Monday, August 5, 2013

3 comments Baseball Hall of Famers Preach Integrity and I Laugh

You shouldn't make fun of old people. It's not nice. I'm (hopefully) going to be old someday and my punishment for making fun of old people is going to be to get made fun of when I get old or not make it to enjoy my non-existent Social Security check. So I won't make fun of them. I will mock them for their hypocrisy and splitting of hairs when it comes to what really constitutes cheating. Bill Madden has written about how the Hall of Fame members preached integrity at the recent Hall of Fame induction and also preached leniency for Pete Rose. One might thing preaching integrity and preaching for leniency for Pete Rose is somewhat contradictory, but this is the Baseball Hall of Fame for you. No one in the Hall of Fame talks about the greenies and methods of cheated used by current Hall of Fame members because they are too focused on pointing out what a terrible bunch of cheaters the current players are. It's not very self-aware of them, but there has always been this overwhelming feeling of "yesterday in baseball was better than today" in baseball, so it shouldn't be a shock Hall of Fame members like Joe Morgan seem to live this as their mantra. It's just a simple case of past baseball players covering for their own legacy while doing their best to dump on the legacy of current players in order to better realize the mantra.

With the steroids scourge having turned the Hall of Fame induction ceremony into a gallery of ghosts, the theme of the day Sunday was integrity.

I'm all about integrity. Unfortunately as I have stated on repeated occasions, it is sort of hypocrisy for Baseball Hall of Fame members to preach integrity. There are quite a few guys who worked around the rules that are currently in the Hall of Fame (Whitey Ford), outright cheaters (Gaylord Perry), and a lot of circumstantial and first person evidence there were guys as far back as the 1950's used greenies. Mike Schmidt, a Hall of Famer himself, admitted as much in his autobiography. I can see why guys like Joe Morgan wouldn't want his generation to be tainted by amphetamine use, but for these guys currently in the Hall of Fame to preach about integrity is laughable to me. Just because you do your best to cover the tracks about greenie use in baseball during the 1960's and 1970's doesn't mean it didn't happen. 

It began with Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark introducing the 33 returning Hall of Famers behind her as “living legends who all represent character, integrity and sportsmanship”

I guess Gaylord Perry wasn't present. All of these Hall of Fame members did pass the non-existent drug tests during their career, so they have that proof they were clean of greenies or any other PED. At least modern players can claim they have passed drug tests, that's my point. All we have from guys like Joe Morgan is him getting on his high-horse and preaching about integrity, while we don't have a single clue if he was clean during his career. He probably was, but there was greenie use in MLB during Joe's time, so there is also a chance Joe used greenies a few times. It also doesn't help sportswriters in "the good old days" were often buddies with the players and therefore didn't have the reason to reveal or suspect any type of amphetamine use. 

“It’s okay with me (that the writers) didn’t elect anyone,” said Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro.

Phil Niekro, also known as brother to Joe Niekro, a baseball player who is a proven cheater. Notice in the video how the newscaster suggests ways Kent Hrbek (NO STRANGER TO CHEATING HIMSELF BY PULLING RUNNERS OFF-BASE DURING THE WORLD SERIES!) could have covered for Niekro and how the newscaster is laughing at Niekro's cheating. It's all just fun and games, really boys being boys. Defacing a ball so the batter can't hit it is so funny, while the use of PED's is just plain wrong. Let's review that again. Actually altering the ball used to play the game of baseball is funny. Altering your body to hit a baseball is very, very serious. 

“We have no problem with it. Baseball has got to cut this (steroids) snake off at the head.”

Perhaps an emery board can be used to cut the snakes head off?

Speaking for O’Day, who umpired from 1895-1927, was behind the plate for the first World Series in 1903 and is most remembered for his courageous out call in the famous Fred Merkle walk-off game during the final days of a tight 1908 National League pennant race, his great-nephew, Dennis McNamara, a native Chicagoan, said: “The lesson of Hank O’Day was do your best with honesty and integrity.”

Honesty and integrity. I wonder how it feels to be a guy like Gaylord Perry to sit up on the stage and know you weren't honest and didn't have integrity while playing in the majors? Do you feel self-aware or are you so self-satisfied with yourself that you think you did your best with honesty and integrity and none of this unspoken criticism of today's baseball players pertains to you?

Spoiler alert: We will hear from Gaylord very soon. In this post as a matter of fact.

He then expressed confidence the writers next year would elect two noted Chicago players, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas, who, he said, epitomized those qualities.

Yeah, Greg Maddux isn't a Chicago player. He's an Atlanta player. I won't argue this, it is fact. I'm going to need Maddux to go into the Hall of Fame as a Brave.

The suspension of steroids cheat Ryan Braun for 65 games, along with the looming suspensions of Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Francisco Cervelli and others for their involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, has a few of the Hall of Famers thinking that, in contrast, maybe Pete Rose deserves some reconsidering of his lifetime ban for betting on baseball.

This is the line of thought that normal, logical thinking people are having to deal with. There are so many problems with this line of thought, but I will list the few main issues that stand out about this thinking. 

1. What does a PED suspension have to do with a suspension for gambling on baseball? They are two separate issues requiring two separate punishments. Was Pete Rose's punishment for gambling on baseball any reason for MLB to go back and reconsider Shoeless Joe Jackson's banishment from baseball? Using this clumsy reasoning it would have been.

2. What at all does Ryan Braun being suspended have to do with Pete Rose looking better for betting on baseball? Other than Pete Rose is friends with a lot of these Hall of Fame players of course and these guys have so much integrity they are willing to let a guy who broke the rules into the Hall of Fame simply because he is their friend. 

3. How do suspensions for PED use make a player who bet on baseball look better and should cause Bud Selig to reconsider Rose's lifetime ban from baseball? It's not even logical. This is like saying, "Well maybe O.J. Simpson should get early parole because Aaron Hernandez is making O.J.'s crime not look as severe." Using PEDs and betting on baseball are two separately, not the same, completely different violations of MLB rules. The presence of one violation should not impact the sentence served for the violation of another. It's not logical to think this way. Why in the hell should baseball reconsider Pete Rose's lifetime ban simply because some MLB players used PED's? Both broke the rules and both violations have different penalties.

4. Seriously, this is the type of thinking members of the Hall of Fame have. Could they be less inclined to do some serious critical thinking? What this consists of is you have jackasses like Joe Morgan trying anything, I mean trying ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING, to get his buddy Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame. Morgan will grasp at straws, try hard to make a relevant point (and if you remember any of his JoeChats you know these relevant points don't come natural to him), and probably even lie a little bit to get Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame. 

I wouldn't cry if Rose got in the Hall of Fame, but for these players to preach integrity and act like they are above being dishonest and then think baseball should reconsider Pete Rose's lifetime ban is pure hypocrisy. There's nothing else to call it. Rose lied for a decade about whether he bet on baseball or not. That's not honest. Pete Rose did bet on baseball and that doesn't show integrity. So using the catchwords of the weekend "honesty and integrity" Rose fails on both counts. But no, his violation of MLB rules didn't involve using PED's so he should be off the hook for betting on baseball. How on Earth would putting Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame in any way mesh with the Hall of Fame valuing honesty and integrity? 

“Braun has $117 million coming to him and had to give only three million back. Is the risk worth the reward for cheating the game?” asked Joe Morgan.

Yes, it is worth the risk. As I said previously, Joe Morgan seems to be wanting to prove a point here, but I'm not entirely sure what the point is. Yes, using PED's is very much worth the risk if it involves the player getting a huge contract. Until teams can void these contracts then using PED's will always be worth the risk. 

“Tell me how that works. 

I literally just told you. Money is awesome. 

We thought the Hall of Fame was going to be detriment enough for these guys. Obviously, it’s not.

This sentence makes not of sense. "...the Hall of Fame was going to be a detriment to these guys." Doesn't Morgan mean "Not making it into the Hall of Fame was going to be a detriment to these guys"? Not to mention, Steroid Era players have just started showing up on the Hall of Fame ballot over the last year or two, so there hasn't been enough evidence for current players to see that these Steroid Era guys are going to be denied entry into the Hall of Fame. So Morgan isn't making sense and his point fails because these Steroid Era players have just started appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot. 

They’re still doing it. That’s because there’s so much money. Pete did a bad thing, I’m not saying he didn’t.

I would say this lacked integrity, no? Good thing something called the "Integrity Clause" isn't used to keep PED users out of the Hall of Fame. Otherwise, Rose wouldn't make it to the Hall of Fame, even if he were not banned for life. 

He broke baseball’s cardinal rule. And he shouldn’t have taken 10 years to come clean.

I would say that lacks honesty, no? 

But he never cheated the game.

Did Rose cheat the game? I'm going to throw some pure speculation out there much in the same way Jeff Bagwell is linked to PED's using circumstantial evidence. Outside of the whole "Rose lied for 10 years about betting on baseball and then told the truth to sell a book" thing...greenies are an amphetamine and amphetamines help keep you awake and stimulated. If there was a list of baseball players who looked like they were playing the game on stimulants then Pete Rose would be at the top of that list. Rose played like he was jacked up on something. This sounds like circumstantial evidence of greenie use, and it is, but that's about as much as Hall of Fame voters have on Jeff Bagwell and they consider him a PED user. So I wouldn't be shocked if Pete Rose did use greenies and cheat the game. He certainly played the game with lot of energy.

Yet he’s out 24 years as opposed to Braun getting 65 games? That just doesn’t seem right to me.”

Let's all remember Joe Morgan defended Ryan Howard's contract extension multiple times in his JoeChats at ESPN and would compare Howard's contract to Matt Holliday's contract. So I am basically saying I in no way trust Morgan's judgment on fairness. The bottom line is that Pete Rose probably had a few chances to save himself from a lifetime ban if he had admitted he gambled on baseball when he was caught just like Braun (finally) admitted he used PED's when caught. One is an active player and the other is not active player. That's a difference in their situations. 

Morgan and Rose’s “Big Red Machine” teammate, Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, concurred. “It’s common knowledge Pete and I had our differences through the years and he’s said and done a lot of dumb things, but now he’s been saying and doing a lot of good things for baseball and I believe he at least deserves a hearing now with the commissioner.”

It shouldn't be shocking that Rose's ex-teammates stick up for him. I still find the whole "Braun got 65 games and Rose is banned for life, so maybe the commissioner should reconsider Rose's case" argument an unpersuasive one. Maybe Bud Selig should reconsider Rose's lifetime ban, but not because of the Biogenesis scandal. 

“This is America,” Rose said, “a country of second chances for everyone. Even the guy who shot the Pope got a second chance when the Pope went to visit him. I can’t change anything that I did. But what I am doing — what I’ve always been doing 20 days a month — is talking positive about baseball as the No. 1 ambassador of the game,

Except you probably aren't considered the No. 1 ambassador of the game. 

Last week, I was supposed to do a signing in the left field corner of the Phillies’ Allentown Iron Pigs’ ballpark — a minor league ballpark — and they told me I had to leave. Topps baseball cards has eliminated my name from their cards. I guess they want me to starve.”

Give me a break. You deserve to starve if you are going to pitifully try to gain sympathy in this way. Does Pete Rose look like he is starving to you? Pete can make his point without trying to make us feel bad for him by pretending he doesn't make enough money at his card signing shows and off the various other activities where he makes money off his name. It's all about money to Rose. He finally came clean once he had a book to sell. I wonder if Rose were allowed in the Hall of Fame but was still considered person non grata by Topps and MLB if he would agree to this trade-off? 

Then Bill Madden relays a story about Goose Gossage and Whitey Ford. Honesty and integrity, right? Whitey Ford not only admitted to cheating while he was an active player, but has said he would cheat if he still played today (actually he said it in the 80's, but why would his opinion magically change?). 

Speaking of Hall of Famers who desperately desire to be hypocrites, here is an interview with Gaylord Perry about the Hall of Fame and cheating. Cheating isn't cheating when Perry does it, but when someone else tries to gain an edge it's absolutely unacceptable.

The hours were a few final moments of relaxation before Perry heads to upstate New York. On Wednesday night, he's signing autographs at the Syracuse Chiefs game. This weekend, he's going to Cooperstown to enjoy the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.

He was also the master of the doctored baseball, whether those alterations involved grease, scuffs or just good ol' spit. He was brazen about his craft, titling his 1974 autobiography "Me and the Spitter.''

He brazenly doctored the baseball and that's no big deal. Not at all. It's just part of the game to alter the baseball so the hitter can't put the ball in play. How on Earth could that be considered cheating the game of baseball or gaining an unfair advantage? 

The ballot totals reflected the ethical voting quandary posed by the emergence of "Steriod Era'' candidates for the sports highest honor. Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro were among the candidates with iffy -- or worse -- reputations who were denied this year.

Perry, 74, offered his opinion on that issue, and more.

Was there an ethical quandary in allowing Gaylord Perry into the Hall of Fame when he admits to cheating? It doesn't seem there was, so why wasn't there?

Would he cast a Hall of Fame ballot for a player linked to steroids?

"Oh, not for a long time. I would wait, wait, wait. I guess (I would) when my brain gets old and forgives them.''

You are 74 years old and are a cheater yourself. Clearly if you are waiting for the time when your brain gets old to forgive steroid users then that time has come and passed. I love how Perry who readily admits to cheating is all high-and-mighty as it pertains to voting for PED users.

There is a difference in a player who cheats by throwing a spitball and a player who cheats by using PED's, but I don't see enough of a difference to where one player is escorted into the Hall of Fame and the other player is shamed for eternity. 

Would he attend a Hall ceremony where a suspected steroid user was inducted?

"Oh, I would think so. It's quite a unique place to go and visit. I'm hoping (inductees who would boycott) would change their mind. I would show up, show my respect.''

"I wouldn't vote for these PED users, but I sure would show up for a free trip and a chance to hang out with my friends. As you well know, my sense of cheating and ethics as it pertains to baseball comes and goes depending on what purpose I want to achieve."

Would players of his era have used steroids if they were available?

"I would hope not.

They used amphetamines, so I'm going with a big "yes" on whether these players of Perry's era would have used steroids if available. These players would scuff the ball or do something else to gain an advantage so I have no doubt they would have used steroids as well. 

We had more farm boys and country boys back back then. They did things (to get stronger) on their own.

This is irrelevant. Players today have weight rooms that allow them to get stronger on their own too. Whether a player has a way of getting stronger on his own or not is irrelevant when it comes to whether this player will bend the rules to get an additional advantage. 

Would he have experimented with steroids?

"Absolutely no. I didn't need to.

After all, Perry was already cheating by throwing a spitball. Why would he need steroids when a spitball worked well enough in giving him an advantage over the batters he faced?

"When I started playing they had beer in the clubhouse, drinks. I never did that. That was probably the biggest temptation some of my teammates had. I never did that.''

Beer is very different from steroids. I'm sure there is a MLB player or two who would use steroids but not drink beer. And the fact Perry is basically saying, "I wouldn't give into temptation" is very rich considering he made a career out of giving into temptation to cheat.

In terms of ethics and cheating, how much difference is there between throwing a spitter and using steroids?

There is less than Gaylord Perry wants to believe in order to make himself feel better about not being a cheater in the same category as PED users.

"There's a tremendous amount.

No, there is not. One way of cheating changes a person's body and recovery time, while the other form of cheating changes the baseball used during a game to benefit the pitcher. So while PED users change their body to recover faster and hit the ball further, those players who used an emery board or spitball were actually messing with the integrity of the competition by altering the ball that will be put in play.

You try things, you try to improve (in looking for a small edge). Back in the 1960s and 70s, we played hard.

And today's player try things to improve and get a small edge as well. The players in the modern era also play hard. What's your point? It's okay to throw a spitball because you wanted to improve and get an edge? Players today that used PEDs want to improve and gain an edge, so they use steroids. It has very little to do with playing hard or not playing hard.

Does he think any of today's pitchers throw a spitter?

"No, I don't think they do it. They have good enough stuff throwing 95, 100. I've seen pitchers throw out scuffed up balls. I don't know why they do that.

Probably because today's pitchers aren't cheaters like Gaylord Perry was. I don't know. It seems to me Gaylord Perry thinks it is fine for a pitcher to cheat and gain an edge, but has a problem when a batter does the same thing. That's hypocrisy to me.

A scuffed-up ball will move for you. That's what you want.''

Again, this is assuming a player wants to cheat like Perry did, which it is a credit to modern pitchers they may not want to cheat. I don't know how throwing a spitball is a much lesser form of cheating than using steroids would be. It seems to me the only difference comes from what a person is willing to justify to himself. Gaylord Perry manages to divide a thick line between gaining a small edge through altering a baseball and gaining a small edge by altering a person's body. I think that's a pretty thin line personally. 


HH said...

We thought the Hall of Fame was going to be detriment enough for these guys. Obviously, it’s not.

The word detriment does not mean the same as the similar word deterrent. That's how language works.

Bengoodfella said...

Oh, Joe Morgan. He of the excellent language skills. Did Joe graduate high school English? It's too early to tell.

Snarf said...

"This is the first training camp I’ve ever been to,’’ said a bemused Atlanta Braves pitcher, Brandon Beachy, as the session wound down. Beachy and four mates, in town to play the Phillies Sunday night, stopped by to see Camp Chip across Broad Street from the Eagles’ complex.

I hope the four mates were Jason heyward, the uptons, and Dan uggla or some collection of braves players that Peter has no idea are baseball players.