Thursday, July 2, 2009

More stuff you don't want to hear at work

When someone comes up behind you and says, "My meat is screaming."

Monday, June 29, 2009

In which I suck

I'm not very good at keeping to a writing schedule, which may have something to do with the fact that I don't have one. A million years ago (i.e., like, 15 or so) back when I was still chugging away on Dark Side, I would write a little every night. But then, I wasn't married, and probably wasn't particularly employed either. Free time was plentiful.

It took me about 17 months to write this book, which, really: is not great. Being reasonably productive, I should have done it by the end of last year. I just read back and found that I'd finished chapter 12 probably last October, so the final 6 chapters took me 8 months, after writing the first 12 in only 9. Yeesh.

Next time...

The End?

I finished Running Forward last night, or whatever it ends up being called. And by "finished" I unfortunately do not mean "completed." I mean "figuratively typed the words 'The End.'" Actually completing it will take a bit longer. Here's some stuff I still have to do before I get to that point:

I need to re-write the first half of Chapter 1, more or less. There's nothing wrong with it, but I didn't really find my voice until halfway through -- meaning, it took that long for Samantha's snarky, wise-ass personality to appear -- and it kind of drags compared with the rest of the story.

I want to add another chapter, probably right after Chapter 5. I need to establish more getting-to-know-you between Sam and Alex. I want to include another confrontation between Sam and Greg Bierko (and maybe Jaz as well), since Greg kind of vanishes for most of the story between Chapters 5 and 15, which isn't the proper way for an antagonist to act. And I want to add a scene where Sam visits the school's track circle, and maybe talks to her old coach about returning to the team once her knee has healed.

Sam's frame of mind is pretty well set by the end of the story, so now I have to do some backfilling to make it all match. That could be a little tricky: I know where she ends up, so I have to make her start off a lot worse than that, while also keeping to the correct state of emotional ennui I'd created at the beginning. It's also very possibly that I blew it a little at the end, piling on the bad a bit much. I tend to abuse my characters entertainingly, but I'm concerned this time I just forced it. We'll see.

Related to that, I've got to go over the whole thing a few times and smooth out the narration. I've been doing that anyway all along, so most of the story is currently up to snuff. Especially the parts I really like, which I've re-read many times.

I also may split the final chapter, 18, in half. Or not. I haven't decided. It isn't that it's too long; it's that too much stuff happens, and I'm concerned it rambles a little. That may be related to the smoothing that needs to be done, which is very fixable, but it's also related to my tendency -- oft mentioned here -- to blather on if I don't reign myself in. And it's also related to my having perhaps piled on the bad a little think towards the conclusion. Fortunately, the same solution will probably fix both problems.

I also may move some scenes around. I've already done a little of that, taking a brief conversation that takes place between Sam and her parents in Chapter 13, and moving it in a modified form to the end of Chapter 18 where it fits better in the narrative. I will do the same to a talk between Sam and Alex near the end of Chapter 5, but I'll have to wait for the New Chapter 6 to have a place to put it.

And...that's about it. It sounds like a lot -- even to me -- but it isn't really. Other than a chapter and a half of new stuff, it's just fixes and tweaks. That, I'm very good at. Unfortunately, I'm good at it because I do it a lot instead of, you know, actually writing new stuff.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chapter 14, finished at last

I never actually finished Chapter 14, for the usual reasons: I had written myself into a corner of blah, and couldn't figure out how to finish it off. I just bypassed it, churning out Chapters 15, 16, 17, and now most of 18 while I waited for inspiration to strike.


Ouch. Oh hey, thanks! So I started it up again last night, and completed it just now. I never finished because I was worried I was just having the characters talk to each other without advancing the story, but I think I've taken care of that now.

Now to complete Chapter 18, and the book. This one will take some thought, since there's a Big Revelation, and I want to get it right. I'm certain I'll be massaging the dialogue there many times before I'm satisfied.

I didn't end up outlining 18, and it's going pretty good all the same. I think because I've thought about it so much over the past year, that I know more or less exactly what's going to happen. The only thing I really have to do is figure out how it's going to happen.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

17/18ths finished

I finished Chapter 17 last night just before 11. It's a little rough at the end -- the tone isn't quite what I'd been shooting for. It'll take some polishing, but I'm almost done!

I may have to sketch out chapter 18 too. I might as well; I've now done it for the 3 previous chapters, and it made writing them a little easier. I have ideas for big scenes in my head for 18 -- a few of which had been there for a year or more -- but I'll need to see if they all fill out the size the rest of the chapters seem to have been, which is about 9-10,000 words each.

And even then it won't be "finished," as in, ready to send of to a publisher. The first half of Chapter 1 is a little rough, since it took me that long to find my voice. I'll probably end up re-writing a lot of that, if not all of it.

And there are some scenes I want to add, scenes that flesh out the characters a little more. For example, there needs to be a little more of Sam and Alex getting to know each other right after they meet. I'm also going to write a scene where Sam walks the cross-country course behind the school, remembering what it was like before she got hurt. She'll probably have a talk with her old track coach too, about coming back to the team in the spring if she can.

And there needs to be more of Greg Bierko scattered through the story. He suddenly shows up at Jen's party as this menacing figure, but I don't think it's set up well enough, since the only time we meet him before that is the scene with Sam's detention in Chapter 4.

There also needs to be more of Emily in the story. She's basically the axis around which Sam's misery spins, and as it stands right now she shows up when it's convenient to advance the plot, but no more.

Other than that, it'll mostly just be tweaks and smoothing out the wording here and there. All I have to do is write about 9000 more words, and I can start.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

But of course it's never just the one thing

Of course, it's not just Gone percolating in my head. There's also this new idea named Ratline.

It's about a girl and her mother in 1945, who have flown to Germany to meet up with the father/husband. They have always assumed is a mere diplomat, but he actually spent the war working for the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA.

While in Germany, she befriends a local girl and her family who are trying to emigrate, meets a young soldier she starts to like, sees the horrors of the war from the other side, and ends up stumbling onto a plot to smuggle Nazis out of Germany -- the Ratline. A plot her father may be opposing, or may actually be a part of.

That's all there is right now of that one, but it's got a lot of potential. It won't go away, for one thing, which is always a good sign.

So you say you want an evolution

I've been thinking about Gone lately, although for once not to the detriment of Running Forward, or whatever it ends up being called.

Originally, the plot went something like this: my protagonist wakes up one day to find out that everyone over the age of 18 has simply vanished from the world. The only humans left are her, her friends, her sister -- everyone her own age and younger.

The vague, foggy idea in my head was already turning this into a series of books, even before I'd written the first word. The books would cover Anna and the other survivors reacting to the loss of their parents and everything they'd known, then struggling to survive, and finally trying to figure out what had happened.

Tied into that were clues scattered here and there: all the adults she knew were acting weird the day before and the night before the vanishings; visions either her or her sister are having, of their parents, still alive and trying to communicate with them; and suggestions that some of the adults had known what was coming, and were leaving messages to try to help.

Which of course led to -- who did this? Aliens? Supernatural beings? Some diabolical, near omnipotent government experiment? And answering that question -- or more to the point, completely failing to answer that question to my own satisfaction -- has me wondering if the plot should be simpler in scope, but remain a tale of survival.

The alternate plot would only be that the adults had vanished, perhaps due to some catastrophic cosmic event. Perhaps there would be prior clues about lights in the sky, news reports about something glimpsed on radar; some kind of foreshadowing.

I like that too. And, I have to admit, it would allow me to indulge (or as much as the constraints of writing to a teen audience would allow) my penchant to abuse my characters in grisly ways. Not that the aliens-or-whatever plot wouldn't.

I like it, but I like the other one a little bit more. And that's really annoying me, becuase as much as I can come up with nefarious, semi-plausible explanations for what happened, I still can't come up with an explanation for why it happened. What would be the point of engineering a calamity like that? How would it benefit a group or a being or a group of beings?

(Of course, trying to concoct a plausible explanation for why someone would do it, while just blithely accepting that they could, might just be me overthinking this a little.)

Anyway, if I can answer that one, I'll be onto something. Fortunately, in the meantime I can keep stretching out the plot in my mind like taffy, and it will end up working no matter which way the setup finally points.

However, in the meantime I need to finish...whatever it's called. Progress on that one is...progressing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Derek Jeter...Iron Man?

Over the weekend -- during at-bat in which he struck out against the Red Sox -- Derek Jeter passed Mickey Mantle to become the New York Yankees' all-time leader in at-bats. Here's the top 10:
1. Derek Jeter 8106
2. Mickey Mantle 8102
3. Lou Gehrig 8001
4. Bernie Williams 7869
5. Yogi Berra 7546
6. Babe Ruth 7216
7. Don Mattingly 7003
8. Joe DiMaggio 6821
9. Roy White 6650
10. Willie Randolph 6303
I'm not sure why I was surprised to learn that -- Jeter's been playing since a mid-season call up in 1995 -- but surprised I was. Since then he's been a reliable fixture at short in the Bronx, never player fewer than 148 games in an injury-free year. (In 2003 he was injured, and only played 119 games.)

He's only #4 on the Yankee's all-time PA list, because he doesn't walk anywhere near as much as the 3 guys in front of him: Mantle, Gehrig, and Ruth. Not a disgraceful bunch to be trailing, you'd have to admit.

Jeter hasn't won an MVP -- and at this point in his clearly declining career, isn't likely to -- but he did get completely hosed in 1999. That year Jeter led the universe with a 103.9 VORP, and was 4th with 8.8 WARP. In one of the stupidest results ever, Ivan Rodriguez won, with his 57.9 VORP and 8.4 WARP. Even this Sox fan can see Jeter got screwed.

It's easy to hate the Yankees -- or at least it was, before they got old and hurt; now it's just habit -- but it's not possibly to do anything except root for Jeter. I hope he plays forever, ends up owning most of the Yankee career records, and gets a good head start on his induction speech for the Hall of Fame.

Arlen Specter, D-Penn

This isn't what you'd call "surprising" news.

Specter was mildly caught between a rock and a hard place. He could either vote against WH policies, and thus risk very likely being vote out of office by his moderate constituents next year; or he could vote for WH policies, and then have the GOP throw its support behind Pat Toomey; or I suppose he could try to burn the candle at both ends, which I presume wasn't working very well for him.

I can't say this makes him look very good, not a month after vowing to run again as a Republican on a Republican ticket. If you have opinions and values, then stick up for them. I have a hard time seeing this as anything other than a move to assure he gets re-elected in 2010.

My friend Kevin, who hails from the other side of the aisle from me, to be delicate, put it a little more piquantly: "The guy is a narcissistic douchebag, pure and simple."

Hard to argue with that. The guy just basically crapped all over his political history for the sake of getting re-elected in 2010. That was no certain thing anyway -- Pennsylvania has been trending more and more moderately of late, and he was no sure thing against whomever the Democrats threw at him next year. And he was facing a hard fight against Pat Toomey anyway.

I'm tempted to rhetorically wonder if the Dems really want someone like this in their ranks, but I'm sure they'll hold their nose and be pleased as punch with their supermajority once Franken takes his seat. The Republics would do a similar nose-hold/embrace were the situation reversed.

Ahh, politics. That sausage-factory tour is looking better and better, isn't it?

Monday, April 27, 2009

RIP Pontiac

GM keeps shedding marques; I don't think it's going to do a lot of good.

I personally think they killed the wrong brand this time. Instead of killing off Pontiac, GM should have rid itself of Buick instead. Buicks are completely, utterly superfluous. Except for the Lucerne -- a bizarrely nice-looking car that looks a lot like a Passat -- I can't imagine there's a single Buick car that anyone under the age of 60 would prefer over any comparable car from Mercedes or Audi or Lexus.

Of course, there only are 3 Buicks these days: the Lucerne, the LaCrosse, and the Enclave. Pontiac has -- I think; it's hard to tell -- 7 cars: the Vibe, Torrent, Solstice, G3, G5, G6 and G8. Or it might be 9 cars, since their web site lists the G5 Sedan, Coupe and Convertible separately. I can only assume the cold hard numbers won out, and 3 cars are cheaper to keep alive than 7 cars.

Not that Pontiac's current lineup is particularly worth saving. If you look at all their cars, what you see is a lot of pretty ugly rolling iron, which also all seems to look alike. Except for the Solstice, a nice sporty car I hope gets a resurrection as a Chevy, one would be hard pressed to tell any of them apart.

It's the brand that's worth saving, I think. No one thinks back fondly on the cherished LeSabre or Reatta of their youth (though the Grand National was awesome, and wow those Super Sedans from the early 50s) -- but the Bonneville, the Chieftan, the Star Chief, the Firebird, the Grand Am, even the Fiero. Call me soft, but there's something there.

GM does need to consolidate; they have too many cars in a shrinking market, and it's only going to get worse. They need to turn Chevy into the brand for all low- and mid-range cars; keep Pontiac and make it the brand of sports and touring cars (including the Corvette); dump Buick; keep Cadillac the way it is; and take all the trucks and SUVs out of the other marques, get rid of the duplicates, and consolidate them all in GMC. Saturn, Saab and Hummer are separate problems. Saturn is doing fine, through the cars are suffering from a severe case of the blahs. They need to get rid of Saab, for pennies on the dollar if they have to; sell it to the Swedish government if necessary. And as for Hummer, sell it off or let it die.

It might already be too late for GM. Chrysler might declare chapter 11 within the week, and Fiat might pick up the pieces. GM may not be far behind. It isn't going to just go away, unless people simply stop buying, but it isn't going to be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Baseball Predictions 2009

AL East-heavy edition.

AL East

New York

Check out the difference between the '09 Sox, and the '03 Sox. That other team was a mind-blowing collection of mashers that set the all time MLB record for team SLG. Six years later, Boston's transition to a run-prevention team is nearly complete. They have plus defenders at nearly every position, and pitchers who won't give the guys standing behind them much to do. Their weakness is offensive depth, as they will be hurting for answers if/when Lowell/Drew/Ortiz goes down. Expect a lot of local attention on Holliday or Fielder if their teams fall out of contention.

The Yankees made a lot of noise, but they honestly didn't get loads better. CC essentially replaces Mussina, and I think I'd rather have Moose in a big game. Giambi and Abreu were replaced by Tex, who consolidates their offense while providing a huge D upgrade. Their only true "add" was AJ, who isn't exactly the guy you want to count on if it isn't a walk year. Their defense continues to circle the drain, and they're counting on way too many guys (Matsui, Damon, Jeter, Posada, A-Rod) either beginning or well into their career slides. Their bullpen is stellar, but it won't be pretty watching all those ground balls slip through the infield. If A-Rod is out longer than projected, or if Posada can't catch 120 games, it's going to be a *very* long summer in the Bronx. There's a non-zero chance of the Yankees collapsing like the Tigers last year.

Tampa is probably the 3rd best team in the game, and the fact that they could struggle to reach 90 wins is only a testament to the fact that they play in the toughest division in the majors. They obviously have a much higher upside than New York, but they had a lot of things go right last year (bullpen, BABIP, etc) and there will be some regression. Outside the AL East, they take any of the other 5 divisions with ease.

Toronto had their window last year, and couldn't make their move. Now it's probably too late, as they have too much money tied up in millstones like Wells and Rios. Remind yourself that 2010 is the last year of Halladay's contract, and imagine how much he'd be worth on the trade market. Now squint and try even harder to imagine the Jays trading him within the division. No, I can't see it either.

Baltimore has finally started doing it right, after years of foolish FA signings. Not that it will do them any good, not here, not for another 3-4 years at least. They sent Wieters down to start the season, causing wails of grief among fantasy players everywhere.

AL Central

Kansas City

Nobody has noticed, but the Central has been almost as stratified as the East the past few years. Minnesota has the better pitching, but the Indians have the better everything else, and that's what will do it for them.

AL West

Los Angelheim

Not much to say here. The Angels overplayed their talent by about 13 games last year, and their high-strikeout/singles-happy offense will being them back to earth this year.

NL East

New York

No, I'm not big on the Phillies; why do you ask? Of course, the Mess will probably fold down the stretch just like the last 2 years, but you can't predict that sort of thing, you know?

NL Central

St. Louis

I think Milwaukee will come back to earth too, just like Tampa and the Angels. Chicago isn't as good as a lot of people predict, but they're good enough to win this division. Pittsburgh might somehow find a way to finish seventh.

NL West
Los Angeles
San Francisco
Dan Diego

Signing Manny probably gave the Dodgers the division.


AL MVP: Sizemore
AL Cy: Matsuzaka
AL Rookie: Wieters

NL MVP: Pujols
NL Cy: Santana
NL Rookie: Maybin

Wild Cards: New York Yankees, Atlanta

Pennants: Boston, Atlanta

World Series: Boston

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Non sequitur

I think "You Shook Me" by Led Zeppelin is the sultriest rock song ever written. It's what sex would sound like if it had music.

Monday, February 9, 2009

La la la la...

Things you really don't want to hear from your coworkers:

"It just made my pants vibrate."

Two seconds later:

"I touched myself, and I got shocked."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Flashes of...something

Outlining the party helped me do something else to: finally figure out how to tie up the revelation that Sam's friend who was killed in the crash was pregnant, with other bits and pieces I'd been weaving into the story. I think that was the last little piece of the plot remaining where I hadn't actually figured out what happened. (As opposed to merely not knowing how to write something, which is different, and common, and easily surmounted.) In theory, it's smooth sailing from here on out, but I've said that before.

More writing this weekend. I've had a serious case of the winter blahs this week, and haven't been feeling creative. But it's going to warm up so: think positive!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Adventures on the MBTA

I've driven to work every day for the past 2 weeks, due to a combination of it being cold out and my not wanting to wait at the bus and train stop, and my being frackin lazy. Taking the bus and train the 8-ish miles to work takes me about an hour door to door; driving takes me 20 minutes, and that's going into Boston.

So I'd decided to be good today. I kissed the Persistent Wife, who was still mostly asleep, left the house at 6:33, shivered, walked down the hill to the bus stop, shivered some more, waited, said hi to Dan, the only other person who's ever there, waited some more, then got on the first of the two buses that showed up at the same time. The T figures, why send only 1 nearly empty bus every 5 minutes, when we can send 2 nearly empty buses every 10 minutes? I suppose that could be considered efficiency, if you squint hard enough.

At the train stop, which is about a 120 second walk from the apartment we used to rent before buying a house in the next town over, I checked out the message board. Nothing except the excruciatingly-worded message not to get on or off a moving train. Great! Except when I looked again a few minutes later, there was a new message about a delay due to mechanical difficulties.

Usually, messages like that one are accompanied by a time from, usually 5-10 minutes, sometimes longer. This morning there was no time estimate. Just...a delay. Very open-ended.

I hung around for another 5 minutes, then walked back up the stairs to the waiting buses, where it was not only warm, but there was the possibility of progress. It left a few minutes later, and when the bus was again approaching the street to my house, I considered getting off, walking back home and taking the car. But no, because I'm being good this week.

2 minutes later, at the bottom of a long hill, the bus broke down.

It's a measure of how often this happens, I think, that there was really no reaction from my fellow riders. Because, I also think, this sort of thing happens a lot. The guy who was most pissed off was the driver. These buses aren't falling to pieces before our very eyes, but they're running all the time, and they get beat on severely. Plus, in a down economy, I would imagine regular maintenance is one of the first things to suffer.

It was another 10 minutes before the next bus arrived -- which seemed excessive, since there was another bus right behind the one I boarded at the train station; why the long wait? -- and much to my surprise we all were able to get on, becuase this new bus was already half full, and we were right there too. There was no room for anyone else, though. I suppose the good news is, we suddenly became an express.

After that it was the typical 3-part commute when I don't take the train: the bus to Harvard Square; the Red Line to Park St.; and the Green Line to North Station. Then a brisk walk to Charlestown, made brisker by the fact that it was 18 when I left the house. But at least I don't live in Norwood like my buddy, where he reported it was -1 this morning. His train was late too.

Wow, it's a shame that mechanical things with engines cease to function when it gets that cold. Well, you know -- except for all those cars on the roads running just fine.

When I drive it takes me about 20 minutes to get to work. Taking the bus and the train is about an hour. Taking the bus and subway -- usually -- only takes a little longer than that. Today? Almost 2 hours, door to door.

I love public transportation. People should use it more.

I hate the T.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I don't know why I never write an outline first. Well, yes I do: it's because outlines aren't "productive," and because I'm always impatient to start writing this thing clogging up my head. Which, obviously, is dumb, because outlines help. A lot.

This evening I took about ten minutes and outlined what goes on at the party. I expanded those sentences into about ten paragraphs, put the events into some kind of order, clarified it all, and hey, look at that: a map. Cool. So how come I don't do that all the time?

Oh, right: because I'm impatient, and because they're not productive.

Not too bad

Okay, I was reasonably productive. Certainly I was productive when compared with some of my recent output. I completed about another page, leading up to the party Sam and Alex are going to, which is main focus of this chapter.

More importantly, I began sketching an outline for what happens. I don't think I can just wing it here, because in my head I have at least half a dozen little events which are scheduled to happen, and for once it's important to plan them all out first. I began by simply sketching out one sentence per event, and ended up with 9 things happening; most of them happening to or witnessed by Sam. Next I'll write an outline, maybe enlarging each line into a more descriptive paragraph, until I have a roadmap I can follow when I begin to write it all down.

Which -- I possibly should have been doing from the start.

I wish I still had the outline I wrote for The Dark Side of the Sun waaay back in high school or something. It would be interesting to see how radically it's changed since then. The only thing I remember is one scene that was never written during the first draft, and which now will never exist because it was a little silly. But I'd still like to read it again.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I realized something this morning, or last night, or whatever. Recently, anyway. And it's that I'm getting sick of this book, which as you can imagine is not the sort of thing that makes you want to sit in front of the computer and write stuff. Because I can't keep to a writing schedule, it's taken way longer to finish than it should have. Because of that, I keep re-reading the same bits over and over, and getting bored by them.

I'm a few pages into Chapter 15, which is probably the third-to-last chapter in the book. I never finished 14, because I wrote myself into a corner and got stuck again. Instead I jumped ahead to the next bit, which was interesting me more at the time, and which is also not a good idea. I should probably go back and fix and finish 14, but first I should probably make myself sit here and write something, dammit, but it's hard, which is why it's taking a long time, which is why I'm bored with some of it.

Do other writers have that problem? Getting bored with their own stuff? It's art, so getting bored with it is a completely different thing from getting bored with your job in the office. Instead of working out the happenings in the somewhat complicated chapter 15, I'm thinking about Samantha's friends and if any of them would like a story of their own. I'm thinking about this thing I wrote 9 chapters for about ten years ago, and which sputtered to an inglorious halt when I realized it was all going wrong, and wondering how to re-write it and connect it to this book. I'm thinking about Gone and how violent it should or shouldn't be.

All of which would be fine, if it weren't preventing me -- or discouraging me, perhaps I should say -- from also thinking about this book.

Okay, I'm going now. I'm going to write stuff, then make another post tonight or tomorrow morning -- an honest post -- about what I did.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jim Rice again, and Dwight Evans

This "most feared" moniker that's been attached to Rice is just a story, little more than propaganda by the writers who helped get him elected. There's no empirical evidence that he was ever "feared," and certainly none that he was feared more than his contemporary bashers like Parker and Schmidt.

I don't know if you can quantify fear, but intentional walks seems like a good place to start. Rice never led the league in IBBs; in fact, he only ever finished in the top 10 three times: 1977, 1978, and 1983, with 10, 7 and 10. Career, he ranks tied for 179th, with guys like Terry Pendleton, Geoff Jenkins, Claudell Washington, and Fred Lynn. Even in 1978, when he led the league in pretty much every offensive category, the other manager only gave him a free pass 7 times (and never, as the legend has it, with the bases loaded). Later in his career, as his skills eroded, there was no fear at all, as the opposing managers realized he was far more likely to GIDP than smash a home run.

And if Rice was feared, you'd think that would be fresh in the minds of the wroters who watched him play. But in his first year of eligibility, 1995, Rice only got 137 votes, less then 30% of the total needed for enshrinement. His vote totals crept up after that, until 1999, when he dropped to 146 votes, again less than 30% support. So the BBWAA voters first forgot how feared he was, then slowly recalled, then forgot again?

Yes, that's kind of cheap -- 1999 was a big year for the HOF, with Brett, Ryan and Yount all getting in; so it's no wonder Rice's vote total dropped like a stone -- but it's a serious question. If Rice was good enough to be elected in 2009, why wasn't he good enough to be elected in 1995? I think it's because the legend of his fearsomeness -- and legend is all it is -- needed time to sink in. The story was repeated often enough, and the voters finally began to believe it.

Dwight Evans: .272/.370/.470, 127 OPS+
Jim Rice: .298/.352/.502, 128 OPS+

Rice's power advantage is matched by Evans' superior discipline at the plate; and they were both essentially the same against the rest of the league: about 27/28% better with a bat in their hands. Evans was top 10 in walks ten times, led the league three times, and is #27 on the career list with 1391; Rice was never top 10 in the league in any year, and is #362 on the career list with 670. Rice hit 382 HR; Dewey hit 385. Evans was a superior fielder year in and year out, winning 8 Gold Gloves; Rice, to be kind, cost his team runs in the field.

Rice's support is understandable, even if I disagree with it. Evans' lack of support is mystifying. His first year on the ballot, 1997, Evans got 27 votes, 5.9% of the total needed. He rose to 49 votes and over 10% in 1998. Then in 1999, competing with the 3 who were elected that year, he dropped to 18 votes and 3.6%, and that was that. I think that is a disgrace. Don't mistake me for a fanatic: Evans is no slam dunk. But his credentials are at least as solid as Rice's -- better, in many areas -- and he was done in 3 years.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jim Rice

Jim Rice was elected to the HOF today with 76% of the vote. How someone with a vote can make a rational argument that Rice is a HOFer, while Albert Belle is not, mystifies me, but whatever. I wouldn't have voted for him, but he hardly brings shame and disgrace down upon the Hall. He's a borderline guy (where's the swell of support for Dewey, who had a far better case than Rice?), and he had allies in the media building up the myth of the "most feared of his era" and silliness like that, and it finally worked. Good for him, and thank the baby Jesus we don't have to read any more should-he/shouldn't-he arguments.

Rickey Henderson got in with 94.8% of the vote, which causes me to wonder: who are those 5.2% of the voting members of the BBWAA who do not think Rickey belongs in the HOF? Unlike this senile old fool who just plain forgot about Rickey, other voters presumably used their brains for a few seconds, and made the decision that he doesn't belong. I do not get that.

Tim Raines, Bert Blyleven, and Alan Trammel did not get in. Blyleven gained almost a percentage point and is now over 62%. He will be indulcted eventually, finally. Raines actually lost almost 2%, presumably because it's against the BBWAA bylaws or something to vote for more than one HOF-caliber leadoff guy per year. Losing support in your second year isn't a good sign; presumably more than a few voters are thinking more about the coke, than his qualifications. Trammell lost almost a point, and is at 17.4%. It doesn't look promising for the guy who got screwed out of the 1987 MVP by idiot voters who gave it to George Bell instead.

Andre Dawson increased his support, and is now at 67%. He's pretty much a shoe-in at this point. He deserves it about as much as Rice does, though his annual low OBP drags his down. Again like Rice, he won't disgrace the Hall when he gets in.

Mark McGuire held more or less steady, losing less than 2%. Hopefully he'll hold on long enough for the memories of his unfortunate testimony to fade, and he'll get in where he belongs.

Six BBWAA members voted for Mo Vaughn in his first year, and I'd love to hear the arguments for that one. Mo got fat and hurt almost the moment he left Boston for Anaheim, and was never the same player. He only played 12 seasons, was only "great" in 4 of them, and was held back from being even greater by his annual poor defense at 1B. He only got 1.1% of the vote, and will not appear on the ballot next year.