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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Top 5 List of 2018 First-Year of Eligibility Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates

A couple-few days back, we learnt the nominees for 2018's Hall of Fame inductions. 'Tis a bulky crop but with a thin cream atop it. As Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and even Sammy Sosa of new-found white privilege are kept out, as Joe Morgan pleads they remain thata-way, I cobble together this. This list of the top-five for me first-time ballotees. A weighty 14 of such did not make my nigh meaningless cut. Let the bickering begin and please to note that comments are, as ever, closed.

1. JIM THOME
J.Thome is one-fifth the club of MLB players with at least 500 home runs, 1,500 runs scored, 1,600 RBI and 1,700 walks. Barry Bonds, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams flesh-out that grande list.

A five-time All-Star in 22-campaigns with the Indigenous Peoples, Phils, Sox, Dodgers, Twins and O's. Did spend time as a DH, but that is an actual position on the team, gentlepersons. One I despise, but one nonetheless. Did at third-base procure an AL Silver Slugger Award which shows he could hit whilst fielding, in 1996, anyhow. Hit 20+ homers 16-seasons; 40-or-more six times. Tallied 100-or-more ribbies nine-times (26th on history's list with 1,699) and crossed the plate 100-or-more times in eight seasons. Led his league once in each slugging-percentage (His tally is 23rd all-time) and four-baggers (his 612 sits eighth-best in history). Bested .300 in three-years. Ranks 41st all-told in total-bases.

Thome naturally stood country-strong, mountain-big during an era whenst others stuck needles in tuchuses to be-so. All them should be in the Hall, as should he -- particularly if you feel cheaters shall never win. If in fact 'roids are cheating and not in-sync with baseball's eternal gamesmanship. His cleanliness makes him even a greater shoo-in.

2. CHIPPER JONES
C.Jones is one of only nine players and the only switch-hitter in history with at least a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, .500 slugging average and 400 home runs. The others are: Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Stan Musial, Manny Ramirez, Babe Ruth, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams. He is also the lone player to hath played the hot-corner in a minimum 50-percent of his games whilst recording at least 1,600 RBI and scoring 1,600-plus runs.

Played 19 seasons, all with the Braves and eight as an All-Star. Was named the 1999 NL Most Valuable Player. Garnered twice, the Silver Slugger Award winner at third base. In 2008 his .470 on-base percentage and .364 AVG each topped his league. All-told hit over .300 in ten-campaigns. Drove-in 100+ ribbies in nine-seasons and scored the same in eight. Too, tallied 14 in-a-row years with at-least 20 round-trippers. His plate discipline ranks him 16th all-time in walks with 1,512.

Jones compares favorably to Mickey Mantle, whom many designate as the greatest switch-hitter ever. This in terms of batting-average, hits, RBI. With fewer strike-outs in more plate appearances. His 85.0 WAR ranks amongst the greatest third-basemen of all-time, ahead of Brooks Robinson.

3. ANDRUW JONES
A.Jones and his 10 center-field Gold Glove Awards make him one of-only six out-fielders ever to earn at least that many. Among players with 10-or-more such Awards only Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., and Mike Schmidt have more home-runs than his 434, which ranks 47th all-time.

He played 17 years with the Braves, Dodgers, Rangers, White Sox, Yankees. Finishing only 5th in 1997's NL Rookie race, he debuted the year-prior, helping Atlanta get to the World Serious wherein he swatted two big-flies, batted an even .400. A five-time All-Star all-'round player whom on two-occasions landed in the top-ten of NL MVP votings. Whilst fielding he garnered them Gold Gloves and too, topped NL center-fielders in putouts six times and three times in assists. At bat, he ten-times banged 20+ home-runs and in 2005 led the way with 51. Also in that year, he led the league in ribbies and all-told drove-in 100+ runs five-times. Unfortunately, he only hit .300 once. On the base-paths he four-times scored 100-or-more runs, stole 20+ bases four times.

Off all listed here, Jones is for me the greatest athlete -- to the extent it may penalize him. His loping gracefulness oft looked like anything but hustle.

4. SCOTT ROLEN
S.Rolen, famously one-third of the early-2000s “MV3” Cardinals along-side Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds. Now, perchance the intrigue-iest of this candidate lot. As to J.Edmonds, an example of a player excluded from the Hall of Fame because of loaded ballot and 10-player vote-limit. In short -- Edmonds did not get a fair shake. But lettuce shift focus back-to Rolen -- no more of a second-fiddle than Andruw played to Chipper.

Played 17 seasons for Philadelphia, St. Louis, Toronto, Cincinnati. Won National League 1997 Rookie of the Year honors, went-on to seven All-Star appearances. Gold Glove third-baseman eight-times. Topped the NL in put-outs and assists by third-basemen twice each. NL Silver Slugger hot-corner honoree. Bashed to the 20-home run mark in 10 seasons. Two campaigns of .300+. Five-times passed the 100-RBI threshold. Twice scored 100+ runs. Topped the NL in put-outs and assists by third-basemen twice each.

He won't get in now and inherits Edmond's bum luck (whom should get-in first) far-and-further-out there on the fringe. If stuffs stays back-logged as steroid-era-denizens keep stealing votes but not 'nuff to gain election -- Rolen shall find his way into the Very Good wing of the Hall of Fame -- via early Eras Committee.

5. JOHAN SANTANA
J.Santana hurled the first Mets no-hitter in franchise history versus the Cards on June 1, 2012. His zenith was a short but rather brilliant one, which I shall attest to in his segment's closing.

He pitched 12 seasons in total for Minnesota and New Yawk, going to four All-Star games. Twice in three years won the American League Cy Young Award and twice too, finished in the top-10 in MVP voting. Humsoever, only accrued a single 20-win season but did have a 19-win campaign thrown-in. Once-bestowed the AL Gold Glove Award and four-times led in WHIP. Thricely in ERA, strike-outs, hits and strike-outs per-nine innings. Too, he twice sat atop all in starts and stanzas-pitched. Once beat-out the league in wins.

Will all this be 'nuff to get him in? Probably not -- very definitely not on the first ballot -- but he's a pitcher whom deserves more attentions than many will give him. So I done my sorta due diligence. I'll leave ya with these ESPN figures pertaining to a pair of short-lived and filthy for the ages southpaws:

Santana: 139-78, 3.20 ERA, 136 ERA+, 50.7 WAR, 2 Cy Youngs
Koufax: 165-87, 2.76 ERA, 131 ERA+, 53.2 WAR, 3 Cy Youngs

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

OMAR VIZQUEL
A good glove, no hit guy. But less of each whenst held-up to, say, Ozzie Smith. Fantastic baseball brain whom may find his road to The Hall going through the dug-out.

JOHNNY DAMON
A or perchance thEE pioneer of to-day's caveman look. Bushy beard, long hair -- notably and at the time newsily sans his Damn Yankees stint. Good ball-player.

Now if you'll be-so kind as to excuse me gentlepersons, The Simpsons Movie is on in a tick.

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"The Burrito Trap" 

Monday, November 20, 2017

David Haye is Out & Tyson Fury Wants in Versus Tony Bellew

Former unified Cruiserweight and WBA Heavyweight champ, 37-year-old David Haye (28-3, 26 KO) hath succumbed yet again to injury, thus is withdrawn from his December 17th scheduled re-match 'gainst Tony Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KO). This news of left bicep tsuris breaking to-day via Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. The two bitterly-yapping rival British Heavy-weight Heavy-mouths were set to go in a non-title rematch at the same locale as their first affair, the O2 Arena in London, chip-chip tally-ho cheerio and all that sort of rubbish, England.

D.Haye's bicep tear was reportedly suffered in training for the up-coming fisticuffs and too reportedly, he had surgery on it to-day. The guy's opened up more than my wife's purse in a shoe store... ZING!!! Hearn recommended that the horrible imbeciles whom actually purchased tickets to this debacle from cash they presumably worked hard to procure, do visit their point of purchase for a refund or exchange. All involved shall now work toward a new presumably early 2018 date for a rematch which for the life of me I can't figure why anyone needs to see. The first bout twixt the sad pair Haye-Bellew I, occurred on March 4th a' this year. Lettuce take a peek at that in the next paragraph.

T.Bellew, a reigning Cruiserweight titleholder, past his prime and blown-up to Heavyweight pulled a major upset out of his tuchus by stopping Haye in the 11th-stanza in a rather cringe-worthy display of limp lameness of both the literal and figurative sense. Spun positively as if I were selling tix to schmucks, David Haye showed epic guts and copious heart whilst fighting from the sixth round till 11th on one-foot on account'a ruptured right Achilles. Bellew, himself not above injury, busted his hand around the second-or-third round. If you didn't see the bout, and are imagining how it looked to witness a one-footed man pursued by a one-fisted man -- yer probably laughing just as the gentlpersons who've seen it were. The laugh is that of the old America's Funniest Home Video Wiffle-Ball bat to dad's crotch footage. Oh, and Bellew downed Haye twice, once in the sixth, again in the 11th. At the latter-point, Shane McGuigan threw in the towel. Bellew was ahead on the cards at the time of stoppage.

Post glorious battle, Haye had surgery to repair his Achilles so as to prepare for this now non-go. I s'pose now may've been a better place to insert the wife-purse-shoe store bit. Oh, well. This latest injury hath been rumored-about for almost two-weeks and was fed credibility by an understanding of all I've said thus far as to the delicate nature of all of Haye lest his mighty-mouth. This is far from Haye's first foray into cancellation/postponement due to disability.. and please note I did not limit that to 'physical' disability. Here's a brief looksie which starts even prior to his going pro, for he fore-went the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games from his perch of gold-medal favorite. Three years later as a then-professional, he cited a bum hammie in canceling with Mark Hobson.

Next, he called off a bout with 17-days to go until a June 2009 date against Klitschko the Younger. That time was a back injury. Haye then infamously blamed his loss on a hurt toe whenst the two did finally square off in 2011. Next is a hand-injury interruption of the Manuel Charr May 2013 match. Then, came a postponed 2013 one 'gainst Tyson Fury after getting gash'd in sparring. He again called off a later that same year Fury show-down because of surgery on his right shoulder after-which the surgeon advised he retire. That there's a neat-O segue into the Gypsy King...

T.Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) linear yet inactive since beating Wladimir Klitschko nearly two years ago
and unlicensed Heavyweight champion hath now called out Tony Bellew in light of the David Haye departure. That's right, gentlepersons, Fury called out there-'bouts 10 pugilists in total earlier in the day as he continues to eye a return to the ring for what I think to be the second/third time since leaving to eat cheeseburgers and to par-tay. For the purposes of the here and now, we won't delve into that list. Suffice to say we shall instead focus on Bellew. On second-thought, I refuse. My wife got me a brand new "Nostalgia Edition" of Scrabble and I'm 'bout to go on the hunt for word-game prey...

David Haye is ultimately more interesting, anyways -- to a certain extent and for what that's worth. Plus, Fury is set to re-announce his re-retirement at any time now. Also, Bellew was done before Haye I and was chosen for that very reason. Except Haye was more-done and the fight gave a last set of legs for which Bellew to use in walking to one last-last pay-day.

Haye is a man of unquestionable talents and undeniable charisma. It's hard to say which is the greater annoyance of those. Firstly, the talents doth ran-dry and his body broke-down... quickly... akin to Mickey Mantle minus his 1956 and '57 seasons. A shame, that. Oh, what may've been. Then there's the ability via charisma to stay emptily relevant by talking himself into fight after fight he cannot box into, let alone outta. Really though, what I get the sense of is that Haye is a man in purgatory even though the Catholics done-away with that years ago. He has one foot in a sport which hath passed him-by and the other ain't got a spot in which to land. A man with-out a knowledge of his own next chapter. He's smart, though. He'll figure it all out and that other foot shall land -- and hopefully not result in a rolled ankle. For his is the kinda smarts that cuts both ways.

Seriously, people bought tickets???

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"The Burrito Trap"