Dec 5, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Pittsburg Pirates manager Clint Hurdle answers questions from the media during the Major League Baseball winter meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Dugout Dirt: Offseason thoughts

The Winter Meetings in Nashville have not gotten much of my attention this week. Come to think of it, neither did the James Bond movie that I watched this afternoon. The coaching search in Knoxville has had my attention this week and I am not even a Tennessee Volunteers fan or a Louisville Cardinals fan.

It’s hard following baseball during the off-season. Outside of the postseason awards announcements and the Hall of Fame announcement, there’s just nothing in baseball that excites me over the winter. This could be in part to the fact that I have football and basketball to watch during the fall and winter months.

When Tony La Russa stepped down last off-season, the St. Louis Cardinals search was nowhere close to the trainwreck as the Tennessee Volunteers search has been. As a St. Louis fan, I am actually kind of happy about that. Come to think of it, any baseball fan would be happy when their team has to hire a new manager and does not get turned down by every single candidate that the media thinks is a candidate.

In Hall of Fame news,’s Paul Hagen has been named as the recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award. As a writer, one always aspires to be a better writer so I congratulate Paul Hagen on the achievement. The recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters is the late Tom Cheek. The former broadcaster of the Toronto Blue Jays will be inducted posthumously into the broadcasting wing and that’s a shame. It should have happened while he was alive.

As a St. Louis fan, I hope that Mike Shannon gets the call next year. He’s deserving of it.

Onto this year’s ballot, I agree with Tommy Lasorda.

“To me, they don’t belong in there,” Lasorda, a Hall of Fame manager, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “They cheated. That’s the way it is. If my brother did that, I’d say the same thing about my brother. I mean, I know those guys. They’re good friends of mine. But by golly, they didn’t do it the right way.

I also agree with Barry Larkin.

“I think if you cheated, no, you don’t deserve it because I know how difficult it was for me to get there and how difficult it was for me just to compete on an everyday basis,” Larkin said. “I think if you cheated, I think you made a decision and I don’t think you belong.”

It’s that simple. If you cheated, you don’t belong in Cooperstown.

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