Curt Schilling: Definitely a Hall of Famer

We went through the same thing a few months ago when Mike Mussina announced his retirement. It’s times like these where we must recognize that the age old standards for induction into the Hall of Fame must change. 500 home runs doesn’t mean anything near what it used to considering two or three players eclipse that mark each year. Similarly, 300 wins is no longer a realistic plateau for pitchers to achieve. With that in mind, it’s time voters started changing their habits and take in the entire picture when they judge players for Hall of Fame worthiness.

Without a doubt, Curt Schilling is a Hall of Famer. Even though he has less than a third of the career wins Greg Maddux had, Schilling had a stretch from ’01-’04 where he was easily one of the top pitchers in the game. Schilling was second in the Cy Young voting three of those four years and finished towards the top of the MVP balloting. Curt even had years after that where he was a very good pitcher, as well as a handful of years with the Phillies where he stood out. But the difference between Schilling and guys like Maddux who have the more impressive career numbers is what Curt did in the postseason.

Until Josh Beckett came along, if you asked me to choose a pitcher I’d want to start a playoff game in the last decade, my answer would easily be Curt Schilling (John Smoltz being a very close second). Schilling was absolutely nails in the playoffs. Let’s start with the 2001 postseason where Schilling shared World Series MVP honors with teammate Randy Johnson. In the NLDS that year, Curt threw a complete game shutout to set the tone in Game 1 against the Cardinals, and then he wrapped up the series with a complete game six-hitter for the clinching win. In the NLCS against the Braves, he threw a complete game giving up just one run for the win. In the World Series against the Yankees, he started Games 1, 4, and 7, and was just about untouchable each time out.

19 career postseason starts, 10-2 record, 2.23 ERA, sub-1.00 WHIP over 130+ innings — that’s where legends are made. Only once (Game 1 of the ALCS in ’04) did Schilling not give his team a chance to win in the playoffs. Every other time that Curt stepped to the mound in October, all his team had to do was score one or two runs and they’d win. That’s what makes Curt Schilling a Hall of Famer, all personal feelings or hatred to him aside. And if you want regular season success, Schilling had two of the best back-to-back seasons by a pitcher in the steroids era from ’01-’02 with the Diamondbacks. His strikeouts to walk ratio approached 10:1 which is unheard of, and he went 45-13 throwing over 500 innings those two years. Most of all, Curt Schilling deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame because he earned it by being one of the most clutch pitchers ever. Three rings says it all.

Brett Myers Raising His Redneck Son the Right Way

Yes, that is Phillies pitcher Brett Myers and his son. Yes, the shirt the young kid is wearing has a confederate flag on it and reads, “Redneck and proud of it.” What else would you expect from a guy who (allegedly) beat his wife, and gets into fights with reporters. Great example there, Brett.

Kevin Youkilis Rips Americans for Not Showing Up to WBC Games

You probably already know my thoughts on this since I’ve opined on the World Baseball Classic before. Still, let’s present the facts of the case first. Over the weekend around 11,000 fans showed up to watch the U.S. play Netherlands at Dolphin Stadium in South Florida (still about 10,000 more than show up for Marlins games). For the game against Puerto Rico, the attendance was around 30,000, about half of whom were fans of the island team (you can see how many people were there on Tuesday in the picture at right). Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis who’s been carrying the U.S. offensively in the WBC isn’t too happy about all this:

“I don’t think we have enough pride in this. It’s kind of a sad day – and I know it’s a tough time (economically) to buy tickets – when you see that. I don’t think there’s as much pride in the USA as there is for these other countries. There was a whole section of Dominican fans (Sunday) night just here to watch baseball. I think we’re losing a little bit of pride for, quote, ‘America’s national pastime.’ ”

“It definitely hurts a little bit to know that you’re always the away team in your own country,” he said. “There are some good people out there, but it would be nice to have a lot more of those people chanting ‘USA,’ holding up American flags. That’s the one thing we didn’t see much of the other night – there were more Puerto Rican flags than American (flags).”

You want to know why, Mr. Youkilis? It’s because this isn’t a real event. Just be happy that your Red Sox games always sell out and that you have a packed house with rabid fans who live and die by each at-bat you take. What do you really expect from the fans, to go head-over-heels for a fake, made-for-TV event? Fans are already committed to their teams, isn’t that enough? You’ll also notice that the U.S. isn’t getting too patriotic because the whole world already acknowledges the best baseball is already played here. What is there for us to prove, that we shared a popular game with the rest of the world? Fantastic, let’s all celebrate! The day this event goes away wouldn’t be soon enough for me.

(via Ben Maller)

Alex Rodriguez Thinks There’s Nobody Better Looking than Alex Rodriguez

I guess Alex Rodriguez is lacking the filter most players have that keeps them from doing stupid things you know will result in merciless mocking. How else you can explain the following picture that appear in Details Magazine? Cue the Zoolander “I can’t help that I’m ridiculously good-looking” music:

I wonder what his teammates are going to about his cute red bracelet. In case that wasn’t enough for you, the yoga pose and mattress sitting pictures were pretty cute, too. By the way, I know we’ve already been down the “How dumb can Alex Rodriguez be?” road before, but why the eff would he have a photo shoot to show off his muscles when we all know they were steroid-induced? Is this guy really paying people lots of money to advise him to do these things?

Greatest Picture Ever

The man on the right (in case you couldn’t tell since the sunglasses on his face covered up the jelly donuts under his eyes), is Yankees GM Brian Cashman. The gentleman on the left is … well nobody cares. But his shirt is hilarious, he’s got a shite-eating grin on, and it makes this picture a classic. I started busting up uncontrollably when I saw it. Big ups to Deadspin (of course) for the picture. I mean, who else would get something that great?

Julian Tavarez: Signing with Nationals Is Like Settling for a Fat Chick

When you’re Julian Tavarez and your physical appearance is about as attractive as your 6 ERA, you’re probably used to hooking up with the bottom of the barrel chicks at the club. That’s probably why he readily made this comparison to signing with the Nationals, a team that has been one of the worst in baseball since their inception:

“Why did I sign with the Nationals?” Tavarez said told a group of reporters. “When you go to a club at 4 in the morning, and you’re just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J. Lo. And to me this is Jennifer Lopez right here. It’s 4 in the morning. Too much to drink. So, Nationals: Jennifer Lopez to me.”

“I would like to be a starter, but it’s like my father said: ‘You want Jennifer Lopez, but does she want you? No.’ You just take whatever she is giving to you. So I just take whatever they give to me,” Tavarez said. “They give to me as a long man, I take it as a long man. Set up man, I take it. Starter, I take it. I can do whatever.”

Clearly it was last call for Tavarez and he couldn’t afford to be picky. Big League Stew has the actual audio Julian gave in case you want to hear it, too. I wonder how pleased the Nats will be to hear him clown on their organization. I guess the good news is what Tavarez said at the end of his comments — this is his only opportunity so he’s going to work hard to make the most of it. And actually, I think the Nationals are going to be a lot better than most people think. They have no bullpen but they did swing a trade for Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen from the Marlins, and they signed Adam Dunn. Those are three good additions right there. They’re nowhere near a playoff team, but they’ll be much better than they have been in the past.

Did Brian Cashman Want Jason Giambi to Go Back on Steroids?

I know Jason Giambi and Brian Cashman won’t ever mention the word, so I will — steroids. Jeff Pearlman has written a book about Roger Clemens called “The Rocket that Fell to Earth,” and in that book there was a good anecdote about Yankees GM Brian Cashman and his thoughts on Jason Giambi, a free agent he signed to a 7-year $120 million deal prior to the ’02 season. According to the NY Times:

The book said that when Giambi went through a slump in the 2002 season, his first with the Yankees, Cashman was heard yelling at a television in the Yankees’ clubhouse during a game. Citing “one New York player,” the book said that Cashman screamed, “Jason, whatever you were taking in Oakland,” get back on it.

The book said that Cashman then added, “Please!”

Cashman denies ever making that statement while Pearlman says he has 100% confidence in the source that told him the story. I might have a question or two about this story because ’02 was Giambi’s only true excellent season with the Yanks. But I feel bad for Cashman in the sense that he paid for a guy whose productivity was achieved through false means. I think that GMs were in a tough spot to judge talent all throughout the era and that they got screwed over by players. If guys got their contracts because they were juicing and then later went off, they were selling teams a bum product. I can’t blame a GM for wanting to see the player produce like he had before and therefore understand Cashman’s predicament if this is a true story. Would it even be possible for teams to sue players who tested positive? I’d love to see the Angels recoup some of that Gary Matthews Jr. money without a doubt.