The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Goin' Down

A lot of catching up to do, thanks to my little "vacation" instigated by a trip to the doctor's office.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Goodenow is Gone

There are four perspectives you can take on Bob Goodenow's resignation.

Historical Perspective: It seems like the NHLPA only changes leadership when the association is in disarray. That's not a good thing for any organization in any business. However, both times that it's happened, it happened for the better. Hopefully Saskin can keep that trend up.

Current Perspective: I believe Goodenow lost control of the PA back in February, when essentially he "blinked" when Bettman pushed the league over the edge. Eventually, you can only bluff so long. That was his downfall.

Future Perspective: Saskin may end up being more of an "advisor" to the players in the near future. It would surprise me if he's the one who actually is the lead in negotiating the next CBA (or whenever they decide to re-open things.

Long-term Perspective: Goodenow made that one critical error in his tenure as the PA's head; other than that, he did a lot of very good things for the players. Personally, I don't think he'll be thrown into the HHOF right away, but maybe within a few years, he'll end up there. And it will be deserved.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Latest In Fashion

Congrats to the Penguins.

We're BACK.

The NHL, she is back!

No surprises to the changes, outside that lovely new logo...

Thursday, July 21, 2005


The rumors coming across are that the NHLPA has ratified the contract. There apparently were some token "no" votes, but the majority threshold was reached sometime this morning. They're going to finish counting the votes, but it's looks like within an hour the union will ratify the new CBA.

Now all that has to happen is the BOG to rubber-stamp it, and we're live once again.

The Comcast rumors are bubbling once again. I may need to get NHL Center Ice just to be able to watch hockey, since I doubt TWC will want to carry a Comcast channel (unless it's Spike TV).

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Cracker Jacks, Super Agent and the Return

Is Rafael Palmeiro a Hall of Famer?

With his 3,000th career hit, Rafael Palmeiro has been mentioned as having "clinched his HOF credentials."

But has he? Using the Ken Keltner list, I present a bit of an overview of Raf's career:

HOF Eligibility: If he retires at the end of 2005, he'll be eligible for the 2011 vote (induction in 2012).

All-Star Games: Four (1988, 1991, 1998, 1999);

Awards: 1999 TSN Player of the Year (voted for by players); three gold gloves (1997-99); two Silver Sluggers (1998-99). Finished in the top 10 in MVP balloting three times (1993, 8th; 1996, 6th; and 1999, 5th).

Black Ink: 8 (avg HOF: 27)

Gray Ink: 183 (avg HOF: 144)

HOFS: 57.0 (avg HOF: 50)

HOFCM: 156.0 (likely HOF: 100; certain: 130)

Most Similar Player: Frank Robinson (880), HOF'er

HOF in top 10 most similar: Eight – top five most similar are all HOF'ers (Robinson; Eddie Murray, 876; Reggie Jackson, 842; Mel Ott, 828; Dave Winfield, 820). Rafael is also similar to HOF'ers Al Kaline (805), Willie McCovey (768) and Billy Williams (756).

Post-season record: No World Series appearances. 5 post-season series played (teams are 2-3 in those series); 22 gp, 20-82 (.244), 4 HR, 8 RBI, 0 SB, 6 BB, 23 K. His last post-season appearance was in 1999, when the Yankees swept the Rangers in the ALDS (three singles in 11 AB over the three games).


1. He has played in an era where most people have argued that guys like Sosa, Rodriguez, Jeter and Bonds were the best. Raffi was tangential to those discussions.

2. Though Raffi has bounced between the Rangers and Orioles in his tenure, it's likely that he was one of the key members of his team during that time. In his three years with the Cubs at the beginning of his career, he was far from the best.

3. Here's another problem area: he happened to be in MLB at the time when Mark McGwire and Frank Thomas were playing; he also got edged out in Chicago because of Mark Grace. However, over the length of his career, he was probably the best; Thomas had the problem of having injuries slow him down, where Raffi hasn't.

4. There were the three that we've seen from the post-season results. It's likely that the Rangers might not have won the AL West in 1999 without Palmeiro (the team was about seven games over its Pythagorean record that year). His teams never made it to the WS, though – that can be blamed on the Yankees juggernaut and the outstanding 1997 Indians team. The Orioles are in contention this year; if he finally makes it to the World Series, he might have a crowning case for his HOF candidacy.

5. Raffi has created 562 runs since turning 35 in 2000. That is about 29% of his career total. His HR totals have declined each of the last three years (43, 38, 23), but that is more attributable to the decline of hitting over the last three seasons (more on that later).

6. Right now, the very best baseball player who is not in the Hall of Fame is still trying to shake off knee injuries in San Francisco. Raffi isn't him.

7. Once again: each of Raffi's top five most comparable players are in the HOF. What's strange is, you can find similarities to each of those five and Palmeiro – especially in 1B Eddie Murray. Murray's career is similar to Raffi's in many ways, except for the post-season success early on with Murray.

8. Raffi's HOFS are listed at 57.0 by; his CM totals are at 156.0. Most of the metrics that measure statistical success suggest Palmeiro has HOF credentials – though he is weak in the Black Ink test However, the Black Ink test isn't as reliable for gray-area HOF'ers, because there have been at least 28 teams in the majors during most of his career

9. Rafael was considered to be a good fielder, and gets points for never going on the D/L during his career (in fact, he hasn't played in fewer than 110 games in his career since 1987, when the Cubs weren't sure if he was their 1B of the future). The only reasons why he hasn't played in 154 or more games every season since he switched to the AL in 1989 was the strike in 1994. As to the hitting: his first three seasons in a notorious hitter's part weren't outstanding; his next five seasons playing in a stadium that… well, there's a reason why Nolan Ryan liked pitching at Arlington Stadium. He then switched to Oriole Park in 1994 – a park slightly favorable to hitters – and his career took off. Since coming back to Texas, he's played in a bandbox at Ameriquest Field. Oh, and there's that little accusation about 'roids.

10. The list of 1B with better HOFS scores is short: in fact, it consists of only one player, and that is Jeff Bagwell. Raffi's career stats don't have Bagwell's injuries attached; the argument would be that the two are comparable – and Palmeiro's might be slightly better.

11. Rafael never won the MVP award during his tenure in the AL. He was in the top 20 in voting 10 times, and has an Awards Share total of 1.20 – same as Wade Boggs, Derek Jeter, and Bruce Sutter. He deserved the HOF vote in 1999, but because of his teammate, Pudge Rodriguez, he didn't win it. The "Player of the Year" award indicates that his fellow players realized he was a key player – but that's not much to sportswriters, who vote in the BBWAA balloting.

12. That Rafael has only been to four All-Star games indicates the glut of candidates at his position (1B). Frank Thomas was the premier 1B in the AL when Raf first came to the league; since 1999, the title has been bandied about (Paul Konerko, for example). Having gone to only four All-Star games won't make-or-break his candidacy.

13. Palmeiro was probably the best player on the Rangers in 1999, and the only reason why they didn't win the AL pennant was because of the depth of the Yankees as a team. I'd say the answer to this question is yes.

14. Rafael Palmeiro was asked to come to Washington for the Senate hearings on performance enhancing drugs in sport. There's a belief that Rafael may have used steroids to improve his performance on the field; however, there's no proof that he actually did it. There's a real gray area right now for the writers and fans about players from this era, as to whether or not the statistics are "legit" because of the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

15. As far as we know, Rafael has been an outstanding citizen. There's the issue of his spokesmanship for Viagra (the male erectile dysfunction drug), and that he was called to testify to congress about steroids.

Is he a Hall of Famer? If the writers don't select Mark McGwire when he comes up for the ballot in a few years, we'll know. Under all the circumstances, assuming that the 'roid issue is laid to rest, Rafael appears to be a good HOF candidate. The Hall would definitely not be "sullied" with his membership.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


News came down from the state Friday that the remaining bargaining units all voted for the new contract (which expired over two weeks ago).

The saddest thing is, my bargaining unit in Security and Public Safety only passed the agreement by a 52% margin.

52%. That means that there are a lot of very unhappy people involved in keeping Wisconsin safe.

This is not a good thing.

Governor Doyle, are you listening?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

It's Done

Thank god almighty, it's done.

The NHL and NHLPA have a "deal in principle" on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The players will more than likely spend the next week ratifying the deal, and then the Board of Governors will vote on it next week.

The Draft Lottery will be the 21st, then the draft will be the 30th.

And sometime in early August, the utter chaos that will be the free agent signing period will occur.

Camps will open about September 6, and the season will likely open October 5th.

Game on!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Catching Up

It's been a long week.

First of all, my uncle on my step-mom's side had a stroke last week Wednesday. The funeral was today. It was a tough situation all around. I still hear his voice, asking if I was going to be doing this or doing that, or "how ya doin', Joe?" He was kind of the guy in the middle, keeping things going, getting things done. I'm definitely going to miss him.

Then came Thursday morning. I heard about the attacks on London at work. Bad enough that I was worried about my uncle, then to hear about all the people injured or killed. And on the heels of winning the 2012 Olympics... timing is everything.

I'm a little ticked that the IOC decided to drop baseball and softball from the '12 games. The World Cup of Baseball tournament to be held next spring doesn't assauge my ire; I don't think that the tournament will be truly world-class because of the reluctance of some teams (read: the Yankees) to have their star players participate prior to Spring Training.

Bobby Abreu - you know, he'd better watch it, or the Tigers are going to go after him in the off-season as a free agent. Yeah, yeah, I know, it was only BP fastballs - but man! And here I thought Carlos and Big Papi would be in the finals. That was just an amazing feat.

The NHL really needs to get its fecal matter together and get to the next stage of the game - namely, ratifiying the agreement. Enough of these small roadblocks that are popping up; if you forget something now, it ain't gonna matter until the next CBA. And the more crap you throw into this CBA, the more difficult it will be to negotiate the next one. I mean, rumors say the CBA they're working on is in the 600+ page range.

I made an attempt at building a Cracker Jack Baseball base set from a purchased box. Haven't come close, though I did get a relic card and an autograph card. I did talk it over with the owner of the sports card shop where I bought them (Jeff's Sports Cards in New Berlin): the three things I don't care for in the current card collecting environment are "short print" cards, "relic" cards and the impossibility of collecting an entire set from a wax box.

Speaking of which, I'll be spending the entire All-Star Game night doing sorting of my recently-purchased 1990 Topps Baseball set. The set wasn't collated at the factory, so I need to do the hand-collating to get everything in order. I've learned to do this, even though the box was sealed and shrink-wrapped, because another set I bought from Jeff's (as part of that estate sale I mentioned previously) was actually missing a card. It was only the 1988 Topps UK Baseball set, and it was only Brook Jacoby, but still - it's slightly annoying to think you have a complete set when you don't.

Update on that: I now have 31,712 cards; 25,331 singles; and 32 complete sets. The Jacoby card will make that 33 complete sets. No, I am far from complete in the Topps Cracker Jack Baseball set; I have only 59.6% of the set, not including short-print alternates (or error cards).

I'm going in for my annual blood test for my BP next week - the day before my Dad goes in to the hospital for his first knee surgery. Apparently, the surgery done on his knee three years ago became infected, and they'll have to clear things out of it before they can do repairs. He's going to be on IV antibiotics for the next six weeks after the first surgery - shades of Barry Bonds.

I will have some family members attending the Hall of Fame induction of Ryne Sandberg later this month; my step-Uncle Thomas and my cousin Jill will be going - both are huge Cub fans. I just asked her to take pictures; I hope she remembers to do that. I'd love to be able to head over there, perhaps next month (mid-August), just to see the Hall of Fame.

And as for the game tonight: I predict Kenny Rogers will be booed unmercifully, that someone that no one knew was an All-Star will get a key hit to win the game, and that Tony LaRussa will somehow manage to lose this game.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Glad that's Done

Monday, July 04, 2005


When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

——That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

——That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

—— Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

"In case you forgot why we celebrate today..."

The Lockout In A Nutshell

Owners cried poverty.
Players didn't trust owners.
Owners said "we'll sit."
Players didn't believe them.
Owners sat.
Players tried to nudge owners.
Owners sat.
Players made massive concessions.
Owners sat.
Players got worried, actually agreed to "cost certainty"
Owners said, "not enough, sorry."
Players panicked.
Owners cancelled the season.
Players caved.
Owners demanded everything.
Players started making minor demands.
Owners got lawyers involved.
Players drew out the negotiations forever by adding their own lawyers.
ESPN said "bye."
Owners got what they wanted.
Players got shafted, but now are 54% partners with the owners.
Owners will still make money, though much less because of the lockout.
Players will still make money, though much less because of the lockout.

Meanwhile, the fans get screwed over.

"And there you go..."

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Catching up

I just now realized I needed to follow up on some posts.


HOLD EVERYTHING! Armageddon MUST be upon us!

ESPN's SportsCenter actually had a segment on (gasp) the NHL!

Granted, it was E.J. "February Explosion" Hradek talking about what we already knew: the deal is imminent.

I think I know what happened: the bosses at ESPN must be gone for the holiday. Some smartass intern must have snuck the bit in without prior permission.

Heads will roll on Tuesday.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Andrew, Ben and Jane

Still no news from the Great White North... they're pausing for a holiday weekend.