Archive for Cooperstown

AROD # 600 and The Hall Of Fame Debate.

Posted in Baseball, ESPN, History, MLB, New York City, New York Yankees, NYC with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

AROD # 600!!

I have a new love in my life and her name is TWITTER.  Fine ,  I might very well be a little late to the tweet party , but that is all good! At some point this summer I figured out the amazing beauty of twitter and I dove in headfirst. But rather than detail the workings of the super-social network that is twitter, I would prefer to talk about Baseball , and the milestone that occurred when Alex Rodriquez of my beloved New York Yankees finally clubbed career home run # 600.

In typical Arod fashion he hit # 600 during a day game (of which I could not attend) , He hit it in the first inning when there were zero dramatic implications (although the 2 run shot did turn out to be all the Yankees needed for the W) and in very typical Arod fashion, it took him a while to hit it. He might be one of the greatest to ever play the game but  the dude is just not great with milestones.

The Real HR King

But as sure as the sun rises each day Arod was going to blast # 600 and he did! And just as soon as the ball landed in monument park , the great sports debate of our time jumped right back to the front page of every paper, the top of every blog and of course to the greatest sounding board of all…TWITTER.

Baseball is all about history and stats, plain and simple. The game is defined by its history and the numbers that make up that history. Any real baseball fan is at heart a statistics person, perhaps not in the sense that you like to sit around and bang out ill computations like Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting” , but you know the single season HR record , you know that Rickey Henderson is the all time stolen base king and you know the mother of all statistics….you know who the all time Baseball Home Run King is….or do you?

# 600 for Arod has quickly resurrected the Steroid era debate or what is now cutely known as the PED debate (Performance Enhancing Drugs). Do those admitted and or accused ROID users belong in the Hall Of Fame, Do the Home Runs actually count, should all the numbers be tossed?

Alex Rodriquez is only the 7th player in Baseball history to knock 600 career bombs, the club he joins is beyond exclusive and some members beyond reproach. The Babe , Hank Aaron , Willie Mays and even Ken Griffey JR. are all safely and cleanly in the record books..no asterisk required, they are all in the Hall of Fame (with the exception of Jr. , and he is a first ballot shoe in with out question. Its the other two members who make things interesting.

Always a KING!!!!

Sammy Sosa, who along with Mark McGwire captivated the nation in 1998 with the great single season home run chase as they both smashed the record of Roger Maris (61 dingers) Sosa has 610 career home runs and before the PED debate would have been a no brainer for the HOF. In fact pre -2003 when the house of cards started to unfold, the rule of thumb was, if you hit 500 career home runs you basically get into the Hall Of Fame automatically.

Thats about right!

Well when it became terribly obvious that Barry Bonds was a freak of nature whose cap size grew like 10 sizes in two seasons and at the age of 38 started banging out 50 plus homers a year and then in 2002 broke the already obscene single season record of 70 held by McGwire , the jig was up. Major League Baseball could no longer look the other way and before you knew it  a slew of incredible home run hitters and perhaps the games greatest pitcher were lying before congress and labeled , well , cheaters.

Back to yesterday , again Arod goes yard and Twitter is burning up.  “Does Arod belong in the HOF?”  “Bonds and Clemens will never get in” “Sosa and McGwire stand no shot ever” “Rafael Palmeiro is a doucher” (Agreed..what up coop)

The Future King?

So just being at Cooperstown two weeks ago , and  having a pretty solid handle on what it means to be in Cooperstown from a fans perspective.. I chimed in on twitter…. “If The Hall is willing to recognize Bonds  statistically as the all time HR King and displays his record breaking home run ball as well, why should he not get his plaque too” ( I want to note that I despise Barry Bonds , but he was going to the Hall prior to his cheating so… go fish)

Well this turned out to be a great question ,  because before I knew what was happening I was being retweeted by espn bloggers and well-known sports columnists and I am thinking , damn this twitter thing is pretty freakin cool.

And for the next few hours, the debate raged and I came to a few conclusions.

1. There is a consensus that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds are dirt bags and are never getting into the Hall of Fame.

2. The Jury is still out on Arod as far as the public is concerned although my money is on him getting into the Hall because time is on his side.

3. and finally….That twitter might be the single greatest blow to worker productivity modern man has ever seen.

Congrats AROD…looking forward to # 700 and eventually # 763 and looking forward to continuing the great STEROID debate….on TWITTER of course!

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10th Annual Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend Road Trip!

Posted in Baseball, ESPN, MLB, New York Yankees with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

We MIssed you Yogi!!

My father and I did it again, out 10th year in a row for the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Induction weekend.

Cooperstown , New York can only be described as Disney World for true fans of our National Pastime , it is a small adorable village which sole purpose is to spread the gospel of baseball through the crown Jewel of the town, The National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Hall

It is a collectors paradise , with as much baseball memorabilia for sale than one could ever collect in many lifetimes, yet it seems every die-hard fan that attends Induction Weekend is trying take home as much history as possible.

Now Cooperstown draws decent crowds every weekend throughout the summer. It is a must visit overnight trip for every sleep away camp in the Northeast. I know I went in 1987 for a weekend, and I thought the place was amazing, but I certainly did not have the capacity to appreciate all the history. And at the end of the day that is what Cooperstown is really all about, Celebrating the History of the greatest sport in the world.

But the biggest weekend of all is Induction Weekend (which is what my father and I attend every year) This special weekend most of the surviving members of the most elite fraternity in sports gather to celebrate the game, catch up with old friends and welcome the new members

Dad and I waiting for the Parade of Legends

who are voted in every January.

You will never ever see as many legends of the sport in one place. EVER.

And the actual Museum and Hall of Fame does an incredible job of telling the story of the game from its humble beginnings , to its current permanent place in the fabric and culture of our country. And of course the actual hall where the plaques of the 292 members are immortalized is breathtaking.

Baseball is the toughest sport there is,  certainly the only sport where if you are succesful 3 out of 10 times, you are an all star, these men enshrined forever in the hall, represent less than 1% of all the men that have played in the Majors since its INCEPTION (sorry had to do it)

Me and #44 Mr. October Reggie Jackson

So every year its a treat to shake hands with Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra (who was def missed this year) Eat lunch next to Ron Guidry, bump into Harmon Kilibrew in the mens room of the local diner. Grab a quick autograph from MLB network analyst and all around nice guy Harold Reynolds…Its Baseball heaven.

And the best part of the trip (Other than spending great QT with my father, another baseball nut) , the best part is being surrounded by thousands of hard-core, die-hard baseball fans. Despite your team affiliation, Cooperstown is neutral territory (Not unlike Switzerland) where for one weekend out of the year, Yankee Fans and Red Sox Fans, and Chicago Cub fans and St. Louis Cardinal fans and Dodger and Giant fans , can pass each other in the street and exchange in playful banter all the while respecting each other simply because when you are in Cooperstown…Everyone is really on the same team.

“Yanks Core 4 Belong in Cooperstown”

Posted in Baseball, MLB, New York City, New York Yankees with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2010 by mattyfresh697400

CORE 4

Yanks’ Core 4 Belong in Cooperstown….that was the headline on an email my mother sent me this afternoon. Somethings just bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. This was an article on the CBS2 website about those veteran Yankees that have now become known affectionately as the core 4. Jeter, Mariano, Andy and Jorge.

Now the headline and the article really started me thinking….why not? Why can’t all four of these guys end up in Cooperstown, where baseball legends truly live forever.

“How rare is it an accomplishment in today’s day and age of sports mercenaries , hired guns and piles of cash that four guys basically stay together on the same team and consistently  drive that team to be the best in its sport, while at the same time, individually , remain among the best to play at their respective positions both actively and historically?”

Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are first ballot locks, I would not be surprised if both players end up with 100% vote totals, that might sound crazy since the highest vote total ever was Tom Seaver with 98.6%, but if you take a step back and look at Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada and all they have accomplished at the their positions and the fact that each has 5 world series rings and each played an invaluable part of the Yankee Dynasty of both the late 90’s and the current Yankee dynasty (and do not be fooled people, we are in the midst of another one)

Look no further than the numbers, they do not lie. As I stated above Jeter might end up with 4000 hits and his reputation as a leader and a winner alone would qualify him for a plaque. Mariano is the greatest at what he does and I submit we will never see another like him. A post-season ERA of 0.74 , what does that even mean? Mariano was born on planet Krypton, we have had the pleasure of watching superman in pinstripes all these years.

So that leaves us with Jorge and Andy, and like with any good sports debate there will be plenty of those out there that disagree.

Posada might have a leg up here because he is a catcher, there are only 13 catchers in the Hall of Fame. Posada is a 5 time all-star, with a .278 average over 16 seasons , 246 Home Runs, 970 RBIs and over 1500 hits. If Posada stopped playing today and finished with those numbers, his career stats in the above categories would be better than 9 catchers already enshrined in the hall. Couple the numbers with 5 rings and the fact that he looks like he can be productive for another 2-3 seasons easy and hip-hip JORGE should be a lock!!

So that leaves us with Andy Pettitte. The article from CBS 2 made a great comparison; Retired Yankee Mike Mussina is often in the HOF conversation, but if you can mention Mussina as a possible member of the Hall , then Pettitte has to be seriously considered. Andy is currently 232-135  in 16 seasons, with two 21 win seasons under his belt. Modern dat baseball is different from it was 20 years ago and the days of the 300 win pitcher are basically over, and since that is the case new standards for the hall must be established. Andy Pettitte is a winner who will most likely end up with 250 Career wins (which is nothing to sneeze at)

All you need to do is look at the post season for 2009, Pettitte clinched the Division series, the LCS and the World Series. 5 rings and those stats, cm on.

You might have to go back to the Yankee Dynasty of the late 40’s and 50’s to find 4 teammates who all belong in the hall, but that is exactly what we have now. Enjoy it while it lasts!

I’ll see the CORE 4 in Cooperstown!!!