Posted on: January 17, 2010 8:51 pm

Best Historical Baseball Lineup

I am interested to see what everyones best historical lineup would be. Your lineup has to be aligned by position in the field as well, so one hitter by position. The lineup should consider fielding as you are trying to put the best team on the field overall. You are allowed to include a DH. Pitching should include a 5 man rotation with at least one lefty and righty, plus a closer. There are no wrong answers here, but you can put notes to give your reasons for including who you did. 
1. Rickey Henderson OF -- (best leadoff hitter ever, OBP was over .400. Record runs and walks, nobody put more pressure on the pitcher)2. Rogers Hornsby 2B-- (.358 career BA, batting with Henderson on base 40% of time, he would devestate)3. Ted Williams OF-- (add average years to 5 he missed during prime and he would easily be career leader in BB, runs, RBI with 650 HR's)4. Babe Ruth DH-- (Best slugger to ever play the game, period)5. Willie Mays OF-- (Great combo of power, speed and Gold Glove defense)6. Alex Rodriguez 3B-- (Great Power in this lineup, with Gold Glove Defense at shortstop early in his career to boot, and good speed)7. Lou Gehrig 1B-- (Excellent hitter and run producer)8. Johnny Bench C--(Best combo of hitting and defense) 9. Honus Wagner SS--(Great BA at the bottom of the lineup, setting up the top again)
RHP--Walter Johnson--(An amazing 9 seasons in a 21 year career that he won at least 20 games and had a sub 2.00 ERA. Career 417 wins, 2.17 ERA)LHP-- Warren Spahn-- (Greatest lefty starter in history)RHP--Christy Matthewson--(2.13 Career ERA with 383 wins, and a .665 winning percentage)LHP-- Randy Johnson-- (best power lefty of all time)RHP-- Greg Maddux -- (Dominating starter during the live ball, steroid era makes accomplishments that much greater)RP-- Mariano Rivera-- (Best closer of all time, ice in the veins)
Notes: I couldn't fit in Aaron, based on overall depth in the OF. Couldn't justify putting him over Mays for defense, or Williams who was a better overall hitter by far, or Ruth who could just kill the ball. The only place to fit would be Rickey Henderson's spot, but Rickey was a dynamic game changer, and for that reason he gets the nod. Bonds was another, close but the steroids thing bugs me when you compare his body of work vs. the others in that position I couldn't go there. Arod was a stretch, because of the steroids as well but I felt that he was far better than any other at the position, considering that he will probably close in on 700 HR's before being done, and the fact that he is a Gold Glove fielder at 2 positions. 
Pitchers are tough, so I went with Righty, Lefty, Righty, Lefty, Righty  vs. just the top 5. It is tough to judge pitchers because of the extreme changes in the eras that they pitched. I chose to go with pitchers whose numbers were superior to that of the others in their own era. Cy Young made many more starts that Johnson, making him the most winning pitcher ever, but he also lost the most in history. As well, his ERA was average when compared with the pitchers of his era. 
Category: MLB
Posted on: January 16, 2010 12:48 pm

Baseball needs Bob Costas as commissioner

The game of baseball needs direction. Bud Selig has been maligned for most of his tenure as commissioner, and while he has done some good things for the game, he is often a lame duck or a puppet for the owners. In effect, Selig has been the commissioner since 1992, even though he was only officially given that title in 1998. Selig owned a team, the Brewers, before becoming the commish. There is no basis for his election, and he has not proven to be capable of leading baseball effectively.

Under Selig's leadership the game has become a richer business, but the biggest problems that face the game today are largely swept under the rug. With the game being as popular as ever, the players are signing bigger contracts, the owners are making more and more money, and the fans are being ignored. I don't think Selig understands the common fans perception. Sure, we love to watch because we love the game itself, but it is tougher and tougher to watch and follow the game. It is tougher and tougher to bring our sons and daughters to the games, due to both cost and integrity issues. 

There are 2 major factors that are making the game more difficult to follow, and in turn pass along the enjoyment to our children.

The first factor is the steroids and drug testing. This issue has been around for the duration of Selig's tenure, and for his part in it all Selig's choice was to sweep everything he knew under the rug. Selig chose to protect the owners money, rather than protect the sanctity of the game. Witness what we have now, some of the most sacred of records in American sports are tainted and stained by drug abusers. These players probably didn't take the steroids to break records, that was simply a ancillary bonus for these guys on the road to making more money. I really don't think Bonds, Arod, McGwire or any others really thought to themselves, "Hey, if I take this stuff I could be the best player to ever play the game". I think more likely, they figured that if they took the stuff that they could put together a few great years, and hit the ultimate payday. Once it happened, the notoriety and adulation was addictive, so they couldn't stop. From there it was an epedemic, players trying to keep up with each other, and before you know it most of the players are trying something to get an edge.

The second issue is the broadening gap in the level of competition among the teams. I know Selig will say that there is a cap, with the luxury tax supposedly helping the lower revenue teams, but that is a convenient way of sweeping the issue under the rug again. Consider that 6 of the top 8 most valueable teams made the playoffs last year. The 2 that didn't were the Mets, who had the 2nd highest payroll, and the Cubs who had the 3rd highest payroll, so they sure tried.

Selig will point to isolated cases where lower income teams have made the playoffs(ie the 2008 Rays) as a means of proving that the current structure is working. In a very short period of time, teams can have young, homegrown talent come up and compete at a high level and have a short run at the playoffs, but compare that with the top revenue teams. These teams are loaded every year, consistenly competitive, and their fans are constantly engaged. The higher revenue teams will pay top dollar and take the top talent from the lower revenue teams and in a very short time, return that team to the bottom of the league for an extended period of time, where the top team stays on top. This type of activity ensures that the top 8 to 10 teams have a shot to win a championship every year, while the other 20 or so have no shot in most years.

Contrast that with the NFL where every team has as good a chance to make the playoffs as another. I am not saying that at the beginning of the season that every NFL fan thinks that their team will make the playoffs, but certainly the feeling is that the turnaround could be much quicker. The NFL has only 6 current teams that haven't made the playoffs in the last 5 years, with the longest current streak at 10 yrs(Detroit and Buffalo). MLB has 10, with 7 of those teams exceeding the longest current NFL streak, and the longest being a distant 28 years!!

The opposite argument states that the higher revenue owners are spending the money that they make, putting that money back into the team for the benefit of the fans. This is true, except for the fact that it is great for the fans of the top 8 teams, not for the game as a whole. Often this becomes a debate about the Yankees or Red Sox, and how they have the right to spend freely if they want. I agree, but I also think that the commissioner has an obligation to the fan base as a whole to put the most competitive product out there. Well run franchises will rise to the top, but then it will come down to people making franchises better, rather than the mighty dollar. The Yankees will always be able to spend more, they are worth $1.5 billion. They pull from a market that has 16 million people. I don't fault them that at all.

I fear that our younger generation will pay the price for the short sighted way the game is being run. No longer can you follow a player on your favorite team for years and years. These players are typically gone year to year. It is rarer and rarer to see a good player stick with a team for more than a few years. Secondly, you fear that your kids might actually follow and idolize a player today, when tomorrow it will be revealed that the player was using drugs, as baseball has failed to deter HGH users with blood testing to this day.

In Costas, you have an unbiased fan of the game. Costas shares many of the fans true love of the game of baseball, has the credibility with mostly everyone affiliated with the game, and seemingly would be able to make decisions in the best decision of the whole sport, not just one group. Costas possesses the skills to connect with the average fan of the sport, unlike Selig.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com