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“I don’t think Lofton is a slam dunk Hall of Famer (though he would have my vote), but he had a career bWAR of 64.9, 7th highest ever, among center fielders, so even if you aren’t certain he deserves enshrinement, he certainly merits more consideration that he’s getting this year. There is speculation that the Hall will have to change its ten-player limit, because if the ballot wasn’t already crowded enough, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, and Jeff Kent will be joining it next time around. It’s possible that if the Hall makes such a switch, they’ll also reinstate a few candidates, but it’s also possible that it’s another twenty years before there’s another serious discussion about Lofton’s Hall of Fame case, which would be a great shame.” [Lukehart/Let’s Go Tribe]
“Lofton is considered one of the best leadoff hitters of his generation, but his career almost didn’t happen—he became a puzzle piece by accident. If you had asked a young Kenny Lofton what he wanted to be when he grew up, it’s likely he would have said a basketball player. He might also have said firefighter, astronaut, or doctor, but the point is he wouldn’t have said baseball player—until his junior year in college, he’d never played the game. Lofton spent his childhood hours listening to his sneakers squeak on the hardwood floors of East Chicago, Indiana, while he practiced fast breaks and three-pointers. His greatest assets were speed and the ability to anticipate the moves of his opponent. On any given night, Lofton could be seen swiping the ball from his opponent and rushing down the court for an easy layup.” [Angi/The Classical]
“After some research done this morning over coffee — Santa brought me a Keurig machine for Christmas! — I’ve decided that, sure, Lofton indeed has a case for the Hall. Do I think he will get in? Well, if I had a vote (which I don’t), he wouldn’t crack my list of 10 possible votes on the 2013 ballot. So, no, I don’t think Lofton will get in this year.
The more appropriate question is, “Should Lofton get in?” Eventually, yes, I think so. First, though, I personally think the BBWAA needs to put Tim Raines in the Hall to further cement Lofton’s case. On this year’s ballot, I believe Raines is deserving of a vote, and I’d have him clearly ranked above Lofton for enshrinement.” [Bastian/MLB.com]
Pro Football Focus’ All-NFC North team. Some nice surprises from the Browns- “Tackles: Joe Thomas (CLE) and Andre Smith (CIN). It sucks a bit for Andrew Whitworth. I mean, here’s a guy who is one of the best pass blocking tackles in the league, yet playing in the North he’s in the shadow of the premier guy in football in that regard, Joe Thomas. Still, there is one Bengals tackle who makes it and it’s a guy who earned All-Pro honors. No doubt Smith took his time, but this was the year where he became the player he was drafted to be to hold off a stiff challenge from excellent rookie Mitchell Schwartz.” [Pro Football Focus]
“One question you may ask is if the Cavaliers’ offense itself, which is heavily reliant on offensive rebounding, has anything to do with this. My answer to that would be no. The only two guys on the court with offensive rebounding responsibilities on the Cavs are the power forward and the center (statistically, this is evidenced by Irving, Miles, Waiters, Daniel Gibson and Gee averaging 2.9 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes combined). The three perimeter players should be communicating with each other to make sure that there is always a second man above the free throw line in order to prevent fast break opportunities. This leads directly into the second problem the Cavs have had.” [Vecenie/Fear the Sword]