Thursday, January 10, 2008


I have lots of problems with lots of things. Trouble is, with some of these things, here's the way my mind works:
1) acknowledge problem
2) obsess over how troubling the problem is
3) move onto another problem to obsess over

Rarely does 2a) happen, but in this case it has. 2a) is this: Think of solution to problem, publish it on blog, and solve problem.

Here's what I've solved.

The problem is election into the baseball Hall of Fame. I have a big problem with the fact that a guy is not a Hall of Famer one year (maybe on his own merit, maybe in comparison to the people he's up for election with in a given year), and then in succeeding years, he gets closer and closer and closer to election, until one January day he gets the call and suddenly, he's a Hall of Famer! (Two things - I realize this system worked for Hall of Famer Gary Carter, but it's flawed to me, no matter which person I idolize benefits. Also, I realize that this is not the only problem with the system, but it's the only one I'm solving.)

Now, this is big news up by me these days because of Jim Rice, and how close he has gotten this year, and how likely it is that he will get in next year, after 15 years of eligibility (I think I have that right....I'm going sans looking up information here). (Also note that this is Jim Rice, pictured below. He's the Red Sox player about to be tagged out at home by Gary Carter in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.).

What makes Rice a Hall of Famer now, after all these years, when he barely got 30% of the vote his first few times out? (Actually, with Rice, it's quite simple - the media are lording it over him that they control his Hall of Fame fate, because he was a downright jerk to them when he was playing. Since the media always gets the last laugh [you listening, Roger Clemens?], and he didn't stay on their good side, he's paying the price.)

My solution to this whole thing - wait more than 5 years on marginal candidates before you vote. Maybe give it ten years, and only leave them on the ballot for five years total. This way:

1) We're not subjected to year after year of voting, where a guy inches closer and closer and finally makes it.
2) A player, instead of campaigning and trying to win votes after his first year of eligibility and seeing how many more votes he needs, can spend 10 years building the case for candidacy before anyone votes at all.
3) A player like Jim Rice, who ticked off the writers, can have a longer cooling-off period (but, really, when it comes down to the media, they have long memories, and will hold the grudge no matter what).
4) With a player who is a lock for the Hall of Fame, the commissioner can step in and do something positive for the sport - waive the waiting period, or declare a 5-year waiting period, and that player can get in sooner.

I just thought I'd weigh in - it's rare that I can complain about something and offer some ideas to make it better. So I'm taking advantage of that opportunity.

AN E-MAIL: Thanks to Rob in New Jersey, who heard my desperate plea for e-mail and reference to my post last week about the Mangini cell phone ads:

"I was going to post a comment, but I didn't feel like taking the time to set up a log-in. Plus, I could tell you were jonesin' for an email to this address.

Re: Magini's Razr phone commercials... It also took me several viewing before I got the point.

Even though I agree with your take on the ads, allow me to pose an alternate theory: could it be that everyone in the city with a stake in Jets' outcomes or with things that cause angst is chucking his phone in frustration and they just end with Mangini showing his particular brand of frustration as a way of illustrating why the phones are turning up embedded in walls? In other words, could they be trying to make us think that Razrs are getting embedded in walls all over the place as people have things - Jets related or not - digust them? Hmmmm..."

If you want to meet someone who has obsessed over this longer and given it more thought than I, meet Rob. I think he's right - that's probably where all of the phones came from. It never seemed right that Mangini had about twenty phones and was chucking them into things all over Jersey. Thanks for making sense of that, Rob.

That said, I think we can all agree that if that is Belichick's voice at the end of the commercial (and the more I hear it now, the more I think it is), it's gotta be driving him nuts that he's tagging the end of a commercial starring Eric Mangini.

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