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Question the answers

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff March 24, 2009 09:00 AM

We get plenty of questions around these parts. Here are a few of them:

Is Curt Schilling a Hall of Famer?

Where did you ever come up with this one?

Answer: Yes.

Does he get in? I can’t answer that with authority.

There was a caller on WEEI yesterday afternoon who made some astute points about today’s baseball writers being more in tune with sabermetrics, and if those were the ones doing the voting in five years, that Schilling faced less of a bumpy road to Cooperstown. That’s true, and those people will look at stats like his adjusted ERA of 127, as well as, obviously, his postseason career, and make solid arguments as to why he certainly belongs.

Still though, a Hall of Fame vote is a Hall of Fame vote for life, and there are far too many curmudgeonly voters out there who are going to look mainly at the number 216 and deem him unworthy. Then again, I haven’t heard too many over the past 24 hours argue against his case, have you?

Here’s Rob Neyer:

It's not his 216 career wins. It's not his .597 career winning percentage. It's not his 11-2 record in postseason games, or his 2.23 ERA. It's not even the bloody sock. It's all of those things.

Catfish Hunter was easily elected to the Hall of Fame, with a 224-166 record and a bit of extra credit for going 9-6 with a 3.26 ERA in October. His career ERA+ was 104 (not that anybody who voted for him would have known that). Schilling's got nearly as many wins, significantly fewer losses, a better postseason record, and a blow-Catfish-out-of-the-water 127 ERA+ (which every voter today should know about).

Two years I was lukewarm about Schilling's Hall of Fame candidacy. I wasn't against it, exactly. But neither was I for it. But during those two years, Schilling helped pitch the Red Sox to another championship and I got just a little bit smarter. Today I can't imagine a Hall of Fame without him.

Or, as Ken Davidoff puts it: “Should the BBWAA actually still exist in December 2012, I'll examine it much more thoroughly.”

Did Sunday’s win over New Jersey calm your fears about the Bruins?

I mean, that was a big-time showing Sunday afternoon on Causeway, particularly against one of the league’s hottest goalies in Martin Brodeur, who simply had a bad afternoon. It was indeed encouraging that when this team faced a must-win, that’s how they responded. Still, I’d be lying if I said any of the first-round matchups (Rangers, Canadiens, Panthers, or Penguins) doesn’t scare the heck out of me. But at this point, I’m ready for the playoffs to just get here. I've had enough of the "can they do it?" questions, and just want to see them carry it out.

Kevin Garnett is back. Discuss.

Not really formed as a question there, but the big man looked pretty good in his return last night, no? As for his team, let’s give them the next few games playing as a whole unit once again before we start fretting about getting out of the East.

Top 5’s have apparently replaced “25 things” in popularity on Facebook. Can you give us, oh, let’s say, the top 5 shows on TV right now?

1. Lost
2. Friday Night Lights
3. How I Met Your Mother
4. The Office
5. The Amazing Race

Absent, of course, is “24,” which, while still entertaining, can in no way any longer be considered in anyone’s assessment of the best five shows on TV right now.

Looking forward to the Clemens exposé?

Although it’s littered with sweet karma, the whole Roger Clemens saga saddens me somewhat, to see a certain Hall of Famer, one that many of us held in some regard over the past two decades, fall to earth so definitively and rapidly. It’s difficult to take joy in a man’s unfolding. That being said, once I finish plowing through Dennis Lehane’s “The Given Day” (epic), Jeff Pearlman’s take on the Rocket is next on the list. Not saying we should revel in what it reveals, but it'll be tough not to.

Speaking of, if you don’t already frequent Pearlman’s blog, you should.

How’s your bracket doing?

I’ve still got 13 teams in the Sweet 16, so I can’t complain all that much. Although that still has me way down in the standings based on the lack of points I was able to amass in the first round, which was riddled with cross-outs on my sheet. These next two rounds will either make or break, obviously. I got word today that I’m in 649,016th place in the CBS national bracket challenge. Sweet.

So, who wins it all?

I’ve got Louisville, but I’m skeptical. Whichever team wins that potential Memphis-UConn showdown this weekend might have the inside edge. North Carolina is making me a believer, too, despite their own struggles over the weekend. If you watched it, you understand that the 84-70 score vs. LSU was nowhere near indicative of the game. I do like Villanova to upset Pitt should it come to that. Hold a gun to my head, and I’d probably give you four other teams that I think can pull it off other than the one I picked. But we’ll stick with Louisville.

So, what does Japan’s win in the WBC mean anyway?

They won? Good for them.

The Patriots are going to open the season against the Bills on "Monday Night Football." What do you think?

I’m shocked that ESPN would want to showcase any season-opener involving Terrell Owens. Truly.

Is it too early to start laying out all the reasons why this is finally the Bills’ year?

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7 comments so far...
  1. Eric, I think you're dispatching Missouri-Memphis game before you get to Memphis-UConn. Mizzou will pressure them and force turnovers and Memphis will not like it one bit. I'm picking the upset there and they will ride that high against UConn and end up in the Final 4.
    Discuss, if you will.

    Posted by Kevin LaValley March 24, 09 09:54 AM
  1. Kevin, I've got Mizzou beating Memphis as well, then losing to UConn. Getter Done!
    Um, no Buffalo still sucks, TO is a snake and Miami is the team to beat in the division. Discuss.

    Posted by Bob Griese March 24, 09 10:41 AM
  1. In terms of Schilling and his Hall chances, I'm actually quite surprised at the number of folks who aren't dismissing him outright. Glad to see most folks seem willing to at least entertain the notion that he might be one. Bodes well for his chances. There's plenty of room in the Hall.

    Posted by Harrybosch March 24, 09 06:21 PM
  1. Good point on the B's. I may get some flak for this, but regular seasons in sports are just too damned long. The top seeded folks are usually ensconced for so long that instead of vying for a chance to get in at the end of the season, they just spend the last 10-20 games trying not getting to get injured for the playoffs thus hurting their momentum. I love regular season hockey like many of you but maybe they should take a cue from the NFL (I know, fat chance with the revenue at stake), but note the disparity. 82 games for hockey and 16 games for football. Are people 80% more likely to get injured in football? B’s fans will remember that Joe Thornton cracked a rib in the last game of the season a few years back when the B’s finished first and the Habs finished eighth. We all know how that turned out. Too damned long.

    Posted by Dan March 24, 09 07:43 PM
  1. Another question - Why wasn't my mail order filled for Red Rocks?

    EW: Same question here, unfortunately.

    Posted by Forbin March 24, 09 11:38 PM
  1. On Schilling: it's impressive enough that in 19 postseason starts he went went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. What people tend to forget is that one of the two losses was Game 1 of the 2004 ALCS, when the guy gave up six runs on six hits in just three innings, pitching with what then appeared to be a season-ending ankle injury. Though Schilling was rocked, he was badly hurt. Even so, he would not have even taken the loss if Ortiz's triple had cleared the fence and the Sox had tied it up. Of course, I'm more than happy to take things exactly the way they happened. But the thing is that, without that one awful game due to injury, Schilling's postseason stats would be even gaudier. His postseason ERA entering that game was 1.74. He didn't give up too many postseason runs after that game either.

    Posted by rkf521 March 25, 09 12:21 AM
  1. Eric, great post. I think Schill makes it based on his winning percentage and by being the epitome of money pitcher in the post season. On 24, I think, sadly, that the fat lady has sung. Pre-dict-a-ble. Cough-format-cough. I see Carolina over L'Ville in the final, with a healthy Ty Lawson and Hansborough's final game. And as far as Rahjah goes, you broke my heart Fredo, karma rebate old sport!

    Posted by Capt. Stu March 25, 09 10:24 PM
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