Tagged: Colorado Rockies

The 30 in 30 Schedule

The baseball schedule is a grind. Day after day, game after game. 162 games is no easy feat. Neither is 30 games in 30 days. We have our schedule for seeing all 30 teams in 30 days. It is not for the faint of heart. 

After much time and research, here is the schedule we will follow for our 30 in 30 baseball road trip. 

July 16July 17
St. Louis
July 18July 19July 20July 21July 22July 23July 24
Philadelphia PhilliesWashington NationalsAtlanta
Tampa Bay RaysMiami
Kansas City Royals
July 25July 26July 27July 28July 29July 30July 31
Cleveland SpidersBaltimore OriolesBoston
Red Sox
Blue Jays
August 1August 2August 3August 4August 5August 6August 7
New York
New York YankeesDetroit
Milwaukee BrewersChicago White SoxColorado
Los Angeles Dodgers
August 8August 9August 10August 11August 12August 13August 14
Oakland AthleticsSan Diego
Los Angeles AngelsSeattle
San Francisco GiantsArizona DiamondbacksTexas

In 30 days we will drive 15,611 miles and roughly 237 hours. We have 11 drives over 500 miles. This includes three drives over 500 miles, three over 700 miles, and five over 1,000 miles. We will be driving a rental car, no sense destroying our own cars. There will be long days where we do not want to drive. However, it will be worth it in the end. 

This is one of the truly great baseball road trips. The most common reaction from people has been shock at the enormity of the trip and the amount of driving. Kevin and I both understand and are thankful Bernie will be joining us later in the trip to be our third driver. Hopefully knowing the end is in sight energizes us. 

There are two types of challenging drives. Difficulty because of game start time and distance. The two drives that are difficult because of start times are early in the journey. Our third game is the Phillies with a 1:05 PM start time. It is 576 miles and almost 9 hours from Cincinnati and Philadelphia. The easy solution would be to drive some after the Reds game. However, I live in Cincinnati so it makes more sense to sleep in my own bed before leaving. This means we will hit the road around 3 AM. Rise and drive. The second challenging start time is in Tampa. We will be coming from Atlanta, 493 miles and almost 8 hours away. The Rays game starts at 12:10 PM. Again the easy solution is to start driving the night before, but finances play a role. I am from Atlanta so we will stay with my family, plus hang out with Jesse and John. You cannot pass up free lodging. Kevin and I will have another 3 AM departure. Great for beating traffic, but no one wants to wake up that early. 

We are hoping for nothing but blue skies, green grass, and baseball. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

The second category of difficult drives is the distance between teams. Try as we might, some teams are isolated or at dead ends. The Marlins and Rays present a problem. The Braves are the only close team so we knew there would be a long drive to or from Florida. We will have a mostly free day in Miami, and free lodging thanks to our friend Jason, so we should be rested for the drive to Houston. The Astros are 1,186 miles and 17 hours away. Unfortunately Miami has a night game, so another short night before setting off around 2 AM. The change from Eastern to Central Time helps, but a 17 hour drive is tough. Miami to Houston is our longest drive of the trip. 

The West Coast could make or break the trip. Our limited window and the schedule gave us limited options. The trip west begins after seeing the White Sox. We will drive 1,004 miles and 14 and a half hours to Denver. The time zones again help. After the Rockies game we have to keep moving, our next game is in Los Angeles. Dodger Stadium is 1,022 miles and almost 15 hours away. Back to back 1,000 mile days will be brutal, but our baseball guardian angel, Bernie, joins us at the perfect time. After a few days driving up and down California we face a drive from Anaheim to Seattle. The Mariners are 1,163 miles and 18 hours north. While it is a few miles shorter than Miami to Houston, California traffic can be a nightmare. The key is simply getting out of Los Angeles.  The final long drive is to our final game. We head 1,047 miles and 15 hours east from Phoenix to Arlington for the Rangers game. The time zones will work against us. The final leg will either have us completely spent or we will be hyped as we complete the most ridiculous trip of our lives. The only thing that will matter is watching our 30th game in 30 days. 

There will be plenty of difficult drives along the way, but we know these are the ones that will test our commitment to completing 30 in 30. Having an off day in Miami and New York should reenergize us. The short drives between Milwaukee and Chicago as well as San Diego and Los Angeles will give one of us a day off. This is our schedule to see 30 games in 30 days. Hopefully we hit minimal traffic and avoid rain delays and rain outs. 


30 Teams in 30 Days

There will be moments where we question why we are doing this. Why would two people subject themselves to endless hours of driving just to watch baseball? The goal is simple, see all 30 MLB teams, in their home ballparks, in 30 days. All done by driving, no flying. It is crazy and I have wanted to do it for years. Others have done the ultimate baseball road trip, but I wanted my own adventure. 

The first task was to find someone to go with me. It is physically impossible to do this trip solo. Everyone needs a break from driving. If I could not convince someone to join me, the trip was over before it began. I began talking about the trip with friends. Most were shocked by the idea and several wanted to join, but could not take 30 days off work. I am a teacher, so my summers are relatively free, other than umpiring baseball. Success came when I talked to Kevin. He has the ability to work from the road and can take some time off. Copilot secured, now the real nightmare begins. 

Pulling off 30 teams in 30 days is a logistical nightmare. First you have to figure out the schedule so you can hit every team within a 30 day window. If one team is not at home or has an off day the entire schedule is ruined. The east coast is fairly easy, teams are close enough together to skip around and still hit every stadium without too much hassle. Florida presents a challenge as Atlanta is the only team close enough to reach Tampa or Miami without a long drive. The west coast is the most difficult portion of the trip to plan. Seattle is off by itself and Colorado is in a no man’s land between teams. The trip requires the ability to string together isolated cities. If one team is not home on a certain day, the chain is broken and the entire schedule must be reworked.

Bernie will be joining Kevin and Derek for different sections of their journey to all 30 ball parks in 30 days. (The Winning Run/ BL)

Connecting teams creates the second challenge of the trip. What teams can you feasibly drive to each day and still arrive in time for first pitch? The grind of a month on the road will wear down even the most excited baseball fan. Planning has to account for the realities of exhaustion and the desire to not drive all day, every day. Connecting two teams with a short drive is critical for maintaining energy and sanity. Even better is if both teams in Los Angeles, Chicago, and/or New York are home at the same time. A glorious day out of the car. Your body and mind will thank you. 

The logistical nightmares are not confined to the baseball schedule. You have to plan where you will sleep each night. Always staying in a hotel is financially impossible. Creativity and personal relationships are key. We will stay in a hotel some nights. However, the majority of the nights will be spent crashing with friends and family or camping under the stars. Sleep is critical to safely pulling this off. 

Doing 30 in 30 this year is made a little more difficult because of limited tickets due to Covid protocols. Normally we would have bought tickets to every game by now. Instead we are left waiting. Everything is falling into place, yet so far we only have tickets to the Cincinnati Reds. We have also had to create two routes as it is unclear where the Blue Jays’s home will be during our trip. 

There are many moving parts to this trip. The logistical nightmares will continue throughout the trip. The best plans rarely hold up once they meet reality. Traffic, weather, exhaustion, and other unknown factors could derail or alter the trip. Time will tell how 30 in 30 comes together. We have already put months of work into the trip. We will start the trip the Friday after the All Star game. The summer heat will follow us around the country as we watch baseball in all 30 MLB ballparks. I have long dreamed of this trip. There is still work to be done. At times I question why I ever wanted to do this, but in the end it will be something that will always bring a smile to my face. 


Predictions Sure To Go Wrong 7.0

Baseball is back. The 162 game Regular Season grind is back. So too is the unpredictability of the season. No single player can dominate so completely that they carry their team to a World Series title. Baseball is different, the best player does not always come to bat with the game on the line. The Angels would love to send Mike Trout to the plate in every big moment, but that is not how baseball works. The game is back to normal and if we know anything our predictions will foretell what will not happen this season. Your guess is as good as ours for the 2021 season.

American League East

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
YankeesGod’s Waiting RoomYankeesYankeesYankeesYankees
RaysSpankiesDudein JaysRaysPoutineRays
Snow BirdsSorrysDevil RaysFlorida BirdsRaysBlue Jays
Red SoxBaltimoreSad BirdsRed SuxRacistsRed Sox
Dead BirdSoxFenwaysBmoreOh DearOrioles

The American League East is the Yankees to lose. Gerrit Cole makes any team better, but New York signed him to be the workhorse in October. If the training staff can keep the pinstripes healthy the rest of the division is in trouble. The Tampa Bay Rays seemed to get worse by trading away Blake Snell. However, it is hard to count the Rays out as they seem to find underrated players who exceed expectations and put Tampa in the thick of the Postseason race. The biggest question for Tampa is will they have a World Series hangover. The Toronto Blue Jays could be snow birds for the entire season. There has been no official word on when the team can return to Canada. They will play their home games in Dunedin, Florida for the foreseeable future. Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will provide plenty of excitement wherever they play. The Red Sox traded away Andrew Benintendi and lost Jackie Bradley Jr. to the Brewers in free agency to complete the teardown of one of the most exciting outfields in recent memory. Boston fans are still excited about the financial flexibility the Mookie Betts trade gave them. Baltimore is a great baseball town. The Orioles are in the middle of a painful rebuild. They will not contend this season, but Baltimore is on the rise…finally.

American League Central

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
Black SoxTwinkiesChiSoxChiSoxTwinsWhite Sox
TwinkiesSouth SidersTwinkletittesTwinklesWhite SoxTwins
MonarchsTeam to be named laterQuarter PoundersClevelandRoyalsRoyals
SpidersTigersCleveland Footbal teamRoyalsSpidersSpiders
Motor City KittiesMonarchsDetroit Why Am I HeresTigersTigersTigers

The South Side of Chicago will have plenty of fireworks. The reigning American League MVP in Jose Abreu. The always exciting Tim Anderson. A pitching staff that can compete with any team in baseball. Can Tony La Russa harness Chicago’s potential or will a clash between old school and new school derail the White Sox. The Minnesota Twins continue to be a great Regular Season team. Their signing of Andrelton Simmons might be the most underrated free agent move of the offseason. Can they figure out a winning formula in October? Kansas City has quietly built a solid team on a budget. Signing and trading for Mike Minor, Andrew Benintendi, and Carlos Santana with Whit Merrifield and Salvador Perez already on the roster will create plenty of wins for the Royals. Is it enough to compete with the White Sox and Twins for the division? Cleveland could be a very good team, but in a tough division good is not good enough. They still have Jose Ramirez and Shane Bieber, but the team needs more if they want to contend. The Detroit Tigers continue rebuilding. Miguel Cabrera’s continued ascent up the record books will draw fans. Wins will be difficult to come by, but the Tigers have a bright future ahead, but Detroit should not expect a trip to the Postseason in 2021.

Tim Anderson is never boring on the diamond. (www.si.com)

American League West

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
MoneyballWhite ElephantsLA’s other teamA’sBeane BallersAthletics
TroutHouston Astr-hosMoneyballTrash CansAngelsAngels
Trash CansAngelsCheatersAngelsCheatersAstros
Ranger DangerNolan Ryan Hot DogsSea hagsStarbucksMarinersMariners
MarinersGriffey Used to Play HereAgent ZerosChuck NorrisRangersRangers

Could this be the year the Astros lose their grip on the division? George Springer is gone and Justin Verlander is out with Tommy John surgery. Houston is still a competitive team, but the division is catching up. Bang the trash can slowly. Oakland has a dynamic duo in Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. The young and hungry A’s are built to compete and the team is posed to deliver. Mike Trout deserves better. The best player in baseball for almost a decade has been stuck in Los Angeles as the Angels keep turning potential into disappointment. Shohei Ohtani is healthy and Albert Pujols can still hit. The Angels owe it to Mike Trout to finally deliver him to the Postseason, but he cannot do it alone. This was not the offseason Seattle wanted. The ire of an entire sport focused on the stupidity spewed by their now former President and CEO about the team’s young talent has not set the team up for success. The Mariners have not played in October since 2001. Seattle has drafted and signed prospects that appear set to be the future stars for the Mariners. The Robinson Cano signing told Seattle it cannot rely on a single player with a monster contract. Lesson learned, they are a few seasons away from winning. It will be a long hot summer in Texas. The Rangers have some good pieces, but not enough to matter. At least their new stadium has a roof so the players and fans do not cook in the Texas heat. 

National League East

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
BravesBravosAtlanta BallclubBravesBravosBravos
NatsFishFlorida FishMetsMarlinsMarlins
MarlinsAmazins2019 ChampsNatsNationalsNats
PhanaticsPholliesSad HarpersPhilliesPhilliesPhillies

The National League East is the toughest division in baseball. Atlanta was 1 game away from the World Series last year. Instead of hoping for better results the Braves got better by signing Charlie Morton and will get Mike Soroka back from his torn Achilles. Their offense is led by reigning National League MVP Freddie Freeman and future MVP Ronald Acuna Jr. The Amazin’s are a force to reckon with, especially after adding Francisco Lindor, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker. The question is can the Mets win enough. The Marlins have finally built a team internally. Miami bought two World Series championships but those were short term successes followed by fire sales and long rebuilds. The young Marlins will be fun to watch and are building towards October. The Nationals may have the best rotation in baseball. The keys for Washington are keeping everyone healthy and can the offense, besides Juan Soto, keep up with the pitching. Philadelphia has Bryce Harper, but one player cannot put an entire team on his back. The Phillies will be good, but in a deep division they could be the best last place team in baseball. 

National League Central

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
Red BirdsCincy…..why not?ArenadosMiller TimeCardinalsCardinals
Red LegsCardsDrink pretty goodCardinalsBrewersBrewers
Brew CrewBrewcroodsShitcagoRedsCubsReds
Teddy BearsBuccarooniesCincincincin…..CubbiesRedsCubs
Burn the ShipsNorthsidersNice stadiumsBonds’ ex-gfJack SparrowsPirates

Yadier Molina is an ageless wonder. 17 seasons behind the plate for the Cardinals and he is still among the best catchers in baseball. St. Louis is set at the corners with Paul Goldschmidt and the nearly acquired Nolan Arenado. The Central crown runs through St. Louis. Milwaukee got better by signing Kolten Wong away from their divisional rival Cardinals. The Brewers are one of the more underrated teams in baseball and have a real chance at the Postseason in an already tight division. Cincinnati made it back to the Postseason in the shortened 2020 season. The Reds have the pitching and offense to return this season. The division may be too difficult to win, but the Wild Card is within reach. This could be the final season of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez at Wrigley. Looming free agency makes it nearly impossible for Chicago to retain all three players long term. The Cubs will be good, but change is coming. The Pirates are barely a Major League team. It was a little surprising MLB did not cull them with the other Minor League teams this winter. They have a projected team payroll of $46 million, with nearly a quarter of it tied to Gregory Polanco. Ke’Bryan Hayes provides hope for the future but the Postseason is out of the question.

Traded to St. Louis with $50 million, Nolan Arenado will finally play for a winning team. (Getty Images)

National League West

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
DodgersYou want a hot apple pie with that?BettsDodgersPadresDodgers
DaddyThe over hyped LA teamPadresPadresScullysPadres
SnakesSILVER BULLET!!!!!!!!GentsGiantsRattlersGiants
Jolly GreensScam Fram BricsoQuarterbacksDbacksGiantsDiamonbacks
Rockie Mt HighI’m a snakeIt Smoke Pretty GoodRockiesRock BottomsRockies

The reigning and defending World Series champions will return to October, but can they fend off the Padres. The championship team is back and will continue racking up wins. Clayton Kershaw is no longer the only pitcher Los Angeles can depend on in the Postseason, the Dodgers should make a deep run to defend their crown. San Diego is built for success now and in the future. Fernando Tatis Jr., Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado, and Chris Paddack are tough to beat every time they take the field. The race for the West will be fun to watch. The gap between the top and bottom of the division is huge. Few teams were as high as the Giants a decade ago, but that is the past now. The rebuild continues in the back end of Buster Posey’s career. How long will he continue playing is unknown, but he is already a San Francisco legend. Arizona is not a bad team, but can they compete with the titans on the coast? The Diamondbacks have plenty of good players, including an underrated Ketel Marte, but they lack a superstar to compete in October. The Rockies managed to enrage their entire fanbase with a single move, trading away Nolan Arenado. Every team makes tough roster decisions, but Colorado decided it was best to rid themselves of the best Third Baseman in baseball and keep a General Manager that has not shown any ability to put a winning team on the field. Yes Trevor Story is still on the team, but his impending free agency will see him shipped out before the season is over. Once Story is gone what is left to build around? Get ready for a long and brutal rebuild Colorado fans.  


The Poseseason is a roll of the dice. A team can come in hot and suddenly turn cold and be gone. A team struggling can suddenly find their footing and go on a tear. The beauty of October baseball is that it is more unpredictable than the Regular Season.

American League Wild Card

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
AL Wild CardRaysYankeesJaysRaysWhite SoxTwins
TwinsSouthsidersRaysTwinklesBlue JaysRays

National League Wild Card

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
PadresThe over hyped LA teamMetsPadresMetsBrewers

American League Divisional Series 

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
RaysWhite ElephantsYankeesYankeesAthleticsYankees
Black SoxSouthsidersSoxRaysWhite SoxRays
MoneyballGod’s Waiting RoomJaysChiSoxTwinsWhite Sox

National League Divisional Series

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
BravesCincy…..why not?PadresBravesCardinalsBraves
CardinalsYou want a hot apple pie with that?CardsMiller TimePadresCardinals

American League Championship Series

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
Black SoxWhite ElephantsYankeesYankeesYankeesYankees
RaysTwinkiesChiSoxChiSoxWhite SoxWhite Sox

National League Championship Series

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
PadresYou want a hot apple pie with that?PadresPadresBravesPadres

World Series

DerekJesseJohn Moving Co.KevinBernieThe Winning Run
Black SoxBravosYankeesYankeesCardinalsBraves

Congratulations to the 2021 World Series Champions, the Atlanta Braves. We will find out just how wrong our predictions were in October. None of us have high hopes that we were right. Happy Opening Day!

Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies will lead the Braves to the World Series. (New York Times)

DJ, JJ, JB, BL, and KB

Ghost Runner on Second

The continued tinkering with baseball is changing the strategy of the game. The three batter minimum, limited mound visits, pitch clocks, talk of an expanded postseason, and the universal DH are part of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s strange obsession with changing the game. He believes these changes will speed up the game and attract more fans. The latest idea, and hold over from the 2020 Covid season, is to place a runner on Second Base to start extra innings. This does not speed up games, it prevents marathon games. 

I understand the logic, the Pirates and Rockies do not need to play a 19 inning game in early September when both are already eliminated from the Postseason. Little good can come from such a game. However, in their attempt to prevent marathon games Manfred and MLB have used a sledgehammer when a thumbtack would have sufficed. Instead of immediately placing a runner on Second, teams should play an inning, or three, under normal baseball rules. Play regular baseball in the 10th, 11th, and 12th. If there is still no winner, then put a runner on Second to start the 13th. 

No clock means baseball can last forever, theoretically. Placing a runner on Second is designed to maintain that theory. Since 2012 the number of extra inning MLB games has remained fairly consistent.

YearExtra Inning Games% of Total Games

Roughly eight games a week go into extra innings during the MLB season. In his excellent piece from 2017, “Exploring Extra Innings”, Devan Fink examined every extra inning game from 2012 through August 2017. In that time there were 1,200 extra inning games, of which 219 games went to the 13th inning or beyond (18.25%). Nearly 82% of extra inning games are decided within the first three innings of free baseball. There have been more than 20,000 MLB games played since 2012 and slightly more than 1% have gone beyond the 12th inning. Baseball usually works itself out, are dramatic changes necessary for such a small problem?  

MLB should examine other sports leagues to solve its marathon problem. The NBA, like MLB, plays until there is a winner. Games can last so long they draw interest from otherwise uninterested parties simply to see how the game ends. MLB wants to move away from this. The NFL plays a single Overtime and if there is no winner, the game ends in a tie. Thankfully MLB has not considered this an option. The NHL and soccer leagues play Over/ Extra Time and if there is still no winner they move to a shootout. The teams have more time to score before the game becomes a battle between the goalies. 

We don’t know why you’re on Second either Cody Bellinger. (Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports)

MLB should take the NHL and soccer approach. Give teams a few extra innings to win, if neither side can then place a runner on Second. Extra innings are full of drama as the visiting team can instantly send the home team to the brink, and the home team can end the game with one swing. Let the drama build until it is clear both teams need some help. 

Automatically placing a runner on Second in extra innings feels too much like youth baseball. Fans pay to watch a game, let the best players in the world play. Marathon games can hurt a team for days afterwards, but bad things happen to good teams every year. Teams need to take care of their players, especially pitchers, but instantly placing a runner on Second in extra innings is overkill. Let the teams play a few innings before altering how the game is played.


It Is Designed To Break Your Heart

Some losses in life hurt deep within your soul. Emotional pain can create physical agony. The death of a loved one or the end of a relationship can cause such pain. Baseball too can hurt your soul. The retirement of your favorite player does not end the relationship as you still see them from time to time, but it is never the same. Retirement does give you time to prepare for the inevitable, but it is never enough. Perhaps the harshest pain is when your favorite player, the cornerstone of the franchise, is unceremoniously traded away. The dagger in your heart is twisted when there is no logic to the trade. 

Breaking bad news to someone you care about is never easy. Even if it is just a baseball trade. 

Your soul can hurt. My friend Josh took the news as well as could be expected. Nolan Arenado is his favorite player. The Rockies are his favorite team. The majority of our text conversations revolve around Arenado. The latest crazy play or highlight video. He loves Arenado and the Rockies loved him back by playing him at Third everyday.

Heartbreak is never easy. Those closest to us can do the most damage. The pain takes time to fade, if it ever does. In the days since the Arenado trade he has posted and shared several articles, each more critical than the last. We have tried to make sense of the trade, but sometimes there are bad trades and only so much sense to be made. 

The breakup of the Blake Street Bombers hurt. How could it not? It was the end of the first great era in Rockies history. However the Arenado trade cuts deeper. Gone is the illusion that Colorado is trying to win. The owner chose the GM over the superstar. Yes the Rockies got four players in return but they also sent $50 million to St. Louis to complete the trade.

Nolan Arenado wanted to win in Colorado, but the Rockies never built a contender around him. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Speaking of those Cardinals. It is one thing to suffer heartbreak. It is another for your pain to bring someone else joy. My friend’s wife is a die hard Cardinals fan. Any other team and he could have stomached the trade, but now he has to watch Arenado win with the Cardinals instead of the Rockies. Baseball can be brutal. The emotional attachment to players and teams can bring fans both elation and suffering. 

Fandom is rarely a conscious choice, as it is often determined by where we live. Watching a player like Nolan Arenado play for your favorite team is intoxicating. Watching him be traded away for peanuts to the worst possible team is gut wrenching. Time supposedly heals all wounds, but the damage is done. Some things in life cannot be undone. Even if Arenado returns to Colorado later in his career, the pain of losing him in his prime remains. The raw emotion of losing your favorite player because of the incompetence of your favorite team is something no fan should experience. Colorado fans are left to wonder why. There are no satisfying answers. 


2021 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

The National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the Class of 2021 tomorrow. Those elected will hopefully join the Class of 2020 for their induction ceremony this summer. There are no clear cut inductees this year. Several players may come close, but we will see if any pass the 75% minimum for induction. 

Voting Rules

  1. Vote for no more than 10 players
  2. A player is eligible for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame if they meet the following criteria:
    1. They competed in ten seasons. A single game counts as a season played. 
    2. The player has been retired for at least five seasons. The clock restarts if the player returns and plays in the Major Leagues. 
    3. The player is not on the ineligible list; banned from baseball.
  3. The player must receive 5% of the vote to remain on the ballot. 
  4. The player is elected if they receive at least 75% of all ballots cast. 

Voter Eligibility

  1. Any member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) who has been an active member for ten years.
  2. The BBWAA is limited to writers for newspapers only, including some internet newspapers.

The Winning Run Rules

  1. Known steroid users are ineligible.

There are 25 candidates on this year’s ballot. Many require serious consideration, while a few are honored simply to make the ballot. Below are the candidates, their year on the ballot, and 2020 vote percentage. 

  1. Bobby Abreu- 2nd (5.5%)
  2. Barry Bonds– 9th (60.7%)
  3. Mark Buehrle- 1st
  4. A. J. Burnett– 1st
  5. Roger Clemens– 9th (61.0%)
  6. Michael Cuddyer– 1st
  7. Dan Haren– 1st 
  8. LaTroy Hawkins– 1st
  9. Todd Helton- 3rd (29.2%)
  10. Tim Hudson- 1st
  11.  Torii Hunter- 1st
  12. Andruw Jones- 4th (19.4%)
  13. Jeff Kent- 8th (27.5%)
  14. Andy Pettitte– 3rd (11.3%)
  15. Aramis Ramirez– 1st
  16. Manny Ramirez– 5th (28.2%)
  17. Scott Rolen- 4th (35.3%)
  18. Curt Schilling- 9th (70.0%)
  19. Gary Sheffield– 7th (30.5%)
  20. Sammy Sosa– 9th (13.9%)
  21. Nick Swisher– 1st
  22. Shane Victorino– 1st
  23. Omar Vizquel- 4th (52.6%)
  24. Billy Wagner- 6th (31.7%)
  25. Barry Zito– 1st

Here is my official unofficial 2021 Hall of Fame ballot.

I believe there are more than 10 Hall of Fame worthy candidates this year. Excluding deserving players because of the maximum of 10 rule creates an unfair system. There are also legitimate concerns about the actions of some off the field, but my focus is on the field. It is not hypocritical to exclude Bonds and Clemens as their actions impacted games. The accusations against Omar Vizquel and the public declarations by Curt Schilling did not. Poor morals do not exclude a player from the Hall of Fame. Cooperstown is a museum that preserves the history of baseball. PED users are part of that history, but they can be remembered elsewhere in the museum.

Six candidates return to the ballot after receiving my vote in 2020. Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Scott Rolen, Omar Vizquel, and Billy Wagner. They each retain my vote, leaving just four votes for the other candidates. 

Todd Helton had 10 consecutive seasons with at least 140 games played, 160 hits, 37 Doubles, while hitting over .300. Thin air does not help you make contact. He also slugged at least 25 Home Runs in seven straight seasons. Helton should not be penalized for playing in Colorado, the Hall of Fame does not exclude Rockies players. 

Andruw Jones is the greatest defensive Center Fielder ever. He won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves. Awards voting is subjective, but the numbers never lie. His .990 Fld% is .007 higher than league average during his 17 season career. His Range meant Jones reached 0.46 more balls per nine innings than league average, turning 74.52 additional hits into outs every season. Runners were scared to advance on Jones. 49.2% of them held on fly outs with the next base open. He killed, threw out, 2.6% of them. 51.8% of runners did not advance, more than 5% higher than league average. Jones’ reputation prevented 86 runners from advancing a season. He was not only better than an average Center Fielder, he was better than Willie Mays. Jones prevented 253 runs, 14.88 per season, from scoring to Mays’ 173, 7.86 per season, in five fewer seasons. At the plate, Jones hit at least 26 Home Runs in 10 straight seasons on his way to 434. Put Andruw Jones in Cooperstown already.

Jeff Kent is one of the greatest offensive Second Basemen ever. His 377 Home Runs are 33 more than second place, Robinson Cano. He is a career .290 hitter. Kent had nine consecutive seasons with at least 22 Home Runs and 30 Doubles. He hit at least 21 Doubles in all 17 seasons of his career. Kent won the 2000 National League MVP. While he was average defensively, this has not excluded other Hall of Famers.

Third Base is underrepresented in Cooperstown. Scott Rolen is the logical choice to help correct this error. He won the 1997 National League Rookie of the Year. He had eight consecutive seasons with at least 21 Home Runs and 28 Doubles. In addition to his bat, Rolen was an elite defender. Playing over 2,000 Games at Third Base, with 140 defensive Runs saved, with .968 Fld%, .014% higher than league average. His Range allowed him to reach 0.19 more balls per nine innings. The hot corner needs a new addition. 

Omar Vizuel was a magician with the glove. He won 11 Gold Gloves, including nine in a row. While no one compares to Ozzie Smith, Vizquel was close. Vizquel was better at the plate. A career .272 hitter. He stole at least 22 bases in six consecutive seasons and hit at least 23 Doubles in eight seasons. Vizquel never struck out more than 72 times in a season. If Ozzie Smith is a Hall of Famer, so is Omar Vizquel.

Billy Wagner posted 422 Saves during the Steroid Era. Simply, he got batters out. He posted a 2.31 ERA, 0.998 WHIP, 1,196 Strikeouts, and 300 Walks. Mariano Rivera opened the door for more Closers, Wagner should walk into Cooperstown. 

Who will be enshrined in Cooperstown from the Class of 2021. (The Winning Run/ DJ)

The four additions to my ballot in 2021 came down to five players. Deciding who to leave off was difficult, the rule of 10 is dumb.

Hall of Fame players either burn brightly for a short time, Sandy Koufax, or have a long consistent career, Craig Biggio. Bobby Abreu fits the Biggio mold. Abreu had 12 straight seasons with at least 155 Hits. He hit at least 29 Doubles in 14 straight seasons. Abreu slugged at least 15 Home Runs in 13 straight seasons. All while playing at least 150 games a season. Playing every day builds impressive career numbers and Bobby Abreu built such a career. 

Wins are an inefficient measure of a pitcher’s performance, as Felix Hernandez and Jacob deGrom can attest. The magical 300 win club may be a thing of the past. Hall of Fame voters need to adjust their expectations for pitchers. Mark Buehrle won 214 games in 16 seasons. His rookie season was the only time he did not start at least 30 games. He pitched at least 200 innings in 14 consecutive seasons. Buehrle was the workhorse for the 2005 World Series winning White Sox. He also pitched the 18th Perfect Game in Major League history on July 23, 2009. A single game does not make you a Hall of Famer, but a Perfect Game helps. 

Tim Hudson, like Buehrle, deserves recognition as pitching changes. He won 222 games in 17 seasons. Hudson won at least 11 Games in all but one season between 1999 and 2012, failing in 2009 due to Tommy John surgery. He pitched over 3,100 innings with more than 2,000 strikeouts. Hudson finished in the top six of Cy Young voting four times. Hudson gave his team a chance to win every time he took the mound.

Torii Hunter has never received the recognition he deserves. He made a career out of consistency. He hit at least 21 Home Runs in all but one season from 2001 to 2011. He collected 21 Doubles for 15 straight seasons. Hunter won nine consecutive Gold Gloves in Center. He was an above average fielder, but his Range was elite. His +0.24 Range Factor per nine innings helped turn 39 hits into outs every season. Hunter’s most memorable moment was robbing Barry Bonds of an All Star game Home Run in Milwaukee. It was not as monumental as Kirby Puckett’s World Series catch. However, these Minnesota outfielders had similar careers. If Puckett earned his place in Cooperstown, so has Hunter. 

There are more than 10 deserving players on the ballot this year. The final cut was difficult. Curt Schilling was 11th on my list. His stats are similar to Buehrle and Hudson, but his Postseason accolades are why many believe he belongs in Cooperstown. Schilling is outspoken. His anger towards journalists and those who do not support his political views are well documented. I did not vote for Schilling last year and he falls short again this year. I voted for Omar Vizquel. The accusations against him are horrific. Both men have made poor choices off the diamond, but the Hall of Fame ballot and voters are not their judge away from the diamond.


The Sixth Lousy Day of Baseball Christmas

On the Sixth Lousy Day of Baseball Christmas the baseball gods sent to me: the most times Caught Stealing without a Stolen Base, the most Hits without an RBI, the most Innings Pitched without a Win or Save, the most Games Managed without finishing first, the most Home Runs without a Triple, and the most Complete Games without a Shutout.

If at first you don’t succeed, try try try again. Failure is part of baseball. Successful batters fail seven out of ten times. Pitchers do not always throw strikes. Umpires miss calls. It is part of the game. When a runner fails on the bases, they can kill a rally. The undisputed Stolen Base king, Rickey Henderson, is also the Caught Stealing king. Success comes with risk. Unfortunately for Oscar Robles, he took the risk without any reward. He was Caught Stealing the most times without a successful Stolen Base, 0 for 8. 

Robles split his time between Shortstop and Third Base in three seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers (2005-2006) and San Diego Padres (2007). 2005 was his best season, playing 110 Games, hitting .272, collecting 99 Hits, including his 5 career Home Runs, and 8 Stolen Base attempts. 

Oscar Robles tried to help the Dodgers by stealing a base, but was out every time. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Success comes to those who try and Robles tried. On June 4th against the Milwaukee Brewers, Robles Singled off Victor Santos. The Dodgers tried to hit and run with Antonio Perez, but Perez struckout and Damian Miller threw Robles out at Second. Two weeks later in Chicago against the White Sox, Robles walked in the 2nd Inning. He then tried to steal Second against Freddy Garcia, but A.J. Pierzynski’s arm was faster than Robles’ legs. Out at Second. In the 9th Inning Cliff Politte walked Robles, who tried to steal again. Pierzynski’s throw beat Robles. Tadahito Iguchi caught the ball and ran Robles back to First, tossing the ball to Paul Konerko for the tag. 0 for 2 on the day. 

Robles was not deterred. On July 10th in Houston Brad Ausmus threw Robles out. In his final three Stolen Base attempts his teammates failed to protect him. Robles was part of a Strike Out Throw Out Double Play on July 15th against the Giants with Mike Matheny catching. On August 12th against the Mets, Jeff Kent struckout and Mike Piazza completed the Double Play. Danny Ardoin threw Robles out on August 23rd after Hee-Seop Choi whiffed against Colorado’s Jamey Wright. Oscar Robles’ final attempt was on September 5th against the Giants. Mike Edwards struckout and Yamid Haad threw Robles out. 

Half of Robles’ Caught Stealings were part of Strike Out Throw Out Double Plays. His teammates failed him. Unfortunately, Oscar Robles is saddled with the record for most Stolen Base attempts without success. His futility on the bases demonstrates how difficult baseball is to play. Some players are just dealt bad hands.

Happy Sixth Lousy Day of Baseball Christmas.


The Third Lousy Day of Baseball Christmas

On the Third Lousy Day of Baseball Christmas the baseball gods sent to me: the most Games Managed without finishing first, the most Home Runs without a Triple, and the most Complete Games without a Shutout.

Managers can only do so much to help their team win. They can put players in a position to succeed, but the players must execute. They can only work with what the Front Office gives them. Clint Hurdle is a baseball lifer. Unfortunately his 2,615 games managed are the most for a Manager who has never finished in first place. 

Clint Hurdle spent 17 seasons managing the Colorado Rocking and Pittsburgh Pirates. His career record is 1,269 Wins, 1,345 Losses, and 1 Tie for a .485 Winning %. While his resume does not point towards Cooperstown, Hurdle was successful. The 2007 Rockies finished 0.5 Games Behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for the National League West crown with a 90-73 record. Once in the Postseason Colorado steamrolled the National League. They swept the Phillies in the Divisional Series and Diamondbacks in the Championship Series to capture the National League Pennant. They were swept by the Red Sox after their success forced a long wait for the Fall Classic.

Under Hurdle, Colorado was steady, but rarely great. After taking the reins, he led the Rockies to a fourth place finish in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006. They finished last in 2005. Following their 2007 Pennant, Colorado finished third in 2008 and began 2009 18-28 before Hurdle was fired. In 8 seasons, Hurdle was 534-625 for the Rockies, a .461 Winning %. 

Clint Hurdle loves baseball, even if his team did not always win. (Jeff Roberson/ Associated Press)

After a season away, Hurdle was hired by the Pirates. The Pirates finished fourth in 2011 and 2012. Then Pittsburgh started winning. In 2013, after years of ineptitude In 2013, Pittsburgh finished 94-68, 3 Games Behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the Central Division title. This was the Pirates’ first winning season since 1992. Pittsburgh defeated the Reds in the Wild Card game before falling to the Cardinals in the winner take all Game 5 of the Divisional Series. The return to October baseball to Pittsburgh helped Hurdle win the National League Manager of the Year award. 

Success in Pittsburgh continued in 2014. The Pirates finished 88-74, 2 Games Behind the Cardinals. Pittsburgh returned to the Wild Card game, but lost to the eventual World Series champion Giants. 2015 was a third consecutive trip to the Wild Card game after finishing 98-64, again just 2 Games Behind St. Louis. Again the Pirates lost, this time to the Cubs. The Pirates finished third in 2016 and fourth in 2017. After nine seasons, Hurdle was fired in 2019 with a 69-92 record and another fourth place finish. He had a 735-720 record, a .505 Winning %, with the Pirates and brought winning baseball back to Pittsburgh.

Clint Hurdle loves baseball and baseball loves him. After Pittsburgh fired him, he retired from on field coaching. Despite leading two franchises, with their own unique challenges, to the Postseason four times, Clint Hurdle is the Manager with the most games managed without ever leading a team to a first place finish. Baseball is weird.

Happy Third Lousy Day of Baseball Christmas.



Fans get excited about free agency, especially if their team lands one of the winter’s big names. The Phillies and Bryce Harper, the Yankees and Gerrit Cole, the Mariners and Robinson Cano (which worked out well), and so on. The MLB Draft is gaining importance in the minds of baseball fans, but it is not on the same level as the NFL and NBA Drafts. Baseball’s Draft is becoming more relevant despite the delayed or non-arrivals of the top picks. Arbitration is the third avenue for teams to build. Most focus on teams maintaining the status quo, but it is the non-tendered players who can make a difference for a new team. 

The Cubs decision to non-tender Kyle Schwarber, thus making him a free agent, has garnered the most attention. However, he is not the only non-tendered player. More than 50 players suddenly became free agents Wednesday. There are a variety of reasons why. Under performance, better replacement player under team control, cost. The peril of every non-tendered player is best shown by Matt Wisler and David Dahl. They are now free agents largely for things beyond their control.

The Twins non-tendering Matt Wisler came after a breakout season. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

The Twins non-tendering Matt Wisler took many by surprise. Wisler’s 2020 was the best season of his career. Prior to 2020 he was 19-27 and 1 Save with a 5.20 ERA and 1.395 WHIP in 389.1 innings in five seasons. In 2020, he went 0-1, with 1 Save, 1.07 ERA, and 1.145 WHIP in 25.1 innings. A career year which normally would have made him an All Star. The choice to non-tender Wisler was strange as the bullpen was a strength for Minnesota. The Twins led baseball in Save Opportunities, while posting the American League’s 6th lowest bullpen ERA. Wisler is not a lock down closer, but rather a critical bridge. A closer is useless if the team cannot hold a lead before the 9th inning. Minnesota paid Wisler $725,000 after picking him up off waivers from the Mariners last off-season. After a career year, he was looking to make $1 to $2 million in arbitration. While his history is not as a dominant reliever, the Twins would not commit themselves to a full season, hopefully, with Wisler in their bullpen. In free agency, Minnesota may have difficulty finding an equal replacement at a lower cost. Time will tell if non-tendering Wisler was the right decision.

Minnesota’s decision to non-tender Matt Wisler was puzzling, while Colorado’s decision to non-tender David Dahl was surprising but understandable. Simply, Dahl could not stay healthy. While he has developed into a solid player, injuries have prevented Dahl from reaching the potential the Rockies saw when they drafted him 10th overall in 2012. 2019 was Dahl’s breakout season, he hit .302, with 15 Home Runs and 61 RBI in 100 games and was named to his first All Star team. A leg injury derailed his season in early August. Colorado hoped Dahl would continue his success in 2020, but a throwing shoulder injury in January derailed his season before it began. No player chooses to be injured and Dahl knew 2020 was an important season for his career, so he chose to not disclose the injury to the team over growing durability concerns. He tried to play through the pain but the numbers never lie. In 24 games Dahl hit .183 with no Home Runs and 9 RBI. His OPS tumbled off the mountains overlooking Denver, falling from .877 to .470. His injury history and $2.55 to $2.6 million expected price tag in arbitration was enough for the Rockies non-tender their former first round pick. 

Injuries derailed David Dahl’s time in Colorado, hopefully a new team means staying healthy. (Dustin Bradford/ Getty Images)

Baseball is a hard game. The game is unfair and does not care about your past performance or potential. Big free agent signings raise the hopes for immediate team success. The Draft is hope for the future. Arbitration is judgement day for teams and players. Did the team develop the players and have players lived up to their potential. Schwarber, Wisler, and Dahl will find new teams. Not every non-tendered player returns to the Majors. Some return to the minor to finish their careers, while others move on to their next stage in life. Baseball is a cruel game, and the business of baseball only adds another layer to that cruelty. 


The Most Patient Man in Baseball

Baseball teaches patience. One of the worst things a baseball player can do is hurry. The harder you try, the less success you find on the diamond. Larry Walker might be the most patient man in baseball. He was elected to Cooperstown in his final year on the ballot. Walker will finally have his moment in the sun as he joins the Hall of Fame. Now he must wait again as the Covid-19 Pandemic has delayed his induction until 2021. He waited 10 years to be elected, now he has to wait one more. Even the retirement of his #33 by the Rockies was postponed due to the delayed Major League season. 

Larry Walker’s baseball resume is extensive. He is a 5 time All Star (1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001), 3 time Silver Slugger (1992, 1997, 1999), 7 time Gold Glove winner (1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002), 3 time Batting Champion (1998, 1999, 2001), and the 1997 National League Most Valuable Player. Walker won the Tip O’Neill award 9 times (1987, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002) as the Canadian baseball player “judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to the highest ideals of the game of baseball.”

Hall of Fame careers are built through season after season of consistency. In 17 Major League seasons Walker played for the Montreal Expos (1989-1994), Colorado Rockies (1995-2004), and St. Louis Cardinals (2004-2005). In 1,988 Games he collected 2,160 Hits, scored 1,355 Runs, 471 Doubles, 62 Triples, 383 Home Runs, 1,311 RBI, 230 Stolen Bases, 913 Walks (117 Intentional), 1,231 Strikeouts, 3,904 Total Bases, 138 Hit By Pitch, .313 BA, .400 OBP, .565 SLG, .965 OPS, and 141 OPS+. 

Larry Walker hits a two-run double
Larry Walker was a pure hitter but never gets the credit he deserves because of playing in Colorado during the Steroid Era. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Larry Walker was an elite hitter, especially during his peak. He rarely receives the credit he deserves for two reasons. First, his peak was during the height of the Steroid Era. His excellence was often overshadowed by juiced sluggers. Second, critics often credit much of his success to playing at altitude in Colorado. Examining Walker’s career Home/Road Splits does show he hit better at home. In  986 career home Games, Walker collected 1,193 Hits, including 268 Doubles, 39 Triples, and 215 Home Runs, with a .348 BA, .431 OBP, .637 SLG, 1.068 OPS, and 121 OPS+. In 1,002 career road Games, he collected 967 Hits, including 203 Doubles, 23 Triples, and 168 Home Runs, with a .278 BA, .370 OBP, .495 SLG, .865 OPS, and 80 OPS+. There is no denying Walker benefited from hitting at Coors Field. However, why should he be penalized for playing in Colorado? If playing for the Rockies disqualifies a player from the Hall of Fame, MLB should never have placed a team in Denver. Also, Walker played 7 of his 17 seasons away from Colorado.

Baseball is about more than what a player can do with the bat, they must use their glove too. Walker played 1,718 Games in Right Field. In 15,678.2 Innings he had 4,246 Chances, made 3,976 Putouts,  with 213 Assists, turned 92 Double Plays, and committed 57 Errors for a .987 Fielding %. Gold Gloves are rarely given to undeserving players, and winning 7 of them is proof Walker was more than a hitter.

1997 was Larry Walker’s best season. He won the National League Most Valuable Player award, becoming the first and so far only Rockies player to do so. Walker won in a landslide, beating second place Mike Piazza by almost 100 points and received 22 of 28 first place votes. In 153 Games Walker collected 208 Hits, including 46 Doubles, 4 Triples, 49 Home Runs, scored 143 Runs, 130 RBI, 33 Stolen Bases, 78 Walks (14 Intentional), 90 Strikeouts, 409 Total Bases, 14 Hit By Pitch, a .366 BA, .452 OBP, .720 SLG, 1.172 OPS, and 178 OPS+. He led the Senior Circuit in Home Runs, Total Bases, OBP, SLG, OPS, and finished second in BA only .006 behind Tony Gwynn

Dispelling the naysayers, Walker’s road numbers in 1997 were elite. In 75 Road Games, he collected 92 Hits, 16 Doubles, 29 Home Runs, scored 61 Runs, 62 RBI, 16 Stolen Bases, 42 Walks (7 Intentional), 56 Strikeouts, 5 Hit By Pitch, 195 Total Bases, .346 BA, .443 OBP, .733 SLG, 1.176 OPS, and 213 OPS+. While he hit 9 more Home Runs on the Road than at Home, in 3 fewer games, Walker’s numbers were even better at home. MVP’s have stats that jump out at you. Larry Walker played out of his mind on the road in 1997. He was on another planet at Coors Field.

Hall of Fame players are not always successful in the Postseason. Larry Walker reached the Postseason three times, in 1995 with Colorado and 2004 and 2005 at the end of his career with St. Louis. The Cardinals were swept by the Red Sox in Walker’s only World Series in 2004. In 28 career Postseason games, Walker hit .230, with 5 Doubles, 1 Triple, 7 Home Runs, 15 RBI, scored 18 Runs, 2 Stolen Bases, 16 Walks, 28 Strikeouts, with a .350 OBP. While he did not play his best in October, the majority of his Postseason play was at the end of his career as a part time player.

Larry Walker was a Hall of Fame player and heard the news of his election to Cooperstown while wearing a legendary shirt. (@Rockies)

After retiring following the 2005 season Larry Walker began waiting the five years to be on the Hall of Fame ballot. The Maple Ridge, British Columbia native was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009. He first appeared on the ballot for Cooperstown in 2011, receiving just 20.3% of the vote. Walker floated between 22.9% in 2012 and 10.2% in 2014 until 2017. The Hall of Fame looked just out of reach. In his final three years of eligibility, Walker’s fortunes changed. In 2018, his 8th year on the ballot, he received 34.1% of the vote. In 2019 he was up to 54.6%. 2020 was Walker’s 10th and final year on the ballot. If he was not elected his enshrinement would be determined by a future Veterans Committee, a long shot process at best. Derek Jeter was one vote shy of unanimous, receiving 396 of 397 votes. Walker needed 298 votes to make it to Cooperstown. When the results were revealed, Walker received 304 votes, 6 more than he needed. His place among the games legends was secure. He joins Ferguson Jenkins as the only Canadians elected to the Hall of Fame. Walker is also the first Rockies player enshrined.

Patience is key in baseball. Wait for your pitch, stay down on a ground ball, camp under a fly ball. Baseball is about waiting and no one understands this better than Larry Walker. He used every possible moment of the Hall of Fame election process to secure his place in Cooperstown. He cleared the bar by 6 votes. Now he has to wait a little longer due to the Covid-19 Pandemic for his day in the sun as he is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.