Thursday, January 19, 2017


There were 34 players on the Hall of Fame ballot this year, and 19 of them were newcomers but The Baseball Writers Association of America only voted three new ballplayers in last night. I applauded some, was shocked by some and as insensitive as this will sound I have to admit I laughed my ass off at some of them! To sum it up, this ballot just had some good, a little bad, and a whole lot of ugly!

Tom DiPace / The Associated Press file photo
The good part was finally getting Tim Raines into the Hall of Fame on his tenth and final year of eligibility. He was a staple and an icon of the dynasty Yankee teams from 1996-1998. It feels like a long time coming because back in 2009 he had a mere 26% of the vote....which usually means slim chances of getting into Cooperstown but he made it. The odds were stacked against him so this definitely feels like a victory so this belongs in the "good" column.

Mike Mussina also seems to be gaining momentum. He has steadily gained a higher voter percentage in his last four years on the ballot. He ended with 51.8% of the vote this year which is a lot better than his 20.3% back in 2014. Maybe he can pull a Tim Raines too and get to the needed 75% within the next six years. He at least has momentum on his side, so I will go with the good vibes and chalk that up to a spot in the "good" column also.

There are always some "bad" surprises in these ballots....and this one was surprising and close for destined future Hall of Famers Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman. I know I was especially pulling for Hoffman this year, but he fell just 5 votes shy of getting in and Guerrero missed it by 15. If I were a betting woman I would've put money down on both. Good thing I didn't. I guess the good news here is that next year they should both get their spots. Mariano Rivera will always be my favorite closer but Hoffman is not only talented, but a class act.

The real "bad" surprise here was the lack of support or "one and done" appearance for Jorge Posada on this year's ballot. Posada only received 3.8% of the vote and will not be eligible on future ballots. It's a shame. I always knew Posada was a long shot to get in. He played an important role for the Yankees during their championship years but the numbers just weren't there. I was at least hoping he would get enough votes to stay on the ballot for a couple of years. I wish he had fared better with the BBWAA but, he will always score high with the BYB staff.

The best part for me was the hilarity and the "ugly" meltdown for Curt Schilling that has been ongoing or months now. Many news sources have covered it, but THIS one gives a good timeline. Maybe karma is catching up to Schilling and he is having another meltdown. In 2016, Schilling appeared on the ballot for his sixth year and ended with 52.3% of the votes. His numbers had been increasing over the years so it seemed like 2017 was the year for him to get in.....

But it seems as though too many writers still remember the bridges he burned. Maybe tweeting about how "awesome" it would be to lynch journalists wasn't such a good idea when you want these same people to vote you into baseball mortality. Before anyone says "well you are a writer, you are just being sensitive" it's not just about that. Schilling also made controversial Anti-Transgender comments and made comments comparing Muslims to Nazis that ultimately caused ESPN to fire him from his analyst gig. He tried to defend himself later but the damage was done and myself like many other people just didn't care to hear it anymore. Open mouth....Schilling inserts foot. Not so bright.

Photo of the real Sidney Ponson
And of course, even as I sit and laugh others are too. In fact, it appears that Schilling has been "trolled" on Twitter by what may or may not be a fake Sidney Ponson account because it is not "verified" by Twitter. Someone saw an opportunity to have some fun and Schilling once again opened his mouth and inserted foot. He just doesn't know when to stop.

So clearly, he hasn't learned that words have consequences no matter how stupid or misguided he sounds and people aren't overlooking it.  Schilling has fallen victim to the dreaded "character clause" that states: "Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."

Based on this, he is one of the best postseason pitchers in history.

He ranks 15th in career strikeouts and third in strike-out to walk rate so the numbers are there....but clearly his integrity, sportsmanship and character suck so that overshadows his great accomplishments. Is it fair? Maybe not....but he is representing more than just himself otherwise he would still be an analyst for ESPN and he may have made the Hall of Fame this year.

The best part of all of this for me was when other Twitter users tried to tell him they thought the account was fake he responded with this:

Wait, let me get this straight....HIS tweets are about as stupid as the stuff he said in real life? Hmmmm....HEY SCHILLING are you the pot or the kettle because if anyone can relate to stupid tweets and remarks it would have to be YOU.

 --Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ

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