My Ballot

A while back, Tony hit me up for my ballot.  With voting in by Wednesday, I figured I’d come in with my 10 Mighty Ballplayers.  They might have lightning bolts on their uniforms, too.

  1. Greg Maddux.  Maddux is one of the best pitchers of all-time.  The only question here is if he gets 100% of the ballot or “only” 99%.
  2. Tom Glavine.  In a world without a steroid scandal, Glavine is a first-ballot guy who gets 75-80% of the vote.  With steroids, he’s the second obvious candidate for me.  It doesn’t hurt his case that he’s the pitcher I felt the most affinity toward growing up.  Strangely, that’s not one of the Hall of Fame criteria, but Glavine’s still good enough despite that.
  3. Craig Biggio.  Biggio was the second-best second baseman of our era, behind Roberto Alomar.  He spent a long time as a very good ballplayer with a legit peak in the early to mid 90s.  He was a hanger-on, which helps his case with the “lifer” Hall crowd (whereas I’m a “peaker”).
  4. Mike Piazza.  He had a rag arm but hit like nobody’s business.  He was the best catcher of our generation—yeah, better than Pudge.
  5. Mike Mussina.  Talking it over with our resident Penguatroll, we were both surprised to see Moose did so well over his career.  He was very, very good for a long time.  His peak was never as high as Glavine’s or Maddux’s, but he was at a sustained level of very high quality.
  6. Larry Walker.  Walker was great before Colorado, so park effects shouldn’t hurt his case much.  He’s probably the only member of the Blake Street Bombers with a good enough case.
  7. Tim Raines.  It’s time to bring Tim in out of the cold.  I may still think of him as Discount Rickey Henderson, but DRH was pretty fantastic.
  8. Edgar Martinez.  I’d call him the greatest DH of all-time.
  9. Frank Thomas.  The Big Hurt was a monster.  He came up looking like a bull and matched top-end power with an elite batting eye.  In his peak from 1991-1997, he struck out 100 times in a season only once and averaged 75 a year against 119 walks.  He had almost as many extra-base hits as strikeouts during those seasons.
  10. Fred McGriff.  I think McGriff will be my new Dale Murphy, now that Murph is out of the running:  a hopeless cause with a valid case.  McGriff was fantastic for several years and was the primary offensive contributor for three separate teams (late ’80s Toronto, early ’90s San Diego, and mid-90s Atlanta).  Unfortunately for him, there was a surge in outstanding first basemen.  Even if you throw away Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro (who was a good career-wise comp for McGriff), Jeff Bagwell is definitely a more deserving candidate and should be in the Hall.

Special notes:

  • As mentioned, I’d definitely vote for Jeff Bagwell.  After voting for three DH/1B types, though, I couldn’t bring myself to vote for another one.
  • Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens aren’t on my ballots.  I would vote for them, but I left them off for strategic purposes.  There are ten people on my list I’d like to see in the Hall.  Given that my interpretation of the Zeitgeist is that Bonds/Clemens are still going to fall well short, that frees up other slots for other worthy people.  This might help out somebody like Raines or Walker, who would otherwise have to wait for a logjam to clear.  I’d still vote for both of them, though, given that they were two of the best players ever.
  • Curt Schilling would be in my top 15, but didn’t quite make the top 10.  I’d have no problem with him in the Hall and I wouldn’t be so hurt if you swapped out Mussina for Schilling.  Curt’s peak was higher and he was a major part of two World Series winners, so that will give him major love with the BBWAA.
  • I threatened to vote for J.T. Snow but ran out of ballot space.

My year in gaming: 2013

I thought of doing a “best game of 2013” list, but realized that the list of games I’ve played that were actually released in 2013 is quite small. Instead, I’ll just hit the high points, of games I thoroughly enjoyed this year, in no particular.

Skyrim — One of the hidden benefits of playing Steam games in offline mode is that it doesn’t always record your playing hours. I’m fairly certain that, if it did, I would find it extremely embarrassing. I’ve written about it quite a bit, so that’s all I say here. I’m semi retired with Skyrim; I want to see how good it is with my desktop, so I won’t play again until summer, if something else hasn’t taken up my time by then.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within — The latter is the expansion pack. Squad based turn based strategy games are a funny thing for me: they’re in my wheelhouse of games, yet I never manage to play them for some reason. I have played precisely two that I remember clearly: XCOM and SWAT 2. (If I were going to revive Forgotten Classics, SWAT 2 would be first on my list.) I’m surprised I haven’t written about XCOM yet. A tremendous tactical game that’s occasionally very frustrating, but for the right reasons. I don’t have the guts to play on Ironman mode (a single save), but it’s addictive in the way many of the best games are. Highly recommended.

A whole slew of Paradox games — Including beta testing for EUIV and Victoria II’s last expansion. I probably write about these too much, but I will say that Victoria II remains my favorite game for lots of reasons.

OOTP 14 — Duh.

The Thief series — The first games in my backlog I cleared up in St. Petersburg. Looking forward to the new one coming out this year.

FTL — A recent pickup, and the first truly indie game I’ve played in a long time. The premise is simple: you have a spaceship. You need to get to Federation HQ to deliver information. Between HQ and you are lots of other spaceships that want you to die. You have to make them die first. You will die — A LOT — in this game, but the game doesn’t cheat. It reminds me a bit of XCOM in that regard (which occasionally does cheat — I’m sorry, but if I have a sniper rifle in your face, I’m pretty sure I won’t miss). Every death is a learning experience. Thoroughly enjoyable, and it cost me around $5.

Magic: The Gathering (2012 and 2013 edition) — I LOVED Magic in high school. I still do. There’s no deck editor, but for all that the AI plays a pretty reasonable game of Magic, and you can play with friends too. Another cheap game I spent a lot of time on.

Angry Birds (Star Wars and Star Wars II) — One of my pre-Russia purchases was a nook HD+ tablet; given how much I enjoyed Angry Birds for my Droid when I had it, I quickly bought these for the tablet. Highly addictive, yet highly simple.

Fallout 3 — I have barely touched this, but it’s already more fun than the first two games, in my opinion. To this day, I don’t remember if I ever beat Fallout 2. Every time I play it, I get about 75% of the way through and convince myself I’ve already beaten it. It’s not like Baldur’s Gate (which I eventually did beat) or Baldur’s Gate II (which I didn’t, because I lost the first CD); I genuinely don’t remember, and I don’t like it enough to find out. Fallout 3 looks like a winner, though, and it’s next on my list, after I finish with XCOM: Enemy Within.

Bioshock: Infinite — Another game I’ve written about. My favorite PS3 game in 2013, with surprisingly little competition.

Tomorrow I’ll post about what I’m looking forward to in 2014.

Top thirty crime procedurals, #24: The Equalizer

IMDB link.

Basic synopsis: Guy works for unspecified secret agency, retires, but still likes killing bad guys.

Why it’s here: Theme music. Also, and I cannot stress this enough, Edward Woodward has not only a fantastic name, but he was a straight up bad ass for an old British guy. Imagine if Alfred Pennyworth became Batman, but thought that Batman was a wuss for not killing people. I still get Michael Cain and Edward Woodward confused. Also, introduced the world to Keith Szarabajka, who is probably been in 96% of video games because of his awesome voice. (Not to mention his role in Angel.) Special bonus: They’re doing a film version with Denzel Washington in it.

Why it isn’t higher: His son on the show was kind of a tool. There was also a creepy romance angle I remember that kind of freaked me out.