Even if you didn't know that winter had officially started a couple weeks ago, you'd know it's in full force by just looking at the forecast or (for those of you who live west of here) just stepping outside for a second before diving back in the house. By this time on Tuesday Northeast Ohio will be experiencing temperatures not seen for several decades. So it would seem that baseball would be furthest from the minds of fans. This is basketball season, with some playoff football sprinkled in on the weekends, right?
But something about the depth of winter makes one long for baseball. What's the saying..."absence makes the heart grow fonder?" Now that we're right smack dab in the midst of the winter doldrums, I'm really fond about baseball, which we last saw going on three months ago and which we won't really see (yeah, there's Spring Training games, but still...) until another three months have passed. Over the last week, I've actually taken to browsing the archived games on MLB.TV for much-needed fixes of baseball. The ability to superimpose the radio feed over the TV broadcast almost makes it feel like you could walk outside without freezing instantaneously.
Unfortunately the embeds don't work that way, but at this point any baseball highlight is a good highlight.
Mark Reynolds hits one to the moon (ok, just 3/4 up the bleachers) after getting plunked in a previous at-bat:
7 home runs in one game:
Ubaldo's first post-transmogrification start:
Bruce Markusen with a nice profile of Mike Hegan. As Bruce notes, Mike had such an interesting life in baseball, from growing up watching his father with the Indians, to make a nice career for himself as a platoon first baseman who could really pick it, to a long career in broadcasting. And If you've read Ball Four, one of the seminal books on baseball, you'd know that Mike makes an appearance there.
Not really Indians-related, but Paul Hoynes, who covers the Indians, has released his 2014 Hall of Fame ballot:
In that regard, here are the 10 players I voted for this year: Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Edgar Martinez, Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Tim Raines.
I'm guessing Hoynes left Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, et al off his ballot because of either positive PED tests or strong PED allegations. The players who did make his ballot are rather eclectic. Raines is I suppose the current cause celebre for stats-oriented commentators, and Jack Morris is way at the other end of the spectrum. There's Trammell, who in my opinion has been criminally underrated by voters, and Lee Smith, who is probably overrated because of the his saves totals.
Hoynes also mentions that the 10-vote ballot limit will be reviewed by the BBWAA, and that's definitely a good thing. In cases like this year there's more than 10 players have good cases for making the Hall thanks largely to the PED controversy, and players like Raines and Trammell and Edgar Martinez may end up being hurt by the backlog because the voting limit.
AL Central News
Obviously, given how aggressive that they've been on the free agent market. And they're looking at Matt Garza as well.And be sure to check out the "classic" video game capture at the bottom of the post.
Uh...what? Morales at this point in his career is only a DH, and the Royals already have Billy Butler, who is only a DH. One of the reasons Morales is still out there is because the Mariners made a Qualifying Offer to him, meaning that anyone who signs him forfeits their first-round pick (if they don't have one of the top ten picks).