By Danny Gallagher
Canadian Baseball Network
Tim Raines is back in the spotlight as members of the Baseball Writers Association of America gear up for another round of voting for the 2016 Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Raines has had some solid voting behind him in recent years but he has not come close to receiving the required 75% to reach the hall. The former Expo stolen-base/hitting star is stacked up against holdovers such as Mike Piazza and newcomers Junior Griffey and Trevor Hoffman.
It would be a near slam dunk that Piazza, Griffey and Hoffman will go in this time. Piazza got close last year and Griffey and Hoffman should go in on the first try when the votes are announced in January.
_ The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont. will announce this month its winner of the Jack Graney Award handed out to the journalist, who has made great contributions to baseball in Canada. My guess is either long-time Jays beat man Ken (Fids) Fidlin of the Toronto Sun or Serge (Touche) Touchette, the former Expos beat writer with Le Journal de Montréal. But who knows, it may be someone else. Both Fidlin and Touchette are eloquent wordsmiths and to top it off, boast that sense of humour in their writing that goes a long way in making them special.
_ A series of baseball discussion groups called Pitch Talks involving noted media types is taking place in southern Ontario venues this month. The personalities will ham it up with people in Hamilton at Mills Hardware (Nov. 16), Waterloo at the Starlight Social Club (Nov. 23) and London at the Talbot St. Whisky House (Nov. 25).
“We’re going on a road trip for a night of storytelling, analysis and debate,’’ says a promotional line in a release I received from the Swingman Entertainment Group. A Pitch Talks gig at the Bathurst Centre for Culture in Toronto Nov. 12 was sold out. There were no walkup tickets available.
Tickets for the Hamilton, Waterloo and London gigs cost $20 per person. Each nightly affair goes from 7-9:30.
_ It would seem an easy decision for Marco Estrada to accept the Jays’ qualifying offer of $15.8-million, considering it’s some $12-million over his 2015 salary of $3.9-million. He’s laughing.
_ Don’t be surprised if commissioner Rob Manfred decides soon to make former Expo Pete Rose available for Cooperstown voting in time for the 2017 ballot.
_ It will be interesting to see what Manfred decides on for any punishment for former Jay Jose Reyes, who is accused of hitting his wife in a hotel room in Hawaii. If Reyes is suspended to start the 2016 season, he can grieve the case and have an arbitrator rule.