Yes, Tim Raines, "Pudge" Rodriguez and Jeff Bagwell were voted into baseball's Hall of Fame Thursday. But did you notice that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens -- implicated steroid users -- are picking up steam among Hall of Fame voters?
In most cases, their rise in the voting is due to new people becoming eligible to vote and those new voters seem more forgiving of steroid use than many of their predecessors. That's obviously true. But if I had voted this year, I'd certainly give a thought to another factor.
The veterans committee is inducting former commissioner Bud Selig this year and that matters to me. Selig oversaw a big increase in baseball revenue and overall prosperity -- but he did it on the back of all those PED users. It was Selig turning his back on obvious steroid use while Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa brought baseball back to prominence with all those tape-measure home runs.
Selig was the gatekeeper. He was the one giving his tacit approval to PED abuse by acting as if it didn't exist. If he can get into the Hall, why can't the players who took advantage of the situation?
I will also add, as I've mentioned before, that my time as a clubhouse attendant for the Triple-A Portland Beavers and as a beat reporter covering that team many years later, there was rampant abuse of amphetamines throughout recent baseball history and that was cheating, too. Cheating that helped a lot of the sanctimonious old-timers now complaining about the steroid abuse.
Will Clemens or Bonds ever gather enough votes in their remaining five years of eligibility to get into the Hall of Fame? I doubt it. But they're going to continue to gain more support.
Two-time Olympic decathlon gold medalist Ashton Eaton announced his retirement with a statement posted to his web site, calling it “my time to depart from athletics.”
Four years after taking gold in the 2012 London Games, Eaton, 28, defended his Olympic title in Rio last year. He also holds the overall world record, set at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, and the world record in the heptathlon set in Turkey in 2012.
I give everything to the decathlon. I did all I could. Thank u for making it the best time of my life. I'm retiring. https://t.co/x6kPMp9Jxz— Ashton Eaton (@AshtonJEaton) January 4, 2017
Eaton's new Twitter bio reads: "I'm deciding what to do next. Being the 1st person on Mars would be cool. Other interests are; education, transportation infrastructure, architecture, & energy."
Heptathlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton also announced her retirement on the couple's website. Theisen-Eaton, who represents Canada, won the bronze medal in Rio.
In the beginning, Ronda Rousey seemed so invincible. She forced her will on opponents and eventually, on the sport itself.
Rousey became so popular and such an attraction that she forced Dana White and the UFC to sanction women's bouts, something that organization always resisted. She became the face of women's combat sports and handled that responsibility well.
But in the end, she started something she couldn't finish.
The sport evolved and she, or her team of coaches and advisers, seemed to forget the "mixed" part of mixed martial arts. It's a combination of so many disciplines, from Rousey's natural sport of judo to grappling, boxing and all the derivatives. And she paid a heavy price for not being well rounded.
Amanda Nunes knocked her out on her feet last week in what just has to be the final fight of Rousey's career. She was helpless trying to stand up to the vicious punches of Nunes, who gave Rousey no chance to grab her and turn it into a judo match. Rousey seemed to have learned nothing from her previous knockout at the hands Holly Holm more than a year ago. She couldn't dodge or take the punches and seemed to have no ability to take a shot at Nunes' legs in an effort to get her to the ground.
And this from a woman who misguided folks a couple of years ago who were saying she could beat men in MMA or even top boxers.
I felt sorry for Rousey. Embarrassed for her, actually. This woman started it all but just couldn't keep pace. This is a brutal sport, for men or women. Rousey deserves respect for being a pioneer and a great champion. She opened the door to all the women who are serious competitors in MMA these days.
I wish her good luck, which she has a lot better chance of finding it if she stays out of that octagon for the rest of her life.
SACRAMENTO -- Part of the fun of traveling around the country trailing an NBA team is to survey sports venues in other towns. Tuesday the Trail Blazers will play their first game against the Kings in the new Golden 1 Center and I can't wait to see it. But there's a ballpark here that's pretty cool, too.
They used no public-sector contributions to build Raley Field in 2000 and it's been wildly successful as a Triple-A, Pacific Coast League venue for the Sacramento River Cats.
I mention this because baseball fans in Portland could have been enjoying a gorgeous, destination ballpark in the Rose Quarter if Portland's City Council had gone ahead with the proposed demolition of the money pit known as Memorial Coliseum. The idea was to level the old barn to make way for a Triple-A ballpark that would have been a showplace and a central piece in keeping the Rose Quarter lively during the summer months, when it's normally deserted.
Portland being Portland, it never happened. Meanwhile the city of Hillsboro jumped in to build a smaller, but charming, Class A ballpark to house the Hillsboro Hops and the venue -- and franchise -- have been a huge hit from Day One.
When it comes to sports, our town has always been many days late and several dollars short.
BY Brian Hight
Late Wednesday night, with the deadline looming for the expiration of Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, the players’ association and the league came to an agreement on a new five year CBA. There was really only a very minimal chance that there would be a lockout. There’s simply too much money at stake. With NFL ratings in decline and on the heels of the most watched World Series in history, MLB and the MLBPA couldn’t afford to screw up this one. So, a deal was struck in principle, with a few minor details still to be ironed out.
Revenue sharing was settled a while ago, with details around compensatory picks for signing free agents who have received qualifying offers from their previous teams being the most complicated issue to be resolved. Luxury tax thresholds are going up modestly. The roster remains at twenty-five during most of the season with no changes in September to the ridiculous wave of call-ups and roster expansion. Minor increases in minimum salaries will kick in next season and there’s now a hard cap on international spending. Nothing really too exciting for the casual fan.
Then early Thursday morning, it was reported that the most stupid rule in all of sports had been removed from the current CBA. (OK, maybe aggregate goals determining a winner in soccer, rather than WINNING games is more stupid). No longer would the winner of the pennant in the league that had won the All-Star game automatically be awarded home field advantage for the World Series. In a novel and utterly unprecedented move, MLB and MLBPA agreed that the team with the BEST RECORD should host the World Series. Wow!
How it came to count:
As most baseball fans know, following the 2002 All-Star game that ended in a tie, then commissioner Bud Selig, embarrassed that such a fiasco should happen in his own backyard of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, implemented the “experiment” of making the All-Star game outcome “count” for home field advantage in the World Series. In a sport with the longest and most meaningful regular season, where it’s championship would be hosted would be determined by a single exhibition game, played, for the most part, by disinterested participants whose teams wouldn’t necessarily even sniff the post-season. Brilliant. Inexplicably, this lunacy was codified into several subsequent CBAs.
To be fair, since the “now it counts” rule was implemented in 2003, the team with the best regular season record has only been “screwed” in the World Series twice. The 2004 St. Louis Cardinals, with a 105-57 regular season record, were forced to play the first two games of the World Series in Fenway Park against the 98-64 wild card Boston Red Sox. The Sox were coming off the historic comeback from 3-0 down to the New York Yankees and proceeded to steamroll the Cards in four. Maybe it didn’t matter, but given the emotional high the “idiots” were on that post-season, playing at home to try to break the curse couldn’t have hurt.
The only other instance in which the team with the better record ceded home field advantage due to the outcome of the All-Star game and then lost the series was the 2011 Texas Rangers. After going 96-66 in the regular season, the Rangers were forced to travel to St. Louis to begin the World Series against the 90-72 Cardinals. Now, one could easily argue that manager Ron Washington leaving Nelson Cruz in right field, rather than making a defensive substitution in game seven, and thus allowing a fairly routine liner to sail over Cruz’s head and spur the Cardinals comeback is the more immediate reason for the Rangers’ loss. But, if Cruz had had the luxury of the more spacious Arlington outfield, perhaps Washington’s bad decision would’ve been negated and the outcome might have been different.
One less thing to gripe about:
And, ultimately, it shouldn’t matter that only two out of fourteen teams have lost a World Series when they should have had home field advantage based on six months of work, not three hours in early July. Somethings are just wrong. With the new CBA, there’s now, finally, one fewer thing to gripe about in baseball.
Ducks, Beavers, Trail Blazers, Outdoors, and everything in between; whatever interests you, CSN has you covered. Check out the list below to see a full description of all of our original programming.
Beavers preview show with expert analysis, interviews and breakdowns along with fan interaction via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Hosted by Amanda Maynard. Panelists include Matt Sieverson, Nigel Burton and Mike Parker.
Ducks preview show with expert analysis, interviews and breakdowns along with fan interaction via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Hosted by Jordan Kent. Panelists include Carson York, Aaron Fentress and Jeff Maehl.
Beavers Inside the Huddle
An inside look at the Oregon State Beavers football program including live coach interviews from Corvallis. Hosted by Dusty Harrah. Panelists include Steve Preece and Coach Gary Anderson.
The Chuck Powell Show
Simulcast of "The Chuck Powell Show" from Seattle Sports Radio KJR (simulcast live M-F at 10:00am).
CSN Game Day
Live pre-game show focused on Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State with up-to-the-minute news, comprehensive analysis and game breakdowns. Hosted by Dan Sheldon. Panelists include Carson York, Steve Coury, Cam Cleeland, Jason Gesser and Aaron Fentress.
The Dan Patrick Show
Best of the Dan Patrick Show. Same-day-delay simulcast of the NBCSN sports-talk radio show, featuring discussion of top news stories and interviews.
Live Ducks postgame show with highlights, live player and coach interviews and comprehensive analysis and breakdowns. Hosted by Jordan Kent. Panelists include Jason Scukanec and Aaron Fentress.
Dusty & Cam In The Morning
Simulcast from sports radio 1080 The FAN featuring popular FAN host and producer Dusty Harrah and former NFL tight end Cam Cleeland.
The FAN "Primetime with Isaac & Big Suke" - Portland's most popular sports radio show from 1080 The FAN (simulcast live M-F at 3:00pm).
The FAN Primetime
One-hour "best of" the FAN's "Primetime with Isaac & Big Suke."
Northwest Wild Country
Longtime outdoor journalist Joel Shangle delivers must-have outdoors information in this fast-paced show dedicated to the pursuit of salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, bass, walleye, trout, halibut, elk, deer, dusks and anything else that swims, flies, slithers, hoots, honks, howls or quacks. Cohosted by Duane Inglin.
Outdoor information source for NW hunters and fishermen. Owin and Dave take live phone calls, answer viewer emails, talk to wild life experts and offer their own expertise.
Rip City Live
The stars of tonight's Trail Blazers game are interviewed and exclusive insight with coaches and reporters highlight this table-setter for Blazers games. In addition, behind-the-scenes at the Moda Center and features on Blazermania fans pepper this "courtside-hosted" program. Hosted by Dan Sheldon. Panelists include Orlando Williams, Dwight Jaynes, Jason Quick and Amanda Maynard.
Sports talk that matters in the Northwest. The most comprehensive analysis, news and opinion from the most trusted voices in the region. Hosted by Dan Sheldon. Panelists include Orlando Williams, Dwight Jaynes, Isaac Ropp and Jason Quick.
Oregon State Beavers news, game breakdowns and analysis from the most trusted voices who know Beavers Nation. Hosted by Amanda Maynard. Panelists include Nigel Burton, James Dockery, Lindsay Schnell and Mike Parker.
University of Oregon Ducks football show with the latest news, player and coach interviews, and game breakdowns. Hosted by Jordan Kent. Panelists include Joey Harrington, Anthony Newman and Aaron Fentress.
Trail Blazers Courtside
In-depth NBA / Portland Trail Blazers coverage including game analysis, highlights, interviews with players and coaching staff. Hosts include Jordan Kent, Michael Holton and Brooke Olzendam.
Bring your wit and craftiness to captioning weekly sports cartoons! New cartoons are posted every Monday.
On this episode of The Slant, host Brad Stein talks to CSN’s Aaron Fentress on the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series.https://soundcloud.com/brads56/csnnw-reporter-aaron-fentress-interview-on-cubs-1st-world-series
There is very little need for me to say much about Game 7 of the World Series between the Cubs and Indians Wednesday night. You saw it. If you didn't see it, you don't care anyway.
It was a dose of baseball that affirmed once again that no sport builds drama the way this one does. An incredibly tense game that had even the most non-partisan fans squirming in their seats.
The Cubs had this game locked up until Chicago Manager Joe Maddon's overmanaging turned the game around. Maddon had such a quick hook, particularly with his starting pitchers, that he eventually put his bullpen at risk, particular ace closer Aroldis Chapman. He had used Chapman Tuesday night in Game 6 with a six-run lead -- not exactly a vote of confidence for other pitchers he'd used all season in set-up roles. Both managers did this, of course -- making this the first World Series when no starting pitchers got an out beyond the sixth inning.
Chapman was obviously not himself physically. He was spent -- and Maddon got what he deserved when the Indians tied the game.
But Joe wasn't done trying to put his imprint on the game. In big situations, a lot of managers just can't keep their hands off the game. In the top of the ninth with the game suddenly tied, Maddon called for a surprise squeeze play with Javier Baez at the plate with a full count. Baez fouled the bunt off -- a strikeout -- and Hayward died at third. Sorry Joe.
The Cubs got a couple of runs in the top of the 10th when the Cleveland bullpen also ran out of gas and then got through the bottom of the inning when a two-out Cleveland rally fell short by a run.
Great game. Curse ended. Chicago GM Theo Epstein locked up his spot in baseball's Hall of Fame.
Enjoy it, long-suffering Cub fans. And stay humble -- it could be another century before it happens again.