Tag Archive | "Mike Mussina"

MLB Needs To End This All-Star Game Charade

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MLB Needs To End This All-Star Game Charade

Posted on 16 July 2014 by Peter Dilutis

Fast forward three months. Our Baltimore Orioles have made it to the World Series for the first time since 1983, matching up against the Atlanta Braves. It’s the situation that we all dream about when we’re kids playing catch in the backyard or taking batting practice on the neighborhood fields.

Game 7 of the World Series. Bottom of the 9th inning. Tied game. Bases loaded. Two outs. Full count. The fans are going absolutely bonkers. Baltimore is a ball four, walk, hit or error away from walking off with their first World Series win in 21 years.

And why is it they are in position to walk off with the win?

Because just three months earlier, Pat Neshek entered the All-Star Game, played at Target Field, home of the 44-50 Minnesota Twins, and gave up three runs to the American League, including a sacrifice fly from Jose Altuve, member of the 40-56 Houston Astros.

Wait…what?

It has absolutely nothing to do with what team had the better regular season record. Where the seventh game of the World Series is played has nothing to do with either of the teams participating in the series, unless of course members of those respective teams made an impact, positively or negatively, in the All-Star game.

Rather, representatives from all 30 teams, 20 of which will not make the postseason and 22 of which will not make it past the play-in games, determine where that legacy-defining Game 7 is played.

In what alternate universe does that make sense? You’re telling me that a bunch of millionaires in $25,000 suits got together, deliberated in a boardroom and came out with this solution?

Imagine if Luis Gonzalez’ hit over Derek Jeter’s glove in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series would have simply put the Diamondbacks up 3-2 rather than ending the game? What if history was re-written and that Game 7 had actually been played in New York? In 2001, the American League won the All-Star game. Under our current All-Star game rules, that legacy-defining game would have in fact been played at Yankee Stadium. How might that have changed the legacy of Derek Jeter? He could have six rings instead of five. Joe Torre would have another World Series under his belt. Even Mike Mussina could have a ring to display on his mantle had the location of the seventh game been switched to the Big Apple. Crazy stuff.

We’re talking about a game in which AL manager John Farrell admitted that his main objective was not to win, but to get as many players in the game as possible. And let’s be honest – why does John Farrell care who wins the game? His Boston Red Sox are 43-52, 9.5 games behind the Orioles and they’re more concerned with what kind of young haul they can get for Jon Lester at the deadline than what stadium they’re going to be playing in come October. We’re talking about a game in which Adam Wainwright admitted to grooving pitches right down 5th Avenue to leadoff man Derek Jeter in his final “farewell” All-Star Game sendoff. Jeter doubled in his first at bat and later scored. The American League went on to score three runs in the first inning.

Ultimately, they won the game by two runs, 5-3.

Had Adam Wainwright actually tried to pitch to Derek Jeter, the National League very well may have won the All-Star Game on Tuesday night, awarding them home field advantage in the 2014 World Series. Meaning, of course, that in my above scenario, a run would not walk the game off for the Orioles. Instead, the Atlanta Braves, or whoever their opponent would be in our dream scenario, would get one more at bat in the bottom of the inning with a chance to tie or win the game.

Hundreds of years from now, when all of us are dead and gone, the 2014 World Series winner will live in infamy in countless record books and libraries throughout the sports world. Legacies will be defined. Future contracts will be signed. Statues may very well be erected. Hall of Fame candidacy will be voted upon.

And all of that history could be changed in a flash – because of an All-Star Game played in July amongst members of all 30 MLB teams that served more as a spectacle and farewell tour to Derek Jeter than it did as a real game.

The NBA All-Star game is nothing more than a glorified dunk contest. Roger Goodell has threatened to put an end to the NFL Pro Bowl because the players just won’t take it seriously. And as we saw from Adam Wainwright on Tuesday night, major league baseball players don’t REALLY care about winning. Derek Jeter’s 4th inning moment yesterday was always going to more important than the end result of the game. Undoubtedly, more people know about that moment than know the end result of the game. The same thing happened last year at Citi Field when Mariano Rivera was paraded out in the 8th inning as Enter Sandman blasted over the speakers.

The All-Star Game is an entertainment spectacle. It is NOT a competitive game. Not even close.

By placing such a high importance on the result of a glorified exhibition game, Bud Selig and the powers that be within Major League Baseball are putting the integrity of this great game on the line. It may not seem like such a big deal right now. It’s hard to really understand the significance of something, whether we’re talking sports or life in general, until your life and/or interests are directly impacted.

But when you’re favorite baseball team is on the mound in the bottom of the 9th in Game 7 of the World Series, watching the opposing team walking off the field with a one run win in front of the home fans, perhaps you too will question the logic and integrity of the current All-Star Game format.

In the meantime, I guess all of us Orioles fans should be thankful that the American League won, right?

 

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#WNSTSweet16 list — Who broke our hearts in Baltimore?

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#WNSTSweet16 list — Who broke our hearts in Baltimore?

Posted on 11 February 2014 by Drew Forrester

I guess that’s why they gave this week’s list to “the varsity”, huh?

Seriously — this thing was tough.  Lots of angles to play in the “Heartbreakers” edition of the Sweet 16 list we’re compiling on a weekly basis here at WNST.net.

Teams?  Players?  Specific plays?  Other “issues” like teams moving, etc.?

How do I rank them?  How do I consider one over the other?

It wasn’t easy.

But I nailed it.

——————————————————————

Let’s start at #16 with an incredibly heartbreaking moment from the 2011 Preakness.  Why was it heartbreaking?  Because your’s truly had the boxed exacta of Shackleford and Astrology with a boatload riding on it.  How much is a boatload?  Try $5,700 worth of cold, hard cash if those two just wind up 1-2 in either order.

Wanna see how close ol’ Drewski was to $5,700?  Watch below and weep along with me as those two horses pull away from the field in the last 500 yards, only to see that scumbag Animal Kingdom come out of nowhere to steal $5,700 from me.

 

(Please see next page)

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#WNSTSweet16 – The 16 local athletes who never won a title, but deserved to win one

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#WNSTSweet16 – The 16 local athletes who never won a title, but deserved to win one

Posted on 28 January 2014 by Drew Forrester

Finally, it’s my turn.

Well, sort of.

I’ve been assigned the duty of compiling our latest edition of WNST’s Sweet 16 list.  This one — “the top 16 local athletes who never won a championship but deserved to…” — was so uniquely different that I created my own formula for compiling the relative level of “deserving” and went with it throughout the process.

I awarded points to each candidate based on their longevity/career length, their quality of play and their contribution to the community in terms of charitable/foundation work and their dedication to improving the quality of life for people in their city.

Admittedly, if the formula produced a tie or a close margin, I gave the benefit to the player who contributed the most to the Baltimore community via their civic/charity work.

So…let’s get to it, shall we?

rosie

 

#16 is jockey Rosie Napravnik, who cut her teeth in Maryland as one of the state’s most successful jockeys in the mid 2000′s, leading the local horse racing circuit in victories in 2008 with 101.  A winner of 1,689 career races heading into 2014, the only missing ingredient on her outstanding professional career is a victory in a Triple Crown Race.  She finished 3rd in the 2013 Preakness aboard Mylute, the highest finish for a female jockey in either the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont since Julie Krone won the Belmont in 1993.  Although not as successful locally as someone like Mario Pino, Napravnik spending a great deal of her childhood in the Baltimore area and later becoming one of the state’s most successful jockeys got her the nod here.

(Please see next page for #15)

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Mussina falls well short of induction to Hall of Fame in first year on ballot

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Mussina falls well short of induction to Hall of Fame in first year on ballot

Posted on 08 January 2014 by WNST Staff

2014 BBWAA Electees Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas to join Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre in Cooperstown at 2014 Hall of Fame Weekend Induction Ceremony

For only the second time since the first National Baseball Hall of Fame class in 1936, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected three players in their first year of eligibility to the Hall of Fame in balloting verified by Ernst & Young.

Pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and designated hitter-first baseman Frank Thomasall cleared the 75-percent plurality threshold to gain election to the Hall of Fame and will be inducted in ceremonies July 25-28 at Cooperstown, N.Y.

Maddux was the leading vote getter with 555 votes of the 571 ballots, including one blank, cast by senior members of the BBWAA, writers with 10 or more consecutive years of service. That represented 97.2 percent of the vote. Glavine received 525 votes (91.9 percent) and Thomas 478 (83.7). It marked the first time that three first-ballot nominees were elected sinceNolan Ryan, George Brett and Robin Yountin 1999.

Craig Biggio missed the 75-percent cutoff point of 429 by two votes, tying Nellie Fox in 1985 and Pie Traynor in 1947 for the smallest margin in balloting history. Traynor was elected in 1948. Fox was in his last year on the ballot and was subsequently elected by the Veterans Committee in 1997. It was Biggio’s second year on the ballot. Players may remain on the ballot for up to 15 years provided they receive five percent of the vote.

Pitcher Jack Morris received 351 votes (61.5) in his final year on the ballot and will be eligible for the Expansion Era Committee consideration in the fall of 2016. Players receiving sufficient support to remain on the BBWAA ballot were first baseman Jeff Bagwell (54.3), outfielder Tim Raines (46.1), pitcher Roger Clemens (35.4), outfielder Barry Bonds (34.7), relief pitcher Lee Smith (29.9), pitcherCurt Schilling (29.2), designated hitter-third baseman Edgar Martinez (25.2), shortstop Alan Trammell(20.8), pitcher Mike Mussina (20.3), second baseman Jeff Kent (15.2), first baseman Fred McGriff(11.7), first baseman Mark McGwire (11.0), outfielder Larry Walker (10.2), first baseman Don Mattingly(8.2) and outfielder Sammy Sosa (7.2).

Maddux and Glavine are the first pair of Hall of Fame classmates both to record voting percentages in the 90th-percentile since 2007 with Cal Ripken Jr. (98.5) and Tony Gwynn (97.6). Overall it is the fifth time in Hall of Fame voting history that classmates have recorded 90th-percentile totals, joining 1936 (Ty Cobb 98.2 Honus Wagner 95.1, Babe Ruth 95.1, Christy Mathewson 90.7); 1989 (Johnny Bench96.4, Carl Yastrzemski 94.6); 1999 (Ryan – 98.8, Brett – 98.29) and 2007.

Thomas is the first Hall of Famer to have played a majority of games at the DH position. He appeared in 2,322 career games, with 1,310 coming as a DH, (56.4%). Paul Molitor, who was elected in 2004, played 44 percent of his games as a DH.

Maddux and Glavine are the first pair of 300-game winners elected in the same year since 1973 –Warren Spahn (363) and Mickey Welch (307). The only other time two 300-game winners were elected in the same year was in 1936 when the BBWAA chose Walter Johnson (417) and Christy Mathewson (373). Maddux and Glavine are the first pair of living 300-game winners elected to the Hall of Fame in the same year.

The election of Maddux and Glavine marks the first time since 1992 that two former big league starting pitchers entered the Hall in the same class. That year Tom Seaver was elected by the BBWAA and Hal Newhouser by the Veterans Committee. The last time two former big league starting pitchers were elected in the same year by the BBWAA was 1991 – Ferguson Jenkins and Gaylord Perry. Jenkins and Perry were also prior members of the same rotation to be elected together, having pitched albeit for only part of each season with the Texas Rangers in 1975 and 1980. The last time two big league starters that pitched at least one whole season in the same rotation were elected to the Hall of Fame was 1946; Jack Chesbro and Rube Waddell took regular turns in the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation in 1900. Another member of the Class of 1946, Eddie Plank, was in the Philadelphia Athletics rotation with Waddell from 1902-07.

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Former Orioles Mussina, Benitez, Palmeiro, Sosa on HOF ballot

Posted on 27 November 2013 by WNST Staff

(Cooperstown, NY) – Pitchers who won a combined seven Cy Young Awards and position players who totaled three Most Valuable Player Awards are among 19 new candidates on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot that is being mailed this week to more than 600 voting members of the BBWAA.

Pitchers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Eric Gagne, first baseman-designated hitter Frank Thomas and second baseman Jeff Kent join 17 holdovers from the 2013 balloting that failed to produce a winning candidate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., for the first time since 1996.

Craig Biggio, who totaled 3,060 hits and was a seven-time All-Star while playing three positions (catcher, second base, outfield), topped the 2014 ballot with 388 votes – 39 shy of the 427 required for election. His total reflected 68.2 percent of the electorate, which consists of BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of Major League Baseball coverage.

Players must be named on 75 percent of the ballots cast to earn election. Other players named on more than half the ballots were pitcher Jack Morris (67.7 percent), first baseman Jeff Bagwell (59.6), catcher Mike Piazza (57.8) and outfielder Tim Raines (52.2). Players may remain on the ballot for up to 15 years provided they receive five percent of the vote in any year. This is the 15th and final year of eligibility for Morris.

Maddux won four consecutive National League Cy Young Awards from 1992-95 and a record 18 Gold Glove Awards in a 23-season career in which he compiled a 355-227 record with a 3.16 earned run average and 3,371 strikeouts in 5,008 1/3 innings combined for the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. The righthander led the NL in ERA four times and won at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons, another record.

Glavine, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner (1991 and ’98) and 10-time All-Star, was 305-203 with a 3.54 ERA over 22 seasons combined with the Braves and New York Mets. The lefthander was a five-time 20-game winner and won four Silver Slugger Awards. Gagne had 55 saves and a 1.20 ERA in 77 appearances with the Dodgers in his Cy Young Award season.

Thomas, who won consecutive American League MVP Awards with the Chicago White Sox in 1993 and ’94 and placed in the top three in the voting five times overall, finished his 19-year career with 2,468 hits, including 521 home runs. He drove in 1,704 runs, scored 1,494 and had more walks (1,667) than strikeouts (1,397).

Jeff Kent, the NL MVP in 2000 with the San Francisco Giants, also played for the Mets, Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros in a 17-season career during which he slammed 377 home runs, 351 of which were as a second baseman, a major league record. The five-time All-Star had at least 20 homers and 100 RBI in eight seasons, the most by any second baseman in major-league history.

Hideo Nomo, the 1995 NL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year winner and the owner of two no-hitters; and two World Series heroes, outfielders Moises Alou (1997 Florida Marlins) and Luis Gonzalez (2001 Arizona Diamondbacks), are also on the ballot for the first time. Joining them are righthander Mike Mussina, who had a .638 winning percentage (270-153) over 18 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees; lefthander Kenny Rogers, whose perfect game for the Texas Rangers in 1994 was the highlight of a 20-year career; reliever Armando Benitez, the 2001 Rolaids Relief Man of the Year and first baseman J.T. Snow, a six-time Gold Glove Award winner. Other newcomers are relievers Todd Jones and Mike Timlin, first basemen Sean Casey and Richie Sexson, second baseman Ray Durham, catcher Paul Lo Duca and outfielder Jacque Jones.

Among others returning to the ballot are first basemen Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro; outfielders Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Larry Walker; pitchers Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Lee Smith; shortstop Alan Trammell and third baseman-DH Edgar Martinez.

Writers must return ballots by a Dec. 31 postmark. Votes are counted jointly by BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O’Connell and Ernst & Young partner Michael DiLecce. Results will be announced at 2 p.m., EST, Wednesday, January 8, 2014, on MLB Network and the web sites of the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA.

The ballot: Moises Alou, Jeff Bagwell, Armando Benitez, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Sean Casey, Roger Clemens, Ray Durham, Eric Gagne, Tom Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Jeff Kent, Paul Lo Duca, Greg Maddux, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Mike Mussina, Hideo Nomo, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Kenny Rogers, Curt Schilling, Richie Sexson, Lee Smith, J.T. Snow, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Mike Timlin, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker.

 

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