Clutch free throws by Angel lift Cardinal past ASU 79-76

Stanford guard Michael O’Connell (5) and forward Brandon Angel (right) share congratulations in the second half chase of a 15 point run to catch the Arizona State Sun Devils at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto (AP News photo)

By Daniel Dullum

Saturday, January 22, 2022 Brandon Angel sank three free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining, helping Stanford snapped its two-game Pac-12 men’s basketball losing streak Saturday with a 79-76 win over Arizona State at Maples Pavilion.

With 1:28 remaining, the Sun Devils’ DJ Horne connected on a 23-foot 3-pointer, tying the game at 74-all. Twenty-seven seconds later, Angel hit a pair of free throws to put Stanford back in the lead at 76-74.

After the Sun Devils committed a turnover, ASU’s Jalen Graham fouled Harrison Ingram, who missed two free throws with :20.3 left. Graham later made a 9-foot jumper with :07.5 to play, tying the game at 76-all.

Six seconds later, Graham fouled Angel on a 3-point attempt, and the Cardinal sophomore from San Diego sank all three free throws.

Angel and Michael O’Connell led Stanford (11-6 overall, 4-3 Pac-12) with 16 points each. Angel made three 3s and was 7 of 7 at the foul line; O’Connell was 5 of 8 from the field, 4 of 4 on free throws and had three assists and three steals. Ingram finished with 13 points 10 rebounds and three assists.

Horne tossed in a game-high 18 points to lead the Sun Devils (6-10, 2-4), followed by Graham with 16 points and six rebounds, Marreon Jackson with 12 points and Jay Heath with 11 points.
The Cardinal shot 38 percent from the field (19 of 50), outrebounded ASU 36-30 and forced 16 turnovers. ASU made 31 of 59 shots (53 percent) and forced 18 Stanford turnovers.

Stanford travels to Los Angeles next weekend, visiting Southern California on Thursday and UCLA on Saturday, Jan. 29

Condors comeback from two-goal deficit edge Barracuda 4-3

The Bakersfield Condors in a comeback game avoided defeat winning their sixth straight game at Mechanics Bank in Bakersfield edging the San Jose Barracuda 4-3 (photo from Bakersfield Condors)

by Marko Ukalovic

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Bakersfield has become a house of horrors for the San Jose Barracuda.

The Condors scored four unanswered goals to overcome a two-goal deficit in a 4-3 victory over their Pacific Division rival on Saturday evening at Mechanics Bank Arena.

San Jose has three games in a row and have lost their last eight games in Bakersfield. The third place Condors have won six games in a row and have points in 11 straight games.

Neither was able to find the back of the net in the first period. Each team had a power play opportunity, but neither capitalized on their chance.

Bakersfield out shot San Jose 14-11 in the opening 20 minutes.

The Barracuda (13-19-1-0) broke the seal early in the second period. Nick Merkley found a trailing John Leonard open in the slot. Leonard one-timed a wrist shot top shelf just underneath the cross bar for his sixth goal of the season at the 2:02 mark.

San Jose doubled its lead just over four minutes later. Patrick Holway skated in from the left wing and sent a shot on net that was initially saved by Condors goalie Olivier Rodrigue. Joachim Blichfeld cleaned up the rebound for his 13th goal of the season at the 6:32 mark.

Bakersfield (14-8-3-3) cut the Barracuda lead in half just passed the halfway mark of the middle frame. Dylan Holloway threaded the needle with a pass between two San Jose defenders that sprung James Hamblin on a breakaway. Hamblin’s backhander beat ‘Cuda goalie Alexei Melnichuk for his ninth goal of the season at the 11:41 mark.

Hamblin has been on fire of late with his fourth goal in three games for Bakersfield.

The Condors evened the score early in the third period thanks to two lucky bounces. Devin Brousseau collected the puck after bounced over the stick of Holway. Brousseau’s centering pass caromed off the leg of Merkley past Melnichuk for his fourth goal of the season at the 5:30 mark.

Bakersfield gained its first lead just over a minute later. Brousseau centered a pass from behind the net out to Vincent Desharnais who one-timed a wrist shot past Melnichuk for his fourth goal of the season at the 6:35 mark.

Desharnais has five points during his four-game point steak.

The Condors scored an insurance goal on the power play near the halfway mark of the final frame. Philip Broberg fed a pass over to Adam Cranknell and the veteran Condor rifled a slap shot past Melnichuk to the short side for his ninth goal of the season at the 9:03 mark.

San Jose scored a power play goal with 1:45 remaining in the final frame when Leonard scored his second goal of the game. Artemi Kniazev found Leonard open in the right faceoff circle and he buried a wrist shot for his seventh goal of the season.

It was Leonard’s first multi-goal game of his AHL career.

Rodrigue finished the game stopping 31 of the 34 shots he faced in earning the victory. Melnichuk made 42 saves on 46 shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose finished 1-for-4 on the power play. Bakersfield was 1-for-3.

Krystof Hrabik was suspended 30 games by the AHL for making a racial gesture towards Tucson Roadrunners forward Boko Imama during the teams’ January 12th game in San Jose. Hrabik was immediately removed from all team activities.

UP NEXT: San Jose and Bakersfield battle it out on Sunday 1/23 at 5:00pm at SAP Center.

Sharks Lose to Lightning 7-1; Fourth loss in five games for SJ

A familiar sight all night long as Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) scores a goal against San Jose Sharks goaltender Adin Hill (33) at SAP Center in San Jose on Sat Jan 22, 2022 (AP News photo)

By Mary Walsh

SAN JOSE– The Sharks lost to the Lightning by a score of 7-1 Saturday in San Jose. Steven Stamkos, Ross Colton, Mathieu Joseph, Correy Perry, Brayden Point, and Alex Killorn all scored for Tampa Bay. Brian Elliott made 27 saves for the win. Jaycob Megna scored for San Jose. James Reimer made 9 saves on 13 shots before being replaced by Adin Hill. Hill made 15 saves on 18 shots in the loss.

After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner did not mince words: “We were out-competed and it was men amongst boys. Simple as that. We understand we have a lot of injuries and we’re dealing with some pretty important players out of our lineup.”

Among those important players is defenseman Erik Karlsson, who is out with an upper body injury. There is no timeline for his return yet.

Ross Colton scored first, 3:17 into the game. Colton tried to pass the puck across the ice, but it hit Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s stick, knuckled in the air and went over Reimer’s glove. Ryan McDonagh got an assist.

Steven Stamkos scored next, at 7:45. While Vlasic was clearing Mathieu Joseph away from the net, Stamkos used both of them as screens for a shot into the far top corner. Assists went to Alex Killorn and Cal Foote.

Midway into the second period, Timo Meier put the puck in the net but it was called back for a distinct kicking motion.

Mathieu Joseph scored at 11:04. After skating around Brent Burns, he made a beeline for the net. Reimer stopped his shot but could not control the puck. It slid out from under his pad and over the line. Assists went to Stamkos and Mikhail Sergachev.

Corey Perry made it 4-0 at 12:32. McDonagh dumped the puck in, but it went off of a linesman’s skate and bounced right to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare as he made his way to the net. Reimer stopped his shot but Perry cleaned up the rebound.

The Sharks swapped goaltenders after that goal, replacing Reimer with Hill.

Jaycob Megna scored for San Jose at 16:40. Ryan Merkley swept through the high slot to gather the puck up, then spun and passed it to Megna right on the blue line. Megna sent a hard shot right down the middle through traffic and into the net. Merkley got the assist. It was Megna’s first goal as a Shark and his second in the NHL.

Brayden Point made it 5-1 at 6:24 of the second. Anthony Cirelli got around Merkley in the Lightning zone, creating a two on one of Point and Nikita Kucherov against Megna in the Sharks zone.

Alex Killorn scored at 4:20 of the third period, on a power play. Assists went to Victor Hedman and Kucherov. Ross Colton scored his second of the game 33 seconds later. Assists went to Taylor Raddysh and Mikhail Segachev.

The Sharks had their second power play at 7:24 of the third period. They got four shots on goal. In their first power play of the game, they had no shots. The Lightning had their first and only power play of the game at 3:04 of the third. Their power play had four shots and the goal. The Lightning out-shot the Sharks 15-5 in the first, the Sharks out-shot the Lightning 10-6 in the second and 13-10.

In the face-off circle, the results followed the same pattern, with the Lightning winning the first period by 60% and the third by 67%, while the Sharks won the second period by 57%.

The Sharks next play on Wednesday in D.C. against the Washington Capitals at 4:00 PM PT.

Kings lose third in a row to Bucks 133-127

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, right, takes a shot against Sacramento Kings center Richaun Holmes at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee on Sat Jan 22, 2022 (AP News photo)

Kings Lose Third In A Row To Bucks 133-127

By Barbara Mason

Flashback Wednesday: After losing a very disappointing game Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons, the Sacramento Kings (18-30) traveled to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks (30-19). The Kings led in the Piston game by nine points with 2:34 left on the clock.

In the NBA two and a half minutes is a lot of time however the Kings did not score a single point for the rest of the game and the Pistons took full advantage. The Kings had two turnovers, three missed shots and a foul in those final two minutes. They needed to finish the game and they were unable too. This has been a problem for the Kings this year, finishing games.

Saturday night in Milwaukee: On Saturday night the Kings face a huge challenge taking on the fourth place Bucks at Fiserv Forum. They will have Tyrese Haliburton back on the court for this game a plus for Sacramento. There is bad news as well because De’Aaron Fox has been ruled out with an ankle injury. This is a tough loss for Sacramento, losing their leading scorer.

The Kings had a nice start winning the first quarter 35-27. Their lead did not last very long and mid-way through the second quarter the Bucks heated up taking the lead. At the half the Bucks led 62-54. Harrison Barnes led the shooting for the Kings with 14 points in the first half. He was the only King in double digits so far in the game.

The Bucks took their second quarter momentum into the third quarter extending their lead by as much as 15 points. The Kings would cut that deficit in half trailing after three quarters 94-86. Milwaukee’s Chris Middleton and Jrue Holiday led the Bucks in scoring, Middleton with 20 and Holiday with 18.

The Kings continued to hang around and got to within three points with under two minutes left in the game. That was as close as Sacramento would get losing their third game in a row 133-127.

The Kings got some great play from their starters. Harrison Barnes finished with 29 point, Tyrese Haliburton with 24, and Terence Davis had 22. All of their starters had double digits.

Tuesday the Kings will be playing the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 PM PT.

Gould’s last second field goal punches the 49ers into the NFC Championship game with 13-10 win over Packers

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (9) kicks the game winning field goal with no time left in the fourth quarter to help defeat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on Sat Jan 22, 2022 at the NFC Divisional round (AP News photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

There’s a reason why special teams are called special.

In a game where the San Francisco 49ers offense was as cold as the temperature on the field, it was the special teams that came through as Robbie Gould’s 45-yard field goal as time expired sent his team to the NFC Championship game in a 13-10 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoff game on Saturday evening at Lambeau Field.

“My ultimate goal is to be a Hall-of-Famer and to win a Super Bowl,” said Gould after the game.

Both defenses play exceptionally well but it was the 49ers special teams that was difference in the game as they were responsible for all 13 points.

With the 49ers trailing 10-3 with under five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Jordan Willis blocked Corey Bojorquez’s punt inside the Packers 10-yard line. Talanoa Hufanga picked up the ball at six-yard line and run it in for a game tying touchdown.

San Francisco’s defense forced a three and out and gave the offense one more chance with 3:20 remaining in the game.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who didn’t get help from his offensive line or his receivers during the first half of the game as well as made a couple of poor decisions during the game, led the Niners on a nine play, 44-yard drive to set up Gould’s heroics. The key play on the drive was Deebo Samuel’s nine-yard run on a 3rd and 7 to give San Francisco a first down on the Packers 29-yard line.

Green Bay drew first blood on its opening drive. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers led a methodical drive as he connected with his favorite target wide receiver Davante Adams three times for 35 yards on a 10 play 69-yard drive that was capped off with an AJ Dillion six-yard rushing touchdown.

Despite being set up with good position on its first drive thanks to JaMycal Hasty’s 30-yard kickoff return that set up San Francisco at the Packers 40-yard line, the 49ers went three and out as Garoppolo was sacked on third and 12.

The Packers second possession ended when Fred Warner punched the ball out of the hands of Marcedes Lewis and Dre Greenlaw recovered the ball at the Niners 42-yard line. However, the Niners went three and out after the Packers second sack of Garoppolo.

The Niners offense didn’t fare any better on the next two possessions as dropped balls and a lack of a rushing attack forced San Francisco’s offense into three straight three and outs at the end of the opening 15 minutes with a total of minus seven yards.

San Francisco finally got the offense going near the end of the first half. They were moving the ball with a balanced attack, but the drive ended when Garoppolo threw an interception to Adrian Amos.

It looked like Green Bay was going to take advantage on the ensuing possession as Rodgers found Aaron Jones for a 75-yard reception down to the 49ers 14-yard line. But Mason Crosby’s 39-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Jimmy Ward as time expired as the 49ers special teams made the first of its three big plays of the game.

The 49ers opening drive of the second half was all about Samuel. He returned the kickoff 45 yards to midfield. The hybrid wide receiver-running back also had two receptions of 18 and 12 yards. However, a personal foul penalty of Elijah Mitchell and an illegal formation penalty took the Niners out of a goal line situation. They settled for a 29-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.

Green Bay extended its lead to seven points early in the fourth quarter with a long, time-consuming drive that went 14 plays, 57 yards eating up nine minutes off the clock that resulted in a 33-yard field goal by Crosby. Rodgers was six for six for 44 yards on the drive as the Packers took a page out of the Niners playbook running the ball through the Niners defense.

San Francisco had a chance to tie the game earlier in the fourth quarter, but they weren’t able to convert a 4th and 1 from the Packers 19-yard line. Rashawn Gary blew up a run up the middle by Mitchel as the 49ers turned it over on downs with 6:14 remaining.

Rodgers, who might have played his last game in Green Bay, finished 20 of 29 for 225 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and a QB rating of 91.9. Devante Adams, who also could have played his game as a Packer, had nine catches for 90 yards. Jones had just 41 yards on the ground in 12 carries but had 129 receiving yards on nine catches.

“I’m gonna take some time and have conversations with the folks around here, and then take some time away and make a decision, obviously before free agency,” Rodgers said.

Garopollo finished 11 of 19 for 131 yards with no touchdowns and one interception and a QB rating of just 57.1. Tight end George Kittle led San Francisco in receiving with four catches for 63 yards. Samuel finished with 83 total yards (39 rushing and 44 receiving). Mitchell had a quiet game with 53 yards on 17 carries.

“Jimmy G (Garopollo), you can’t say enough about that guy. The sh*t he takes,” Kittle said.

The 49ers defense sacked Rodgers five times and forced five three and outs as the unsung hero of the game.

“After we won, I didn’t want to leave the field,” said 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead. “I just don’t want to go home…We keep making plays.”

GAME NOTES: San Francisco finished 4-for-11 on third down conversions. Green Bay was 5-for-12.

San Francisco running back Jeff Wilson Jr. suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return to the game.

Dillion suffered a chest injury in the third quarter. He did not return to the game.

Rodgers, who is 0-4 against San Francisco in four playoff games, had his second career playoff game with no touchdowns.

UP NEXT: San Francisco await the winner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Los Angeles Rams Divisional Playoff game for the NFC Championship Game on Sunday 1/30 at 3:40pm.

NFC Divisional round/San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Hawkes: Taking a look at how Garoppolo and Rogers match up tonight

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (right) and Green Bay Packers Aaron Rogers (left) discuss after their contest back on Jan 20, 2020 at Levi Stadium will meet again tonight at Lambeau Field for the NFC Divisional Round (ninernoise.com file photo)

On the 49ers podcast with J Hawkes:

#1 Joe taking a looking at the San Francisco 49ers (11-7) quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Green Bay Packers (13-4) quarterback Aaron Rogers from the jump how do you see the quarterback match up for tonight’s game in Green Bay?

#2 The 49ers are on a five game win steak coming into Green Bay they seemed to have really caught fire when they defeated the Los Angeles Rams on the last day of the season 27-24 in overtime on Sunday Night Football Jan 9th.

#3 This week there was talk about Garoppolo’s shoulder strain, Nick Bosa concussion protocols, and linebacker Fred Warner high ankle strain the report during the middle of the week the three were trying to recover after the Dallas win last Sunday how do feel and look for tonight’s game in Green Bay?

#4 There are some media talk show hosts that are pulling for the 49ers in this one just simply because of the love-hate relationship mainly hate over Rogers fibbing about taking the Covid shot earlier this season that caused such a controversy?

#5 Joe it’s down to business the 49ers and Packers for the Divisional round oddsmakers have Green Bay winning it in a close one by five points just get your odds and who you pick and why for tonight.

Join Joe Hawkes for the 49ers podcasts each weekend at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NHL podcast with Matt Harrington: Isles legend Gillies passes away at 67; Jet’s Wheeler gets back in line up after long injury; plus more

Former New York Islander Clark Gillies who passed away at age 67 was accomplished many achievements with the Islanders during the 1980s (photo provided by nhl.com)

On the NHL podcast with Matt Harrington:

#1 Matt, legendary former New York Islander Clark Gillies passed away at age 67. Gillies was noted as one of the all time talents in Islanders history career he scored 319 goals, had 378 assists, in 958 regular season games. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs career 47 goals and 47 assists in 164 games.

#2 The Winnipeg Jets Blake Wheeler who hasn’t played since Dec 10th is a possibility in getting into today’s game against the Boston Bruins. Wheeler suffered a knee injury. Wheeler has 17 points, one goal, and 16 assists in 22 games.

#3 The Anaheim Ducks were up and at em for Friday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Duck Pond in Anaheim. The 5-1 win also snaps the Ducks four game losing streak and the Bolts four game win streak. One of the key things the Ducks executed was a seven for seven penalty kill.

#4 Matt, the NHL looks forward to completing some 95 rescheduled games due to Covid 19 protocol postponements between Feb 7-22. All 32 NHL teams will be able to now complete their missing games before the end of the regular season on April 29th.

#5 Montreal Canadiens top flight goaltender Jake Allen is out for eight weeks due to a lower body injury. Allen came out of the first period against the Bruins on Jan 12th in a 5-1 loss. Allen will be replaced by back ups Sam Montembeault who has played in 16 games this season and has a goals against average of 3.73 and Clayden Primeau has played in four games with a goals against average of 4.11.

Join Matt for the NHL podcasts each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Jose Sharks podcast with Len Shaprio: Sharks try to get back in win column against Lightning tonight; How Sharks/Barracuda plan to handle Hrabik situation

The Tucson Roadrunners Boko Imama (center right) is restrained from getting at the San Jose Barracuda’s Krystof Hrabik who has been suspended 30 games for making ape like gestures at him during AHL game on Wed Jan 12, 2022 at SAP Center in San Jose (photo from fearofthefin.com)

On the Sharks podcast with Len:

#1 The San Jose Sharks (21-18-2) coming into tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning have won six out of their last 11 games and have played for the most part .500 hockey in the last nine games going 4-5.

#2 The Sharks in their last game against the Seattle Kraken (12-23-4) at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle took a one goal 3-2 loss. It was the Sharks third loss in four games and head coach Bob Boughner is hoping that the Sharks could get some traction and pick up some wins.

#3 Len, things started out promising to start the last Thursday’s game when Tomas Hertl scored in the first 38 seconds of the game but it was the Kraken’s Carson Sousy who help deliver the goods scoring twice and Carne Jarnkrok scored a third period goal which turned out to be the game winner.

#4 The Sharks minor league affiliate the San Jose Barracuda Krystof Hrabik on Jan 12th made a apelike gesture toward the Tucson Roadrunners Boko Imama as Hrabik has been suspended for 30 games. It’s not the first time the Imama had been racially taunted he was called a racial slur in the 2020 season by the Ontario Reign’s Brandon Manning.

#5 Is the Hrabik gesture any reflection on the Barracuda’s position on minorities and people of color in the game when they have not used and have all but erased Evander Kane from their roster or the other side of the argument that Kane’s case has nothing to do with the Barracuda being racially biased?

Join Len Shapiro for the San Jose Sharks podcast each Saturday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Golden State Warriors game wrap: Curry hits game winner to beat Rockets 105-103

Curry Hits Game Winner to Beat Rockets 105-103

Things to do and places to go for Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left chases after the basketball after committing a foul on Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. (3) at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Fri Jan 21, 2022 (AP News photo)

By Barbara Mason

The Warriors (32-13) were still reeling from the loss last night to the Pacers when they went right into a back-to- back game against the Houston Rockets (14-32). The Rockets are a young team with amazing energy featuring Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. The Warriors came away winning a thrilling just getting by the Rockets 105-103 at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Friday night.

Houston had a miserable start to the season but have picked it up and have won three of their last four games. Friday night the Rockets were aiming to make it four wins of their last five games at the expense of the Warriors.

After Thursday night’s game Golden State was looking to protect the ball and execute. Turnovers and miserable execution were their undoing.

The Rockets started the first quarter with amazing energy, and a strong fast start. They led30-24 after one. The ball movement for Golden State was sluggish and the turnovers horrendous.

In the second quarter it was more of the same for Golden State. They had 12 turnovers in the half and Houston scored 17 points off those turnovers. Execution was awful with the Warriors only scoring 43 points in the first half.

Playing this poorly against the worst defensive team in the league was not going to win many games. Houston’s Wood and Porter Jr. had really good quarters to start this game both with 12 points in the half. Houston led 54-43 after two quarters.

Forty-three points in a half for the Warriors is unimaginable for a team that customarily scores well over a hundred points a game. Golden State had a lot of work to do in the second half.

Golden State started the third quarter with more turnovers and they had to start taking this game possession by possession. Trailing by 15 points Stephen Curry and company needed points and stops. Mid-way through the quarter the Warriors got those points and those stops trimming the Rocket’s lead to 63-62.

The Warriors kept their foot on the pedal and with some greatly improved execution managed to stay on pace with Houston. After three quarters this game was about as tight as a game could be tied at 76. Golden State won the quarter 33-22.

The Warriors three’s were falling in the fourth quarter but they desperately needed stops. The shots that Houston was missing in the third quarter started hitting in the final quarter. It would come down to execution and stops in this game.

Houston started taking more three’s than Golden State and they were making them. With the score tied at 103, the Warriors had 5.1 seconds left to win this game. (There was exactly 5.1 on the clock in last night’s game) The baby-faced assassin Curry hit a two and the Warriors won 105-103 in this marathon. It was crunch time and Curry came through as he has so many times in the past.

Kevon Looney would finish with 12 rebounds. Curry had two pts which included the game winner and Jordan had twenty points. It just was another game winner for Curry. The entire team had to grind it out and they did just that.

Sunday the Warriors take on the Utah Jazz with a 5:30 PM tipoff.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: MLB–2022 Hall of Fame Ballot PED Guys will fall Short

Barry Bonds (left) and Roger Clemens (right) are holding out hope that the MLB Baseball Writers of America Association will vote them into the Hall of Fame but reports say it’s very unlikely (ESPN file photo)

MLB–2022 Hall of Fame Ballot PED Guys will fall Short

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

These “steroids era” players will probably fall short. Barry Bonds with an MLB record 762 home runs and seven MVP Awards, Roger Clemens, with a record seven-Cy Young Awards, are the two first and then possibly Alex Rodríguez, who some time ago admitted to using PED’s and said it might cost him the Hall of Fame.

David Ortíz is an interesting case, he also admitted to using PED’s years ago. Other interesting characters are Samuel “Sammy” Sosa, who said he “never tested positive for steroids” during his career and in 2005 he appeared in front of the US Congress House Committee on Government Reform together with Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro as well as some baseball executives.

But if you want to talk about it interesting, how about Curt Schilling, who a year ago asked to be removed from the 2022 HOF list, but was rejected and will remain on the BBWAA ballot for the tenth and final time.

About a year ago Schilling called the Baseball Writers Association of America a bunch of “spineless cowards”. Schilling was never connected to steroids use or any PED’s during his career, but his controversial twitters became a litmus test for most of those that opposed his point of view.

If you are eligible you are eligible, it should only be about your baseball career. It is the Hall of Fame not the Hall of Saints and baseball should not bring statues down, but build it for their heroes.

I do give a lot of credit to the BBWAA for rejecting Curt Schilling’s wishes to be removed from the ballot. If we go down that rabbit hole, we must also, never elect or maybe remove some that are already in Cooperstown.

I am sure if research is done there will be found to be some very unsavory characters in the Hall. Such Hall of Fame luminaries like Roger Hornsby, a .358 lifetime hitter who batted over .400 three times, there were persistent rumors he was a member of the KKK.

The great Ty Cobb, who by all accounts was a terrible human being who won a history-leading 12-batting titles, was an admitted racist. He is in Cooperstown. Cap Anson was widely reported by the media he was totally opposed to black players in baseball.

Back to the present. Some of the greatest sluggers in recent history who are tied to the use of PED’s, steroids and their home run totals: Barry Bonds 762, Alex Rodríguez 696, Sammy Sosa 609, Mark McGwire 583, Rafael Palmeiro 569, Manny Ramírez 555.

Among the luminaries of the mound; Roger Clemens, a tremendous 24-year career ended with 354 wins, 3.12 earned run average, and 4,672 strikeouts, a 6-time 20+ game-winner. Clemens won a MLB record of seven Cy Young Awards.

I have a feeling a lot of ballots will be blank this year. However, if a BBWAA writer does not send a ballot that means he/she is abdicating his/her responsibility. Each of the writers who vote can choose from 0 to 10 candidates. Last year no player reached the 75% minimum

Inductees from the era committee, elected last year: Six, Buck O’Neil, Bud Fowler, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Orestes (Minnie) Miñoso, and Gil Hodges are in already. Remote possibility they will add any others on this list

There is a guy that played more games than anybody else, 3,562 and also lead everybody in history in hits with 4,256, was selected to 17 All Star Games, yet he is the first to be banned from baseball (1989), for life since 1943 as an investigation determined he bet on games with the Cincinnati Reds while he was the manager.

Peter Edward Rose “Mr.Hustle”, is still waiting for a Commissioner who will Pardon him. Note: His violation was while he was managing, not as a player. But gambling has always been the “capital sin” in the game.

Each voting cycle, qualified members of the BBWAA name no more than ten eligible players whom they consider worthy of Hall of Fame honors. To be enshrined, a player must be named on at least 75% of the voters’ ballots. Currently, players are removed from the ballot if they are named on fewer than 5% of ballots or have been on the ballot ten times without election.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com