Where to watch
The MLB Network has already got their HoF on, with a four-hour show which started at 9am, Arizona time. Featuring National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson and the first interviews with electees, their coverage will be anchored by Greg Amsinger, Brian Kenny and Lauren Shehadi with commentary from Bob Costas, Ron Darling, Kevin Millar, Harold Reynolds, Christopher Russo, plus Hall of Fame voters Jon Heyman, Peter Gammons, Ken Rosenthal, Joel Sherman and Tom Verducci. The actual announcement takes place at noon, and will also be simulcast on MLB.com.
Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, for sure, with both men having been named on more than 97% of the ballots revealed by their creators. Johnson, in fact, has been named on 189 of 191 public ballots, which is 99% and would be an all-time record if reproduced across the entire voting spectrum. The two who didn't? One was Mike Berardino, who also left Martinez off, and did so for strategic reasons, saying, "Counting on fellow BBWAA voters to elect. Trammell, Walker needed me more." The other chose to remain anonymous, but voted only for Tim Raines and Alan Trammell.
Also looking good are John Smoltz (87%) and Craig Biggio (84%), the latter having missed out by less than a handful of votes on the previous occasion. If both men get in, giving us a total of four, it would be quite remarkable, since there hasn't been so large a class elected by the BBWAA in my lifetime, or since they started voting every year [before 1966, the BBWAA only was used in even years]. On the bubble is Mike Piazza: the public ballots show him with just enough to get elected, at 75.5%, but his fate will depend on whether those who have opted not to reveal their choices view him in the same favorable light.
The cap question
As we've discussed previously, the bigger issue is not whether Johnson will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but whether he will go in as a Diamondbacks or, as Greg Maddux and Tony La Russa did last year, opt to have no logo on his Cooperstown lid. However, we probably will not hear anything on the topic for some time: last year, it was more than two weeks after the results were revealed on January 8, that the cap decision was announced. One imagines the Hall of Fame probably do not want to jump the gun and presume anything by asking officially, even for such shoo-ins as Johnson. Though you have to think the question has already crossed the Big Unit's mind.
At the time of last year's announcement, Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said. "For those whose careers were built significantly among multiple teams, not having a team logo is equally acceptable. Regardless of the selection, a Hall of Famer belongs to every team for which he played or managed, as well as every fan who followed his career." While the last sentence would make Johnson the second Diamondback inducted - who can forget Roberto Alomar's 38 games for us in that marvelous 2004 season? - I think we'd all be rather happier to see Johnson wearing an A, rather than a blank.