Spare Parts: Televised HOF ceremonies, virtual SoxFest replacement

The National Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame announced the latest round of events altered by the pandemic this weekend. The induction ceremony, held during the last weekend of July, will be conducted this summer after a complete cancellation last year, but as a televised event conducted indoors, not a mass outdoor gathering at the Clark Sports Center site.

It’s a big blow to Cooperstown’s Main Street economy, since it’s ultimately deprived of a Derek Jeter-inspired pilgrimage to Otsego County.

It’s also a bummer for Hawk Harrelson. Normally Frick Award winners get a moment in the spotlight over the weekend during a separate awards presentation at Doubleday Field. Harrelson’s award will instead be wrapped into this presentation, according to the release.

The Hall of Fame’s 2021 Induction Ceremony will honor the members of the Class of 2020: Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker. Being honored during the Awards Presentation will be 2021 Ford C. Frick Award winner for broadcasting excellence, Al Michaels, and the 2020 Frick Award winner, Ken Harrelson; the 2021 BBWAA Career Excellence Award winner for baseball writing, Dick Kaegel, and the 2020 BBWAA Award winner, Nick Cafardo; and the 2020 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award winner, David Montgomery. 

But in a conversation with Scott Merkin a couple of weeks ago, Harrelson sounded like he was on the fence with regards to attending.

On being part of the 2021 Hall of Fame ceremony after ’20 was postponed

“They called me last year and asked me what I thought about it, and I told them I’m not bringing my family because of the COVID. So that’s going to determine everything, because with Derek Jeter going in, there’s going to be 100,000 people. They will break the all-time record, and justifiably so.”

That attitude makes sense given the spate of unrelated health issues he confronted in 2020. That article from the summer also mentioned that he’d been working on a speech, which was news in its own right. Harrelson’s comfort in front of a microphone worked against him during his Hawk Day speech, as winging it resulted in a mere rehashing of the Jerry Reinsdorf era. I’m still not sure Hawk will ever truly lend himself to public introspection, but a focused seven-minute speech after receiving broadcasting’s highest honor still might be our best chance at it. Here’s hoping we all get it.

PERTINENT: Hawk Harrelson’s way with words worthy of recognition


While Baseball America joined Keith Law in dropping the White Sox farm system to baseball’s bottom third in their respective rankings, Kiley McDaniel still has them in the middle of the pack at No. 14. On the other hand, the accompanying blurb is more pessimistic than ones with lower ranks attached.

Now for the bad: Their system has very little quality depth beyond the four players on the top 100 and they are all likely to graduate from prospect eligibility this year.

The team’s fifth-best prospect is a 40+ (at least 307th-ranked in all of baseball), so this ranking will go down next year and possibly sharply. Now that’s for the best reason, which is to put together a core for a contending young team, but the farm system supplies margin for error. These next-best prospects are generally upside types with huge tools or teenagers, so there’s room for them to grow to fill the void, but they can fill only so much of it in one season when the void is the size of four top-100 prospects.

MLB released its revised spring schedule, which mostly affects the Grapefruit League, since there’s far greater distance between Florida training sites. The White Sox’s first game is two days later than originally planned:

The schedule was shortened because of the agreement between the MLB and MLBPA that started spring training with phases. The games are Phase 3, and Ken Rosenthal described it thusly:

Phase 3 will include exhibition games between clubs, beginning on Feb. 27 or 28. Games that occur from Feb. 27 (or 28) through March 13 may be shortened to seven-inning games or five-inning games upon mutual agreement of both managers. Games that occur on or after March 14 shall be nine-inning games (and, upon mutual agreement of both managers, can be shortened to seven-inning games).

I’m most curious about whether the White Sox will still provide the spring training webcasts. It’s been a long time since we’ve dealt with a spring without their assistance.

Speaking of webcasts, the White Sox announced their SoxFest replacement, which will take place via livestreaming in Arizona. The first series includes panels covering Lucas Giolitos’no-htiter, a coaches roundtable, and a Rick Hahn town hall.

While baseball is starting to snap into action around the country, Kevin Goldstein says scouts are caught in the middle of a lot of unpleasant force, whether it’s lax COVID-19 restrictions from small, out-of-the-way programs on one end, or teams wielding budget cuts on the other.

And finally, here’s hoping the White Sox make this a permanent presence.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Incredibly disappointed to hear news 5 months in advance about virtual HOF ceremonies . big Hawk fan and living 2 hours away in upstate was going to attend on Saturday . damn that Derek Jeter.