The Week That Was in Baseball: January 7-13, 2008
Who Was Hot and Not at the Hall of Fame The Clemens-McNamee Weekly
Let's All Go to "The Prog" Chuck Knoblauch Speaks

What's Good for Bruce is Good for the Goose
The election of Goose Gossage into the Hall of Fame this past week seemed more a correction than anything else. Last year, fellow closer Bruce Sutter was voted in, so they had to let Gossage in this year; after all, Gossage was better than Sutter, and for a longer period of time—and he never suffered the occasional meltdown year as did Sutter (until, at least, after he began to wind his career down past the age of 35). We’re not sure that either Gossage or Sutter deserves a shrine at Cooperstown, but at least the better of the two got the ticket he’d been waiting—and reportedly lobbied hard—for.

And What's Good for Bowie...
Using the same logic as Sutter-Gossage, if former commissioner Bowie Kuhn is in, so should former players’ union lead Marvin Miller.

Zero and Out
Brady Anderson, first-time nominee for the Hall of Fame, last-time nominee after attracting no votes whatsoever. Apparently that out-of-the-blue and suspicious 50-home run campaign in 1996 wasn’t enough to convince the electorate.

Was Mel Voting?
Todd Stottlemyre (138-121, 4.28 career ERA) should hunt down the one writer who voted him for the Hall and find out if he/she is a stalker.

Getting Ahead of Myself
A few weeks back I mentioned that if I had a ballot, I would have selected Jim Rice and Steve Garvey for the Hall of Fame. One problem: Garvey is no longer on the ballot—his eligibility expired last year. I must have been thinking about his future consideration from the veterans’ committee. Yeah, that’s it. —Eric

So Long, Jake
The Cleveland Indians announced that Jacobs Field, the one and only name of their ballpark of 14 years, will be called Progressive Field for 2008. The deal will pay an average of $3.6 million per year through 2023, well shy of the most lucrative naming rights deal in baseball (Minute Maid pays the Houston Astros $6 million a year to have its name on the ballpark originally—and notoriously—named after Enron). Fans generally shrug and sour over name changes of the ballparks they love to go—fans in the Bay Area still struggle with the identity crisis that has befallen the Giants’ ballpark, which in seven short years has gone from Pac Bell Park to SBC Park to the current AT&T Park—and in the case of Indian fans, it may be a uneasy transition to go from “The Jake” to “The Prog.”

You Gotta Have Passed Balls to Catch This Guy
Catcher Doug Mirabelli re-upped with the Boston Red Sox this past week, and that’s great news for teammate and fellow catcher Jason Varitek, who knows he won’t have to spend his walk year sitting behind the plate when the pitcher is knuckleballer Tim Wakefield—the one reason Mirabelli, a gifted receiver of such odd deliveries, is back. Mirabelli, who hit just .202 in 2007, will be paid a guaranteed $550,000 with incentives that could double the base salary; we assume the main incentive is tied to his defense, not his hitting.

The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
Click here to look at the TGG Comebacker archive going back to the start of the 2007 season.

Clemens' Lawyers v. McNamee's Lawyers (Cont'd)
Another week, another round of pot shots, swipes and spin between the camps of Roger Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee.

It began on Monday with Clemens and his lawyer Rusty Hardin giving a post-60 Minutes press conference in which the 350-game winner once again stressed his innocence while attacking McNamee; as a bonus attraction, they played an audiotape of Clemens’ phone conversation with an apparently distraught McNamee, who didn’t know he was being recorded. To outside observers, what was played proved frustrating; neither Clemens nor McNamee cut to the chase on who was lying or telling the truth, though it did well to cast some sort of doubt on McNamee. Later in the week, Clemens’ lawyers made it known they were hunting down a woman in Florida who once claimed to have been raped by McNamee in a case that was ultimately dropped.

In response, McNamee’s lawyers also took off the gloves, stating: That Clemens’ lawyers intercepted McNamee shortly before the release of the Mitchell Report and desperately tried to get him to recant what he told investigators; that McNamee was providing more evidence and information on Clemens (and his character) than he initially gave to the Mitchell Report; and that Clemens’ defamation suit against McNamee was nothing more than a legal ploy to keep him from testifying under oath in front of Congress on February 13.

Stay tuned next week for more dirt.

We Know Where You Are, Knobby
Chuck Knoblauch finally spoke out this week for the first time since the release of the Mitchell Report, which outs the retired, former All-Star as a steroid user. He did not directly address the report’s accusations, said he had “nothing to defend” and called the Mitchell Report “crazy” and “interesting.” The reclusive Knoblauch, who is no longer connected to the game in any way (“I don’t have any friends from baseball”), asked the media not to tell anyone where he lives as he spoke in front of his home at 34 Maple Tree Drive, Woodlands, TX. (Alright, the address part we made up—but it was a funny thought.)

Kent, Won't, Shouldn't
Count Jeff Kent among those who likely have never touched steroids. In a chat with the Los Angeles Times’ T.J. Simers, the Dodger second baseman claims he’s all for scorched-earth testing procedures on players: “I’d like to see every player take a blood test and have the samples frozen...Why not have blood tests? If ultimately you want a clean game, then it needs to happen.” Kent also thought it was a good idea to test players during the playoffs. As for his opinion on Roger Clemens, Kent believes his former Houston Astro teammate “has got himself in a corner,” though admits he doesn’t know whether Clemens actually took steroids.

The "All" of Fame: Check it Out
Our opinion section currently highlights This Great Game’s “All of Fame,” our tongue-in-cheek look at the history of baseball, with many of the exhibits within featured in detail throughout TGG. The “All” is, as our headline for the piece describes, a primer of sorts for the site, especially for those who’ve never visited. Check out the "All" right here.

Coming January 28: A Century of Cub Futility
In honor of the Chicago Cubs’ 100th anniversary of their last World Series triumph, the Comebacker will begin a new feature on January 28 called "Wait 'til Next Century: Close Calls in a Chicago Cub Century Without Championships." Each week, we’ll count down the 40 years between 1909-2007 in which the Cubs came nearest to actually winning a World Series, with our number one pick for the absolute closest they came being listed in our October 26 installment. So get in line and jump on board soon for our Tragical History Tour of Wrigleyville.