Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lattanzi Land 2013 Hall Of Fame Ballot

Every year the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) has the opportunity to put retired or deceased players into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York. The rules for election require that a player needs to be named on seventy-five percent of all submitted ballots. He can remain on the ballot if he does not gain election for up to fifteen years, provided that the player has received at least five percent of the ballots. I have written about changing this process but this is the system we have.

I have done ballots for the past two years (2011 and 2012); no, I don't possess a BBWAA ballot, but this is how I would vote if I did.

This is an interesting year for Hall of Fame voting.  There are thirty-seven players on the ballot, and thanks to the rules of the self-appointed gatekeepers of the Hall of Fame, each voter can only submit a ballot with up to ten names on it, regardless of who is actually worthy. Thirteen of the thirty-seven are returning to the ballot from last year, so there are twenty-four new names on the list.

As I have done in the past, I divide my ballot here at Lattanzi Land into four categories:

1) HELL-No.
2) No
3) Borderline No
4) Yes

If you are looking for stats - GO HERE - this is the Baseball-Reference complete Hall of Fame Ballot, complete with the breakdown of numbers for each player on it.  There are also links to each player's page.  When I mention stats, I use the numbers from Baseball-Reference. The ballot begins after the jump!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Remakes Of Novelty Christmas Songs...

So I was driving into school this morning and listening to WASH-FM, which runs Christmas music from the 15th of November through Christmas, and in quick succession, played three straight novelty songs:

1) "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"

2) "Last Christmas"

3) "Jingle Bell Rock"

The issue is that none of these three songs were performed by their original artists; each one of them was a remake/cover the original.

I enjoy the first and third songs.  I have called for Last Christmas to be retired in all of its forms, but if I had to listen to it (as part of a torture session or whatever), I would want to hear it in its original Wham! incarnation.  "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "Jingle Bell Rock" are both fine songs in their original incarnations - iconic in their own way.  Brenda Lee and Bobby Helms, respectively, made those songs theirs and put their stamp on it.

When I hear remakes/covers of novelty songs, I automatically put them into one of two categories, neither of which may be considered fair to the covering artist, but then again, he or she should not be remaking or covering these songs...

1) Stop trying to put your own twist on a song that was written a certain way and sung a certain way.

2) Be your own singer and stop trying to mimic the inflections of the original singer/artist.

When the first one is done, it just makes the newer artist sound foolish, because in our minds, we hear the song a certain way, and that's the way it should always be done.  Listening to Taylor Swift or the cast of Glee do "Last Christmas" just makes it sound whiny and nothing like the way Wham! did it nearly 30 years ago.

When the second category is broached, it is just a reminder that the attempt to be a facsimile of the original is an inherent acknowledgement of inferiority.  LeAnn Rimes does what is perhaps the closest mimic of Brenda Lee's style of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", but it just isn't the same.  And it never will be.  It can't be.  LeAnn Rimes is not Brenda Lee.  

Keep in mind, this isn't the same as many different variations of carols or other traditional songs.  I love listening to different variations of "O Holy Night" - even Eric Cartman's - because those are the types of songs that are open to different arrangements.  Novelty songs, on the other hand, are not.  They were written with particular artists in mind.  "It's the Most Wonderful of the Year" will never be as good with anyone other than Andy Williams singing. "Silent Night" can be beautiful with Boyz II Men, Josh Groban, Celtic Woman, or the local parish choir all singing in different keys and speeds.

If you don't believe there is a difference in the perceptions of traditional and novelty songs, you are fooling yourself.  If some pop artist ever remakes "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer", call me and let me know what you think.

I can already tell you - it will be inherently inferior to Elmo and Patsy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

13 Days Remain...

...until absolutely nothing happens on December 21.

People are needlessly panicking over something that isn't going to happen - the alleged "Mayan Doomsday". It has been over three years since the film 2012 was released and the brouhaha over the so-called "Long Calendar".  I wrote the following over three years ago...
I also know that all of the hubbub over December 21, 2012 would never have occurred if we truly had stuck to our Christian roots instead of buying every last pagan scenario - or worse - projected pieces of Christian theology onto pagan scenarios...

If the supposedly professed Christians of the world were serious about their faith, then none of this stuff would bother them. Instead, all of this shows what materialistic quasi-pagans the so-called Christians of the (Western) world are. Obviously, they don't take the Lord's words seriously in any meaningful way - they believe some obscure broken tablet found in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico with more gusto than they do the promises of Christ. Strange people indeed.
Those words of Christ?
But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only (Matthew 24:36)
Granted, people have not been perfect (see the Millerites, Jehovah's Witnesses, Dispensationalists, et cetera), but in all seriousness, it is very pathetic to see the modern day emphasis on the sort of nonsense one would used to find only in cheesy novels and the sci-fi "community" (a word that needs banning, if there ever was one).  The mainstreaming of these thoughts shows once again how far we have fallen off the horse.