Another Tuesday, another edition of Rich’s Rants. This week I’ll cover Jon Heyman’s Hall of Fame Vote, the UCONN Women’s consecutive win streak and Michael Vick wanting to own another dog.
Earlier this week, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated released his Hall of Fame ballot, and once again he’s doing his best to justify voting for Jack Morris, but not for Bert Blyleven. Last year as a writer for Informative Sports, as the first ever Rich’s Rants, I ripped Heyman for this and now it seems I’ll have to do it again. Yes, Bert Blyleven is a borderline HOFer, as is Morris. Neither hit a ”magic” number (though Bert did get to 3,000 Ks) and neither won a Cy Young or a MVP. Heyman, as he did last year, continuously points to Blyleven’s poor showing in Cy Young voting (though Morris’ was just as bad) as a reason to note vote for him and even acknowledges that poor Cy Young results can be the result of too many pitchers having historic type seasons at the same time (well, he sort of acknowledges this). He even goes so far as to toss the discrepancy between Morris and Blyleven’s ERA out the window because of Morris’ poor final 2 seasons and that Morris “pitched to the scoreboard” but doesn’t give Blyleven the same treatment. It’s as simple as this – the stats ALL are in Blyleven’s favor over Morris, there is no debate there. Heyman gives Morris the edge because he was on a “winner”, made the All-Star game more and several other flimsy excuses. In my opinion, you can justify voting for Blyleven and not for Morris, you can justify voting for Blyelven and Morris, however, there is no way a sane person can justify a vote for Morris and not for Blyleven. A No vote for Blyleven is an automatic no vote for Morris.
As for the rest of Heyman’s ballot, I don’t really have an issue with any player he voted for – he voted for guys who should have gotten in last year (Alomar and Larkin), he voted for two guys who should be getting more votes than they do (Raines and Murphy) and seeing how Don Mattingly was my favorite player growing up I can understand the vote for him (though I think Donnie Baseball falls just a hair short of being a HOFer). I even understand the No votes for guys like Bagwell, McGriff and Trammell (three guys I would have voted for). If I had a HOF vote (and hopefully, the BBWAA one day will recognize non-traditional sports writers like the writers of this site), my ballot would have been – Alomar, Larkin, Bagwell, Raines, Murphy, McGriff, Blyleven and Trammell. Thankfully Blyleven will make the HOF this year and we can stop listening to voters like Jon Heyman try to create reasons to justify faulty voting.
Tonight, the UCONN Women go for their 89th consecutive win in a row. Sunday night, they tied the UCLA Bruins streak of 88 games. The streak hasn’t gotten the same publicity a men’s team would have gotten if they were approaching this tremendous record and ESPN isn’t even airing the game on their primary channel, instead they are relegating it to ESPN2. At least they will be doing a retrospective tonight an hour before tip-off. I’m a UCONN fan and wish them the best of luck. The detractors of this record, the ones who say “the women’s game is different than the men’s” or “the field isn’t close – it’s UCONN and the rest of the country, so it’s not a shock they dominate like they do” cannot take away from what this record means to me and other UCONN fans. I don’t care at what level you are playing in whether it’s a Pee Wee League somewhere, some summer league, a high school team, a college team or a pro team; if you win 88 games in a row (possibly 89) while taking on all comers (consistently taking on top 10/top 5 teams) it’s impressive. Some people say their margin of victory shows that they haven’t been challenged enough to “be worthy”; I say the fact that they utterly destroy the teams they should and utterly destroy the teams who are “closest to them talent wise” simply shows that they never let up or never let a bad half turn into a bad game. I’ve watched many of their games and seen them come out flat to start a game, only to see the final score still have a difference of 30 or more. To constantly play at the top of your game, over and over for basically 3 seasons in a row is impressive – hell most teams in any sport or league, have a hard time doing that game to game. Give Geno Auriemma and his players the respect they have earned and stop trying to lessen their accomplishment simply because they’re women.
Caution – the final topic this week is very disturbing. If you don’t want to hear about what Michael Vick did to dogs or simply don’t want to hear about this topic any more, stop reading – just come back next Tuesday for another edition of Rich’s Rants. If you want to hear my opinions on the matter, please continue reading.
My final topic this week is in regards to Michael Vick’s recent statement that he would like to own another dog someday. I wasn’t going to even discuss this because it brings up feelings in me that I don’t like to let out but decided to anyways. I am a dog owner and animal rights supporter and believe what Vick did is one of the most heinous things a person can ever do. Yes, Vick did his time and for all appearances seems like a changed man and has turned his career around. However, in my opinion that doesn’t mean he should ever own another animal again. Some people say that his dog fighting was a cultural thing and he didn’t realize what he was doing was wrong (though, if he thought he wasn’t wrong why was it all done in secret in dark buildings in the dark of night?). To this I say bull. Yes, dog fighting is “cultural” and killing the “losers” is simply part of that culture. However, how the dogs were killed speaks volumes and this is what has me concerned for any animal Vick might own again in the future. Instead of simply killing the dogs by a single gunshot (which would have been the most “humane” way and I use “humane” very loosely – no dog should have been killed simply because they weren’t vicious enough), Vick and his cohorts tortured the dogs to death. If Vick didn’t get some enjoyment out of the torture of the dogs, he would have stopped and found some other way to kill them. Instead he repeatedly hung, strangled, drowned, electrocuted and shot the dogs. This had to fulfill some desire within Vick and I do not believe that desire can ever be treated or cured. I fear for any animal he may own in the future. If Vick gets another dog, how long can he contain that desire? Vick has turned into a very good all-around NFL QB (something I never thought he’d be able to do) and people think he’s the NFL’s MVP this year but they need to remember he’s a convicted dog fighter who got enjoyment out of watching animals destroy each other and then took pleasure in torturing the ones who under-performed. Animals do not get to choose who owns them, instead we need to look out for them and ensure they are protected. Can you say with any certainty that a person who tortured animals once will not do so again? No you cannot. Err on the side of caution and ensure that person never has the opportunity again, no matter how much they “love dogs”.
So, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Remember to come back each Tuesday for another edition of Rich’s Rants! Until then, please feel free to suggest topics you would like me to cover either in the comment section below, on my Facebook Page or on Twitter.