Off Base
HA-Nus Freaking Wagner

Febuary 28, 2007

Now that some clown has paid two-something million bucks for a Honus Wagner baseball card, and since Tony Gwynn was actually deemed acceptable to the Hall of Fame voters and is not going to win another batting title anytime soon, and since those are the only times Mr. Wagner’s name comes up, let's review, shall we.

It's Honus Wagner, OK? "HA-nus" Wagner. Rhymes with "on-us," not "own-us." HA-nus Wagner! HA-nus!! HA-nus freaking Wagner!!!

There are three things I will harp on as a matter of course, whenever the need arises, and until I’m Dodger Blue in the face. Forever and always. First, Anaheim is not in Los Angeles; not now, not ever, and isn’t worthy of comparison. Period. Anyone who refers to the Orange County baseball squad as the “Los Angeles Angels” is at best a lazy sack of bleep.

Second, and get ready because it’s almost tournament time, the Connecticut Husky is a disgusting hairy monster cheap imitation of an actual Siberian Husky Dog, and should be labeled as such. The Washington Husky is the real deal.

And third, and most importantly, we simply must pronounce the name of one of baseball’s greatest players correctly. Call him “the Flying Dutchman” if you like, but do not, under any circumstances, apply the phonetic, HO-nus Wagner to the man's name. Ask Ross Porter because he knows. But Fox and ESPN guys, and yes, Vin Scully, we love you, and Keith Olbermann, we love you too, but it’s HA-nus Wagner, HAnus Wagner, Honus Wagner, Honus freaking Wagner!!!

Saving the Hall for .271 Hitting Infielders: So once again, the Veterans Committee fails to elect a single man to the Hall of Fame. There’s a shocker. And once again, ringleader Joe Morgan has saved Cooperstown from honoring those arguably as deserving as he.

I don’t really get Morgan’s holier-than-Santo attitude, and since he doesn’t speak well, there’s certainly no explanation forthcoming. But what’s truly mystifying is how a man like Morgan, a bad television announcer, with a .271 lifetime batting average and a man-crush on Barry Bonds, gets to guard the Hall gates in the first place.

Morgan won back-to-back MVPs, which is wonderful, but a close inspection of his numbers, with emphasis on the .271 (oh, and the.182 postseason), reveals two great seasons, the MVP years of 1975 and ’76, and four very solid ones.

Compare that to Joe Torre’s two great seasons and five very solid ones, and Ron Santo’s 13 year run from 1961 to 1973, with his great seasons barely distinguishable from the others. And Gil Hodges’ nine-year run beginning in 1948. Forget for a second about comparing Don Newcombe’s pitching accomplishments with Morgan’s hitting. Guess what Newk batted lifetime? Yep, .271.

There’s never going to be a perfect Hall of Fame voting system, and it’s one controversy baseball actually benefits from, sort of. But what do you say we have the Vets group vote yearly, instead of this brilliant every-other-year routine. At least that way, the group will have to explain its lameness twice as often…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Awesome Dodgers Season Tickets Available: I told my regular ticket partners they'd be publicly humiliated if they failed to send their checks in on time again this season. Their loss is your gain. Portions of’s Dodgers season package are now available to newcomers. We’ve got two face price tickets, in an awesome loge level location, in the form of a 1/4 share (every fourth game) or perhaps two 1/8 shares (every eighth game). Contact me directly to join the ticket partnership, which may include postseason options.

Say What? The weird quote of the week comes from Jason Schmidt, as recorded by Ken Rosenthal of Schmidt said he's not concerned about being the Dodgers’ No. 1 starter. ‘They just needed another piece to the puzzle,’ he said. ‘St. Louis won it all without an ace. It's rising to the occasion and having enough guys to do it.’ Without an ace, Jason? Oh really? What exactly would you call Chris Carpenter?

Prediction: Forget every word you’re hearing about a competition for the fifth spot in the Dodgers rotation. Chad Billingsley is now, and will be throughout 2007, a total stud. Best fifth man in the National League…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….








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