Two things about the new Baseball Hall of Fame rule announced this weekend, which cuts the amount of time players are eligible from 15 to 10 years:
First off, it will impact the steroid-era players the most. Mark McGwire now has only two years left on the ballot instead of seven. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa have eight instead of 13. I’m not sure that’s really fair, but I also don’t feel a bit bad for any of those guys.
Second, it obviously would have made a huge difference in the candidacy of Bert Blyleven, the former Twins pitcher and current broadcaster who made it on his 14th try. Maybe he would have made it earlier if there was a greater sense of urgency. Maybe the added time let voters reconsider his career numbers in different ways. Maybe 15 years is just too long and 10 is enough. Maybe five would be enough. But we’re sure Blyleven is glad the old rule existed when he was trying to make it to Cooperstown.
• The Twins are fully immersed now in that terrible little four-word phrase: “playing out the string.” It means chances at playing meaningful games in terms of the standings are pretty much gone, and it is an all-too-familiar spot for Minnesota. It’s also a spot that has seen the Twins go from bad to worse in recent years, as they had a 62-124 record after Game 100 from 2011-13 combined. They lost their first three games after 100 this year to Chicago before bouncing back to take Sunday’s finale. It will be interesting to see if playing out the string this year proves to be more of the same of what we’ve seen.
• If you had any shred of doubt that Kevin Love expects to be traded this offseason — and really you shouldn’t have, but if you did — that should be wiped away by Love’s decision to back out of the Team USA roster for the upcoming World Cup of Basketball. If Love was going to be on the Timberwolves, he plays for Team USA. But since he doesn’t want a potential injury to wipe out a trade, he isn’t.
• We might tend to take the Lynx for granted at this point because they have been about as consistently great from 2011 to ’13 as any Minnesota pro team has been in a long time, but let’s appreciate this: After starting the year 7-0, they hit a rough patch in which they went just 6-7. But now they’ve won seven in a row again and have their coveted starting five — Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson and Janel McCarville — healthy and clicking again. A third WNBA title in four seasons is within their grasp.