Who am I?

I'm from Houston, a graduate of the University of Texas, a fan of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans. But this blog will be about the "greater sports", whatever that means.

Follow me on Twitter: @lhd_on_sports

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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

2024 National Baseball Hall of Fame Vote

In an LHD on Sports Blog tradition, I am once again conveying my thoughts on who I would vote for if I had a BBWAA ballot for the 2024 National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The BBWAA vote will be revealed on Major League Baseball (MLB) Network on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.  The Hall of Fame vote reveal remains one of the most anticipated moments on the baseball calendar and certainly of the offseason.  Here is the 2024 National Baseball Hall of Fame Candidates Eligible for vote (via Baseball Reference with prior year percentage total for returning candidates).  75% of all ballots cast must include the players name for induction.

The Plaque Gallery will add to its fold this year (Credit: Me)

As most readers probably know, the actual voting committee is the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA).  Prior to 2016, once a member, always a vote.  In 2016, several changes to the voting process were made (see my related Blog here) culling the list of voters to those who had covered the game in the prior 10 years.  This played out to remove a number of small vote ballots and increase percentages for those on the bubble.

There are a few overarching factors to cover before we get to the specifics.

1) A major, controversial specter over the Hall will continue to be how to handle candidates associated with Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) use in baseball primarily in the 1990s and early 2000s, an era for which many players accused are now on the Hall of Fame ballot although the number is dwindling with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire running out of eligibility.  There are players whose on-field performance clearly merits first ballot election, however because of their associated with substances that enhanced their performance, some members (a minority) of the BBWAA have been hesitant to cast votes their way.  At least in the 75% needed for induction.  Because the official voting rules include the words "integrity, sportsmanship, and character," their reluctance is justified in my mind.  For my selection, I will not presume guilt, but if there are legal findings, firsthand accounts (including Mitchell Report) or strong anecdotal evidence of PED use, I will strongly weigh against voting for the candidate.  You can count me in the "The PED STJ" type here in a blog I wrote.  A constant I hear is "how can it be a Hall of Fame without Bonds, Clemens, Pete Rose, etc."  Their accomplishments, records, videos, etc. are more than prominent in the museum portion of the Hall of Fame and museum, but down by the plaques, you won't find them there.  Did the crime, do the time.

2) A change in consideration for me is how to assess pitchers.  Whereas the 300-win plateau with a low ERA reflective of the dead ball, or pitcher dominated, eras prior to 1970 used to be a norm, it's become increasingly more difficult to get wins in the era of specialty relievers with starters leaving the game before the end of the sixth inning many times in close games.  Conversely, however, one would think this would benefit starting pitchers ERA by seldom going through a lineup more than twice in some cases, rarely more than three times.  Also, after many years of closers not being strongly considered, Mariano Rivera became the first and only to date unanimous inductee to the Hall, along with high save count Trevor Hoffman and Lee Smith in recent years.  The doors have opened a bit in that regard.  In the end, for pitchers, I strongly weigh dominance over a reasonable period of time, along with Cy Young Awards, All-Star games, win titles, career saves, and ERA.

3) There is also first and last ballot bias.  First ballot candidates some BBWAA voters seem reticent to vote in to protect some sort of integrity of being a "first ballot hall of famer".  Evidence, three voters who did not include Ken Griffey Jr. in 2016.  Likewise, when a player is on his last ballot (as Tim Raines was in 2017Edgar Martinez in 2019, and Larry Walker in 2020) voters who previously withheld a vote tend to pay a bit more attention to their candidacy considering it's a final shot and vote favorably.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/24/2023


The proverbial "undercard" of the College Football Bowl season continues to play out and the game are thrilling.  The "we don't need these games" fall on deaf ears for players and teams that this is the best they can reach.  Like Western Kentucky, Conference USA contenders and now Famous Toastery Bowl Champions.  What made their effort special was 24 unanswered points over the last 15 minutes coming back from 28-0 and 35-14 led by our Sportsman of the Week at the helm.  Caden Veltkamp threw with accuracy and deadly results in bringing the Hilltoppers back to win in overtime 38-35 over the Old Dominion Monarchs. Veltkamp through early and often, 52 attempts with 40 connected and 383 yards and 5 TDs.  He also ran another 19 times meaning 71 plays it was him for 400+ yards.  And oh I mentioned, a Famous Toastery Bowl victory, the most important thing.  Caden Veltkamp is a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week! 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/17/2023


"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" as played on ESPN commercials and Christman music channels alike, the first alluding to College Football Bowl season.  In what some considered a golden age of college football in the 70s and 80s there would be a dozen or so games and all the teams were the top national teams.  In current times, there are 41 Bowl Games featuring 82 FBS Teams exceedingly more than half of the teams and more than what some consider a fair share of 6-6 teams.  I say let's feast.  Especially the weekend before Christmas, give me all the Group of Five Conference Teams I didn't see during the regular season.  Fitting the bill is Mid-Atlantic Conference power Ohio University Bobcats.  As underdogs in the Myrtle Beach Bowl against the Georgia Southern Eagles, our Sportsman of the Week dominated the game and made it a blowout.  Freshman running back Rickey Hunt channeled other legendary college football running backs like Ricky Watters and Ricky Williams to surge for 115 yards on 17 carries and 4 TDs in a 41-21 romp.  Hunt added a TD reception to make it five TDs on the day guiding Ohio to its fifth straight Bowl win, and a 10-win season.  This after a number of key regular season players did not participate as they opted for the Portal.  Don't bet against Ohio nor Hunt, a worthy Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/10/2023


The stretch run for the NFL playoffs is hitting the quarter pole and the AFC race is up for grabs.  On the inside track after Sunday are the Baltimore Ravens thanks to a thrilling overtime victory.  The sudden death win was made possible by an unlikely source, Tylan Wallace.  Wallace took a Los Angeles Rams punt down the left sideline for 76 yards and the first touchdown of his career.  On the third punt return of his career.  Maybe the Rams weren't expecting it.  But no matter, Wallace's miracle return rendered a win for the Ravens to push them to 10-3 and top seed in the AFC and tied for best record in the NFL.  Tylan Wallace is the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Sportsman of the Week Ending 12/3/2023


One of the best storylines of the 2023 College Football season was the Pac 12 strength and more specifically, the Washington Huskies emergence as the final Pac 12 Champion beating the Oregon Ducks 34-31.  For the second season in a row, Michael Penix Jr. flashed his elite left arm in big games, this time completing a 13-0 regular season and College Football Playoff berth for the Huskies.  Penix Jr. beat the Oregon Ducks for the second time this season throwing for a tough 319 yards and a TD, putting up 34 points against Oregon, registering 31+ point tallies against the Ducks for the second time this season.  The Ducks didn't give up more than 30 in any other game.  Penix Jr. finishes the year with 4218 yards and 33 TDs ending in an invitation to New York for the Heisman Trophy.  On to the Sugar Bowl for the Longhorndave Sportsman of the Week!