Monthly Archives: July 2014

Hall of Fame balloting 2015

The 2014 Hall of Fame balloting was just completed yesterday. Six men went into Cooperstown- pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, first baseman/designated hitter Frank Thomas, and managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, and Joe Torre all gave their induction speeches.

Next year, the following players will be on the ballot (in alphabetical order):

Jeff Bagwell
Craig Biggio
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Jeff Kent
Edgar Martinez
Don Mattingly
Fred McGriff
Mark McGwire
Mike Mussina
Mike Piazza
Tim Raines
Curt Schilling
Lee Smith
Sammy Sosa
Alan Trammell
Larry Walker

Big-name Newcomers:

1. Randy Johnson
2. Pedro Martinez
3. John Smoltz
4. Nomar Garciaparra
5. Carlos Delgado

With new BBWAA rules limiting eligibility to ten years rather than the usual fifteen, time is running out for McGwire and Raines. Whether this change was done as a punishment for the “steroid era” in baseball remains to be seen, but we had all anticipated changes coming to the ballot; this wasn’t necessarily what we had in mind, though. Three players- Mattingly, Smith, and Trammell- are grandfathered into the ballot, because they survived the ballots before the rule change. Mattingly will be in his final year of eligibility, and all three seem like long shots.

In the Veteran’s Committee “Golden Era” vote, to be announced in November, these are who I’d like to see on the ballot:

1. Gil Hodges
2. Jim Kaat
3. Minnie Minoso
4. Ken Boyer
5. Buzzie Bavasi
6. Tony Oliva
7. Dick Groat
8. Charlie Finley
9. Allie Reynolds
10. Luis Tiant

The inclusion of Groat may be a questionable one, but he did play on two World Series winners (1960 Pirates, 1964 Cardinals) and won the National League MVP Award and batting title in 1960. Groat made eight All-Star Games, amassing over 2,000 hits and a .286 batting average, which is not only decent for a shortstop but also great for the decade of the pitcher in the 1960s. Hodges is probably the best player not in the Hall of Fame, and Reynolds missed by one vote in 2009. Kaat won 283 games and a World Series with the Cardinals in 1982. I would put Hodges and Kaat in, with Reynolds, Boyer and Groat garnering consideration.

How I think the ballot will break down:

BBWAA ballot: Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, Pedro Martinez
Veteran’s Committee: Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat


2002 World Cup rearranging the round of 16

Usually, what happens in the round of 16 in the World Cup is that the winner of Group A plays the runner-up of Group B, and vice versa. But in Korea/Japan 2002, they did things a little differently- Group A, for example, played Group F, Group H played Group C.

Here are the match-ups if they were done the traditional way:

(A1) Denmark vs. (B2) Paraguay
(C1) Brazil vs. (D2) United States

(E1) Germany vs. (F2) England
(G1) Mexico vs. (H2) Belgium

(B1) Spain vs. (A2) Senegal
(D1) South Korea vs. (C2) Turkey

(F1) Sweden vs. (E2) Ireland
(H1) Japan vs. (G2) Italy

What I think would have happened:

Denmark over Paraguay
Brazil over United States

Germany over England
Belgium over Mexico

Spain over Senegal
South Korea over Turkey

Sweden over Ireland
Italy over Japan


Brazil over Denmark
Germany over Belgium

South Korea over Spain
Italy over Sweden


Brazil over Germany
Italy over South Korea


Brazil over Italy

The following matches actually happened, but only one happened in the same round (in bold):

Brazil vs. Germany (final instead of semifinal)
South Korea vs. Turkey (third-place game- which Turkey won- instead of round of 16)
South Korea vs. Spain (actually happened, with South Korea winning on penalties)

What it would have meant:

Belgium makes their second quarterfinal earlier than anticipated. The U.S. makes the round of 16, but not the quarterfinals as happened in real life. Italy, eliminated in the round of 16, makes it all the way to the final. Germany-England would have been a great match, and that’s always a fierce rivalry.

Simulated results:

Champion- Brazil
Finalist- Italy
3rd place- Germany
4th place- South Korea
Quarterfinals- Belgium
Quarterfinals- Denmark
Quarterfinals- Spain
Quarterfinals- Sweden
Round of 16- England
Round of 16- Ireland
Round of 16- Japan
Round of 16- Mexico
Round of 16- Paraguay
Round of 16- Senegal
Round of 16- Turkey
Round of 16- United States

Actual results:

Champion- Brazil
Finalist- Germany
3rd place- Turkey
4th place- South Korea
Quarterfinals- England
Quarterfinals- Senegal
Quarterfinals- Spain
Quarterfinals- United States
Round of 16- Belgium
Round of 16- Denmark
Round of 16- Ireland
Round of 16- Italy
Round of 16- Japan
Round of 16- Mexico
Round of 16- Paraguay
Round of 16- Sweden

The only real big change at the top is Italy; all of the other three semifinalists, albeit not in the same order.

It makes you wonder what would have happened if they had followed the traditional pairings.

World Cup quarterfinals

2014 FIFA World Cup quarterfinalists:

July 4

Brazil vs. Colombia

Analysis: Brazil comes in as host, but Colombia comes in as the hottest team. They’ve been a high-scoring team, scoring eleven goals and conceding only two. Colombia’s James Rodriguez is the leading scorer at the moment, with five goals. The only thing we know for sure is that since both teams are from South America, there will be at least one South American team in the semifinals. Brazil’s defense has been a concern, and they haven’t been the dominant side that they were supposed to be. I would like to think that the momentum from being the home country will carry them through, but considering that they would be playing either France or Germany if they advance, you have to wonder if the hometown heroes are meant to lift the trophy. Aside from Neymar, the rest of the side has been inconsistent. It’s going to take a better defensive effort to make the last four.

France vs. Germany

We know it will be South America vs. Europe in one semifinal, because the winner of this match plays Brazil or Colombia. I unofficially picked Germany to win the whole thing; I think they are the most consistent as a team. They’re good in defense, goal, and up front. This is a great rivalry, and these two teams played in the semifinals in 1982 and 1986. The last thing that France will want is a penalty shootout, because Germany has never lost one in a World Cup. As good as France has been, I think Germany’s better consistency will carry them through.

July 5

Netherlands vs. Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been the upstart team in this World Cup; like Colombia, they make the quarterfinals for the first time ever. However, considering that they have to play the Dutch, I think it’s a mismatch for Los Ticos. As good as their run has been, I think it ends at the hands of the Oranje.

Argentina vs. Belgium

Many people have picked Argentina to win the World Cup, and it’s hard to argue against them. Belgium, widely considered the “dark horse” of the tournament, makes their first quarterfinals appearance since 1986, and only their second ever. This new “Golden Generation” has given Belgium a source of pride. This is probably the most intriguing game; Argentina has Lionel Messi, arguably the best player in the world. But both sides have underwhelmed so far in the World Cup, even after winning all four group stage games. If Belgium’s back four can contain Messi, they might have a chance to steal one. Argentina will also have Marcos Rojo suspended for the game for the accumulated yellow cards rule. This is hard to call. As proud as I am of the Rode Duivels, I think Messi is just too strong, and the dark horses will run their last race in the World Cup. But if the Red Devils contain Messi, they may put themselves in position to steal it, being a second half team for the Cup and most of qualifiers.

Who should advance: Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, Argentina.