Welcome to the MLB Roundtable, where our panel talk 10 foot tall walls, Bug Selig’s job performance, who gets the chair next, two guys coming up for the Hall of Fame vote plus Revenue Sharing!
1. Why doesn’t MLB make the walls 10ft high along the HR wall, and then we don’t have to worry about the interference?
ARCHIE: To begin with, no two parks are identical and MLB has pretty much been hands-off in the design of ballparks to my knowledge. IF they meet the minimum playing area that is about all MLB cares about, that and not stifling the team from gaining revenue. Some parks just do not have the area/space to accommodate 10’ high walls. The reason is the higher the walls the higher the first row of seats and this requires space and as stated, space is revenue.
STEPHAN: Two reasons: First, If you make your stadium have 10ft walls, you are essentially eliminating about 1000 to 2000 seats along the outfield wall. Second, It would eliminate big plays like robbing someone of a home run. What would Mike Trout’s claim to fame be if he didn’t rob someone of a home run once a week? Ultimately, in baseball standards, it takes away the fans from the game. You don’t see fan interference that often enough to cause a significant uproar over it.
JOSEPH: No special reason and since some walls are probably at least eight feet high it probably should not be a big problem to make the walls ten foot high. But, I can stop the problem of interference even if the walls are three foot high. Take out the first rows and build a concrete buffer zone. Anyone found on that buffer zone gets warned once. Do it a second time you get kicked out of the stadium. Word will get around fast and HR interference will not happen. Case closed.
JIM: A 10 foot wall might sound good in theory, but it ignores the fans in exchange for the handful of times when the fans interfere with the play. If the wall is 10 foot all around, the stands must be redesigned to allow even the front row to see the warning track. This means the front row needs to be even further back, or higher. In other words, either the fan gets screwed by distance, or he can still interfere; only from 10 feet up instead of 5 or 6.
And why would a fan want to purchase a front row seat when it means he can’t see all the action? Previous “premium” seats are now “obstructed view” seats.
2. Who is your candidate to replace Bud Selig?
ARCHIE: There are several names being bantered about for Selig’s heir to the chair. I think maybe Fay Vincent had it right many years ago when he thought Steve Greenberg would have been the better selection over Selig. He’s been a life-long baseball man. He has worked to broker a long list of club sales. And while the league has dramatically changed since he had the title, being deputy commissioner of the league previously doesn’t hurt his chances at the big chair.
STEPHAN: Well I don’t think Pete Rose is a candidate, so I will eliminate him right off the bat. My pick, while a million to one long shot would be Former President George W Bush. He has leadership experience, baseball experience as he owned the Rangers, and has a solid knowledge and love for the game of baseball.
JOSEPH: Haven’t given it much thought and I don’t know if I really care that much as long as the guy replacing Bud does nothing to hurt the game. I will say that I know little to nothing about most of the names that I have heard bandied about.
JIM: I don’t know who it is, but I dang sure know who it cannot be. It cannot be another team owner. Bud Selig, regardless of any of his success, will always be remembered as the guy that moved his team into the National League to get away from the Red Sox and Yankees.
That being said, I think Tim Brosnan is the best choice. Currently the head of MLB’s operations, he is a perfect fit for the position. He’s worked hard, is very good at his job, and deserves the job.
If not him, that I throw my vote to former President of the United States George W. Bush. He has baseball experience, loves the game, and would be a fantastic ambassador for the sport.
3. Give your approval rating for Selig as commissioner during his tenure.
ARCHIE: For running a tight ship and keeping players and teams ethically strong he definitely receives an “F” in my book. And at the same time he wielded the blind eye towards all the PED issues, he STILL did not fairly address Pete Rose and his lifetime ban, (MY Opinion). However, the sport has never been more popular or financially stable as it is right now so for the economics of the game he receives and “A”. I guess that averages to an overall “C” rating, which is about right with me.
STEPHAN: I would say 50/50. Selig has done a great job for baseball in making certain elements fun for the game. Such as, home field advantage for the All Star Game winner, and adding the first Wild Card in 1995. I think that was a huge step for Selig. However, the second wild-card? A complete waste of time. I don’t really like the way he backed off during the steroid scandal, and sort of played second fiddle to Congress. I don’t like the way he handled this, I felt he needed to be more involved. Overall though, Selig did enough good to outweigh the bad, so a 50% approval rating is about right for me.
JOSEPH: For me this is an easy one. Just go see my two part piece on Bud’s legacy on this web site. Okay, I know there be some of you who are too, umm… busy, to go and read a two parter so… basically he gets a B-plus/A-minus. He did more good, a lot more good, than he did bad. Bottom line the business of baseball is now a multi-billion dollar and a solvent business. My major criticism of MLB, and therefore of Selig, at this point would be maybe take less media money and make the game a bit more fan friendly by having more day games and more regularly scheduled double headers.
JIM: See my answer above. I don’t care if Bud Selig ended hunger and saved the Union, he will still be remembered always as the selfish owner who used his position to help his team. It was wrong, and it should have not been allowed. Plus, he refused to reinstate Pete Rose. The next commissioner MUST right this wrong.
4. How much influence does revenue sharing help with forming a competitive team?
ARCHIE: For some teams it barely keeps them competitive simply for the market and/or division they are in. For others, it adds to the pockets of ONLY the owners, (cough, cough, Loria, cough). And then for some teams it does allow for competitive Free Agents as well as keeping home grown talent once they reach arbitration and the FA market. All in all it is a good idea that needs better management.
STEPHAN: It has some influence, but not as much as you would think. You can have a team like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and Angels that have tons of cash to spend on free agents, yet only two of those teams are in the playoffs. The Pirates, Rays, A’s, and Indians are all smaller markets yet can compete with the big boys on the field. I have always said that it takes solid team of nine guys on a baseball field that can co-exist together to form a championship team.
JOSEPH: Not a damn thing if the “getting” team doesn’t spend it to improve team operations and/or the team on the field. Which, by the way, is mandated by MLB rules regarding revenue shares going to, and being used by, the so-called have nots.
JIM: The Pirates, A’s and Reds and Indians all made the post season. I think this answers the question without much further discussion. Revenue sharing allows the little guys to have a shot. Once they have success, they’ll sell more tickets, and increase their own bottom line. If you want an example of this, simply look at the Detroit Tigers. They were a low payroll loser, who hired a great manager in Jim Leyland. They started winning, and the fans started coming out and buying merchandise. Now they are a top salary team, and in the playoffs once again. Revenue sharing allows all the lower teams this same opportunity, at a much faster pace.
5. Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux both retired in 2008 making them eligible for next year’s HOF election. Do they both get in on first ballots?
ARCHIE: Yes. Do I really need to say more? What? Okay. Mad Dog is in without clarifying. My reasoning for Glavine is this; 2 CY awards; 5 x 20 win seasons, 10 x ASG’s, but mostly because of his 305 wins. If Bert Blyleven can get in, regardless on times on the ballot, then Glavine should be voted first ballot. I have never seen any pitcher dominate with off speed stuff on the corner like Glavine did. Hitters KNEW what he was going to throw and he still managed to win the wars.
STEPHAN: Maddux gets in for sure, and maybe with the highest percentage of all time, yes I am biased as a lifelong Maddux fan. I think Glavine SHOULD get in, and probably will, though it will be much closer to the threshold than Maddux will be. I think Maddux gets well over 90%, while Glavine will likely have somewhere between 75-80%. Both will get in on first ballot.
JOSEPH: Hard to see how one gets in and the other does not in my book. But if one were to get in while one did not then Maddux gets in and Glavine not.
Why? Because Maddux was that much better than Glavine. His Era (3.16) and games won (355) out shone Glavine’s (3.54 and 305 wins) but not by enough to diminish Glavine’s record and first ballot election in my mind. But, where Maddux really stood out was in the area of control and thus as a dominant pitcher. He had 3,371 strikeouts and only 999 walks in 23 seasons pitched. Think about that: For his career he averaged about 3.5 Ks to each W. He also won four CYs in a row 1992-1995 during which he was 75-29 with a 1.98. ERA. During the strike-shortened <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_Major_League_Baseball_strike> 1994 season, Maddux posted an ERA of 1.56, the second lowest since Bob Gibson <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Gibson> ‘s unbelievable 1.12 in 1968, the last year of the elevated mound. (Dwight Gooden had a 1.53 in 1985.)
Then is 1995, Maddux was 19–2 and posted the third lowest ERA, 1.63, since Gibson’s 1.12. Maddux became the first pitcher to post back-to-back ERAs under 1.80 since Walter Johnson <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Johnson> in 1918 (1.27) and 1919 (1.49). Also, from 1995 through 1997 he had a K/W ratio of 7.87 to 1, 6.14 to 1 and 8.85 to 1. That is dominance.
Again, those 305 wins alone should get Glavine elected. But since Maddux is on the same ballot, and he had a point in his career that he had been near Koufax-type dominance (minus the no-hitters), I could envision some ill-advised writers justify not voting for two pitchers that were from the same team.
JIM: Maddox is in. Period. There is no question here. He is simply is above everyone else. 350 wins? Check. 3000 strikeouts? Check. 18 Gold Gloves? Did you read that? EIGHTEEN GOLD GLOVES! Check. He will cruise in on the first vote with over 90% of the ballots selecting his name. So with Greg Maddox there is no question. First ballot, guaranteed.
Glavine? He is Greg Maddox Junior. Everything Glavine did, Maddox simply did better. And if I’m voting, I simply cannot call them equal. Meaning Tom Glavine waits at least one year before getting his absolutely earned spot in the Hall of Fame. He’s guaranteed to get in….just not on the first ballot.
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