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The Baseball Hall of Fame: Why Pete Rose and not PED's?

Pete_Rose

It never fails. Regardless of time of day or season there is no movie that inspires my love of baseball as much as Field of Dreams. The inner struggle of a thirty something portrayed by Kevin Costner remains relatable and accessible while the scene stealing monologues performed by cinematic greats Burt Lancaster and James Earl Jones capture the essence, beauty and durability of the game that we uniquely as Americans call our own.

However, as I watched it this past weekend in the company of my wife and two kids I found myself with a greater understanding of the character of John Kinsella. Make no mistake, I knew that my baseball days were finished after high school and I do not subscribe to the Marv Marinovich school of parenting however I can completely relate to the plight of my hero being removed from this wonderful game as I have missed the presence of my boyhood idol since 1989. That of course would be Peter Edward Rose.

The banning of PeteRose from baseball has been debated from barrooms to boardrooms for nearlytwenty-five years and the results have remained the same as the all-time leader in hits remains on the outside looking in. This is not a typical defense argument as it is clear by his own admission that Rose bet on baseball, thereby subjecting himself to the repercussions of his actions. Nor is this an argument of persuasion as most reasonable people have long since concluded that Pete belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Whereas for years, I took exception to Rose’s lifelong exclusion from the game I now specifically take umbrage with the hypocrisy of Major League Baseball as the same language used to expel a player, and used as re-enforcement for that decision, is no longer enforced with issues surrounding the game today.

In my limited memory of A. Bartlett Giamatti as the President of the National League then as the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, I recall him to be a well-educated man that truly loved the game of baseball and sought to see it prosper. In fact, I would go so far as to state that had he not met his untimely demise, his leadership would have brokered a deal which would have ensured labor peace and saved us all from the strike of 1994. As I reviewed Giamatti’s statement from August 24, 1989, I was struck with the two-pronged reasoning for his decision in which he stated:

“First, that the integrity of the game cannot be defended except by a process that itself embodies integrity and fairness;

Second, should any other occasion arise where charges are made or acts are said to be committed that are contrary to the interests of the game or that undermine the integrity of baseball, I fully intend to use such a process and procedure to get to the truth and, if need be to root out offending behavior. I intend to use, in short, every lawful and ethical means to defend and protect the game.”

In this line of reasoning, Giamatti has set forth the guidelines of what he believes are the executive powers of the Commissioner’s Office including expulsion for what he deems as behavior “contrary to the interests of the game.” It is this phrase that I replay over and over in my mind when I consider the issue of performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball and how its penalty phase is not consistent with the ideals of Commissioner Giamatti.

Nothing has ruined the integrity of the game more than the use of PED’s. In this era, no record is safe and any accolades received will always be viewed with suspicion. PED’s have subjected us to falsified single season and career home run records as well as MVP and Cy Young Awards that were not earned honestly not to mention the salaries paid to those that knowingly cheated their opposition. My point is not to debate the impact of performance enhancing drugs but to bring about discussion on the penalty phase of PED’s in Major League Baseball. It astounds me that a player can fail a test twice before being subjected to lifetime expulsion through a third failed test. It leads me to wonder how many games can possibly be impacted through the performance of a player that knowingly and willingly would cheat his colleagues only to be given a chance to do it again. In not taking a more definitive stance Bud Selig continues to allow the game to subject itself to compromise as the integrity of the game will always remain in question as long as multiple opportunities are given to defraud Major League Baseball and its fans.

At some point, Barry Bonds will begin a personal services contract with the San Francisco Giants, Mark McGwire is employed as a hitting coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jason Giambi was nearly hired as the manager for the Colorado Rockies yet Pete Rose will still need special permission to attend a game. It is in this vein that I cannot completely understand the logic of the Commissioner’s Office as both offenses serve to undermine the integrity of the game yet one is subject to an immediate lifetime banishment with no hope of restoration while  the other is greeted with multiple opportunities for dishonest behavior. While it is true that those from this era will have the arduous task of convincing Hall of Fame voters of the legitimacy
of their candidacy, they are still not precluded from continuing in their career as a player or transition to another phase after their retirement. This lack of action towards those that would cheat the game ultimately call into question the motives of Commissioner Selig and whether or not he is acting justly towards Mr. Rose.

Unfortunately, this debate will likely linger here for a few days then disappear from public consciousness until another time when the subject is brought up. The practical side of me understands that it is unlikely that Pete Rose will ever live to see the day when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame; yet my less rational side remains hopeful. Perhaps Doc Graham put it best when he wondered if there was, “enough magic out there in the moonlight to make this dream come true.” I hope so but just in case, I’m pricing farmland in Iowa with the hopes that my son will build a field someday. Will see you then Pete.


Curt Schilling, Jose Mesa Among Seven Former Phillies Are On the Hall of Fame Ballot

JoseMesa
Photo Courtesy Wikipedia Commons

The 2013 BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot is out, and there are several Phillies on the ballot.  Try not to laugh.  They are:

  • Jeff Conine
  • Julio Franco
  • Roberto Hernandez
  • Kenny Lofton
  • Jose Mesa
  • Dale Murphy
  • Curt Schilling

Who will get votes?  I'm sure Kenny Lofton will get some, Curt Schilling will get some, and Dale Murphy will fall short as he does every year.

One clue to the future?  Curt Schilling is wearing a Phillies cap on his bio on the Hall of Fame website.  Maybe if he's voted in he will be a Phillie...


Phillies Agree to Trade for Astros Relief Pitcher Wilton Lopez

Wilton_Lopez

After missing out on one option Ryan Madson joining the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Phillies still need to fill a key 8th inning role in the bullpen.   The Phillies are turning to a trade to try to accomplish this goal.   According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly, the Phillies are in active trade talks with the Houston Astros to acquire their closer Wilton Lopez.

Lopez took over the closer's role from Brett Myers last season upon Myers' trade to the Chicago White Sox.    In the closer's role Lopez secured 10 saves.   For the season, Lopez was 6-3 with a 2.17 ERA in 66 games.   In his big league career he is 13-13 with a 3.14 ERA in 213 games.   The Astros reportedly want to make their payroll as low as humanly possible this season while they rebuild under new owner Jim Crane.

Lopez would be a nice fit, helping the Phillies fill the 8th inning role they had so much trouble with last season.   While Justin DeFratus and Phillippe Aumont show great promise, Lopez is a surer bet.  If the Phillies don't have to give either up, they will have the makings of a top bullpen in 2013 and beyond.

UPDATE: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says the two teams have an agreement in place.  The players headed to Houston have not been named yet.   He says the prospects are minor leaguers, "near MLB ready".


Phillies Sign Catcher Humberto Quintero

Humberto_Quintero

We may already know who will get some playing time for the Phillies while catcher Carlos Ruiz is suspended for 25 games in April.  According to Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Phillies have signed veteran catcher Humberto Quintero.  Quintero played 2012 for the Kansas City Royals and their AAA affiliate.

Quintero just may help fill the gap created by Carlos Ruiz's suspension.  While Erik Kratz appears to have the inside track to start, but the Phillies will need another catcher.  Quintero is someone who has bounced back and forth between AAA and the majors much of his career.  In 422 major league games Quintero has hit .234.  In 2012, Quintero hit .232 in 42 games for the Royals.

This is the type of move the Phillies needed to make to deal with the Ruiz suspension.  Quintero presumably is added on a minor-league contract and can be added to the roster before Opening Day.  Then, when Ruiz returns, Quintero likely would clear waivers and be outrighted to AAA and be stashed there in case a catcher gets hurt.


Phillies Catcher Carlos Ruiz Suspended for 25 Games

Carlos_Ruiz

Say it ain't so...

According to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz has been suspended by Major League Baseball for 25 games for using amphetamines.

This is a huge blow for the Phillies, who rode Ruiz's top offense in 2012.

Amphetamines are stiumulants not in the same category as performance-enhancing drugs, but were banned by Major League Baseball in 2006.   Ryan Adams of the Baltimore Orioles was also suspended for such use earlier this month.   A report in 2009 by the New York Times suggested that use of the stimulants was still a problem in baseball. 

The term "amphetamine" can refer to drugs people take to treat ADD and ADHD or the "greenies" that were popular in Major League Baseball in the 1970s.    A Philly.com report identifies the drug of offense as Adderall, commonly used to treat ADD.  Drugs such as Adderall are considered acceptable for use with the proper paperwork filed.  Phillies infielder Kevin Frandsen served a minor-league suspension in 2011 for failing to properly disclose use of Adderall.

In the 2009 report, Dr. Gary Adler felt that the use of Adderall by baseball players was disproportionate to the general population:

"It seems to me as an internist, that's a disproportionate number of adults with ADD requiring stimulants — roughly 10% of the league. I've seen a lot of adults (as patients) and I can count on one hand the number of people I've seen with ADD".

Jayson Stark reported Ruiz's reaction via Twitter:

“I am sincerely regretful for my mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant. I apologize to my teammates, the Phillies organization, and the Philadelphia fans.  I will serve the imposed 25-game suspension to begin the season and I look forward to returning to the field and working toward bringing a championship back to Philadelphia in 2013."

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com adds that for Ruiz to receive a suspension, he was caught once before:

"Suspension means Ruiz tested positive for amphetamines once before. Second positive carries suspension, first does not and is kept private."

So, Ruiz had a warning and yet still let himself be suspended by continuing use.

Look for the Phillies to consider adding another veteran catcher on a minor league deal to perhaps open the season with the Phillies.  Erik Kratz alone won't cut it.  Damn.


Ryan Madson, Angels Agree on a One-Year Contract

Ryan_Madson

Former Reds closer Ryan Madson (can we call him that?) has agreed to terms with a new team: the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, writes ESPN writer Jerry Crasnick.  The move means the Phillies must continue to look for eighth inning help.  The report does not have the terms of the deal.

What the Phillies could not offer Madson was a closer's job.   This deal appears to be a one-year deal with lots of incentives and a chance for Madson to re-establish himself as healthy and working as a closer.  Ernesto Frieri, who saved 23 games for the Angels last year, figures to return to an earlier inning in the Angels' bullpen.


Eagles Release Jason Babin, DeSean Jackson Placed On IR For Remainder of Season

Babin

The Philadelphia Eagles meltdown continues, just a day following their 30-22 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

In a shocking move, the Eagles have released defensive end Jason Babin after the 11th game of the season. Babin, a 32-year-old veteran, spent the 2009, 2011, and 2012 seasons with the Eagles. Last season, Babin accumulated 18 sacks, leading the team. In just 11 games this season, Babin accounted for 5.5 sacks and 26 total tackles. 

Andy Reid spoke about the move this afternoon.

"We appreciate everything that Jason has given this team over the last couple of years," Reid said Tuesday. "We wish him all the best as he continues his career. By releasing him today, this gives us an opportunity to give more playing time to some of younger guys in the defensive line rotation."

With this being the first move of the player firing, it only sounds right that there are many more moves to come as the Eagles continue to embarrass themselves each week. They stand 3-8 on the year after last night's loss.

In other news, WR DeSean Jackson has been placed on IR after suffering fractured ribs in last night's game. The move will be season-ending. Jackson has 45 receptions this year, accumulating 700 yards while scoring only two touchdowns.

Great. Grand. Wonderful. Just fire Andy Reid already.

Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.


Eagles Release Jason Babin, DeSean Jackson Placed On IR For Remainder of Season

Babin

The Philadelphia Eagles meltdown continues, just a day following their 30-22 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

In a shocking move, the Eagles have released defensive end Jason Babin after the 11th game of the season. Babin, a 32-year-old veteran, spent the 2009, 2011, and 2012 seasons with the Eagles. Last season, Babin accumulated 18 sacks, leading the team. In just 11 games this season, Babin accounted for 5.5 sacks and 26 total tackles. 

Andy Reid spoke about the move this afternoon.

"We appreciate everything that Jason has given this team over the last couple of years," Reid said Tuesday. "We wish him all the best as he continues his career. By releasing him today, this gives us an opportunity to give more playing time to some of younger guys in the defensive line rotation."

With this being the first move of the player firing, it only sounds right that there are many more moves to come as the Eagles continue to embarrass themselves each week. They stand 3-8 on the year after last night's loss.

In other news, WR DeSean Jackson has been placed on IR after suffering fractured ribs in last night's game. The move will be season-ending. Jackson has 45 receptions this year, accumulating 700 yards while scoring only two touchdowns.

Great. Grand. Wonderful. Just fire Andy Reid already.

Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.


Eagles Release Jason Babin, DeSean Jackson Placed On IR For Remainder of Season

Babin

The Philadelphia Eagles meltdown continues, just a day following their 30-22 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

In a shocking move, the Eagles have released defensive end Jason Babin after the 11th game of the season. Babin, a 32-year-old veteran, spent the 2009, 2011, and 2012 seasons with the Eagles. Last season, Babin accumulated 18 sacks, leading the team. In just 11 games this season, Babin accounted for 5.5 sacks and 26 total tackles. 

Andy Reid spoke about the move this afternoon.

"We appreciate everything that Jason has given this team over the last couple of years," Reid said Tuesday. "We wish him all the best as he continues his career. By releasing him today, this gives us an opportunity to give more playing time to some of younger guys in the defensive line rotation."

With this being the first move of the player firing, it only sounds right that there are many more moves to come as the Eagles continue to embarrass themselves each week. They stand 3-8 on the year after last night's loss.

In other news, WR DeSean Jackson has been placed on IR after suffering fractured ribs in last night's game. The move will be season-ending. Jackson has 45 receptions this year, accumulating 700 yards while scoring only two touchdowns.

Great. Grand. Wonderful. Just fire Andy Reid already.

Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.


The Phillies Were Interested, But Ryan Madson is Likely "Headed Elsewhere"

Ryan_Madson_Brian_Schneider

An interesting blurb in Todd Zolecki's column on Phillies.com tonight: the Phillies were interested in a reunion with former set-up man Ryan Madson.   However, the reunion is looking less and less likely.   Madson, who never threw a pitch in 2012 and is a free agent, appears to be headed elsewhere:

The Phillies had been interested in bringing back Ryan Madson as a setup man, but it looks like he's headed elsewhere.

The past tense of Zolecki's wording seems to indicate Madson may have something in the works.  Madson suffered an injury and had Tommy John surgery before ever throwing a major league pitch for the Cincinnati Reds, who signed him to be their closer in 2012.   Even though Aroldis Chapman had a dominant season with the Reds as their closer in the wake of Madson's injury, the team may put him in the rotation after all.

The MLB.com report linked above that thought a Jonathan Broxton signing would be grounds to move Chapman to the starting rotation may not leave the Reds comfortable.  Broxton was a mid-season addition by the Reds.  We all remember Broxton from the NLCS in 2008 and 2009.   So, the Reds may want one more safety net.

A Reds reunion with Madson makes sense.  While he did not throw a pitch and may not be ready for opening day, the Reds could use Madson for insurance.  However, another team may be moving closer to getting Madson's services.

The latest on Madson is that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of California are "hot" on Madson.  The report originates from CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury, who also confirms that the Phillies were interested in a reunion before the Angels were willing to pay more.

In the offseason I felt that the Angels were the best fit for Madson.  However, they decided to go with young and marginally-proven Jordan Walden back in February.   Before April was over, Walden was demoted.   Lefty Scott Downs got some saves, and the Angels turned to Ernesto Frieri, who ended up saving 23 games.  While not available right away, Madson could be a veteran option down the line should Frieri pull a Walden.

Oh, and Bleacher Report thinks Madson will be a "perfect fit" on the Mets.  Can't ignore that perspective, right?