Celtics

Baseball writers fail to elect any players to Hall of Fame

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Baseball writers fail to elect any players to Hall of Fame

The contentious, divisive, and hotly debated process in this years Hall of Fame voting yielded little in the way of consensus for both voters and observers.

It also resulted in no players being elected to the Hall of Fame. There were 568 ballots cast, with 427 votes (75 percent) needed for election. With many players being snubbed by voters because of admitted, or suspected, use of performance-enhancing drugs, no one reached that plateau.

It underscores the great detail and thought process, of the voting process, Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said on MLB Network. It also shows how difficult it is to earn election.

Reaction to the shutout was mixed. Major League Baseball respected the decision:

Major League Baseball recognizes that election to the Hall of Fame is our games most extraordinary individual honor. Achieving enshrinement in Cooperstown is difficult, as it should be, and there have been seven other years when no one was elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America. While this year did not produce an electee, there are many worthy candidates who will merit consideration in the future. We respect both the longstanding process that the Hall of Fame has in place and the role of the BBWAA, whose members have voted in the Hall of Fames elections since 1936.

But the Major League Baseball Players Association did not:

Todays news that those members of the BBWAA afforded the privilege of casting ballots failed to elect even a single player to the Hall of Fame is unfortunate, if not sad. Those empowered to help the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum document the history of the game failed to recognize the contributions of several Hall of Fame worthy players. To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify. Moreover, to penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings -- and others never even implicated -- is simply unfair. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best players to have ever played the game. Several such players were denied access to the Hall today. Hopefully this will be rectified by future voting.

It is the first time since 1996 that no players were elected were elected by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Players can remain on the ballot for up to 15 years as long as they receive at least 5 percent of the votes in the previous year.

In '96, the Veterans Committee elected former Orioles manager Earl Weaver and pitcher Jim Bunning. Prior to that, the last time the BBWAA failed to elect anyone was 1971. The Negro League Committee elected Satchel Paige that year.

This year will be the first time since 1960 the Hall of Fame will host an induction ceremony with no living inductees. However, the induction ceremony, scheduled for the weekend of July 26-28, will still be held in Cooperstown.

The Hall announced in December at the winter meetings in Nashville that umpire Hank ODay, Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, and 19th century catcherthird baseman Deacon White had been elected by the Pre-Integreation Era Committee. All are long deceased.

Additionally, long-time Philadelphia writer Paul Hagen will be honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award and Tom Cheek, who broadcast the Blue Jays' first 4,306 games, will be honored posthumously with the Ford C. Frick Award.

Craig Biggio led all candidates with 68.2 percent, 39 votes shy of election. Jack Morris, who will be on the writers' ballot for the last time next year, was next with 67.7 percent, followed by Jeff Bagwell (59.6 percent), Mike Piazza (57.8), and Tim Raines (52.2).

The players who instigated much of the voting debate fell well under the threshold. Roger Clemens was named on 214 ballots, receiving 37.6 percent in his first year on the ballot, while Barry Bonds was right behind him at 36.2 percent, being named on 206 ballots.

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was named on 221 ballots, earning 38.8 percent of the vote.

Dale Murphy, who got just 18.6 percent of the votes in his final year on the ballot, will now need to rely on the Veterans Committee if he is going to get in.

Celtics-Hawks preview: C' defense looks to keep up historic pace

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Celtics-Hawks preview: C' defense looks to keep up historic pace

As the wins continue to pile up for the Boston Celtics, so does the praise and adulation from others throughout the league. 

It’s a double-edged sword if you think about it. 

Acknowledging how good the Celtics are, is indeed a sign of respect. 

But it also means Boston plays every game with a large target on its back unlike any of Brad Stevens’ previous Celtics teams. 

And that means every game they play, even those like tonight’s matchup at Atlanta where they will be heavily favored, are dangerous matchups.

Because for some teams, the next best thing to competing against the champ (Golden State) is facing the team with the best record who just knocked off the champ. 

That will be one of the dynamics at work tonight when the Celtics (14-2) kick off a three-game road trip against a trio of sub-.500 teams beginning with the Hawks (3-12).

Boston has shown tremendous focus and attention to detail during their 14-game winning streak. But in that span, the Celtics have never had a trio of teams right behind each other that struggled as much as the Hawks, the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks have this season. 

Not including games played on Friday, Boston’s next three opponents are a combined 11-33. 

All three of those teams would love to be the one to knock off the Celtics, the kind of victory that could significantly shift the direction of their respective franchises from their current downward spin. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will look to continue to play with the kind of defensive temperament that has catapulted them to the top of the NBA’s defensive standings in several categories. 

“The way they’re beating teams it ain’t pretty,” a league executive texted NBC Sports Boston. “But they win. Last I checked, that’s what matters most.”

And that success has to a large degree, put a bigger bullseye on the Celtics than ever. 

“Now that we have a reputation, I think everyone is coming for us,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Now we have to come play even harder, and I think we can do that. I think we are more than capable.”

Especially if they continue to defend at a level we haven’t seen in years. 

Boston has a league-best defensive rating of 95.4. A key component in Boston’s strong play defensively has been their ability to win the battle of the boards. They come into tonight’s game with a .530 rebounding percentage which is second in the league to Portland (.539).

And that defense, while praised for how it functions collectively, it also consists of some pretty good individual defenders as well. 

Among guards averaging at least 20 minutes per game, Boston has four players ranked among the top 10 in defensive rating (Marcus Smart, 93.5 defensive rating, 2nd); Jaylen Brown (93.6, 3rd); Terry Rozier (95.0, 5th) and Kyrie Irving (96.4, 8th). 

When you look at forwards, Brown headlines a trio of forwards that includes himself, Al Horford (94.2, 3rd) and Jayson Tatum (96.1, 7th). 

Aron Baynes has the best defensive rating (90.6) among centers, followed by Horford (94.2).

“Our guys are locked in and really trying and again we can really play some pretty ugly basketball at times,” Stevens said. “But I do think that we are competing which is really good.”