Some things to talk about while Texans talk about everything else...
1) Replay coming to baseball
That's right. Replay is being expanded for the 2014 baseball season.
The owners have also approved funding for instant replay for 2014. More steps to come.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 14, 2013
Things seemed to go well for the most part in the AFL, where expanded replay was tried this year. I'm sure there will be limits on things and it will be an evolving process, but this has to be a good thing, right? Is anyone just immensely opposed to expanding replay? If it doesn't slow things down, it's a great thing, right?
2) Deadspin buying a HOF vote?
I care about the BBWAA. I'm in the BBWAA. I care about the Hall of Fame and hope to some day be able to vote on that, too. So, I have a complicated response to this Deadspin article.
This is because the Hall of Fame ritual has become, more than anything else, a way for an electorate dominated by neo-Puritan scolds, milquetoast handwringers, and straight-out dimwits to show how high its standards are by telling people like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, and Curt Schilling that they're just not good enough. What was meant as a way to honor great ballplayers is now an annual exercise in vigorously insulting them, and thereby asserting the power of the baseball writer.
The sensible thing to do would be to just stop paying attention to this raging trash fire, but we don't think that's enough. We're going to seize some small, symbolic bit of power and turn it over to the public. We're going to buy a Hall of Fame vote.
On the one had, it's a great idea. Take the vote out of the hands of people who are disconnected from the game. But, I chafe at the suggestion that this organization I worked to be a part of is somehow lacking. That not everyone in it is willing to learn and grow their baseball knowledge. That they're going to make moralistic judgements instead of treating this thing like the historical snapshot that it is.
That's all wishful thinking, though. For every new line baseball thinker that gets into the BBWAA, there are those who spend little energy on anything other than talking to players and front office types. There are those that view advanced metrics as hoodoo to be denounced as "math nerdery."
It makes me mad, but I completely understand what Deadspin is doing. I'd never put my vote up for sale, because it means so much to me. But, if there's someone who could be bought, doesn't that mean the process isn't as meaningful to them? Maybe they're highlighting a broken system.
It'll be telling whether or not they get a taker. I suspect no one will, just because the majority of Hall of Fame voters probably don't regularly read Deadspin or other places that have covered the story. If it happens, though, do you think it tarnishes HOF discussion? Will it help Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio get in together?
3) Jonas Dufek surprising
Really nice story on former Creighton pitcher Jonas Dufek, who has performed well in a relief role in the Arizona Fall League. Dufek has shown a good slider, a solid fastball and is working on his changeup. Seems like he could be in the bullpen mix for Houston soon.
But, Dufek was drafted just before Jeff Luhnow took over. What's it like for prospects who weren't this regime's guys? Brian McTaggart has an answer:
Dufek, who was drafted the June before general manager Jeff Luhnow was hired, has noticed how much the system has improved the last three or four years and is glad to be a part of the Astros' promising future.
"I really like it," he said. "They draft guys that want to win and know how to win. It's guys that are ready to compete and are working their way up. We're going to make a difference."
Reason No. 745 that this Astros front office will be successful soon.