SweetSpot: Tim McCarver

ESPN Insider Matt Meyers has a piece on Adrian Beltre, arguing that the labels placed on Beltre throughout his career are unfounded and inaccurate. I agree with Matt's general assessment that Beltre has been a tremendously underrated and underappreciated player during his career. Matt points out that Beltre is 19th on Baseball-Reference.com's all-time WAR (wins abovement replacement) for third basemen (or 21st, depending on how you do your search).

Considering Beltre is 32 and coming off an excellent season, he should have more good years left and climb up that list, maybe close to the top 10. That would certainly seem to put him in the Hall of Fame discussion ... except: Except there is probably too little perception of Beltre as a Hall of Famer. Much of Beltre's value derives from his excellent defense. B-R rates him ninth all-time in runs saved among third basemen (behind, in case you want to know: Brooks Robinson, Buddy Bell, Robin Ventura, Clete Boyer, Scott Rolen, Graig Nettles, Mike Schmidt and Gary Gaetti). But Beltre also has 310 home runs and 1,113 RBIs. It's not too much of a stretch to see him topping 400 home runs and 1,500 RBIs ... and the only third basemen to do that are Schmidt and Chipper Jones. George Brett is the only other third baseman with 1,500 RBIs.

Still, Beltre will be facing an uphill battle, no matter where his career totals end up. But he's been a terrific player, even if he's flown under the radar much of his career.

Sometimes an analogy is just an analogy

July, 20, 2010
Man, I should have seen this coming:
The Anti-Defamation League, which advocates against anti-Semitism and bigotry, also believed (Tim) McCarver's comments went too far.

"No matter what one thinks of the Yankees' treatment of Joe Torre, likening it to how Germany and Russia treated their generals who fell out of favor is an inappropriate comparison," the organization said in a statement.

In the fourth inning of Fox's broadcast, McCarver -- who was Torre's teammate with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969 -- accused the Yankees of "corporate childishness" in their dealings with Torre.

The Yankees did not mention their former manager, who led the team to 12 postseason appearances and four World Series titles, during ceremonies honoring the team's remarkable history at the last game at the old Yankee Stadium in 2008.

"You remember some of those despotic leaders in World War II, primarily in Russia and Germany, where they used to take those pictures that they had ... taken of former generals who were no longer alive, they had shot 'em," McCarver said Saturday. "They would airbrush the pictures, and airbrushed the generals out of the pictures. In a sense, that's what the Yankees have done with Joe Torre. They have airbrushed his legacy. I mean, there's no sign of Joe Torre at the Stadium. And that's ridiculous. I don't understand it."

There is a large photo of Torre with late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner at one of the new stadium's gates. Torre, now manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, also appeared on a tribute video shown on the stadium scoreboard during a pregame ceremony Friday for Steinbrenner, who died July 6.

EARTH TO THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: It's an analogy. Maybe not the greatest analogy in the world, and I'm not even sure the Nazis went to a great deal of effort airbrushing photos. Stalin's Communists sure did, though. Probably because there were so many opportunities, as Stalin's various purges resulted in the executions of thousands of Russian officers, party officials, etc. No, killing millions of people isn't the same as airbrushing a manager out of the picture (whether literally or figuratively). But we could use more broadcasters who know the world existed before 1970. And if McCarver had limited the analogy to Stalin, he would have been perfectly within (my) acceptable boundaries.

Assuming, of course, that he was actually right about the Yankees removing Joe Torre from their history. Which he wasn't.

It's a funny thing, actually. McCarver has apologized -- "Although my analogy was inappropriate, in my opinion the underlying point remains true." -- but he's apologized for the wrong thing. What he should have said was, "Although my analogy was for the most part on point, I didn't realize that Joe Torre's photo can be seen inside the new Yankee Stadium. Next time I'm there, I will be sure to take the full tour."