This past Saturday the Houston Astros hosted their annual Fan Fest.
Fan Fest is a time when fans can go to Minute Maid Park and take in the sights and sounds before the team heads off to Florida for the start of Spring Training.
There are games for the kids and opportunities to take batting practice or run around the bases like a Major League Baseball player.
It is also a time when fans can purchase player autographs, past promotional items and other things with the proceeds all going to the team
The Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers yesterday to earn a trip to the Super Bowl to face the Denver Broncos.
While the game featured strong plays on both sides of the ball it was ultimately decided by an interception in the end zone that was aided by a tipped ball.
As one can imagine tipping a ball that leads to an interception that in turn leads one
Yesterday I decided to give my Jeep a spa day.
Of course in hindsight the words
This past weekend I saw Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which oddly enough is the sequel to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
In both movies Will Ferrell helms a cast of characters in a television newsroom where various hijinks ensue.
While the jokes in the movie are easy to see, what may be missed by the casual viewer are the kernels of truth that show the steady decline from the evening news being a source of information to it becoming merely a source of entertainment and low calorie news.
To be fair the golden age of journalism had already come and gone by the time I started Journalism school.
That is not to say that there are not still many fine journalists working today but merely to point out that the days of all journalists being held in high regard and only reporting well vetted factual stories has passed.
With the advent of the 24-hour news cycle journalists had transitioned from people reporting the news to in many cases being larger than life and part of the news themselves.
Of course one need only read the story of Icarus to know what happens when one flies too close to the sun.
This past year several high profile journalists from national news outlets were suspended when it was learned that some of their stories were not as factual as they were led to believe.
One of the higher profile incidents of this involved a reporter for 60 Minutes which in many ways started the television news magazine format.
It would be easy to blame the increase in journalists taking shortcuts on the internet and the 24-hour news channels.
One could argue that with more pressure to be the first with a story shortcuts are often taken but the fact remains there are no shortcuts to good reporting.
A news story is only as good as the facts that are contained within it and the writer who brings so facts to light in a way that the reader or viewer can understand and act upon.
While it is true that pictures and infographics can enhance a story they are not substitutes for the facts.
When USA Today was first published there were those in the media at the time that thought that a national newspaper filled with shorter stories and more charts and graphs than the rest of the papers on the market would be a flash in the pan and fizzle out.
Instead USA Today , once deemed the
The other day it was announced that three players had been selected as 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees and one other player missed induction by the narrowest of margins.
The inducted players are Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas.
And if the trio felt like partying like it is 1999 one could not really blame them since it was the first time since 1999 that three players appearing on their first ballot were voted in for induction by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA).
Maddox received 97.2% of the votes, followed by Glavine with 91.9% and Thomas with 83.7%.
Craig Biggio, who spent his entire two decade career with the Houston Astros, fell just short of the 75% threshold required for induction. Biggio, in his second year of eligibility, garnered 74.8% of the votes to fall two votes shy of Cooperstown.
And while Biggio fell painfully close to admission and will likely get elected next year, others were not so lucky.
Once again players who were deemed tainted by the steroid era in baseball were left on the outside looking in.
In fact several of the roughly 500 men and women who comprise the voting members of the BWAA have gone so far as to say that they will not vote for any players who spent their careers in the steroid era regardless of whether or not they ever failed a drug test.
By all accounts through their careers Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were locks for first ballot induction to the Hall of Fame.
Both men had lengthy careers and put up the type of numbers that made a statistician blush and opposing players and fans curse.
Unfortunately late in their careers both Bonds and Clemens were caught up in the net of suspicion regarding performance enhancing drugs and were brought in front of a congressional subcommittee to face charges that they lied about their use of PEDs.
Despite both men being acquitted and with Hall of Fame caliber numbers they still are not in the Hall of Fame despite calls from more than 75 percent of fans to let them in.
And therein in lies the rub and the disconnect related to Hall of Fame voting.
The Hall of Fame is decided by around 500 people who have been BWAA members for at least 10 years.
There is no requirement that they ever played the game but merely that they have covered the game as members of the media who have paid their club dues for 10 years.
Another wrinkle in the BWAA rules is that only 10 people can be included on any given ballot despite there being more than 10 eligible players each year.
At least one BWAA writer determined that the process of leaving the public out of the process was flawed so he crowd sourced his vote to a website that conducted a poll to determine who should be included on the ballot.
As can be expected the BWAA did not take too kindly to the news that one of its votes had been given to someone who had not paid the 10-years of membership fees.
Once the member revealed himself the BWAA acted swiftly and banned this particular member from ever casting a Hall of Fame vote again and also suspended him for a year. One can only hope that he was refunded his membership dues as well for the year that he will not be allowed to be a member.
This crowd sourcing of a Hall of Fame vote garnered reaction on both sides with some people agreeing with the BWAA postion that it was cheapening the Hall of Fame to let not tenured people decide who was worthy while others have felt that it was about time for a fresh look at what constitutes a hall of famer.
I have mentioned before how I do not like the ballot stuffing that occurs during the All-Star voting which allows a single fan to submit as many ballots as they can get their hands on so I am not necessarily thinking that a fan internet vote for the Hall of Fame can be a good thing.
I am also not suggesting that the Hall of Fame turn into a sort of American Idol situation where fans can call in their votes for their favorite players.
But, I am also not sure that allowing 500 members of the media who have different philosophies on what constitutes a tainted player should be the only people guarding the gate and determining who is in and who is out.
In all likelihood I will never be a member of the BWAA with enough tenure to ever cast a Hall of Fame ballot.
But if I were able to ever cast a ballot I would be sure to do my homework on the players and consider their numbers as a whole and not in a vacuum. I would also not use my vote as some sort of political platform.
For example if steroids were as widespread as Jose Canseco and others would have us believe than the playing field was level in a certain way in that the numbers put up by players during that era were against other
Over the past couple of days the temperature in this part of Texas has transitioned from