Thursday, January 24, 2019

Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2024

It was recently announced that the Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2019 would include Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, and Roy Halladay.

What's interesting is how many players have been voted in in recent years after a big donut in 2013.

2014 - Maddux, Glavine, Thomas
2015 - Johnson, P. Martinez, Smoltz, Biggio
2016 - Griffey Jr., Piazza
2017 - Bagwell, Raines, Rodriguez
2018 - Jones, Guerrero, Thome, Hoffman
2019 - Rivera, E. Martinez, Mussina, Halladay

That's 4 players in each of the last two years, atleast 3 in 5 of the last 6 years, for a total of 20 in the last 6 years.  In contrast, there were only 9 players elected from 2007-2012 (and again, there were zero in 2013).

However, things are looking slim for awhile.  Assuming that PED connected layers like Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa, and controversial players like Schilling won't get to 75%, here's what looks like the strong and maybe cases until 2023.

2020 - Jeter is a lock, Bobby Abreu is a medium candidate
2021 - Tim Hudson is the best of a weak new set of candidates
2022 - Alex Rodriguez has PED connections, David Ortiz is a strong consideration
2023 - Carlos Beltran is a medium-strong candidate

Discounting players connected to PEDs, I would say there were 5-6 locks amongst the 2013-2019 group, and 5-6 medium to strong candidates.  But the 2020-2023 group looks a little thin.  Only 1 lock with Jeter, and Ortiz & Beltran the only minimally medium-ish candidates (discounting the PED connected A-Rod).

I was curious which players retired after the 2018 baseball season, because they would be eligible for the 2024 HOF vote.  2024 is when the HOF voting should pick up again.  The 2024 additions could be Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre, Joe Mauer, and Chase Utley.  I would consider Suzuki a lock, Beltre, a "very strong", Mauer a medium-strong, and Utley atleast medium (he could hover like Jeff Kent has).  Suzuki hasn't officially retired yet, so it's possible he would be included in the 2025 HOF vote, but things should definitely pick up after 2023.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Milk / Cream With Egg Desserts

Some time ago someone had mentioned to me how they thought Chinese egg tarts (dan tat) were a bit of a weird dessert.  I said something to the effect, "Do you think creme brulee is a weird dessert?"  They responded no, then I said, "then it's not a weird dessert, you're just not used to that kind of dessert at a Chinese restaurant or with dim sum."

The conversation then moved into the differences between various milk / cream with egg desserts.  The reality is so many desserts have only minor variations from each other.  So the weirdness really comes from the unfamiliarity with it in a certain cuisine or in a certain restaurant.

I was reminded on this conversation after making some pot de creme and decided to recall the differences.  The internet is not too helpful on some of the detailed differences (everyone has their own recipe, globalization / commercialization has changed recipes over the years), but here's my minimally researched summary on all the differences.

The main difference between all of these desserts is the ratio of milk, cream, sugar, and eggs (and if it uses egg yolks or whites or both).  I don't mention the ratios or the specific cooking technique, it's just to give the basics.  I don't mention flavoring, which all of the below can add whatever flavoring you want (vanilla, chocolate, lemon, etc.).

Here we go with the dessert list.

custard - milk / cream & sugar and egg yolks used to thicken it

creme brulee - custard with a caremalized sugar topping

flan - custard with a caramel sauce topping

pot de creme - a lighter custard

pastry cream - an even lighter custard, usually done by using only milk and/or using only egg whites.  Use this in ...

cream puff - pastry with pastry cream in it

bavarian cream - pastry cream, but add whipped cream to make it lighter.

mousse - like custard, but instead of cream / egg straight up, add whipped cream / whipped egg whites to make it lighter and airier.

semifreddo - mousse but you freeze it

ice cream / frozen custard - you basically start with a custard, then you churn / freeze it (modern day ice creams in stores may not add eggs, as they may use other thickeners)

gelato - different ratios than ice cream, leading to denser / less airy form

Portuguese egg tart / pastel de nata - custard in a puff / pie crust, and slightly caramelized on top

so ... how is Chinese egg tart different?

Chinese egg tart (dan tat) - custard in a puff / pie crust, usually less sweet.  No caramelization on top compared to pastel de nata.  The internet can't seem to agree if the custard is denser or lighter, I'm sure every restaurant / region has a variation.

And I'll add one more Chinese dessert that hasn't really gotten a foothold in Western countries.

Chinese steamed pudding - milk with egg whites as thickener

at the end of the day?  How different are these desserts really?

To finish up this post, for fun, how about a few other desserts that are similar, but just use non-eggs as thickeners.

pudding - milk & sugar with flour / cornstarch used as thickener

panna cotta - milk / cream & sugar and gelatin as thickener