Tuesday, February 11, 2014

7 comments Ten Things I Think I Think Peter King Has Not Thought of: Baseball Hall of Fame Voting Reactions Edition

I'm pretty tired of the reactions to the Baseball Hall of Fame inductee announcement and the debate that surrounds it. Don't get me wrong, I could write about it for an entire month, but I would be repeating myself quite a bit. Since I have a ton of links saved up about the baseball Hall of Fame I figured I would dust off "Ten Things I Think I Think Peter King Has Not Thought of," which is basically a cheap way of clearing out all the links I have saved up in my bookmarks. These are articles that don't deserve (or I don't feel like deserve) a full takedown on this site, but still deserve recognition for the awfulness (and sometimes non-awfulness) contained in them. I haven't done one of these in over three years, and yes, I realize I sometimes do five items and not ten. Being lazy is hard work.

1. Terence Moore tells us the Hall of Fame voting process is almost perfect. It's so shocking for Terence to take a stance like this. If the Hall of Fame voting wasn't perfect then that would mean it needs to be changed and Terence is against change in baseball...except for the one game Wild Card playoff which he thinks is a brilliant idea. This opinion has nothing to do with his affiliation at MLB.com of course.

As for the truth, the voting process for Hall of Famers is almost flawless, and I'm not saying that just because I'm among the voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Maybe I'm a little biased, but here's an example of why I'm more objective than not when it comes to the big picture of this Cooperstown thing: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. Heard of them? 

This is a real jewel of a sentence. Terence says he may be a little biased because he's a voter for the baseball Hall of Fame, but he's also more objective than not. So Terence believes himself to be a little biased, as well as objective. Hmmm...

Then there is the future, where the list of undisputed Hall of Fame picks stretches from now into forever. In 2015, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Gary Sheffield will lead first-timers on the ballot, and if Biggio doesn't get in this year, he'll do so next year. In '16, there is Ken Griffey Jr., and that's more than enough. Then comes a drought in '17 -- well, unless holdovers such as Trevor Hoffman or Curt Schilling make Cooperstown. But '18 will give us Chipper Jones, and then we'll have some Yankees in '19, with Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. Jim Thome didn't wear pinstripes, but he also could be in that class.

You get the idea. When you combine the picks of the Expansion Era Committee of those legendary managers with what the BBWAA voters will announce Wednesday and with all of those Cooperstown entrees to come beyond this year, the Hall of Fame selection process is working just fine, thank you.

Terence is basing his belief the Hall of Fame voting process is working fine on FUTURE inductions into the baseball Hall of Fame of course. What if Randy Johnson isn't voted into the Hall of Fame, Craig Biggio never makes it in, or Gary Sheffield doesn't make it because of his suspected PED use? What if Pettitte is left out or Thome gets the stench of PED's surrounding him? At that point, is the voting process working? It's silly to use future inductions as an example of how the voting system is working, but that's Terence Moore.

Which brings us back to No. 5 and the words "integrity" and "character." Which eliminates any player involved with PEDs. Which shoves Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and others away from Cooperstown's city limits. That otherwise terrific trio represented the first wave of players from the Steroid Era destined to fall shy of the 75 percent of the votes needed during a given year to reach Cooperstown. Good. That's even more vindication for the Hall of Fame voting process.

Except for the fact Jeff Bagwell won't make it and he is being eliminated in large part because of his suspected PED use. That's vindication for the different standards each Hall of Fame voter uses to elect players into the Hall of Fame and is a reason to make slight changes to the process.

Here's more vindication: The present, where Hall of Famer voters get it. We really do, especially since Maddux will come as close to a 100-percent lock for Cooperstown as you can get.

So further proof the voting process works is that obvious Hall of Fame inductees are inducted into the Hall of Fame? That's like saying your washer isn't broken because it gets the clothes wet isn't it? It's not a question of whether the obvious candidates get in, but a matter of the different standards used by different voters that some have an issue with.

I have a problem with that. If you were a Hall of Famer after you retired, you remain one forever. So why play first-ballot games? But remember: I said the voting process was almost flawless.

And he's objectively biased when he says this.

2. Michael Knisley has a pretty good article up on ESPN.com about PED-affiliated players falling off the ballot. He talks specifically about Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. It turns out only Palmeiro fell off the ballot for next year.

And once they're off the writers' ballot, their Cooperstown prospects are gone forever, or at least until some future incarnation of a Veterans Committee fringes them in.

(Overwrought aside: How much do we perceive a player inducted on a Veterans Committee vote to be a sort of second-class Hall citizen? If, say, Dick Allen or Keith Hernandez is ever admitted that way, do we place him at a mind's-eye table near the back of the room, or do we seat him up on the Ruth-Aaron-Gehrig dais in a sort of one-for-all Hall of Fame democracy? Just askin', 'cause I struggle with that question myself.)

I have to admit I'm not entirely sure how to treat these Veterans Committee inductees myself. It sort of feels like a cheap way to get players into the Hall of Fame that never really had support to be inducted, but the Veterans Committee decides to overrule the electorate anyway because they like certain players.

And as much as I wonder about what the Hall will be, what it will mean, without Palmeiro, McGwire and Sosa, I can't make any sense at all of a future writers' vote that puts Clemens and Bonds into the Hall of Fame when we didn't see our way clear to send those other three.

I view the baseball Hall of Fame as a museum where fans can go and look at the legacy of baseball players. In this line of thought, museums often contain some negative images or ideas that were popular but are preserved because it's part of the history the museum wants to represent. So for me, I vote Clemens and Bonds into the Hall of Fame if I view it from the standpoint it is like a museum. Include the legacy of the Steroid Era, embrace it, don't run from it, and I think it makes the Hall of Fame more complete.

I look at it this way: The debate as it pertains to PEDs is a tension between those who want the Hall to celebrate the best in baseball and those who want the best in baseball to be worthy of the Hall's celebration. I side with the second half of that dynamic. No apologies, even if it means that little baseball museum in Cooperstown might have a different feel to it next Thursday morning than it does right now.

You don't have to apologize, but know guys like Whitey Ford and Gaylord Perry are known cheaters who are in the baseball Hall of Fame. Perry has bragged about throwing a spitball, so I'm not sure in that aspect he is worthy of the Hall's celebration. But hey, I'm sure the voters thought long and hard about the integrity clause when inducting Perry.

3. Rick Morrissey blames the players for creating a climate of distrust. While I see where he is going with this, the doubts and distrust are something relative to each voter. So the players create the climate of distrust, but it's the voter's job to sort through this climate and determine which players and why don't deserve this distrust. This column comes off as more of a power play on Rick Morrissey's part than an actual statement that means anything. He doesn't have to vote for players he thinks used PED's and he is going to rub your face in it.

Everyone brings different criteria to the voting process. Mine happen to include whether I have even a sliver of suspicion a player might have used PEDs. The ones I’m not sure about don’t get a checkmark next to their names. It’s a subjective, severe and sometimes unfair method.

And I had an agnostic “no,’’ if there is such a thing, for Steroid Era guys such as Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Luis Gonzalez and Jeff Kent.

I can’t emphasize this enough: I’m not sorry about any of it.

Well, the voting is about Rick Morrissey and what he is sorry for. 

Don’t blame me for the people who didn’t get into the Hall. Blame an era. Blame the dirty players (and there were a lot of them) for creating an atmosphere heavy with distrust. Blame Major League Baseball if you think it was either complicit in the Steroid Era or looked the other way. I don’t care.

While I understand Rick Morrissey has already stated it's not fair, I'm not sure this statement prevents me from asking why guys who Morrissey assumes PED's are left off his Hall of Fame ballot? Is it really right for Craig Biggio to not be inducted into the Hall of Fame because other players have cast suspicion on him? 

I get to vote how I want, for whom I want and by whatever yardstick I want. That’s how it works when you walk into a voting booth, isn’t it? You bring in all your experiences, opinions and prejudices.

Actually no, that's not how it is supposed to work. When voting for the baseball Hall of Fame all prejudices and biases should be set aside in favor of electing the best players in baseball history into the Hall of Fame. If I am a voter who hates the Yankees, does this mean I use my prejudice against the Yankees and refuse to give Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter my vote? That's acceptable? 

I’ve been asked how I can be so sure Thomas didn’t take steroids. The answer, of course, is that I can’t be sure about anyone. But Thomas was always big. He had thick arms and legs when he was a kid and when the Sox called him up in 1990. Take a look at photos of Sosa and Bonds when they debuted and tell me if they look anything like the heavily muscled beasts they became.

Frank Thomas as a rookie. Frank Thomas near the end of his career.

I don't know. I don't think Frank Thomas used steroids and I think Barry Bonds did, but Frank Thomas did get bigger as he aged and hit 39 home runs as a 38-year old. 

Voting for former players who took drugs legitimizes PED usage. It sends a terrible message to young athletes. I guess that makes me hopelessly unsophisticated. Not sorry about that, either.

Fine then. I have always laughed at these sportswriters who get worked up over the PED era while completely ignoring the era of greenie use because it's not convenient for them to do so. After all, those players from the 60's and 70's are legends. No need to touch their legacy.

4. Steve Wulf wonders if there could be a new baseball Hall of Fame. It's an interesting idea, but MLB would never allow this to happen.

I realize the HOF vote is no longer about honoring baseball. It's about arguing over it. Some boob voted for 148-game winner Aaron Sele last year. Another stooge voted for Jacque Jones this year. What if the Jacque-backer didn't vote for Craig Biggio, who came up two votes short?

The dysfunctional and anachronistic voting process has rendered the institution irrelevant. Surely, there were more than three worthy inductees on this remarkably rich slate. And here's where my fury gives way to fear.

What if there were another shrine to the game? What if an entrepreneur came along and decided to erect a temple that better reflected reality, made history more readily accessible, catered to a new generation of fans?

I don't think this should make anyone fearful. If a person wanted to open another hall of fame for baseball then it would be interesting, but I'm not sure it would be successful without the backing of MLB. 

What if it celebrated Ruth and Rose and Ryan and didn't bother with Faber and Ferrell and Flick?

Well, in that case the hall of fame would be incomplete, just like many think the current Hall of Fame is incomplete without Bonds, Rose, and Clemens.

What if it waived the five-year wait, knowing that it didn't need a bunch of writers to tell people that certain players -- Derek Jeter, for instance -- were worthy of inclusion?

I like the waiting period. It gives sportswriters time to cool off the hyperbole they will write about the player while casting that player has a "first ballot Hall of Famer."

What if instead of plaques, it had holograms of the game's legends? What if it made use of technology and creativity to put visitors right in the dugout to sit beside Casey Stengel and watch Mickey Mantle play?

That would be cool, though if this hall of fame were to be successful then in fifty years it would have the same issue the current Hall of Fame has, where visitors may not always remember who Casey Stengel was and it could seem dated.

There would be problems, of course. Major League Baseball would surely fight such a venture, wielding copyright laws and making its displeasure known to the baseball stars tempted by the venture.

This is one of the reasons I don't believe another hall of fame would work. MLB has copyrights to many of the film and other aspects that would make this new hall of fame so fun to attend. It's quite possible MLB would fight in court to ensure the new hall of fame could not even use the Yankees logo. It would then be like an early 90's Nintendo baseball game without the rights to the player's names. It can be the Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball Hall of Fame (and yes, I went in and changed the names of every player on that game to the correct name...I had very few friends as a child).

But I do want the so-called guardians of baseball to realize that they are hurting the game by turning it into an internecine War of the Nerds. Don't deny Biggio because of some arcane reason or twisted math. He had 3,000 hits, for heaven's sake.

While I sigh at the idea of using 3,000 hits as a primary measure for why Biggio should be in the baseball Hall of Fame, I do agree with the sentiment.

Make the F about their Fame and not your Folly.

And ask yourself: What if paradise gets lost because of your reluctance to change?

That's a sentence I never thought a guy like Steve Wulf would write. In the end, a new hall of fame wouldn't work because MLB wouldn't let it work. It would be defamed as the PED Hall of Fame by BBWAA members as well. I think Murray Chass would have a heart attack if another hall of fame were built.

5. Jon Heyman, the shill for Scott Boras, thinks PED users should not make the Hall of Fame...yet. The difference in why these PED users should make it in five years and not now eludes me even after I read the column.

Faced with a Hall of Fame ballot stacked with all-time greats, generational greats and just plain old regular greats, there's been a predictable chorus of complaints by voting sportswriters who've been forced by the 10-player limit to omit candidates they believe are worthy (though maybe not quite as worthy as the 10 they did include).

The fact the arbitrary cut-off is at 10 players doesn't mean the 11th player isn't worthy of Hall of Fame induction.

Next year, I will reconsider them all. But I'm not close to being ready to squeeze a clean guy off the ballot so I can put a steroid guy onto the ballot, as it appears many others are. The result is a ballot I can be proud of (even if it's a ballot sure to draw internet ridicule). Admittedly, mine is not a ballot with the 10 most accomplished, or even, quite likely, the 10 best players.

This is some crazy-ass logic to me. Barry Bonds is worthy of Hall of Fame induction if the only other guys on the ballot is Trevor Hoffman, but when put up against more "worthy" inductees all of a sudden Barry Bonds isn't Hall of Fame-worthy. I get rewarding a clean player and not rewarding a steroid guy. That I can get, but isn't the steroid guy getting rewarded by being elected into the Hall of Fame during a "down" year anyway? It's a reward for his career achievements just in the same way a clean player is being rewarded by being first in line to the Hall of Fame. No matter the place in line, the reward is the same. I say if Jon Heyman is going to vote for a steroid guy, then just do it. Don't use fuzzy logic to push Bonds' induction back until he becomes worthy because other clean candidates aren't available.




They still count. At least they do here.

Unless it is a slow year, in which case being able to attend the Hall of Fame ceremony takes precedence over these three words. These three words count until they don't need to count anymore.

Still, it's a point lost by many nowadays, as steroids, performance enhancers, and cheating in general is becoming more and more excused as the way of an entire era.

And in slow years for the Hall of Fame, cheating would excused so that at least one player is inducted into the Hall of Fame. I can't believe Jon Heyman doesn't see the problem with his logic.

But no one's going to take away their trophies, the extra millions they made or certainly the at-the-time adulation. The only recourse is the vote, and the time isn't right to add to their accolades. At least not for me.

But if Bonds and Clemens have the accolades to be in the Hall of Fame, then why not vote them in now? Why choose to vote them in down the road when their accolades don't change, just the competition for a Hall of Fame spot is reduced?

All that being said, I understand the "yes" votes. I don't believe the new numbers guys are any less aware of the benefits of steroid use, nor do I believe they are any less moral. I just think their whole thing is stats, and they don't know how to account for steroids, so they just ignore them. Or mostly ignore them.

Well, then tell us the great and power Jon Heyman, how do you account for steroids? Give us the lowdown on how to account for steroids because I would love to know as a perceived stats guy how I am supposed to account for them since numbers are all I know. Yeah, exactly. Jon Heyman doesn't know how to account for steroids either.

That's OK. It's their call, their right. And I get it; those guys were undeniably great players. I can't do it, though. So, without further ado, here are my honest, honorable, deserving 10 players.

And the undeserving players may become more deserving depending on how strong the Hall of Fame class is down the road. I'll save Jon Heyman's ballot for another day because I don't perceive it to be worthy right now, but if there are fewer interesting articles to write about one week, maybe his ballot will suddenly become worthy of being discussed on this blog.

6. Drew Sharp doesn't understand why the Hall of Fame is intentionally snubbing the 1984 Detroit Tigers team. They won the World Series title after all. I want to know why the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks are being snubbed. Curt Schilling and Luis Gonzalez are winners, don't all World Series champions deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

But I still can’t understand why the 1984 Detroit Tigers remain the most disrespected World Series champion among the Hall of Fame electorate. Jack Morris doesn’t possess the bevy of individual accolades that dazzle the statistically inclined...His three World Series rings from a nine-year period as respective staff ace for three teams (Tigers, Twins and Blue Jays) attest to that special clutch gene that so few competitors possess.

Jim Leyritz had that clutch gene too. Where's his Hall of Fame plaque?

Alan Trammell likely won’t come anywhere close to the necessary 75% for election. And how Lou Whitaker didn’t garner enough voting support to last beyond his first appearance on the ballot 14 years ago remains one of the great injustices in Hall of Fame voting history.

I think the answer is clear. The Hall of Fame hates the 1984 Detroit Tigers. There's no other explanation for why Jack Morris isn't in the Hall of Fame.

If they played in the day of the 24/7 MLB Network and limitless cable television access to a dozen games a day, Morris’ combustibility coupled with that fiery competitiveness would have made a more captivating national narrative.

The evolution of the Trammell-Whitaker infield pairing from when they debuted together in the final days of the 1977 season through their career inseparability would have taken more of a star turn.

And if a frog had wings it wouldn't bump it's ass on the ground.

I'm not against Alan Trammel or Lou Whitaker being in the Hall of Fame necessarily, but the idea where Drew Sharp is connecting a lack of exposure to these players not being in the Hall of Fame speaks to issues with the process. If voters aren't able to evaluate a player without evaluating the hype around that player, then I'm not sure that voter should be electing players into the Hall of Fame.

Justin Verlander could retire today and make a more compelling argument for getting into the Hall of Fame in another five years than Morris.

This says a lot of about Jack Morris and his candidacy.

Verlander arguably has accomplished more in eight years than Morris achieved in his entire career — two no-hitters and a couple of near misses, an American League Most Valuable Player Award and Cy Young Award in the same year (and he was a few votes shy of winning a consecutive Cy Young). Verlander has three AL strikeout titles. He won the pitching Triple Crown in 2011 (first in wins, strikeouts and ERA).

Now see, THAT is what a Hall of Fame pitcher's resume is supposed to look like.

But he has pitched terribly in two World Series.

This would possibly be a relevant point if Verlander was a borderline Hall of Fame candidate (much like Morris is, except the candidacy of Morris is based on his postseason record and hyperbole), but he isn't. The fact Verlander hasn't pitched well in the World Series doesn't mean Jack Morris has a better candidacy because he pitched well in some (not all) World Series games.

Getting Morris into the Hall won’t excuse ignoring Trammell and Whitaker, but it would be hopeful start in the right direction.

Notice how this column went from "The 1984 Detroit Tigers are overlooked" into "Jack Morris needs to be in the Hall of Fame"?

7. Jerry Green also voted for Jack Morris, which shouldn't come as a shock to anyone.

A different young pitcher was running to the left-field bullpen. He started to warm up. He was going to start the ballgame in the place of the beloved Fidrych, who had provided excitement to Detroit sports during the doldrums.

Jack Morris remembers that night well because he was the replacement pitcher and he has talked frequently about his raw welcome.

“Fidrych was hurt, and when I ran out to the bullpen in left field, everybody booed,” Morris told me time and again through the years. “It was my first start.

Boy, I'm sure Jack Morris ran out to the bullpen in a dogged manner that showed how he was going to gut out complete games and be the best pitcher of a cherry-picked span of time. 

And he survived 6½ innings before manager Ralph Houk yanked him and went to the bullpen.

Jack Morris didn't throw a complete game? This goes against everything I've ever heard about him throw the hyperbole and anecdotal stories. 

There is no duel here. Maddux and Glavine will stuff Morris out of the competition. Jack goes 15 years and out, on to the Veterans Committee.

It’s a shame, a pity. Jack should have collected the required 75 percent of the votes years ago. One of his World Series victories was for the Twins, a 1-0 Game 7 epic in 10 innings over the Braves in 1991.

I wish the Braves had lost that game in nine innings 12-0 for a variety of reasons, but the fact this game is mentioned every single time the Hall of Fame and Jack Morris is brought up is probably chief among these reasons. 

This year, one of the 700 plus voters among us sold his — or her — Hall of Fame ballot to Deadspin.com. The person remains anonymous. The guy is a traitor, and once upon a time there was way to deal with those committing treason. A firing squad.

Oops, baseball is a game.

Hilarious. The funny part is Jerry Green's fellow voters act like Dan Le Batard should get the firing squad for allowing Deadspin.com voters to vote for him. He didn't sell his vote, but what are facts when lies work just as well in the absence of facts? 

That the best baseball team I ever covered —the 1984 Tigers — will have not a single player in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. Only Sparky Anderson, the manager, has been elected to the Hall of Fame. And forced to choose, Sparky opted to go into the Hall as the once-manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

The process somehow should be changed.

I like how both old school voters and new school voters both want the system changed, but nearly everyone of them agrees that Dan Le Batard should not have done what he did in showing the absurdity of the current Hall of Fame voting system. 

8. Jay Mariotti is sad the PED bums ruined the day for Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas. Not only are the proven and suspected PED users not being elected into the Hall of Fame, but now they are being accused of ruining the Hall of Fame announcements with their mere existence. 

When the occasion called for tributes to deserving Hall of Fame inductees, there instead was overwrought shouting about those tainted and shunned by the Steroids Era.
Read more at http://www.sportstalkflorida.com/a-day-for-the-greats-not-the-ped-bums/#1gJJqP9HGd1zkkqB.99
When the occasion called for tributes to deserving Hall of Fame inductees, there instead was overwrought shouting about those tainted and shunned by the Steroids Era.

On the day of the announcement I heard no one complaining that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were being shunned. I think Jay Mariotti lives in his own world where there is no reality, just Jay's perception of reality. Arguments that may never have occurred happened because Jay wanted them to occur. 

This should be their stage, period, yet in commentaries and talk-show discussions, you heard furious debates — again — about whether Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and other presumed users of performance-enhancing drugs should be allowed through Cooperstown’s gates regardless of their chemical sins.

I actually didn't hear any of this. Most of the talk was about Dan Le Batard or the three inductees. Also notice how Jay is complaining these PED users are dominating the conversation but the column that Jay writes the day after the Hall of Fame announcement is about these PED users. So who is causing this conversation about the PED users to occur again? 

As a Chicago columnist in the Steroids Era, I realized early amid the McGwire-Sosa carnival that we were being hoodwinked.

Of course you did, Jay. Of course you did. That's why you wrote the article that doesn't exist about these players having used PED's? Isn't that right? You were going to say something since you already had it all figured out, but just didn't get around to it. But you totally knew. 

I was just as pleased to see a voter mock the process. Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard turned over his ballot to a low-grade web site, saying he hates “the hypocrisy in this” and that he always likes “a little anarchy inside the cathedral we’ve made of sports.” It is an unprofessional and self-promotional move, I realize, but in this case, it further taunts the voting farce.

You won't believe this, but in article #9 Jay rips Dan Le Batard for doing the very thing Jay described as being "pleased" Le Batard did. But of course. 

Last year, Cooperstown was a ghost town in July. No one was elected, making the Hall of Fame a casualty of the Steroid Era. This summer, Main Street will be booming again, with three players and three managers.

But Jay Mariotti will still perceive that the PED users will dominate the day and then write a story about how Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens overshadowed the inductions. There are few writers as delusional and willing to make up a reality for a column as Jay Mariotti is. 

9. Now Jay Mariotti has gone from pleased with Dan Le Batard to ripping him in the matter of one day.

It’s disturbing enough that ESPN has prioritized its multi-billion-dollar relationships with nearly every imaginable sports enterprise at the expense of a once-proud trademark — investigative reporting — knowing that it can’t rat out business bedfellows without jeopardizing lucrative deals. It’s also troubling that Fox Sports 1, supposed ESPN challenger, has fewer viewers than certain “To Be Announced” channels, this after reducing a quality web site to unreadable sophomoric mish-mash. 

Translation: Neither of these sites will hire Jay Mariotti. So he rips them until they hire him. 

 Bill Simmons? A blogging creation who masturbates to his rambling prose and couldn’t break a piece of china, much less a story. When Doc Rivers referred to him as a glorified fan, he nailed it.

I can't choose between Jay Mariotti and Bill Simmons. While Mariotti is correct about the first sentence here, he is also very jealous of Bill Simmons. Simmons got all the forums and opportunities at ESPN that Mariotti wanted and couldn't get.

In one sense, I was pleased Le Batard chose to protest the process by which players are elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Frustrated that perceived users of performance-enhancing drugs are being kept out of Cooperstown by voting writers, he didn’t use his vote this year. The system is broken — writers should be reporting news and commenting on news, not making news as the exclusive HOF arbiters — and Le Batard wasn’t afraid to voice his feelings publicly.

Jay likes it, but he didn't like who Le Batard gave his vote to. Deadspin makes fun of Jay Mariotti and has a grudge against them for this. 

Though I don’t agree about admitting the juicers — when their lying and denial have done irreparable damage to the sport, why admit them to a sacred shrine that celebrates what is right about baseball? — he does have every right to voice his contempt. Where he erred was stooping into the gutter of a trashy site, a decision that wasn’t supported by his ESPN and Miami Herald bosses.

This is an inconsistency in Jay's argument. Through this whole column he rips ESPN for being overly-corporate and kowtowing to their special interests, but when an ESPN employee goes against the special interests and doesn't do something the corporation doesn't like, Jay says that employee should fall in line with corporate policy. It's okay to rebel, just do it in a way Jay Mariotti likes. 

Why not use his ESPN platforms to deliver his message in a more credible, professional and sensible manner? “I hate all the moralizing we do in sports in general,” he told the trash site, “but I especially hate the hypocrisy in this. I always like a little anarchy inside the cathedral we’ve made of sports.”

Maybe Le Batard should have used a forum through ESPN to get his message across. The message was giving his vote to another site for their readers to vote, so unless ESPN was willing to let ESPN readers vote for players on Dan Le Batard's ballot, he couldn't make the point he wanted to make without having someone outside of ESPN vote on his behalf. 

the biggest brain cramp belonged to a writer who lost his soul and let a bunch of future burger-flippers smudge his career.

“Highly Questionable” is the name of Le Batard’s TV show, which he does with his father.

Highly questionable is how I would describe his judgment. Or just high.

Great way to end the column, Jay. Maybe the way Le Batard went about making his statement could have used some work, but rest assured ESPN wasn't going to be a part of any process where a Hall of Fame vote was chosen by someone other than Le Batard. Apparently it is okay to solicit suggestions on who to vote for, which is possibly what Le Batard should have done, but he couldn't have made the point he wanted to make and done it through ESPN.

10. Craig Biggio missed by two votes. Two votes. I would be pissed if I were him at the writers who left him off the ballot because they affiliate him with steroids. I would also be pissed if I were him at the Hall of Fame voter who turned in a blank ballot. If anyone should have their ballot rescinded then it is the voter who turned in a blank ballot. That makes more of a mockery of the process by refusing to participate in the process at all.

Also, how is it okay to openly solicit suggestions on who to vote for like other Hall of Fame voters have done, but it's not okay to have others vote for the players they deem worthy and then sign your name to that ballot? It's nearly the same thing.

On the 


Anonymous said...

These writers who are so upset with Le Batard handing his vote to Deadspin should be more ashamed that he still turned in a better ballot than they did. Maddux, Thomas, Glavine, Piazza, Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Bagwell, Clemens, Bonds, and Schilling. I really can't argue with any of those. The logic and explanations behind these selections would be 100 times better than anything you hear from guys like Jerry Green and Drew Sharp. Yes, everyone hates the 1984 Tigers. I wonder how many Hall of Famers the 2003 Marlins will have? Guess everyone hates them as well. How about the 2002 Angels, no love for Tim Salmon and Troy Glaus? Give me a break. If everyone sold their ballot and turned in one like that, the Hall of Fame would make a lot more sense.

Snarf said...


The 2003 Marlins will almost assuredly get Miguel Cabrera into the HoF, so there's that.

It would then be like an early 90's Nintendo baseball game without the rights to the player's names. It can be the Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball Hall of Fame (and yes, I went in and changed the names of every player on that game to the correct name...I had very few friends as a child).

You had me at this line, Ben.

On the 1984 Tigers WS team that everyone seems to hate. One thing piqued my interest: the discussion of Verlander vs. Morris. While Verlander has pitched poorly in the WS specifically, he is actually a superior postseason pitcher to Morris. Let's look at the totals for the entire postseason:

13 GS, 7-4, 3.80 ERA, 1.245 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 6.2 K/9, 2.0 K/BB

15 GS, 7-5, 3.28 ERA, 1.071 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 10.4 K/9, 3.72 K/BB

I'm sure if someone had told Morris to put up better numbers, though, he would have.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I understand why LeBatard had his vote taken away but I see no difference in what he did and what some writers do when they crowd source and ask their readers who they should vote for and why.

I thought LeBatard's ballot made sense. And yes, why would it matter if a championship team has members in the Hall of Fame or not. Not every championship team is going to have Hall of Fame players.

Snarf, I did change the names. Every single one of them. It took me a long time.

In defense of Morris no one told him he needed to pitch well in the postseason. You are right, had he known he would have pitched better. How was he supposed to know he needs to pitch well in the postseason.

Those numbers are interesting, especially since Verlander has a semi-reputation for not being reliable in the postseason.

Eric said...

Dammit! It always comes back to the poor coaching of Jack Morris. He is forever denied immortality by crappy coaches who didn't tell him to try harder!

On a more serious note, I find it really funny that Jack Morris' reputation is built on complete games and one postseason game. His WS numbers look EXACTLY like his regular season numbers, which are a little above average.

Take home message: Verlander and Morris are the same pitcher except that Verlander has been told to try really hard...

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, if he had only known! NOBODY TOLD HIM!

But see, no one wants to see how well Morris pitched cumulatively in the postseason, but only want to focus on one game and brush off his bad performances because he was too old in 1992...despite the fact his HoF case is built on a WS game he pitched in 1991.

Velander knows to try hard, plus he gets to date a model. No one told Jack Morris to date a model.

Snarf said...

Jack Morris would have shacked up with Cindy Crawford (trying to think time period) if he knew that's something he could do.

Bengoodfella said...

He would have stolen Christie Brinkley from Billy Joel had he known that was something he could do.