Mike Piazza was clearly a Hall of Famer, as were numerous other players on the ballot that were not elected this year. He’s among the leaders, if not THE leader, in many offensive categories including home runs and slugging percentage. He was a perennial MVP candidate and was on the All-Star Team roughly every year. He hit, and hit, and hit.
Any allegations about illegal substances that may or may not have had some unknown positive effect on his overall performance are pure speculation at best. The Hall of Fame has a five year waiting period for a reason and as we look back at Piazza’s numbers and performance over the years it’s clear he should be a clear-cut favorite to be on practically every ballot. There has been plenty of time for dirt-digging and witch-hunts, if such things matter to your vote. Nothing substantial has turned up as the dust settled on his career, clearly meaning he should be inducted into the Hall of Fame among his fellow all-time greats.
It simply isn’t a Hall of Fame if the most famous players aren’t a part of it. Perhaps we should start referring to it as the Hall of Favorites, subject to the whim and folly of the baseball writers of America. It’s not just Piazza either, and it’s not all voters that have failed baseball fans. There are many well-reasoned ballots out there that were forced to leave people off the ballot not because of whispers and rumors, but because they are only allowed to vote for 10 people and found more than 10 on this ballot were qualified. For none of those qualified players to get in is a travesty.
The Hall of Fame is just a museum, but baseball is a sport that celebrates lore and history and the Hall of Fame is a great representation of that. It has failed in that regard, and it’s a step down a road to being just another virtually meaningless award. If it’s not going to represent the best of the best, then it’s purpose has passed. Take down all the plaques and let it remain as a museum of treasures and accomplishments, and as fans we’ll remember who the truly great players are. It’s not the Hall’s fault, as it’s the writers who vote for the collection of players honored, but if they’re not going to change the criteria for voters, these things will continue to happen and deserving players will be kept out. There is a lot of outrage right now, but this may be the last straw. Next year many fans, such as me, will treat the pending vote as a triviality.
The Mets Hall of Fame game is Sunday. Before the game they’re having a ceremony and inducting Frank Cashen, Dwight Gooden, Davey Johnson, and Darryl Strawberry into the Mets Hall of Fame. There are still tickets available. There are still TOO MANY tickets available. Shannon over at Mets Police has been all over this, and rightfully so. It’s one thing if the mid-level seats that are priced above what’s affordable for many people don’t sell out. It’s quite another if the Promenade section doesn’t.
The lack of Mets history in Citi Field was one of the biggest complaints about the place last year. More so than even Pelfrey letting Jody Gerut hit the first home run in the place. Even if you only go to a few games this year, this should be near the top of the list of options. It’s honoring one of our greatest teams. Great players who we enjoyed rooting for for many years and the leaders who helped get them there. True Mets. It doesn’t matter what they did off the field or later in their careers in lesser leagues. They did something for Mets fans that can never be erased, and to miss out on that for petty reasons like inflation, personal feelings about current players or administrators, or the organization or park not being precisely how you like it is just sad. It’s one thing if it doesn’t fit into your schedule, your personal finances, or you’re flat out busy that day, but it’s quite another to make a specific effort NOT to go. If you’re going to stop celebrating the best parts of the Mets history, what are you going to celebrate?
As usual, I’ll be heading out to Citi Field more than a couple of times this season. I’ve currently committed to four games, as you can see in the ‘upcoming games’ box on the sidebar.
I try to get to Opening Day any chance I can. I wasn’t able to secure or afford second hand tickets to the Opener last year, but this year with demand a little down and it not being a new stadium, I was able to get tickets. I’ll be in the Promenade Box, and Opening Day can’t come soon enough. I always remember the early April games, and walking into Shea Stadium, and remembering how much I missed being there, and how much I felt I belonged. I suspect this season will be no different, and I already have a bunch of things planned. If you’re also going to be there, you should check out Mets Police’s Blue Cap Army. All you have to do is show up wearing a blue Mets cap. Easy!
Opening Day has a lot of hoopla to get out of the way, and it’s more about the return of baseball games that count, so I like to get to another game early on to devote solely to the Mets. Friday April 9th will be that game. I’m going alone, will probably spend most of the game on my feet wandering around to different parts of the stadium and enjoying the different vantage points. I’ll probably buy a scorecard and keep score, and have my camera and take a billion pictures.
Pyrotechnics night is July 5th. I was frequently at Shea for Fireworks night, and I was lamenting it’s disappearance once Citi Field’s construction starting taking up the parking lot, so I’m glad it’s back in some fashion. I have no idea how they’re going to do it, and what the difference between pyrotechnics and fireworks is, but I’m sure it’ll be fun.
The Hall of Fame ceremony game is August 1st. Something that has been somewhat lacking in the last couple of years is a true celebration of long time Mets greats, and properly honoring them. This day will rectify that, and it should be a game that sells out. After all, there has been tons of screaming and yelling about Citi Field not having enough Mets history in it. If you’re one of those people, you pretty much have to be there. It would look really bad if Mets fans were clamoring for Mets history but don’t sell out a game celebrating it. This isn’t about the team this year, this is about being a Mets fan. As of right now, not even the cheapest section is sold out.
Apparently the Magic Number Clock isn’t broken, because it moved again tonight. Two big ticks of doom for the Philadelphia Phillies. The Number suddenly dips to single digits, with 11 games left for the Mets to play, and as the Cardinals celebrate on the field for perhaps the last time in 2007, the Phillies hopes have faded a little bit more. They’re now three losses behind the Mets, and if the Padres can overcome a 3-2 Pirate lead in the 5th, they’ll be three losses back in the Wild Card race too.
Today was looking good for the Phillies, and bad for the Mets. The Mets looked like they were going to be steamrolled by the competition, but instead it’s looking like the Phillies don’t have enough gas and that the Mets are just a little farther away than they realized. The momentum has suddenly swung back in the Mets favor as they head down to Florida where they haven’t lost in what seems like ages pitching pitchers who will one day be immortalized in Cooperstown.
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It’s a good time to be a Mets fan.