You can't blame Joe Carter for wondering.
You can't blame him, even if you're like me and don't care much for him, if he chooses to be bitter.
Carter, the longtime Blue Jay, isn't on the Hall of Fame ballot anymore. He didn't get the required votes a year ago to stay active. But there was Jim Rice the other day, named on 337 of 520 ballots, still on the outside but at least still in the hunt for the Hall.
Carter and Rice each played 16 major-league seasons. Career, they are only 100 at-bats apart. Carter hit 16 more home runs than Rice -- 396 to 382. Rice knocked in five more runs -- 1451 to 1445. The power numbers -- not batting average numbers -- are that close.
Carter was the better baserunner, probably even better in the field.
Yet he's done, dropped from the ballot a year ago after getting less than 5% of the vote the first time around. He must see the votes Rice gets -- 65% -- and wonder why not him. His career may not have been Hall of Fame material -- but there's no way 337 votes separate him and Jim Rice. No way.
THIS AND THAT
Sid (The Kid) Crosby is quickly browning off old-style NHL traditionalists with his consistent whining and good for him for not getting in line, which is the hockey way ... John Ferguson's four large off-season acquisitions -- Jeff O'Neill, Jason Allison, Eric Lindros and Alexander Khavanov -- have all morphed in to disposable parts with the Leafs ... I know what Larry Brown basketball is. I know what Pat Riley basketball is. Can anybody tell me what Sam Mitchell basketball is? ... The Bruins didn't bother to inform coach Mike Sullivan before they traded his best player, Joe Thornton, away. Now I have this theory; They have fired Sullivan as coach and just haven't bothered to tell him... The Mark Messier jersey retirement turned out to be another excuse for the 1994 New York Rangers to hold a reunion. Those guys truly love each other and celebrate just about every chance they get.
HERE AND THERE
One game to win and I want Messier playing centre, Grant Fuhr playing goal, Joe Montana at quarterback, Adam Vinatieri kicking and Goose Gossage and Mariano Rivera warming up in the bullpen ... Just in time for Turin, back to life comes Martin Brodeur ... This message is clear: Roberto Luongo isn't all about money, he's about winning. There were 30 million reasons to stay and play in South Florida and he wants some answers before cashing in ... Pound for pound, Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers is the most entertaining athlete in the National Football League ... Has the CFL ever been as thin at quarterback as they are right now? The Argonauts, Lions and Alouettes all have aging quarterbacks, without successors anywhere to be found ... A lone vote was cast for Walt Weiss for Baseball's Hall of Fame. This isn't a democracy but a privilege. The voter should be identified and his Hall vote should be taken away.
SCENE AND HEARD
The very notion that the Montreal Canadiens must have a bilingual coach means they forever will be hiring from a limited talent pool ... An NBA trade proposal of the troubled: Why not move Ron Artest for Steve Francis? ... A trade that still isn't looking good for the Raptors: Limited Joey Graham, a Denver pick and excess baggage for Vince Carter ... Didn't they make a movie about Ralph Wilson and Marv Levy? The Sunshine Boys? ... Much as I love the concept, it's hard to take the World Baseball Classic completely seriously when Shea Hillenbrand of Mesa, Ariz., and a trailer park north of Toronto will suit up with pride for The Netherlands ... Can someone please explain this in 20 words or less? Washington back Clinton Portis was fined $20,000 for wearing illegal socks in the NFL. His teammate, Sean Taylor, was fined $18,000 for spitting at Tampa's Michael Pittman ... Don't want to insist hockey still isn't being watched on TV in the U.S. but a women's college basketball game between Penn and Princeton outdrew two local games in the New York area last Saturday.
AND ANOTHER THING
Tom Wright will be a lame duck as CFL commissioner forever if he doesn't put an end to the constant public sniping from his own league owners ... Allen Iverson, always worth the price of admission, now has scored 40-plus points in 68 career games ... I fully expect Bode Miller to win gold in Turin. That's what Americans surrounded by turmoil do ... You can listen all you want to Gary Bettman, but when you go golfing at some Florida courses and you get free Panthers tickets with your green fees, that's good for the golfer, not for the game ... Mike Mularkey did the Buffalo Bills a favour: How often can a team get out of a lousy five-year contract without having to fire a less-than-adequate head coach? ... Obstruction may be out in the NHL but apparently no one has informed the referees in minor hockey. Hooking and holding is alive and not so well in the kids game ... Herman Edwards said: "I know what the National Football League is about. It's about commitment." That was on the day he officially bolted from his commitment with the New York Jets to sign on with the Kansas City Chiefs ... Somebody is the CFL must have quarterback Marcus Vick on their negotiating list but so far no one is admitting who: And wouldn't it make for great off-season fodder to make those lists public? ...And hey, whatever became of Mark Rypien?