Off Base
The Hall With It

December 3, 2007

Well friends, it's that time of year again. Hall of Fame ballots are in the hands of baseball's writers. The scribes get to ponder their sage-like selections while sipping all the egg nog they can stomach, just as long as their ballots are postmarked by New Year's Eve. Winners will be announced January 8, 2008.

I've been harping on the Hall vote in this space forever, and at the moment I'm way too lazy to rehash the whole damn thing yet again. It's a down year for the newbies, and I think we can conclude that Tim Raines is not going to be a first-ballot inductee. That means Jack Morris and Jim Rice finally have a real shot. And I support them both. Maybe just maybe Rich Gossage as well.

Bert Blyleven, Dave Concepcion and Steve Garvey are my other holdovers, but I've pretty much given up on their ever getting in. And like I said, I'm not going to rehash the whole damn thing. Feel free to peruse my previous rants. Or not. Increased Drug Testing Necessary, If So and So Gets In, and The Funny Beard Contingent.

While Joe Morgan and his merry men of the Veterans Committee get the year off before their next round of lameness, a separate and better-qualified group of Vets will vote on a distinguished group of managers, umpires and executives, with announcements scheduled for December 3 at the Winter Meetings.

The most successful general manager in Dodgers history really ought to make it. Buzzie Bavasi would be that gm. If eight pennants and four World Championships isn't a lock, there's no such thing. Yeah, Buzzie played stork to the San Diego Padres, but there are worse things. I can't think of one at the moment, but there are worse things. Buzzie is a Hall of Famer. Period, exclamation point. I'm partial to Walter O'Malley too.

The managers list includes three men with as many rings as Tommy Lasorda, in Billy Martin, Danny Murtaugh and Dick Williams, and all are worthy. Williams' record (1571-1451, with a .520 winning percentage) is almost identical to Tommy's (1599-1439 and .526), and in a shorter career, Murtaugh won 1115 games, winning a whopping 54% of his games.

Umpires don't concern me, so forgive me while I pass on the men in blue. And Gene Mauch invented the double-switch, but c'mon, do we really need to go there?

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Speaking of Hall of Famers: Chan Ho Park has decided to pass on a comeback opportunity with the Dodgers, in favor of international competition which conflicts with Spring Training. Good for him, really good for Los Angeles...

L.A. Baseball: Anaheim too. There's been a ton of talk in the media about what's perceived to be grand achieving by the Angels this off-season, and how that supposedly says something about the Dodgers. First of all, there's no relationship between the two. The Dodgers need only concern themselves with the National League West.

More importantly, Jon Garland is a nice pickup, but for Orlando Cabrera? Why this guy keeps getting traded is beyond me. Cabrera is a great all-around shortstop; a great all-around shortstop, worth every penny of his salary, which can no longer be said about Torii Hunter. Big, big, big mistake by the Angels.

The rumors about the Dodgers trading the whole squad for Miguel Cabrera or Johan Santana are frightening, but not to worry. They won't do it. I am afraid, however, that Andre Ethier might be included in a deal, but perhaps it's an unfounded fear. If the club must part with prospects to swing something, Tony Abreu, Chin-Lung Hu, Andy LaRoche should be the first to be offered, followed by some below-the-radar minor leaguers who may be coveted.

There's no deal on earth that should include Chad Billingsley, OK; none. Nor James Loney. None.

By the way, Adrian Beltre is your answer at third base. And totally doable.

Meanwhile, Ned Colletti should have already re-signed Mike Lieberthal, Rudy Seanez and Mike Sweeney. There's zero reason to send out a search party to fill those three roles. There's also no reason to quibble over a couple hundred thousand bucks, if that's what it comes down to. Make it happen.

Pitchers and catchers and Rene Rivera report in 75 days...

Investors Wanted: Invest a thimble full of venture capital today, make major league minimum tomorrow…

Poli-Sigh: Admittedly, my 2005 endorsement of Antonio Villaraigosa for L.A. mayor was a heinous boo-boo, but it's not like I gave $44 million to Juan Pierre. I'm sorry. Let's move forward.

While Villaraigosa's a serious jackass, he's right to finally, once and for all, tab the Coliseum as out of the NFL-in-L.A. picture. Dodger Stadium is now, and has always been the best possible site for football's return to the City of Angels. Can you say, the Los Angeles Football Dodgers?

Word Association: The name Tim Raines takes me immediately to the late, great L.A.Times and Herald Examiner columnist Allan Malamud.

It was 1987. The Pope was to visit Chavez Ravine that summer. The Dodgers were in the midst of consecutive 73-89 seasons, their general manager content to go to war with outfielders Jose Gonzales, Franklin Stubbs, Terry Whitfield and Reggie Williams. Oh, and Mike Marshall.

The Montreal Expos were shopping Raines, L.A. fans clamored for action, and the press beat down hard on the club. But Fred Claire was steadfast. “No,” he said. “We don’t need Tim Raines," and referring to Ken Landreaux, added, "We already have a center fielder."

In his "Notes on a Scorecard" Her-X column following the sold-out Papal mass at Dodger Stadium, Mud wrote: “See what happens when you put a big name in center field?”

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….









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