A big cat and a big day for baseball

This morning, I present to you: Adam LaRoche with a mountain lion draped over his shoulders.

Can’t say I ever expected to write that sentence.

Back from his trip abroad as part of the USO Holiday Tour, LaRoche has returned to his normal offseason tricks. Some guys spend day after day hitting the links during the baseball offseason. Some guys take vacations to exotic destinations. LaRoche bundles up and takes to the woods with his Buck Commander gang.

There’s only five weeks left in the offseason, so I guess now’s the time for players to spend as much time with family, friends and wild animals as possible.

Meanwhile, the 2014 inductees into the baseball Hall of Fame will be announced at 2 p.m. today. For those of you who will be around a TV at that time, MLB Network will air the announcement.

I’m happy this day has finally come, so that we don’t have to hear any more internet whining about the Hall of Fame selection process. I’m not saying the process is flawless, because it very clearly isn’t. I’m just sick of hearing people on both sides of the debate talk about it.

The story here should be the players up for induction into Cooperstown, not those doing the voting.

On that note, let’s talk a little bit about me. I personally don’t get a ballot, but if I did, here’s how I would have voted:

Jeff Bagwell
Craig Biggio
Tom Glavine
Greg Maddux
Edgar Martinez
Mike Mussina
Mike Piazza
Frank Thomas

Just my take. Feel free to share your thoughts on how you’d vote in the comment section; just no name-calling based on my ballot, please.

Feel free to name-call based on my other flaws, though.

It sure seems like Maddux, Glavine and Thomas are likely to get inducted, all three of whom are on the ballot for the first time. I think Biggio has about a 50-50 shot, based on the submitted ballots that I’ve seen so far.

Many (and probably most) voters will leave Mussina out of their ballot in his first year eligible for the Hall of Fame, but I feel he’s worthy. He finished in the top six in the Cy Young voting nine times, had 12 different 30-start seasons and won at least 15 games 11 times.

His 3.583-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the 15th best in major league history. He posted a 123 ERA+ over his career. And he won five Gold Gloves.

On a side note, I grew up watching Mussina dominate with that knuckle-curve and personally would like to see him in Cooperstown one day. I’m pretty confident he’ll get there eventually.

As for Martinez, the fact that some people don’t vote a guy into the Hall of Fame strictly because he was a DH is baffling to me. The guy had a .418 on-base percentage in his career. Not one season, but for his career.

Designated hitter is a position, and Martinez is the best pure DH that has ever played. He’d get my vote without a second thought.

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