Red Sox

Nation STATion: Exclusive interview with .500 mark


Nation STATion: Exclusive interview with .500 mark

By Bill Chuck
Special to

Big day here because today I am thrilled to have an exclusive interview with the .500 mark.

Welcome to Nation STATion.

Thanks its all right to be here.

Before we begin, what do I call you? Mark?

.500 would be okay.

Ive been waiting all season to say this to you, Gotcha!

Yeah, big deal.

Well, you dont sound so enthusiastic. For the Red Sox, getting to 20-20 and reaching .500 is a big deal.

Hey, I gave you plenty of chances to catch me. I mean Opening Day was going to be my big moment. While all the other teams were bragging about being 1-0, the Red Sox could have finally said they were .500 all-time for Opening Days coming in 54-55-1 and then they lost 9-5 to Texas. Then in Game 2 of the season, they had the opportunity to reach .500 for the season, and they lost to Texas again. Then they strayed to the dark side and it wasnt until game 22 of the season that we had the opportunity to get together and the Sox lost to Baltimore. It took the Sox awhile before I became available again and they lost to the Angels to go 14-16. So, now youre finally here. Big deal.

You sound a little annoyed, I mean after all the Sox did start off 0-6.

Well, I am feeling a little rejected. And by the way, the Rays started off 0-6 as well and theyre 23-17 and they reached the .500 mark at 9-9.

Well, the Sox are here now.

You talk about catching me like it's something to brag about. Its really no biggie. Just like the Sox, Toronto and Oakland are 20-20. So is that primetime news magazine program with Elizabeth Vargas and Chris Cuomo?

That was pretty funny.

I just wanted you know that just because Im mediocre, it doesnt mean I cant have a sense of humor. You know, to reach me on May 15 is not that spectacular.

It is for Red Sox Nation. You know, this year the Sox have Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.

Yeah well, last year the Sox had Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez, and you know what their record was after 40 games? 20-20.

Take a look at the records for first and last time the Sox reached the .500 mark in each season since 2000:

Year When first reached .500 When last reached .500 2010 1-1 20-20 2009 1-1 6-6 2008 1-1 6-6 2007 1-1 4-4 2006 1-1 1-1 2005 2-2 11-11 2004 1-1 4-4 2003 1-1 1-1 2002 1-1 1-1 2001 1-1 79-79 2000 1-1 5-5

Okay I get it, youre a little annoyed the Sox dont visit that frequently.

Hello! Now, youre catching on. Do you know the last time you spent the winter with me? 1985 when John McNamaras men finished 81-81. In fact, the Sox have only ended their seasons three times at .500. The other two times were in 1944, when they finished 77-77-2, and in 1934, when they were 76-76-1.

Look, being me is being mediocre. Im like a cold; people all the time are just trying to get over me.

You really are pretty funny.

Im a good guy. I like to see teams do well. Im like Rodney Dangerfield, respect-wise that is.

But I did have one really great day last week.

Tell me

Monday, May 9, when Kansas City was 18-16, and the Pirates, the team that avoids me like the plague, were 18-17. The last date the Royals and the Pirates were .500 or above on the same day this late in the season was May 16, 1999.

Good for you! Okay, so what happens next?

With the Orioles coming into town, I presume the Sox are done with me for the season, although

Although what?

Well, Baltimore is 19-20 and theyre motivated, and the Sox have Dice-K and Lackey pitching in the two games.

Good point. Presuming though the Sox move on, whats next for you?

You know the phrase that is used a lot to describe relationships with me? Teams are hovering around the .500 mark. And this year, I have quite a few hoverers. The Royals are now just a game over me and the Rangers and Rockies, just two over. On the other hand, the Brewers, Mets and Nationals are two under.

Look, its been nice talking with you, Im glad you and the Nation got to stop in and visit. Think of this as a rest stop on the road to the postseason, but without chocolate chip cookies. But I have to clean the place up, we may have the paparazzi here for a REALLY big guest and I dont want this place to be a mess.

OMG, whos coming?

Well, I cant be certain, but there is a certain team with a 20-18 record that is in chaos. Between age, injuries, and poor performances, the team is freaking out. The only clue I will give you is that their name rhymes with Schmankees.

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall


HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement


MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.