2017 MLB Hall of Fame Inductees

hall of fame

A small class of distinguished gentlemen will take their place amongst the all-time greats. The 2017 MLB Hall of Fame Inductees represent the wealth of talent that rounded the bases in the 1980’s and 1990’s. This year’s Inductees include:

  • Ivan Rodriguez (1st Ballot)
  • Jeff Bagwell (7th Ballot)
  • Tim Raines (10th Ballot)

Let’s start with “Pudge”. Ivan Rodriguez is regarded as one of the best defensive catchers of all-time. He was an absolute wizard behind the plate, winning 13 Gold Gloves over a 21-year playing career. Playing the majority of his career for the Texas Rangers, he also made stops with the Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Astros, and Nationals. “Pudge” was voted in on his 1st ballot (76%), becoming just the 2nd catcher to share that honor (Johnny Bench). I was a fan of “Pudge”, especially when he jumped on the special sauce and decided to hit 35 Home Runs with 113 RBI’s and 25 SB’s in 1999. Oh, he also hit .332 while winning his only MVP. And now, his nickname makes more sense than ever. Anyway..Congratulations!!

Pudge’s Stats: 2,844 Hits, 311 Home Runs, 1,332 RBI’s, 127 SB’s, .296 AVG.

Jeff Bagwell made a name for himself in the 1990’s, as the most powerful member of the “Killer B’s”. Bagwell now joins his former teammate, Craig Biggio, in the Hall of Fame. Bagwell graced the staged at Cooperstown on his 7th Ballot, garnering 86.2% of the vote. Bagwell’s career is absolutely Hall of Fame worthy. He won Rookie of the Year in 1991, MVP in 1994, and played all 15 of his MLB seasons with the Houston Astros. It’s a shame he had to wait 7 years to get in, but good things come to those who wait, right?? We can ask our next guest about that….

Bagwell’s Stats: 2,314 Hits, 449 Home Runs, 1529 RBI’s, 202 SB’s, and .297 AVG.

And then there’s Tim Raines. The man who waited 10 whole years to receive his invitation to Cooperstown. After playing 23 years in MLB, what’s another 10 right?? Raines received 86.0% of the votes required to get in. While I’m happy for Raines, I’m not sold on his Hall of Fame status. I believe it is the Hall of Greatness, not the Hall of Very Good. Raines was a phenomenal base stealer, who hit for average, but is the perfect example of a player who didn’t know when to ‘hang ’em up’. While there is something to be said for longevity, he stuck around for 3/4 years too many.

Raines’ Stats: 2,605 Hits, 170 Home Runs, 980 RBI’s, 808 SB’s, .294 AVG.

MLB inducted 2 other individuals into the Hall of Fame on Sunday:

  • Bud Selig
  • John Schuerholz

Bud Selig was the Commissioner of MLB for 22 years. Over that span, he oversaw many changes to the game. He was vital in implementing the separation of each league into 3 divisions, interleague play, and revenue sharing. Despite heading up the league during the “Steroid Era”, Selig left MLB in better shape than he found it.

And last but not least, John Schuerholz. Schuerholz is regarded as one of the top General Manger’s baseball has ever seen. He spent 26 years working for the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals. His resume speaks for itself: 16 Division Titles, 6 Pennants, and 2 World Series. Case closed.

And what’s a Hall of Fame Induction ceremony without a little Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds conversation?! As I’ve stated many times before, they should absolutely be voted into the Hall of Fame. Well, each year, both Clemens and Bonds’ votes continue to rise. This year, they each received approximately 54.0% of the vote (with 75% required to get in). This is up nearly 10% from last year. It is inevitable, so what are we waiting for?? Let them in, let them all in.

 

What do you think of the 2017 MLB Hall of Fame Class?? Are they all deserving??

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A-Rod Receives Most Arbitrary Suspension Ever

a-rod

 

Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez can be called a lot of things, but dumb is certainly not one of them. He is so smart we might as well appoint A-Rod with a Rhodes Scholarship and let him try his hand at something else. See, the major point that everyone (and I mean everyone) is missing is just how well A-Rod has played and continues to play this whole situation. Most feel that he should be ashamed of himself. Some feel that he should have sat at the podium at his press conference Monday evening and opened up his personal diary. However, ALL, fail to see what’s really going on here. Now, this situation, and the topic of PED’s in baseball is a very complicated story that has more layers than a seven layer cake, but I will do my best to take it one step at a time and translate this soap opera into plain English. Alex Rodriguez has been in the Major Leagues for 19 years now. He debuted in July of 1994 with the Seattle Mariners. After playing in small stints at the Major League level in ’94 and ’95, A-Rod got his first chance to play full-time in 1996 and needless to say he did not disappoint. He put up staggering numbers every season like clockwork right up through the end of the 2010 season. Over the past two seasons we have seen a rapid decline in his production, while at the same time his apparent true calling came to light; Midday TV Soap Opera Star! And you thought he was born to play baseball. For those of you who don’t know the whole story let me quickly fill you in.

Alex Rodriguez last played for The Yankees in the 2012 postseason. He was absolutely useless in every way as The Yankees found themselves watching The World Series from home last year. He went an abysmal 3 for 25 in the postseason and if it weren’t for the struggles of Robinson Cano and the rest of The Yankees lineup he would have been singled out and burned at the stake. Since then, A-Rod has had hip surgery at the ripe old age of 37 (and has since turned 38 over the past couple of weeks), but that is merely a side note to the real story. Back in January of this year, Rodriguez, along with a slew of other MLB players, were named in connection with a Biogenesis clinic in Florida. This clinic was run by a man named Tony Bosch, who has ultimately become the centerpiece of the evidence in this case. Want to know where the drugs came from, just give a drug dealer some money and follow his lead right? This clinic was said to have provided players like Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and 11 others with PED’s which are banned from the game of baseball. Here is the full list of players suspended by MLB for PED use in connection with Biogenesis:

Alex Rodriguez (Yankees)

Ryan Braun (Brewers)

Nelson Cruz (Rangers)

Jhonny Peralta (Tigers)

Everth Cabrera (Padres

Jordany Valdespin (Mets, Minor Leagues)

Francisco Cervelli (Yankees, On DL)

Antonio Bastardo (Phillies)

Jesus Montero (Mariners, Minor Leagues)

Sergio Escalona (Astros, Minor Leagues)

Fernando Martinez (Yankees, Minor Leagues)

Fauntino De Los Santos (Free Agent)

Jordan Norberto (Free Agent)

Since January, this scandal has raged on and on like a California Wildfire and has turned into the most watched Reality TV show since The Jersey Shore (god, I hate that show). This story began to carry real weight a little over two weeks ago when 2011 MVP Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the season. He took the suspension immediately without putting up a fight, and it seemed only a matter of hours before MLB would come knocking on A-Rod’s door. So we waited, and waited, and then we waited some more. In the era of Facebook, Twitter, and all things instant, the 15 days that we had to wait for A-Rod’s “suspension” to be handed down seemed like an eternity. On Monday, the 5th day of August, in the 2013th year, Alex Rodriguez was handed a 211 game suspension. I’m sorry, did you say 211? As in the most arbitrary number known to mankind? Oh, okay, I was just wondering. Forget the facts, Major League Baseball should lose this case solely based on the number 211. Here’s where it gets tricky, so try to stay with me.

Major League Baseball has an enormous drug problem (so does every other sport in the world, but it doesn’t seem to be an issue anywhere else now does it?). MLB feels that in order to rid its game of PED’s they must make an example of someone. In this case, they have chosen the all mighty Alex Rodriguez. He is not the chosen one, he just happens to be the biggest name they could find right now. Remember, they already tried Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, etc., etc., etc. Failed, failed, and oh that last one is actually currently employed by MLB. Good work guys. Despite MLB’s major blunders in the fight against PED’s, they figured they’d give it another shot. MLB wants Rodriguez out until the end of 2014. The amount of games, as I mentioned earlier, is secondary. What they don’t realize is that that will play against them in this case. According to The Joint Drug Agreement the Player’s Union has with MLB, 1st time offenders are subject to a 50-game suspension. That is what the other players suspended yesterday were given, and that’s what should have been given to A-Rod as well. However, in all of these cases, there is not a single positive test out there. All of these suspensions are predicated on substantial evidence that the players feel they cannot overcome. So, this is where the super intelligence A-Rod possesses comes into play. A-Rod understands all of this, and at the same time knows what will work for him and at the same time will work against MLB. He knows that MLB does NOT want this to drag on and on, because as aforementioned they have failed miserably when faced with a legal battle. He also knows what he has left to fight for and what he ultimately wants. He knows that his name and any chance of a legacy has been completely tarnished. He knows that his name will never be set along side the greats in Cooperstown (at least while he’s alive). He is no spring chicken at 38 years old, and all he has left in baseball terms is his enormously disproportional contract and the amount of time he has left to actually step on to the field. So how does he accomplish both of those things? By appealing said suspension of course. Now, he gets to continue playing while still picking up his paycheck. He also understands that his case will be seen in front of an arbitrator. This process takes a minimum of three to four months. This ultimately means that short of an injury, A-Rod will be donning Yankees pinstripes for the rest of this season. Now, here’s where it gets even trickier, so hold on tight. The general public does not know all of the evidence that MLB holds on Alex Rodriguez. From what we’ve heard they have texts, e-mails, and phone records between he and Tony Bosch, but we don’t know exactly how damaging this evidence could be. I’ve also heard people say, “well he admitted to using in 2003 so why can’t they punish him for that too?”. Ah, again A-Rod, you’re so smart. Can anyone tell me when drug testing began in MLB? Yes, that is correct; 2004. Now, they also want to hang him because he apparently attempted to buy evidence from Bosch and obstruct MLB’s investigation of the entire scandal. Again, I don’t know all the evidence, but to that I say good luck. Rodriguez has seen all of the evidence they have on him, and feels that he knows exactly what their intentions are. At the end of the day, MLB might want to suspend him for life, and would gladly settle for 211 games, but will be lucky if they get him to plea bargain down to 50 games. My personal hunch is that he will walk away from this with a grand total of 0 games suspended. Why? How? How in the world could that be possible?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, MLB has handled this process very poorly. By the way, why don’t they hand down the suspension on the same day that A-Rod returns from his lengthy stint on the Disabled List? Hmmm? I’m not shouting conspiracy from the rooftops, but any news is good news right? Anyway, let me preface this next statement with this: I personally despise Alex Rodriguez. He seems like a smug, arrogant, self-conscience asshole. But, MLB has actually turned this money hungry, self serving, maniacal drug abuser into a sympathetic figure. I’ve actually heard people over the past couple of months say that they feel bad for A-Rod in this situation. WHAT?!?! This man cheated the game. It is plain and simple. I don’t care about all the loopholes that I am discussing in this article and all the crap he and his legal team are going to pull with the arbitrator. I don’t care that there is no positive test out there with Alex Rodriguez’s name on it. HE DID IT!! But, as we all know, most of the other guys out there are doing it too, so I guess that makes it okay. Money can buy your way out of anything, so I guess that makes it okay. Even though this is the most ridiculous spectacle professional sports has seen in the past two decades, it’s brought baseball back to the front pages, so I guess that makes it okay. At the end of the day, it would be nice to start talking about baseball because of the games that are being played on the field. Baseball has become a sideshow where the off field drama is more interesting to viewers than the game itself. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: clean up the game by making the penalties even more harsh and include monetary penalties as well (because what are we really talking about here $$?). Here is Dave’s proposed rules for drug user’s:

Drug Test randomly once a month for the entire year.

1st Offense: Full Season including Postseason Suspension without pay (including half of player’s contract voided)

2nd Offense: Banned for life (entire contract voided and any association with baseball completely severed)

I know I know, The Player’s Union would never allow that, but where are all the clean players that should be standing up for a level playing field? Why aren’t the players who have publicly taken a stance against PED’s made their voices heard? I say hit them where it really hurts (playing time and their wallet), and you will most likely see a change in the league. Don’t get me wrong, players will always look for a competitive advantage and there are plenty of idiots out there that would continue to use even with harsher penalties. However, it would be another step in the right direction. What do you think? How do you think MLB can clean up it’s game? How do you feel about A-Rod’s suspension? Is it fair? Please tell me in the comment section below. Thanks for reading as always.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!