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  1. We can debate who should or shouldn’t be inducted into Cooperstown based on transgressions or the dreaded character clause. Still, there’s no denying that the Baseball Writers Association of America could vote in the single greatest class in Major League Baseball history. Let’s get this out of the way from the top. Steroid users cheated, yes. It’s impossible to understand when and how they used. There are other players in the Hall of Fame that used steroids. Players have been cheating for as long as the game is old. Arguably most damaging to any argument against PED users is Bud Selig, the Commissioner who oversaw the era and turned a blind eye. At the same time, the muscles that saved his post-lockout sport are enshrined in The Hall. If Cooperstown is considered a museum as is stated, it’s incomplete until all of the history is adequately accounted for. Alright, breathe. You can go back to the distaste saved for any players you want to be kept out. But, by the numbers...let’s take a look: Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Gary Sheffield, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, David Ortiz, and Alex Rodriguez Look at that group. It’s arguably the greatest assembled collection of eight baseball players tied together at any point in history. Barry Bonds is 2nd All-Time in career fWAR while Alex Rodriguez is 13th. David Ortiz is undoubtedly the single greatest designated hitter ever to play the game. Gary Sheffield and Manny Ramirez both are members of the 500 home run club, while Sammy Sosa has 609 homers and an MVP to his credit. Curt Schilling has over 3,100 career strikeouts and finished runner-up for the Cy Young in three different seasons. Roger Clemens may arguably be the greatest pitcher to have ever played the game, and his seven Cy Young awards certainly don’t detract from that. On statistical merit alone, it’s hard to look at any one of these players and suggest they are not worthy of enshrinement in Cooperstown. The BBWAA has been tasked with the impossible when needing to employ the character clause. Some writers choose to abide by it. Others have decided it doesn’t hold the same intended weight it once did. Others yet struggle with the gray area and completely exclude anyone that gets too close. What Cooperstown could do to help the process as a whole is to simplify it. Give every player on the ballot the ability to be voted for with a simple “yes” or “no” check-box. Make the voting criteria no more than a reflection of the accolades that took place on the field. If you cheated and got caught, you no doubt suffered time lost and an opportunity missed. If you were banned from the game while operating as a player or manager, your statistical accomplishments become invalidated in that particular realm. As fans, we should be clamoring for the greatest we have ever seen to be part of the footnote that is a museum where the dust settles. You can disagree with any number of players because of who they are as people or how you feel about them, but if the stats counted, then that’s where the decision needs to lie. Of course, we know my feelings don’t matter. This isn’t going to happen. If Bonds and Clemens are to be enshrined, it will likely come from a committee at a later date. Those with less percentage of the vote aren’t going to magically jump up either. It’s too bad that we’ll continue to tell only parts of the story deemed relevant today, but we can dream on the eight men out that would represent the greatest eight together. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. Let’s get this out of the way from the top. Steroid users cheated, yes. It’s impossible to understand when and how they used. There are other players in the Hall of Fame that used steroids. Players have been cheating for as long as the game is old. Arguably most damaging to any argument against PED users is Bud Selig, the Commissioner who oversaw the era and turned a blind eye. At the same time, the muscles that saved his post-lockout sport are enshrined in The Hall. If Cooperstown is considered a museum as is stated, it’s incomplete until all of the history is adequately accounted for. Alright, breathe. You can go back to the distaste saved for any players you want to be kept out. But, by the numbers...let’s take a look: Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Gary Sheffield, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, David Ortiz, and Alex Rodriguez Look at that group. It’s arguably the greatest assembled collection of eight baseball players tied together at any point in history. Barry Bonds is 2nd All-Time in career fWAR while Alex Rodriguez is 13th. David Ortiz is undoubtedly the single greatest designated hitter ever to play the game. Gary Sheffield and Manny Ramirez both are members of the 500 home run club, while Sammy Sosa has 609 homers and an MVP to his credit. Curt Schilling has over 3,100 career strikeouts and finished runner-up for the Cy Young in three different seasons. Roger Clemens may arguably be the greatest pitcher to have ever played the game, and his seven Cy Young awards certainly don’t detract from that. On statistical merit alone, it’s hard to look at any one of these players and suggest they are not worthy of enshrinement in Cooperstown. The BBWAA has been tasked with the impossible when needing to employ the character clause. Some writers choose to abide by it. Others have decided it doesn’t hold the same intended weight it once did. Others yet struggle with the gray area and completely exclude anyone that gets too close. What Cooperstown could do to help the process as a whole is to simplify it. Give every player on the ballot the ability to be voted for with a simple “yes” or “no” check-box. Make the voting criteria no more than a reflection of the accolades that took place on the field. If you cheated and got caught, you no doubt suffered time lost and an opportunity missed. If you were banned from the game while operating as a player or manager, your statistical accomplishments become invalidated in that particular realm. As fans, we should be clamoring for the greatest we have ever seen to be part of the footnote that is a museum where the dust settles. You can disagree with any number of players because of who they are as people or how you feel about them, but if the stats counted, then that’s where the decision needs to lie. Of course, we know my feelings don’t matter. This isn’t going to happen. If Bonds and Clemens are to be enshrined, it will likely come from a committee at a later date. Those with less percentage of the vote aren’t going to magically jump up either. It’s too bad that we’ll continue to tell only parts of the story deemed relevant today, but we can dream on the eight men out that would represent the greatest eight together. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. Tonight, Alex Rodriguez will be playing in his final game for the New York Yankees. On Sunday, he and the team announced that he would get one final game at Yankees Stadium before being let go. He will become an advisor in the team’s system. But there has been a lot of discussion about whether or not tonight will be the final game in the storied career of A-Rod. Many assume he will return to play for someone. In fact, some have suggested that the Twins might be a reasonable match. Though I find it rather unlikely, I do think it’s worth the discussion.Let’s start with this. Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest baseball players of the last 25 years. His numbers speak for themselves. He arrived in Seattle about a year after being the #1 overall pick in the 1993 draft. He was a 14-time All-Star, starting at age 20. In 2,783 games, he has a career line of .295/.380/.550 (.930) with 547 doubles, 696 home runs and 2,085 RBI. He has won three MVP awards, won ten Silver Slugger awards and even a couple of Gold Gloves. But for all of his accomplishments on the field, most people in and around and outside of baseball choose to jump straight to his PED usage and his elaborate cover-up. He missed the entire 2014 season because of suspension. It’s an era of baseball that we can’t move past and that’s understandable. This year with the Yankees, he is hitting just .199/.247/.348 (.525) with nine homers in 64 games. He has been relegated to Joe Girardi’s bench the last few weeks. It makes sense for the Yankees to get rid of him. But again, the assumption is that he will sign somewhere. If I was a betting man, I’d say he winds up signing with the Miami Marlins. It just makes the most sense. But, I did want to take just a little bit of time to consider whether it makes any sense at all for the Twins to sign A-Rod. The Pros While my sense as I start typing this is that the Cons will outnumber (and out-value) the Pros, there are legitimate reasons to at least consider it. While 2016 has been a bad year for Rodriguez, he was really pretty good in 2015. He hit .250/.356/.486 (.842) with 22 doubles, 33 homers and 86 RBI in 151 games as a 39-year-old. He can still provide some power. At 696 home runs, it would be pretty cool for a fan base to be able to watch a chase to 700 home runs. It certainly was fun watching Jim Thome chase his 600th home run. Many have indicated that Rodriguez has done a very nice job as a teammate, particularly with the young Yankees players. Many have said that the Twins need a veteran leader on the roster, particularly with so many young players. Rodriguez is eloquent and fluent in both English and Spanish, and with the Twins having so many young players from Latin American countries, his voice could be helpful. It would not require much money, if he chose to sign. He is owed and will be paid $23 million by the Yankees in 2017, the final year of his 10-year, $275 million deal. The Cons I think it’s fair to say that Alex Rodriguez comes with some baggage. The PED stuff is always a topic in the minds of media and fans. There certainly would be plenty of public scrutiny. Some of it fair. Some of it unnecessary. His age-40 season has been a disaster. Age is certainly not his friend. While his 2015 season was solid, the precipitous drop in production in 2016 doesn’t bode well for his presumed productivity in 2017. The Twins already have plenty of DH options. As much as it may be nice to have Alex Rodriguez around as a mentor for Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Jose Berrios, Eddie Rosario, Kennys Vargas, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and other young players, he would have to accept that he would basically be a pinch-hit option. Miguel Sano, Kennys Vargas, Byung Ho Park, Daniel Palka and Adam Brett Walker are all DH candidates, as well as DH days for Joe Mauer. While the reports of Rodriguez's work with young players has been positive, there does seem to be a general uneasiness and lack of trust in him. Signing an aging veteran could be positive, but it could be destructive if it doesn't play out as you hope. My Opinion Certainly you have your opinions on Rodriguez the player, Rodriguez the person, or Rodriguez the legacy. Maybe there are other Pros or Cons that you would include. Feel free to (respectfully) discuss them below. While I would love to watch Alex Rodriguez finish his career in a Twins uniform, I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense for the Twins. He likely would be a terrific mentor for the Twins' young players. It would be fun to watch a chase for 700 wins. However, his at-bats would likely come at the expense of some young players who either are, or hope to be, a part of the Twins future. With that, it makes it harder to justify the PR hit that the Twins might take (by some) for signing someone with such a tainted history. In the end, I would be very excited if the they signed Rodriguez either yet this season or going into the 2017 season. I just can’t see it as making sense for the Twins. Click here to view the article
  4. Let’s start with this. Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest baseball players of the last 25 years. His numbers speak for themselves. He arrived in Seattle about a year after being the #1 overall pick in the 1993 draft. He was a 14-time All-Star, starting at age 20. In 2,783 games, he has a career line of .295/.380/.550 (.930) with 547 doubles, 696 home runs and 2,085 RBI. He has won three MVP awards, won ten Silver Slugger awards and even a couple of Gold Gloves. But for all of his accomplishments on the field, most people in and around and outside of baseball choose to jump straight to his PED usage and his elaborate cover-up. He missed the entire 2014 season because of suspension. It’s an era of baseball that we can’t move past and that’s understandable. This year with the Yankees, he is hitting just .199/.247/.348 (.525) with nine homers in 64 games. He has been relegated to Joe Girardi’s bench the last few weeks. It makes sense for the Yankees to get rid of him. But again, the assumption is that he will sign somewhere. If I was a betting man, I’d say he winds up signing with the Miami Marlins. It just makes the most sense. But, I did want to take just a little bit of time to consider whether it makes any sense at all for the Twins to sign A-Rod. The Pros While my sense as I start typing this is that the Cons will outnumber (and out-value) the Pros, there are legitimate reasons to at least consider it. While 2016 has been a bad year for Rodriguez, he was really pretty good in 2015. He hit .250/.356/.486 (.842) with 22 doubles, 33 homers and 86 RBI in 151 games as a 39-year-old. He can still provide some power. At 696 home runs, it would be pretty cool for a fan base to be able to watch a chase to 700 home runs. It certainly was fun watching Jim Thome chase his 600th home run. Many have indicated that Rodriguez has done a very nice job as a teammate, particularly with the young Yankees players. Many have said that the Twins need a veteran leader on the roster, particularly with so many young players. Rodriguez is eloquent and fluent in both English and Spanish, and with the Twins having so many young players from Latin American countries, his voice could be helpful. It would not require much money, if he chose to sign. He is owed and will be paid $23 million by the Yankees in 2017, the final year of his 10-year, $275 million deal. The Cons I think it’s fair to say that Alex Rodriguez comes with some baggage. The PED stuff is always a topic in the minds of media and fans. There certainly would be plenty of public scrutiny. Some of it fair. Some of it unnecessary. His age-40 season has been a disaster. Age is certainly not his friend. While his 2015 season was solid, the precipitous drop in production in 2016 doesn’t bode well for his presumed productivity in 2017. The Twins already have plenty of DH options. As much as it may be nice to have Alex Rodriguez around as a mentor for Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Jose Berrios, Eddie Rosario, Kennys Vargas, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and other young players, he would have to accept that he would basically be a pinch-hit option. Miguel Sano, Kennys Vargas, Byung Ho Park, Daniel Palka and Adam Brett Walker are all DH candidates, as well as DH days for Joe Mauer. While the reports of Rodriguez's work with young players has been positive, there does seem to be a general uneasiness and lack of trust in him. Signing an aging veteran could be positive, but it could be destructive if it doesn't play out as you hope. My Opinion Certainly you have your opinions on Rodriguez the player, Rodriguez the person, or Rodriguez the legacy. Maybe there are other Pros or Cons that you would include. Feel free to (respectfully) discuss them below. While I would love to watch Alex Rodriguez finish his career in a Twins uniform, I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense for the Twins. He likely would be a terrific mentor for the Twins' young players. It would be fun to watch a chase for 700 wins. However, his at-bats would likely come at the expense of some young players who either are, or hope to be, a part of the Twins future. With that, it makes it harder to justify the PR hit that the Twins might take (by some) for signing someone with such a tainted history. In the end, I would be very excited if the they signed Rodriguez either yet this season or going into the 2017 season. I just can’t see it as making sense for the Twins.
  5. It has not been an easy last two weeks for our Adopted Prospect: Mr. Jon Tiberius Chargois (okay it's Jon Thomas...but give me some nerd slack). He had his worst outing of the year giving up 6 earned runs on three walks and three hits, and the breezy dominance that made Chargois a Florida State League All-Star seems like a distant memory compared to his current form. And yet, this weekend, as the Twins got snake bitten (again) by the Yankees and their complicated, record-book busting (again) DH Alex Rodriguez, I found myself eagerly turning away from the superlative performances of A-Rod at Target Field, to the minor league box scores for word of Chargois. It may seem like a silly comparison: Alex Rodriguez, love him or hate him, will go down in the annals of baseball history; JT Chargois will be in this odd little corner of cyber space...but probably, not much else. And while the part of me that loves athletic excellence is inclined to see the very best players do their very best work, a much larger part of me wants to cheer for Chargois much MUCH more than A-Rod. The reasons I care more about a AA reliever than the fourth most prestigious home run hitter in baseball doesn't depend on the history of a rivalry, or the fact that one is paid by Minnesota billionaires and the other is paid by New York billionaires. It comes back to the fact that Sports is the rare entertainment that demands honesty. Other entertainments live on the other side of truth. Movies and books are fictional. Music and even visual arts (painting and sculpture) are as much about what people (and record companies) know will sell, rather than purely what people have lived or feel. But sports demands honesty. Do your best, play fair, and may the best team win. Do that, and we'll root, root, root for the rest of our lives. http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.2304428.1437876619!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_635/481977172.jpg Therein lies the problem. A-Rod is fundamentally dishonest: he didn't trust his best to be good enough, he didn't play fairly with those who stayed clean, and he tried to rig the game so his team would be better than the best. No question, A-Rod is entertaining, powerful and impressive (even more so on PEDs). But that was a fiction. He insisted he was legitimate twice, once while using and once after getting caught in two more moments of dishonesty. If he was a pro-wrestler, or doing some crazy in-depth performance art it could be strangely intriguing, but instead it's just fake, false and infuriating to watch. That's why I like a middling AA prospect and can't stand one of the best power-hitters in over a century of baseball. Because JT Chargois is not perfect and makes no pretenses about it. His scuffles at AA are part of the game, an honest failure, just as his run of scoreless innings from April to June was an honest success. I don't like Alex Rodriguez. I don't wish him ill. I don't hope he suffers. I just wish he were more like JT Chargois.
  6. After I learned about baseball, I can remember a moment where I considered the possibility of a never-ending baseball game. Younger then, I always assumed all of the fans would stay for every pitch. Job absences would be forgiven by authority of baseball. Children and pets would move to different houses. The game would play on, sometimes with matched innings of big scoring, mostly with zeroes filling up the scoreboard. I remembered this at the Twins game last night, when the New York team -- mostly Alex Rodriguez -- placed the game perilously close to the spiral of a dance with infinity in the extra innings. I should have worried more about a total collapse and another painful, pin-striped gut punch. Maybe it was because we were playing the Yankees, but thinking about a game played without time limits made me think of the timelessness of the game itself. We baseball romantics love to think of the game as being a neatly preserved time capsule from over a century ago. Is it still so romantic when a clock keeps both teams from wasting precious time and the man destroying your team at the plate may have benefited from scientific discoveries unheard of a hundred years ago? Are the people in the stands the same people, or just a similar type of people? I watched an older man having trouble finding his way back to his seat. I saw couples on dates ignoring each other to check in with other people on their smart phones. I saw players on both teams making enough money that their entire families would never work again, while their past counterparts needed employment between seasons. We all judged each other's T-shirt slogans. Twins fans came as cultural refugees on a glorious July night, to hide in a game we can at least pretend is pure from the taint of decades of upsetting and frightening change - however we personally define upsetting. The runners keep going around the bases and we can pretend we aren't still outraged about the thing that just happened to our country. Except we're still checking our social media to make sure our side is still winning. In fact, if we eavesdrop, we can hear someone saying the exact same things we blocked three people to avoid reading last week. We could text someone official for help silencing them, but how timeless would that be? In times like these, even the Yankees don't seem like miserable wretches. Except Alex Rodriguez still does, because he hit three home runs against the hometown heroes and such things are timelessly deplorable. -- Axel
  7. After regularly commenting on the 2013 Twins season, I stayed away from the blog while I put life's little bits together into something that resembled the picture on the puzzle box. Now, with Roy C. Booth and my novel Orphans published and ready to scare everyone senselessly, I finally have time to return to overthinking the odds and ends of Twins baseball. I will be attending four games this week and writing an essay about all of them.After I learned about baseball, I can remember a moment where I considered the possibility of a never-ending baseball game. Younger then, I always assumed all of the fans would stay for every pitch. Job absences would be forgiven by authority of baseball. Children and pets would move to different houses. The game would play on, sometimes with matched innings of big scoring, mostly with zeroes filling up the scoreboard. I remembered this at the Twins game last night, when the New York team -- mostly Alex Rodriguez -- placed the game perilously close to the spiral of a dance with infinity in the extra innings. I should have worried more about a total collapse and another painful, pin-striped gut punch. Maybe it was because we were playing the Yankees, but thinking about a game played without time limits made me think of the timelessness of the game itself. We baseball romantics love to think of the game as being a neatly preserved time capsule from over a century ago. Is it still so romantic when a clock keeps both teams from wasting precious time and the man destroying your team at the plate may have benefited from scientific discoveries unheard of a hundred years ago? Are the people in the stands the same people, or just a similar type of people? I watched an older man having trouble finding his way back to his seat. I saw couples on dates ignoring each other to check in with other people on their smart phones. I saw players on both teams making enough money that their entire families would never work again, while their past counterparts needed employment between seasons. We all judged each other's T-shirt slogans. Twins fans came as cultural refugees on a glorious July night, to hide in a game we can at least pretend is pure from the taint of decades of upsetting and frightening change - however we personally define upsetting. The runners keep going around the bases and we can pretend we aren't still outraged about the thing that just happened to our country. Except we're still checking our social media to make sure our side is still winning. In fact, if we eavesdrop, we can hear someone saying the exact same things we blocked three people to avoid reading last week. We could text someone official for help silencing them, but how timeless would that be? In times like these, even the Yankees don't seem like miserable wretches. Except Alex Rodriguez still does, because he hit three home runs against the hometown heroes and such things are timelessly deplorable. -- Axel Click here to view the article
  8. People might hate me for this, but it will likely happen very soon, and I'm kind of looking forward to it, strange as it might seem, but I think it will be interesting.
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