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Griffey should have been unanimous Hall of Fame choice


Griffey should have been unanimous Hall of Fame choice

Ken Griffey, Jr. received a higher percentage of the vote than anyone else in Hall of Fame balloting. And, he should have. Griffey was a truly great player with no hint of scandal, and deserved each of the 440 votes.

Griffey received all but three of the votes, and while it’s understandable that people are outraged that three members of the Baseball Writers didn’t vote for him, and it’s not a cause for alarm.

Perhaps 40 players should have been elected unanimously to the Hall. There’s no reason to think that Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Tom Seaver should be missing on anyone’s ballot, but they were.

There’s been a push towards transparency in recent years, and voters are encouraged, but not required to disclose their votes. Nearly half the voters made their choices public ahead of time in well-thought out blogs or columns.

If those three voters decided that Griffey was a sure thing, and they had 10 other worthy candidates, that’s faulty reasoning. You should vote for the 10 best candidates. Not all the voters submitted full ballots, but more than half appear to have done so.

In the past, others didn’t vote for an obvious candidate because they didn’t want a player to become the first to be elected unanimously. That’s just silly, but reasoning like that is between a voter and their employer—if in fact there’s still actively covering the game.

RELATED: Griffey gets record percentage of Hall of Fame vote

Three voters, and presumably not the same three who excluded Griffey, included Mike Sweeney.

Sweeney was a fine player, and by all accounts a very nice man, who played the majority of his 16 years with the Kansas City Royals. He was a five-time All-Star, had 1,540 hits, 215 home runs and a .297 batting average.

He had an excellent career, but was not, by any stretch, a Hall of Famer. The three voters who checked off Sweeney’s name were probably doing him a favor because he was a good clubhouse guy, and that’s wrong, too.

Mike Piazza was also elected, and three players, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Trevor Hoffman all got more than two thirds, but not the 75 percent of the vote required.

It would have been cool if Raines, who has one more year of eligibility, could have gotten in with Griffey. Both Griffey and Raines were part of father-son duos. Griffey played on Seattle with his father, and Raines briefly played with the Orioles with his son.

Bagwell, Raines and Hoffman have good chances of getting into the Hall next year. Curt Schilling moved up to 52.3 percent while Mike Mussina recorded the biggest jump on the ballot, up to 43 percent.

Next year, there’s no surefire candidate. Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Ivan Rodriguez are on the ballot, and that should help Bagwell, Raines and Hoffman.

Melvin Mora is eligible for next year’s ballot. He, along with former Oriole reliever Arthur Rhodes, must be approved by a screening committee in order to be considered.

Mora, who holds the Orioles record for highest batting average in a season (.340) isn’t any more qualified than Sweeney was, but I hope he gets on the ballot.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles to add Mark Quinn as assistant hitting coach

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Orioles clean house, fire 11 members of scouting and front office departments

Orioles clean house, fire 11 members of scouting and front office departments

Baltimore Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias is dedicated to altering the direction of the organization and that was reciprocated Friday with the firing of 11 members of the scouting and front office departments.  

"We're in a period of change right now with the industry and we're in a period of change right now with the Orioles," Elias said. "Sometimes to make changes you've got to make changes."

Among those relieved were baseball operations director Tripp Norton, scouts Dean Albany, Jim Howard, John Gillette, Nathan Showalter, and Buck Showalter. 

Elias acknowledged the uphill battle ahead of filling numerous voids but insists it's just a part of the job 

"We're going to be very busy bringing people into this organization," he said. "This is just the organization moving along and adapting to the sport today."

Just one day removed from a judge confirming that the Orioles owe the Nationals nearly $300 million, Elias insisted this move isn't to save money.

"There are changes going on in the scouting business in terms of greater availability of information in general, video and data," Elias said. "There are instances where we will replace people's roles kind of man for man, head for head, spot for spot, but there's other instances where we're reconfiguring the way the scouts go about their business."

The O's will look completely different from this point out and players won't be the only changes.


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Watch this kid’s adorably wholesome reaction to getting a foul ball at Wednesday’s Orioles game

Watch this kid’s adorably wholesome reaction to getting a foul ball at Wednesday’s Orioles game

One of the most awesome things about sports is that some aspects are universally great. Getting a ball at a baseball game is one of them.

Whether you catch it on the fly, off a ricochet or just pick it up off the ground, finding that baseball in your hand is one of the best feelings for any fan. Seeing another fan experience that joy is heart-warming.

Enter this young fan at the Orioles game Wednesday night who scooped up a DJ Stewart foul ball.

This is the type of candid, wholesome, unfiltered reaction that only kids can provide. Every kid at every game dreams about getting a ball. Seeing this particular kid snag a ball at Camden Yards just brings all the feelings.

Oh, and the Orioles have won two games in a row. Not that that's a big deal or anything.