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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

MLB needs to show its Hall of Fame inductions more respect

The main events of the Hall of Fame Weekend at the Baseball Hall of Fame were the inductions of a pair of former stars from National League Central Division clubs – ex-Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin and the late Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo.

More than 40 Hall of Fame members were present in Cooperstown, New York for the Induction Ceremony of the Class of 2012 that began at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon, July 22. The proceedings were televised live on MLB Network, broadcast nationally on Sirius XM Radio, Sirius 209 and XM 89, and were available via a webcast at www.baseballhall.org.

Yet one would never know the ceremonies were underway by looking at the competing activity that was going on elsewhere across Major League Baseball on Sunday afternoon.

At the time of the start of the Hall inductions, eight MLB games were underway with at least three more having first pitches scheduled during the ceremony. In other words, it was a business-as-usual Sunday.

Sadly, those games included Santo’s beloved Cubs, who were playing the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. The Reds were also on the road, playing the Brewers in Milwaukee during Larkin’s acceptance speech.

As I flipped my channel back and forth between the Cooperstown proceedings and the Cubs-Cardinals game, undoubtedly missing good parts of each, I wondered why it was necessary.

Why does MLB show so little respect to its rich history by holding games during its own Hall inductions each July?

I know DVRs and delayed replays can help, but they shouldn’t be needed. It just doesn’t seem right.

In my opinion, an ideal approach would be for all clubs to take induction Sunday off, focusing all eyes on Cooperstown. Realistically, due to the revenue hit associated with 15 clubs losing a prime mid-summer Sunday home date, that proposal seems unlikely to occur.

A more reasonable alternative would be to simply shift all induction day games to the evening.

That wouldn’t be difficult at all. So why doesn’t MLB do it?

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31 Responses to “MLB needs to show its Hall of Fame inductions more respect”

  1. crdswmn says:

    Is there some reason the induction needs to be during the season? Why not have it during the offseason? Current players and staff would then be available to attend.

    • kray66 says:

      Offseason would be a good idea.

      Another would be doing it Sunday evening. There’s only one game anyway (ESPN game) so the effect would be minimal. Players would be traveling which would make it hard for them to watch, but at least the ceremony isn’t competing with actual baseball.

    • Brian Walton says:

      For me, a major allure is having the ceremony outside, in a large field, in the sunshine. Tens of thousands can bring their blankets and watch.

      Holding it during the off-season would mean having it in a warm-weather site, not upstate New York. That would be a mistake, IMO.

      P.S. They used to hold an exhibition MLB game as part of the weekend ceremonies, but that was shelved.

      • crdswmn says:

        Well, there are trade offs for everything. Bigger crowds (including players and staff) and more watching versus having it outside.

        • Brian Walton says:

          Keeping everything the same except changing the times of MLB games on Induction Sunday to not overlap is simple and easy. You are trying to address a different concern – active players/coaches being unable to attend.

          • crdswmn says:

            Won’t allow players and staff to attend. Again, it’s a trade off. I don’t have a strong opinion about it, just playing Devil’s Advocate.

          • crdswmn says:

            True, but wasn’t your concern that having it while games were going on was taking away attention? Maximize attention by having players and staff attend in the offseason. Not the easiest solution but the most comprehensive.

            • Brian Walton says:

              I doubt most current players would care about the event, especially to travel there during their off-season. In fact, I think Players Union concern was one of the reasons the HOF exhibition game was eliminated. Some of the MLB coaches attending would be nice, but the real attraction is the Hall of Famers.

              • JumboShrimp says:

                Holding one extra “exhibition game” during the season would tax pitchers and discriminate against the two teams involved. Its welcome that this past practice has been scrapped.

                If they once played an exhibition game at Cooperstown, I suppose they could schedule one regular season game there. But if the main attraction is the hall of famers, maybe the game would deflect their spotlight.

              • crdswmn says:

                Why not create a whole HOF week celebration? Create incentive for some players to attend by having offseason awards handed out then? An awards day, followed by HOF induction. Be creative and come up with something that would encourage more attendance.

              • JumboShrimp says:

                How about MLB sets up its own HoF? The one is Cooperstown was set up by the local Clark family in 1939, as an idea to make some money during the Depression. They sensibly took advantage of the myth that baseball began at Cooperstown and cashed in. MLB (owners and players) probably do not have a big piece of the action at quaint Cooperstown. MLB may not have much economic incentive to serve the Clarks.

                If MLB set up its own Baseball History Museum, it could choose a location that would draw more people. Or MLB could establish regional locations, convenient for attracting more visitors. The cause of celebrating and teaching baseball history might be better served if undertaken by MLB, which would then have a financial stake in growing this business.

        • crdswmn says:

          Build an indoor venue in Cooperstown and have it in the offseason.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    Many commencements and graduation ceremonies are held during the morning. Similarly, an induction ceremony could be held at 10 or 11 am.

    Or they could integrate the HoF induction ceremony with the All Star Game. It could be Monday afternoon, followed in the evening by the homer contest, followed Tuesday evening with the ASG. The HoF and ASG have a natural affinity.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I think the HOF deserves to stand on its own, not squeezed between the Celebrity Softball Game and the Home Run Derby in a rotating site each year.

      So far, I am the only one to express the importance of holding the weekend ceremonies in Cooperstown. If you have ever attended an induction, which I have been fortunate enough to do, I bet you’d agree with me.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        My parents took me by Cooperstown when a kid. I got a green ceramic plate of the Hall as a takeaway. I recall seeing plaques about players.

        One interesting thing about the locale of Cooperstown is it is premised on a charming myth, invented by New Yorkers circa 1905, that young Abner Doubleday invented the American past-time at Cooperstown in 1839. By 1905, General Doubleday had passed on, so was not around to deny the charge. He is not known to have made any such claim when living. And records have come to light that show baseball to have older roots.

  3. blingboy says:

    I’m against trying to force people to pay attention to something if they’d rather pay attention to something else. Personally, while I respect the members of the hall, I don’t care about the ceremony.

    The idea I always put forward when this discussion comes up is to schedule a real MLB game at Doubleday Field and have the induction as part of the game related festivities. A big advantage is it would require scaling back all the speaches, which is unbearable anyway.

    The lost ticket and concessions income from one game would be easily manageable. It could be the only day game for those who value compulsory reverence.

    Having either the reigning pennant winners, or the teams with the best records play would be great.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Brian gets credit for consistency. He values baseball records and history. He regrets the Cards have not set up their own Hall of Fame. He even knows about teams playing in St Louis during the 1880s. He has been concerned about the possible impacts of muscle helping molecules on player records. It seems consistent to argue in this column that MLB should jigger its schedule so none of its games compete with the HoF induction ceremony. He loves attending this ceremony.

  4. blingboy says:

    The other day, I went to bed in the sixth so I missed the 12 run inning. Seeing the highlights, it looked like a lot of opposite field hits. Uncharacteristic. I was working the next day so I missed that big shutout win also. Now I’m off for a few days so they probably won’t be able to hit their way out of a paper bag.

    It would be great to see what Mighty Joe would do with a comfortable lead. Lets hope we find out tonight.

  5. blingboy says:

    The other day, when Ludwick was ripping us up, I happened to wonder how Greenwood is coming along. I’ve looked at his stats but would appreciate any observations.

    I’ve often thought that if Mo was willing to offload Luddy, who was second only to Schmalbert in most offensive catagories at the time, he might do anything. A week to go, better hold on to your hat.

  6. blingboy says:

    We’re back to Holliday-Beltran-Berkman in the middle of the lineup. Been awhile. Furcal and Jay at the top. If everybody shows, thats formidable.

    I see contract boy is back on the DL. I didn’t even know I had hamstrings when I was 23. Walk it off.

  7. crdswmn says:

    Holy Come Out of Nowhere Batman. The Mariners have traded Ichiro to the Yankees for two minor league pitchers.

    And the Yankees and Mariners bein a series tonight in Seattle. Whoa.

    • blingboy says:

      I get first hand reports from somebody in Seattle who says Ichiro has nothing left at all. It will be interesting to see what happens, but the Yanks won’t hesitate to dump him and eat some salary. He’s not an icon there.

      • crdswmn says:

        I know Ichiro is pretty much washed up, but it just came out of nowhere. There has been no talk of it at all.

        Some talk on Twitter that there was tension between the FO and Ichiro and that he pretty much asked to be traded.

    • Nutlaw says:

      Yeah, despite Ichiro being done, this is a pretty big surprise to me, too.

  8. crdswmn says:

    Oh and the Marlins traded Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers for Jacob Turner and some other guys and some comp balance picks were exchanged.

  9. WesPowell says:

    Sometimes the numbers add up and sometimes they don’t. Such is life. Our Cardinals have scored 86 more runs than the opposition, which is best in all of baseball. And we are 7th place record-wise in the national league and tied for 13th overall. I wonder if the major league leading team in that stat has ever been tied for 13th in the won-loss department at this stage of the season–approaching 100 games.

    You’d think if this occured it would probably be because of a team ERA of 5 or something like that. But ours is 3.75 which is respectable.

    I doubt a team could finish first in that stat for the entire season and not make the post season, but who knows. Maybe it has happened before. Maybe it could happen to us this year.

    • Nutlaw says:

      So the explanation here is that despite an NL sixth-best 3.75 ERA, the Cardinals have an NL tenth-best 4.28 bullpen ERA. (Their starting pitching, at 3.51 ERA, is fourth best in the NL.) Their 14 blown saves are fourth highest in the NL.

      You win big due to your great offense and solid starting pitching, but you lose close games because your bullpen can’t keep you in the game. Also, your offense is streaky and tends to pile on a bunch of meaningless runs.

  10. blingboy says:

    Okay, so earlier today I’m up at the beer and bocce hall and this guy says “In games decided by 5 or more, the Cards are 17-9, but In one run games, they’re only 11-17. So, if we’re behind by a run and its getting late, let the other guys get 4 more so its a 5 run game. Viola! Our chances of winning are a lot better. I should be the manager.”

    I’m pretty sure he was serious. I had to have another cold one on account of that.

  11. blingboy says:

    It looks like Kelly’s pitches have a lot of movement. A whole lot.

  12. JumboShrimp says:

    My enthusiasm for Mr. Marte is nearing its end. Bring on Brian Fuentes.

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