ELITE OF THE ELITE. Walter Johnson (pictured, courtesy of the Hall). Nolan Ryan. Christy Mathewson. Warren Spahn. That is the standard for pitchers who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Of course, being a blogger means you get to speak your own mind, and I look forward to seeing lots of posts about the issue. My colleague Tom Singer wrote a nice article today on our MLB.com homepage looking ahead at the possible 2014 class.

I don’t ever expect everyone to agree with me, and if it’s any consolation to Moose, most of my voting peers haven’t agreed with me the last two years on Big Mac. (Who I will vote for again next month, since I don’t believe in playing Commissioner. I respectfully ask my peers to come down off their moral mountaintops of public litigation. The first time Pete Rose ever shows up on my ballot, he gets my check mark as well. I’ll let the Commissioner decide whether a player warrants being removed from consideration, not writers.)

Be sure to check out my colleague Lisa Winston’s great MLBlog at Got MiLB? The Q&As with players are a must-see. Stop by and say hi to her.

If you want to be in the next posting of the Latest Leaders, a good piece of advice is to click on the MLBlogs of those past Leaders and leave a comment (not spam) with your full URL. The more you are part of the community, the more your blog will grow. And you might also follow the lead of the proprietor of All Baseball All The Time — look how he uses the tag search results in his Link List, similar to our unstoppable Hot Stove Blog.

Random MRA:

MORE Random MRA…scraped at 10:47 p.m. ET Tuesday

16 Comments

Rice, Smith, Henderson, and Murphy IN MY OPINION are the most deserving of the Hall. How many people can you vote for?
http://darion.mlblogs.com/

You got your HOF Ballot, now do the right thing and put a check mark next to Jim Rice’s name. :)

Greg
Red Sox Ramblings: http://thevendahhh.mlblogs.com

Hey Mark (and anyone else who thinks Moose isn’t a HOFer)-

It’s J-Boogie, used to blog here at MLBlogs (Baseball & Boogie Down), but moved my site when the transition took place. Just wasn’t a fan, but to each is own. I’m not sure what arguments you’ve heard so far about Mike Mussina and his HOF-worthiness, but please consider these:

***1)His career winning % of .638 is higher than 22 of the 27 HOFers that rank ahead of him on the all-time wins list. Those 5 include eventual HOFers Randy Johnson (.650) and Roger Clemens (.658), as well as Grover Alexander (.642), Christy Mathewson (.665), and Lefty Grove (.680).

***2)He ranks 33rd on the all-times win list with 270, tied with HOFer Burleigh Grimes. 27 of the 32 people ahead of him are HOFers, including eventual HOFers Maddux, Clemens, Johnson, and Glavine. The 5 non-HOFers ahead of him are 2 are from the 1800s so you can’t really compare them. The other 3 are Bert Blyleven (287 wins in 685 starts), Tommy John (288 wins in 700 starts), and Jim Kaat (283 wins in 625 starts). Moose started 536 games in his career, far behind the # of starts of those 3 above.

***3)Only 1 HOFer, John Ward has a better career K/Bb ratio than Moose, and that includes Greg Maddux, Glavine, Johnson, and Clemens.

***4)He ranks 19th all-time in Ks. 13 of the 18 ahead of him are retired. 2 of them are non-HOFers, Mickey Lolich and Bert Blyleven. Moose’s K/9 ratio bests both of them. The active players ahead of him on that list are all likely headed to the Hall: Clemens, Johnson, Maddux, Pedro, Schilling and Smoltz.

***5)Only 6 current HOFers have better K/9 ratios than Moose: Ryan, Koufax, Gossage, Sutter, Gibson, and Carlton.

***6)Moose’s career W-L record is 270-153, 117 games over .500. Every pitcher that finsihed their careers 100 games over 500 is in the Hall.

***7)If you consider Tom Glavine a HOFer, and who doesn’t, look at his average stats for a 162 game season and compare them to Moose. These are from baseball-reference.com Mike has him beat in pretty much EVERY statistical category.
Avg win-loss record: 17-9 to 15-10
Compelte games: 3 to 2
Shutouts: 1 to 1
IP: 225.7 to 220.0
Hits: 219 to 214
Walks: 49 to 78
K: 178 to 129
WHIP: 1.192 to 1.314
ERA: 3.68 (average league ERA for career = 4.51) to 3.54 (average league ERA for career = 4.16). Moose’s ERA is further below the mean than Glavine’s.

Moose’s win-loss record after 18 seasons = 270-153 (536 starts). Glavine’s after 18 = 262-171 (570 starts)

Now consider Moose pitched in the AL his whole career while Glavine pitched his entire career in the NL and Moose’s #s are even more impressive in comparison.

Incidentally, they both have the same postseason ERA.

Tom Glavine is a shoe-in for the HOF, yet Moose statistically was the superior pitcher.

***8)People say he never won a World Series. He would have if the greatest closer of all-time didn’t blow the 7th game of the 2001 WS. In the 2003 WS, Moose won his start, pitching 7 innings of 1 run ball.

If those arguments aren’t enough to sway your opinion, I implore you to check out my website devoted to this every topic. It’s called “Elect Mike Mussina” and can be found at http://electmoose.com. My goal is to hopefully sway an opinion or two. Hey, ya never now. It’s a work in progress, not meant to get fully rolling until the ballot for 2014 draw closer. Feel free to check it out now and at any point in the future and by all means, tell your voting friends.

Thanks for your consideration and keep up the good work. I welcome your (and anyone else’s) feedback.

J-Boogie

http://electmoose.com
http://boogiedownbaseball.blogspot.com

Check out my Thanksgiving entry!
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

“Happy Thanksgiving” !!!

To all at MLB.com; and, all MLBlogs in the MLB.com “Blogging Community” !!! … Keep Blogging … Enjoy the “Hot Stove League” … and, Have Fun !!! … Jimmy [27NYY]

http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

Hi, Mark …

Thanks for including my blog on the More Random MRA list above; and, also, on the “New York Yankees Feature”, with the other Yankee blogs, on the MLB.com/Blogs Homepage … The New York Yankees 1998 World Championship ring looks “awesome” [24 "Diamonds" for the Yankees 24th World Championship] !!! … Mark, Have a “Happy Thanksgiving” !!! ….. Jimmy [27NYY]

http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

What am I thankful for Mark? 2008 started off with a very serious and scary medical problem for a member of my family. I am so thankful that the future now looks much brighter for us. Modern medicine and prayer have once again worked. And with each month that passes, the future looks better and better.
Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Thanks for the mention Mark. I am very interested to see if Henderson can be accompanied with others in the Hall of Fame this year. Anyone have any predictions?
http://darion.mlblogs.com/

If there is anyone here planning to shop on Cyber Monday — especially at the MLB.com Shop — will you please email me at mlblogosphere@yahoo.com and I might quote you in my story that day on the MLB.com homepage. I would need first/last name and hometown for attribution. Other MLBloggers like The Happy Youngster have been featured in my daily 2008 HOLIDAY SHOPPING content campaign that started on MLB.com much earlier this month, with a story for every sale, and I would like to show what’s on shoppers’ minds this Cyber Monday. Also see http://shop.mlblogs.com

Mark/MLB.com

I’m thinking that there is no way a guy like Mussina should be considered for the Hall when Dale Murphy can’t even get in. If Murph doesn’t deserve it, then nobody does.

I met Pete Rose several years ago…he was very nice! Actually, he rambled on for so long, I didn’t think I was going to get away :o) Funny guy. He should be in the Hall. Sure he made mistakes, bad ones…but it had nothing to do with his playing on the field. Sad that the Commissioner cannot display an ounce of common sense.
Anyway, I am done my rant for the day :O) Hope everyone has a Happy Turkey Day!

Jenn
http://PhilliesPhollowers.mlblogs.com/
http://www.PhightinPhils.com/

Hey Mark, thanks for including me in today’s MRA list! This time last year was extremely interesting for Cubs fans with all the Fukudome rumors and everything…with all that’s happened in just a few short weeks, this off-season appears to be headed in the same direction! Good times, definitely plenty to be thankful for! Thanks again, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Ryan
Prose and Ivy
http://onedayatwrigleyac000000.mlblogs.com/

Thank you for the mention Mark.
I can not put into the word the admiration and the total sense I got during this years run from the day they all reported at the Rays Namoli Complex to meeting the buses at the Trop at 5 am after that Game 5.5 loss in Philly.

Rays Radio guru Rich Hererra called it a “magical summer of Rays baseball.” He forgot to mention the magic and the thrill it was for us to even be associated with this fine crew of guys.

To everyone who posts, reads or even just browses MLBlogs, I want to wish you a safe and plentiful Thanks giving. May your loved ones be close, and your stomachs full of joy and happiness on this festive occasion.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Mark, I ran into Pete Rose in an Office Depot in Westminster, Colorado a few years back. I walked up and said “what’s up Pete”, shook his hand, then he shook my son’s hand. I told him it was an honor to meet him. This was a few weeks before his book was released. A week later, I’m in the same Office Depot telling the cashier how I met Pete Rose the week before, and she tells me “look over there, there’s Tommy Chong.” Sure enough it was Chong. At that point I was wishing I had my Big Bambu album for him sign. I shook his hand, told him that I had a copy of every album he and Cheech ever did. He told me that he didn’t even have a copy of Big Bambu. He then asked me if mine still had the big rolling paper in it. I said..”oh hell yea”. That was that, he told me to take care, and we went our separate ways. It was too cool. I met two of my idols to this day, both in a week in a freggin Office Depot. I think the Mobile Blog Unit will be making a stop in Cooperstown at the end of next season to pay our respects. Great entry Mark.. Rock the vote brotha…D
http://baseballsnatcher.mlblogs.com/

Thanks for the mention on the MRA list. I too found Bengie Molina’s tribute to his dad touching. My mom, also died suddenly & much too young and regardless of our age, it’s tough when a parent dies. Happy Thanksgiving to all and I’m enjoying my time here at MLBlogs!
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Nice to see The ‘Burgh Blues at the top of the MRA list. Everyone should go and check out our “JVB Farewell” graphic design.

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