It was a slow-but-steady 170 mile trip from 06093 to 13326; West Suffield, CT to Cooperstown. Our trek seemed manageable compared to the thousands who came from Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina and elsewhere.
A dark haired 30-something man with his 10 year old son made the journey from Los Angeles. He wore a Hollywood Stars jersey. He saw the Red Sox beat the Pale Hose at Fenway 4 days earlier. He was warm and enthusiastic. He is typical of the true believers that attend to see history made each year in the mythical creation site of Base Ball.
Vicki Santo made the induction acceptance speech on behalf of her deceased husband, Ron. I will always remember how thoughtful and articulate she was. She informed us all that Ron dealt with diabetes from the very beginning of his playing career. He hid it from the Cubs and his fans for the first decade. He came to believe that he didn’t just have an opportunity to use his prominence to help find a cure, he believed it was his destiny. Ron’s fans showered $65 million on Diabetes research. Ron is a true Hall of Famer in ways unrelated to ash and cowhide.
Barry Larkin’s acceptance speech was a bit too long but never self-indulgent. Larkin had many, many people to thank, including his parents, wife, family and teammates. In the process, he spoke at length in Spanish, recognizing the many influential people of Latin descent that took the time to impart their knowledge and make him a professional. A class act all the way.
Congrats to the Class of 2012.
I’m getting into the autobiography of Omar Vizquel (Omar !, Gray & Co., 2002.) The slick-fielding, good hitting shortstop came on the scene in 1988 when Jose and Big Mac were getting the big headlines. If Omar never really made it in a big way onto your radar screen, you should know that he is going to the Hall of Fame. The dude is still playing at age 45 with the Jays, he has 2,861hits, 403 stolen bases, a .272 BA, and last but not least, ELEVEN GOLD GLOVES. If he gets to 2900 hits you won’t be able to keep him out. I guarantee it.
The second wild card is a meaningless bauble. When great business minds meet, they brainstorm how to squeeze every last penny from a financial model. That is how I imagine that the 2nd wild card was conceived. To go a step farther, perhaps we’ll someday see the Series played in a warm weather (or domed) neutral site a la the Super Bowl so that we can fit in a full week of wild card only play.
That will make the cash register ring.
As plastic as a neutral site World Series seems, I’ll bet you 50 cents that baseball fandom would accept it.
Aaron Cook had a remarkable line in the Monday, July 16 game at home against the White Sox:
IP 7.0 H 5 R 1 ER 0 BB 0 K 0 HBP 0 Bk 0 HR 0
I methodically chart the above stats for each Sox game and sort the data by hurler. I can tell that only one other time this season has a Sox starting pitcher recorded 0 BB, 0 K, 0 HBP, 0 Balks and 0 HR was on June 24 by…drum roll, please….the same Mr. Aaron Cook.
It’s an oddity. And it has to mean something. I checked the play-by-play for both games.
On June 24, Cook faced 18 batters over 5 IP. He faced 1.20 batters to secure an out. There were a total of 10 ground ball outs and 5 outs by fly or liner. Cook induced 12 batters to hit the ball up the middle, resulting in 5 hits and 8 outs. (I realize that doesn’t add up. It shouldn’t. There was a double play.) So….he got 67% of his outs on the ground, and 67% of all batters faced hit it up the middle, i.e., to the SS, 2B or CF.
On July 16, Cook faced 26 batters over 7 IP. He faced 1.24 batters to secure an out. There were a total of 14 ground outs and 7 in the air. Cook induced 18 batters to hit the ball up the middle, resulting in 15 outs, 2 hits and 1 error. So….he again got 67% of his outs on the ground, and 69% of all batters to hit it up the middle.
Then again, when the Sox needed a big game from him on July 27, Cook did everything BUT hit a batter or make a balk. He yielded 6 ER in 4 IP.
Sometimes the sinker sinks. And sometimes the sinker stinks. J