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Thursday, January 30, 2014

The 3rd Man In Has Moved!!!!

Thank you everyone for continuing to check this website on a regular basis for my articles.  I just want to let everyone know that The 3rd Man In has moved to a new website.  You can check it out here: 

Thank you in advance for checking it out.  Dan Zielinski III

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

A year ago not a single player was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as Craig Biggio was the closest receiving 68.2 percent of the votes, but one thing is for sure the 2014 class could be one of the best fans have seen in years.  Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre are already apart of the 2014 Hall of Fame class, and in a few days baseball fans will find out who will be joining them.

To be elected for the Hall of Fame a player must receive 75 percent of the votes while the voters are able to elect up to 10 different players.  When I constructed my list of players who I would vote for I used all 10 votes because I felt that every one of these players deserve to be elected. Here is whom I would select for the 2014 Hall of Fame class:

* = First-time candidates

Greg Maddux* - RHP - 1986-2008: Do I have to say much about why Greg Maddux should be a Hall of Famer?  He was one of the greatest pitchers the game has ever seen, as he had 355 career wins, which are good for eighth all-time.  From 1992-1995 he won four straight Cy Young Awards, while also leading the league in ERA four times, innings pitched five times and in WHIP four times.  He did all of this while pitching during the Steroid Era when batters where crushing the ball.

Maddux was a dominating control pitcher who found success without having an over powering fastball, and he will be a great addition to the Hall of Fame.

Frank Thomas* - 1B/DH - 1990-2008: The former South Side slugger, Frank Thomas, was an excellent power hitter in his time, hitting 521 home runs, good for 18th all-time.  During his 18 years in the Show, he captured two MVP Awards and a batting title.  The two knocks people have on him though is that he was primarily a DH his entire career, and he is from the Steroid Era, causing people to speculate him because of his ability to destroy the ball.

The Big Hurt has the numbers to be in the Hall of Fame, and while some people debate whether he deserves to get in, he will be selected on his first time on the ballot.

Tom Glavine* - LHP - 1987-2008: To have some people arguing that Tom Glavine does not deserve to be elected into the Hall of Fame on his first time appearing on the ballot is ridiculous.  Glavine has the numbers to warrant his selection.  He accumulated 305 wins over his 22-year career, while having an impressive 3.54 ERA during the Steroid Era.  He also has two Cy Young Awards to add to his respectable resume.

The crafty lefty never over powered batters instead using location and deception to get batters out.  He will receive at least the 75 percent required to get in, to join Maddux and Cox in Cooperstown.

Craig Biggio - 2B - 1988-2007: This will be Craig Biggio's second year on the ballot after falling just short in his first year receiving 68.2 percent of the votes.  Biggio was never the best player in the game, but he was always a solid and reliable player.  In his 20-year career, all with the Houston Astros, he collected 3,060 hits, while making numerous All-Star Game appearances and winning Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger Awards.

Biggio's name has never been linked to PEDs, and because of this along with his impressive career, he will be voted in the Hall of Fame this time around.

Mike Piazza - C - 1992-2007: Mike Piazza is an interesting candidate because although he is the greatest hitting catcher in baseball history, there has been speculation of him using PEDs.  While anyone can speculate there is no convincing evidence, in fact he has stated in his book he never took any illegal steroids.

Piazza is the all-time leader in home runs and OPS by a catcher, and in his second year on the ballot, after receiving 57.8 percent of the vote a year ago, fans can expect his vote percentage to increase.  If he wants to get in he will have to hope voters believe he is steroid free.

Jack Morris - RHP - 1977-1994: This is the final year Jack Morris will appear on the ballot, and last season he took a step closer to being nominated receiving 67.7 percent of the votes.  During Morris' time he was one of the best pitchers in the game, and was always referred to as the ace of the pitching staff he was on.  He won 254 games in his career, and finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting five times.

For some reason though he has not been elected.  It will be really close, but Morris has to hope that voters will vote for him since it is his last year on the ballot if he wants to surpass the 75 percent mark.

Jeff Bagwell - 1B - 1991-2005: In his 15-year career Jeff Bagwell was an excellent first baseman.  He was a well-rounded player showing his ability to hit for power, steal bases, hit for average and play adequate defense.  Bagwell was a muscular player in his playing days, but besides that there are no ties to him using PEDs.

Last year Bagwell received 59.6 percent of the votes, and that number is expected to rise.  He needs to hope that voters believe that he never used PEDs to have a chance, but one problem he still might face is the large amount of other deserving candidates on the ballot.

Curt Schilling - RHP - 1988-2007: Curt Schilling definitely has a Hall of Fame resume, but it is just a matter of the voters looking past his win total.  In his career he won 216 games, but he was always referred to as one of the top pitchers in the game.  He finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting four times including three second place finishes.

In the history of the game, there might not be a better postseason pitcher than Schilling who went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 12 postseason series.  He also won 3 World Series titles while winning the 2001 World Series MVP Award with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Schilling received 38.8 percent of the votes last year, and it will be hard for him to get in this time around, but there is no doubting the he deserves to be in.

Mike Mussina* - RHP - 1991-2008: During Mike Mussina's 18-year career he was the most under appreciated pitcher in the game.  He pitched his entire career in the difficult American League East, and put up incredible numbers during the Steroid Era as he won 270 games while posting a 3.68 ERA.

Mussina will most likely be overlooked on his first time on the ballot just like he was throughout his career, but in order for him to have a chance to get in he will need voters to understand how difficult it was for him to be successful due to the talented lineups he faced.  

Fred McGriff - 1B - 1986-2004: Fred McGriff was an underrated player during his time, and while he did not blow you away, he was a consistent performer.  He was never a big name star, but he did hit nearly 500 home runs while holding a .284 career batting average and playing solid defense.

With the ballot being filled with many star players, it will not be easy for McGriff to get voted in especially after receiving 20.7 percent of the votes last year, but he does deserve to have his name among the others in Cooperstown.  

Who do you think will be elected into the Hall of Fame this year?  Leave your comments below. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Don't blame Capers for the defenses struggles

It was a disappointing season for the Green Bay Packers as they just barely made the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record, and fell in their first round matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.  Although many fans might place the blame all on Dom Capers, he does not deserve all of it.

While the Packers defense ranked 25th in the NFL, allowing 372.3 yards and 26.8 points per game, the struggles of the defense go beyond coaching.

First the defense suffered an immense amount of injuries, as at times it seemed like almost every player was on the injury report at some point throughout the season.  Casey Hayward, who was regarded entering the season as a top-10 cornerback in the NFL, was limited to only three games with hamstring injuries.

Clay Matthews had to also deal with injuries missing five games this season after receiving a massive contract extension to be the playmaker on defense.

Another problem the Packers' defense had was players struggling to make plays.  It was a common site to see players, especially the secondary, getting burned on a regular basis.  Although Capers job is to make sure the defensive players are prepared for the game, he cannot be out their playing for them, and making sure they do everything correct.

Sure the defense struggled this season, but in five years with Capers at the helm, it has been ranked 15th in total defense in the NFL.  The Packers need to add players this offseason to the defense who can make a positive contribution, but firing their defensive coordinator is not the answer.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Iowa’s head coach ejected after hitting referee

49ers vs. Packers: Preview and prediction

After knocking off the Chicago Bears last week to secure a playoff spot, the Green Bay Packers will now have a chance to compete for another Super Bowl.  It will not be easy though as they face the San Francisco 49ers who have had the Packers' number of late.  

The 49ers have won the last three meetings between the two teams, including the last two season openers and last season's divisional round.  In the last three games the 49ers have a plus-28 point differential, as they only trailed once in the fourth quarter.

Anything is possible in the playoffs, and while the Packers defense is horrific, they do have the best player in the NFL under center in Aaron Rodgers.  The Packers are the underdog and if they want to get ahead they should come out throwing the ball all over the field.

Throwing the ball is what the Packers do best, and although their running game has been excellent this season, the 49ers are expecting them to pound the rock with the fringed weather conditions.

Although Green Bay is at home and is use to the playing in the cold environment, the 49ers have a solid running game and outstanding defense.  This will be the difference in this matchup, as San Fran will win 31-17.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Badgers hit a grand slam

For four straight years the Wisconsin Badgers football team has suffered a loss to end their season.  This streak has hurt their program because instead of being regarded as one of the top football schools in the country, they are just an average team.  This is starting to change though, as the Badgers have one of the most underrated coaches in college football and a great recruiter in Gary Anderson.

In Anderson's first season at Madison he lead the Badgers to a 9-4 record.  While he was unable to beat Ohio State or win their bowl game against South Carolina, this was still an impressive year.  He was stuck with a roster full of players he did not recruit, while also not have a quarterback that was capable of starting at the D-I level.

Badger fans should expect this to change as Anderson has already made some noise on the recruiting trail.  He has received commitments from 25 different high school players including four 4-star recruits, as the recruiting class is currently ranked 31st in the nation by ESPN.  One of Anderson's biggest commitments has come from dual-threat QB, D.J. Gillins.

Barry Alvarez said he feels like they hit a home run with the hiring of Anderson, but I would argue they hit a grand slam.  Once Anderson has some more time at Wisconsin and can bring in players who fit his system, Wisconsin will not only be a top 10 program, but they will be competing for a National Championship on a regular basis.  

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wisconsin's biggest sports story in 2013

Wisconsin was filled with many positive and some negative sports stories throughout 2013, but most people can agree that Ryan Braun's suspension and Aaron Rodgers' injury were the two biggest ones. Now the question is which one of these was the biggest story?

You can make an argument for either one of them, but Braun being suspended for Performance Enhancing Drugs is the bigger story.  While Rodgers' injury affected him and the entire team, as the Packers only went 2-4-1 without him, they still have a chance to win a Super Bowl.  Plus the injury only affects the organization this season.

While on the other hand Braun's suspension does not last just this year, the effects will carry on for the years to come.  You can say what you want about Braun, but his suspension will live with him throughout the rest of his career.  It just does not affect him though; it affects many more including the Brewers organization who have to deal with all the bad PR surrounding him.  Brewers' fans have also felt betrayed by Braun as he admitted that he never used PEDs.

2013 has been a roller coaster year, as there have been many great sports stories, but also some negative ones too.  Unfortunately the biggest story was Ryan Braun's suspension because of the impact it had on so many people.  Lets just hope 2014 is a better sports year, filled with a couple of championships.