This Wednesday, a moment we've all been waiting for will arrive as we find out who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame later this year. One of the all-time Padres greats, Trevor Hoffman, is in his third year of consideration, and we're all hoping that he'll finally get the call this time around.
The 2018 Hall of Fame election announcement will air exclusively on MLB Network, the current home of old friend Matt Vasgersian. The folks at MLBN were kind enough to set up a Q&A with Matty V in advance of the announcement, so we sent along some questions for him to answer and he did not disappoint (of course). Like us Padres fans, he knows Hoffy deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame and he seems confident this will be his year.
Check it out below and make sure to tune into MLB Network Wednesday afternoon for the announcement! Coverage will start at 12:00 pm PT, with the announcement itself airing at 3:00 pm PT. Also catch Matty V on MLB Network's Hot Stove and MLB CENTRAL, as well as on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts starting this season.
GLB: Let’s get this out of the way first and foremost: Do you think Trevor Hoffman will finally be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year?
MV: Despite the crowded ballot that includes two first-time eligible players who are locks (Chipper Jones and Jim Thome) YES .. I believe this is the year Trevor gets the overdue 75% of the ballot for induction. This isn’t just the San Diego coming out in me when I say that I can’t for the life of me understand how any writer could keep him off their ballot. I’m not a “small Hall” guy, nor am I someone who would vote for the “up to 10 players” as is allowed in the voting guidelines – I simply think that as one of the greatest relievers of all time Trevor should be in.
GLB: If you had 30 seconds to convince blowhard stat guys that Hoffman is a Hall of Famer, how would you do it?
MV: He retired with an MLB record fifteen 20-save seasons and with highest career strikeout rate of any reliever ... and along with Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson and select others is one of the handful of players the league named an award after. Not to mention, any writer who discounts the preposterously huge number of saves better be ready to punt over half the players out of the building. I don’t get how some writers poo-poo “accumulation” stats. After Trevor’s second best all-time total of all-time the next closest is over 100 saves away. I mean, geez. We’re talking about 601 friggin’ saves. If he had pitched in Boston or New York we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Was that 30 seconds?
GLB: As Padres fans, we tend to brace for heartbreak, so if Hoffman isn’t inducted this year, how many more years would be considered acceptable to wait before we caravan to Cooperstown and burn it to the ground?
MV: Funny .. and while I don’t advocate burning anything to the ground, I do think that Gaslamp Ball should charter a big Mustard and Brown school bus, drive it cross country to Cooperstown, park right in the middle of the grounds and blare “Hells Bells” on a loop throughout the ceremony (think Jake and Ellwood Blues in the refurbished black & white). If the bus is too expensive I’m sure Flannery has a VW minibus he’d let you borrow.
GLB: If Hoffman could only be voted in if you had to vote OUT another player from the HOF, would you do it? Who would you vote out?
MV: I wouldn’t vote out a player but I’d re-examine a few of the “executives” who are somehow lionized. Picture this exchange - Father and Son go to Cooperstown … “Daddy, daddy! There’s the Alexander Cartwright plaque!!! Oh my goodness this is amazing .. he was on the rules committee in 1848 and later went on to become a trusted advisor to Queen Emma of Hawaii!!!” Now make fart noise with mouth.
GLB: What are your thoughts on the current HOF voting procedure? If you had the chance to fix it, what would you do? Would it involve robots?
MV: You read my mind. I’ll further that fantastic idea and suggest a specific robot – Bender from Futurama. Not only would he be more inclined to be a Padre fan (he was born in Tijuana), but because he drinks a bit he’d probably process a better ballot than some of the writers.
GLB: If you could go back in time and relive one Hoffman Padres game, either as a broadcaster or as a fan in the stands, which would it be?
MV: Wow so many to choose from but I’ll go back to Sept 29, 1996 – I was still working in Tucson in the PCL but I was in the stands at Dodger Stadium on that day. It was the last of the regular season – and after Trevor had saved the first two games of the series he came out for the 9th on Sunday to earn the save, finish the sweep and clinch a division title. That weekend’s worth of outings symbolized his greatness – dependability, durability and greatness.
GLB: Finally, just want to thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for us and the readers at Gaslamp Ball. We still miss having you on Padres broadcasts, but applaud your success with MLB Network. All the best!