Sunday, August 30, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

2015 WSC Hall Of Fame Voting Results

The votes have been tallied and here are the results.

There were no players elected this year, as no player received 75% of the vote.

Unfortunately no one was inducted into the WSC Hall of Fame Class of 2015!

There will be no new players on next year's ballot, since no player fell below 5% of the vote.

Thank you to everyone who voted!

Here are the final totals.

Hoyt Wilhelm - 33 votes (67%)
Robin Ventura - 32 votes (65%)
Al Lopez - 27 votes (55%)
Bobby Thigpen - 22 votes (44%)
Buck Weaver - 22 votes (44%)
Gary Peters - 18 votes (36%)
Jerry Hairston - 11 votes (22%)
Oscar Gamble - 9 votes (18%)
Dummy Hoy - 8 votes (16%)
Fielder Jones - 8 votes (16%)
Ron Karkovice - 6 votes (12%)
Jorge Orta - 6 votes (12%)
Frank Isbell - 3 votes (6%)

Forty-nine people voted in this election, which is lower than the previous year, so every player seems to have landed closer together than in past years. Buck Weaver  and Al Lopez continue to make gains. Hoyt Wilhelm and Robin Ventura remain close but not quite there. Fielder Jones picked up a few well deserved votes and Frank Isbell is teetering dangerously close to falling off the ballot. Gary Peters' fans seemed to have abandoned him from last year. Dummy Hoy and Oscar Gamble apparently have the same people voting each year, with no gains or losses in votes obtained.

It looked like we would have one or two inducted this year, but a rush of last minute voters pushed those candidates out. It was interesting to see the quick rise and slow decline of players, as more votes accumulated.

Perhaps next year will be a better year for the nominees to be inducted into the WSC Hall of Fame!

The voting for the Class of 2016 will begin some time after the World Series is concluded.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

WSC Birth Years: Adam LaRoche

Card #184 - Adam LaRoche

Born: November 6, 1979

Adam was drafted by the Florida Marlins in 1998, but did not sign. He was also drafted by the Florida Marlins in 1999, but did not sign. LaRoche was then drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 2000, where he chose to sign. He made his MLB debut for the Braves on April 7, 2004. Adam stayed with the Braves for three seasons until he was traded to the Pirates prior to the 2007 season. Two and a half seasons later, LaRoche was traded to the Boston Red Sox on July 22, 2009. His career as a Red Sox player was short lived, as Adam was traded to the Atlanta Braves on July 31, 2009, after playing six games with Boston. After the 2009 season, LaRoche was granted free agency, where he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He would stay a season in Phoenix, then he would sign with the Washington Nationals in 2011, who lost Adam Dunn to the White Sox in free agency. LaRoche would come into his own during his stay in D.C., eventually signing with the White Sox through free agency before the 2015 season, effectively following the wake of Adam Dunn again, who left the White Sox during the 2014 season and retired after a stint with the Oakland Athletics.

LaRoche was brought in to fill the designated hitter role and to rest Jose Abreu at first base occasionally. Adam was signed mainly for his bat, but his hitting in the 2015 season has him flirting with career season lows across the board, not including his 2011 season, which lasted only forty-three games due to season ending labrum surgery on his left shoulder. After a rocky start in Chicago, his numbers are staying steady. If LaRoche can finish strong in 2015, he could be setting himself up for a monster 2016 season.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Saturday's White Sox - Cubs Game

I absolutely love going to the ballpark. The smell of the fresh air. The roar of the crowd. The action on the field.

The picture above was taken from my seat at Saturday night's White Sox/Cubs game. This was my first anniversary present from my wife. She got tickets for us, the kid and my mom. It was a nice family outing.

I spent the fifth inning tracking down the one cotton candy vendor, because the kid had her heart set on the sugary treat. The Sox didn't win, but we had a great time and there was a really decent fireworks show afterward. I even got a chuckle when Bobby Thigpen's brother started messaging me to bother his brother in the middle of a bullpen meltdown.

There was only one aspect of the game that kept the evening from being perfect. No, it wasn't the score of the game. It was one family, two rows in front of my family.

I was at a Crosstown series, so I expect there to be ribbing and some playful taunting. That just adds to the atmosphere. When it crosses the line, ruining the enjoyment of those around you, is when it needs to stop.

There was a family of three males and two females. The two females were mostly quiet. Around the seventh inning, one of the females even looked like she wanted to shrink down until she disappeared. I'm not sure of the dynamic of the family, so I'll just speculate here. The grandfather was a Cubs fan. The father was a Sox fan. The son was a Cubs fan. Every one of them seemed to be deaf, because the volume coming out of their mouths could drown out tornado sirens.

It seemed to be a two pronged attack against the "father" and the father had no problem dishing out insults and blowhard bravado right back at them. In the picture, he's the one in the Konerko jersey. Every time anything on the field happened, all I saw was that Konerko jersey blocking everything but the outfield. The "grandfather" would block the outfield portion of my viewing area. To be fair, right before the game started, the "father" did apologize and mentioned he would be standing up every time something happened. I swear, he was telling the complete and utter truth, not that prefacing this behavior with his non-apology excused this behavior. It did not. By the time I returned with cotton candy for the kid, I was done being my mild mannered self and started to loudly proclaim grand wishes of being able to actually watch the game that we paid for and the some inconsiderate people suck the enjoyment out of sporting events.

The males of the family continued to ignore my thinly veiled statements, but the females started to notice and that's about the time one of them wanted to be invisible. The other fans around me in my section felt the same way my family did, but chose not to be as loud about it. Oh, did I mention that alcohol was involved? It was, but my family was the one that only had water and Pepsi.

I did get to see the two Saladino plays, mostly because they both happened too fast for the jumping bean scream family to react. I had no idea that Robin Ventura was ejected from the game until I got back to my parents' house. That was how much this inconsiderate family blocked my view and distracted me during my anniversary present.

An obnoxious family like this is what gives team's fans a bad name. While the majority of fans are there to enjoy the game and have a good time, a slim few are there to knowingly ruin the good time of those around them. Well, loud family, you didn't ruin my good time, even though you tried like hell to do so. All your family did was show the fans sitting in section 117, what foul-mouthed, inconsiderate, loud jerks that you can be. Aren't you proud? You've succeeded. Maybe you'll get some kind of rusty award that will result in lockjaw.

Absolutely, you should have fun at the ballpark, but not at the expense of others around you. Be courteous to the fans around you.

One last thing... if you are aware of your behavior enough to pre-apologize for it, you are aware of it enough to change it.

Enjoy the game.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

After Seven Years There Are Cards For Sale

I have searched high and wide for an alternative to eBay. I used to have an eBay store called Mercury's Space and it did well enough for me to feed my hobby addiction and pay for itself. I was happy. I was content. It was a perfect symbiotic relationship. What cards I didn't want to keep or couldn't involve in a trade, I sold.

Then in 2008, eBay changed its pricing policies. The sole reason that my store thrived was the commons I offered. Buyers would come in for a higher priced item and fill up on commons. It got rid of my low demand inventory and made people happy. Then eBay screwed with my comfortable existence and no longer offered store items for under a dollar. There went most of my inventory. Every card was $1.00 or more, regardless of worth. I kept my under a dollar listings as long as I could. I even got nasty e-mails from eBay, stating that I would suffer penalties if I did not remove the merchandise. Eventually, all of my under a dollar merchandise was gone and my sales tanked. I had to close Mercury's Space and I have been on the hunt for an eBay alternative ever since.

Seven years later, I think I may have found the perfect online storefront. There are no listing or selling fees, so I can keep reasonable prices. It uses PayPal for payment, so there's no shady shenanigans, waiting for money to pop up. It took much longer than expected, but I think the wait was worth it.

Check out the new Mercury's Space. As of this writing, there are over 500 cards up for sale, with more being added daily. Explore the store. You might see something you like.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

WSC Birth Years: Jeff Samardzija

Card #183 - Jeff Samardzija

Born: January 23, 1985

Jeff was chosen by the Chicago Cubs in the fifth round of the 2006 amateur draft. He was also one of the country's top college wide receivers. Samardzija declined to enter the NFL draft, in order to sign a contract with the Cubs. Jeff made his MLB debut in 2008 and transformed himself into a premier pitcher, albeit one with the worst of luck. Despite having one of the best ERAs, paired with lights out stuff, Jeff only had two winning seasons in his six and a half years on the North side of Chicago.

On July 5, 2014, Samardzija was traded to the Oakland Athletics, after he rejected a five year deal from the Cubs. On December 9, 2015, Jeff was traded to the Chicago White Sox. After a slightly rocky start to 2015, Samardzija pitched well enough for the ChiSox to help change Chicago from a seller to a buyer at the trading deadline.

Monday, August 3, 2015

WSC Birth Years: J.B. Shuck

Card #182 - J.B. Shuck

Born: June 18, 1987

J.B. was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2008. Shuck made his MLB debut on August 5, 2011, against the Brewers, in the fifth inning, replacing pitcher J.A. Happ in the lineup and sliding into right field in place of Brian Bogusevic, who was replaced by pitcher Aneury Rodriguez. J.B. went one for two with a stolen base in his debut game.

After the 2011 season, he next popped up with the Angels in 2013, where he placed fifth in Rookie of the Year voting. Shuck was then purchased by the Cleveland Indians in September 2014, before he was picked up on waivers by the Chicago White Sox after the 2014 season.

J.B. has been one of the key components to the White Sox surge during the summer of 2015. He gives his all in the outfield and carries one of the higher batting averages on the team.
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