1. Jim Rice is the 21st player to win over 70% of votes in the Hall of Fame balloting but fall short of the 75% needed for election. The other 20 players have all ended up in Cooperstown. (Bugs and Cranks has a great rant on the caprice of BBWAA members and the mysterious rise—and occasional fall—of HOF-eligible players’ vote totals.) Rice has the support of this year’s only inductee, Goose Gossage: “I think Jim Rice does belong in the Hall of Fame. No hitter scared me, but Jim Rice came the closest.” As for Nick’s contention that Rice has no place in the Hall, I clearly disagree. But Nick’s post has convinced me that Dwight Evans belongs in Cooperstown as well, something I was on the fence about previously. Come on, Veterans Comittee!
2. What with all the Roger Clemens coverage, the NFL playoffs, and this little election-thingy going on right now, you might have missed this story, but the new Yankee Stadium is going to cost New York taxpayers a pretty penny—including $70 million for free VIP valet parking. Even more irksome to New Yorkers, while the poobahs will get 40 years of parking courtesy of the taxpayers, Joe Yankeefan will still have to pay out of his own pocket. That’s preposterous. However, I must throw cold water on the notion that fans are being gouged by a rate increase from $14 to $17 this year, and again to $19 at the new stadium in 2009, and up to $35 bucks by 2014. Most of the parking at Fenway is already at least $30. Yankee fans, suck it up.
3. After a successful workout for several teams in LA and offers from “three or four” clubs, Gabe Kapler has chosen to play for the Brewers next year. He’ll get 800k. Kapler managed Boston’s Single A affiliate last year to an uninspiring record of 58-81.
“Gabe brings versatility and athleticism to the outfield position,” said Brewers GM Doug Melvin. “He has always been a great teammate and possesses the determination to bounce back and become a valuable player to our club.”
4. Also in the former-Red-Sox-making-a-comeback category, MLBTradeRumors reports that at least the Diamondbacks will be watching as Keith Foulke throws later this month. As for the idea that Foulke “may have special interest in” the Red Sox, I can guarantee right now that the Red Sox will not have any interest, special or otherwise, in Keith Foulke, who is (perhaps unfairly) less remembered for being part of the 2004 championship team than for being the perennially injured and ineffective closer of ’05 and ’06, speaking dismissively of Red Sox fans as “Johnny from Burger King” types that meant nothing to him, licking his World Series ring with groupies, and for (allegedly) sleeping with one of the Red Sox ball girls, (allegedly) in the clubhouse no less, and (allegedly) getting caught in flagrante delicto by Dawn Timlin, who (allegedly) promptly told Mrs. Foulke, who (most definitely) demanded a divorce.
5. Just to go back to the Hall of Fame for a minute, I would like to personally apologize to Goose Gossage. No, I don’t have a Hall of Fame vote. But I do have an Unfortunate Facial Hair vote. And there is absolutely no excuse for me to have overlooked Goose’s contributions in the field of facial hair when I wrote this retrospective of the fu manchu. Clearly, Gossage had a historic impact on the place of the distinctive moustache in baseball lore, and I was remiss not to formally recognize this sooner. I’m sure Goose will be as thrilled to be included in our UFH category as he is to be elected into Cooperstown. “It was very emotional I’ll tell you, off the charts. I can’t describe the feeling.” Yes, Goose, I’m sure. Only the lucky and the few get such recognition. But are you sure you really can’t describe how it felt? “A shock wave went through my body like an anvil just fell on my head.” On second thought, I think maybe calling it indescribable was fine.