NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

January 11, 2014

Agree with Schilling on Hall voting

Bill Burt
Sports in a Minute

---- — SCHILLING’S VIEW

Curt Schilling, now an ESPN analyst, said in an ESPN.com story that he respected his colleagues in the media who agonized over picking their ballots, but was not thrilled about those “statement” voters.

“I absolutely don’t think they’re the right people (voting),” Schilling said. “I think first of all the criteria has to change. I think one of the rules should be anybody that gets 90-plus percent of the vote, anybody that doesn’t vote for that person should immediately lose their ballot.”

I think I agree. It forces writers to choose the best and not clown around.

YANKS WILL SIGN TANAKA

Is there any doubt the N.Y. Yankees will sign the free agent Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka? None. Zilcho. Zero. Done deal.

The Yankees need pitching at the top of their rotation and there isn’t anybody out there in free agency this year (next year, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer will be FAs.

Tanaka and agent Casey Close have until a deadline of 5 p.m. on Jan. 24 to have a contract and physical completed with a team. The right-hander went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in the Japan Pacific League last season and is considered by many to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. The major league team that signs Tanaka, 25, will owe a $20 million posting fee to the Rakuten Golden Eagles.

Expect the Yankees to top everybody, offering Tanaka at least $20 million per season for six years, maybe longer.

Change the extra point rule

Patriots coach Bill Belichick had some interesting points earlier this week about the extra point, all of which I agree with.

One option being tossed out is moving the kick back to the 20-yard line, making it 38 yards. Another, which I like even better, would be to count TDs as seven points, unless you decide to go for two points, thus making it six points.

“I personally would love to see the kicking game remain as a very integral part of the game so that the kickoffs are returned and so that extra points are not over 99 percent converted because that’s not what extra points were when they were initially put into the game back 80 years ago, whatever it was,” Belichick said.

In 2014, kickers were 99.6 percent successful on their extra points (1,256 for 1,261).

SPORTING NEWS WRITER NEEDS HELP

If you have a good eye doctor, please send it to Sports News football writer Vinnie Iyer.

He ranked the eight quarterbacks remaining in the NFL playoffs in arm strength, accuracy, mobility, pocket presence and intangibles before coming up with a total.

I don’t want to sound like a homer, but he ranked our very own Tom Brady eighth out of eight.

He didn’t have Brady ranked higher than fifth in any category and had him seventh twice (accuracy and mobility). I believe he used his 2013 stats, leaving himself an out for the quality of targets (Brady has few). But Brady is as accurate and has the best pocket presence of any QB on that list, including Peyton Manning.

In case you were wondering the order of ranking was 1. Manning, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson (tied); 4. Drew Brees; 5. Cam Newton; 6. Colin Kaepernick and Philip Rivers; and last but definitely not least, 8. Brady.

We will see this weekend, won’t we?

CLANCY IN BOWL GAME TODAY

After participating in the National Bowl against some of the top FCS, Division II and Division III competition across the country, Merrimack College football senior quarterback Joe Clancy of Newburyport will participate against some of the top football players at the Division I BCS level today after earning a spot in the prestigious Medal of Honor Bowl.

Clancy, the Northeast-10 Conference Offensive Player of the Year, will travel south to South Carolina and will put his talents to test against some of the top collegiate football players this season. The game will be played at Johnson Hagood Stadium on the campus of The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.