Monday, February 9, 2015

0 comments Bill Madden Has Some Thoughts on an Expanded Hall of Fame Ballot and Will Vote for Mike Piazza Just as Soon as He Can Predict the Future

Bill Madden does not always enjoy new ideas. He is not cool with the Hall of Fame proposal to allow voters to choose 12 candidates on their ballot. Madden, who just a short year and a half ago missed steroids' and their impact on baseball, also won't vote for Mike Piazza to enter the Hall of Fame until he knows for sure that Piazza didn't use steroids. So basically he isn't going to ever vote for Mike Piazza to enter the Hall of Fame, because I can't imagine there will be more information revealed about whether a baseball player who retired five years ago used PED's or not when he played.

I'll start first with Bill Madden's sadness at the baseball Hall of Fame changing the selection process even just a little bit. After all, the process has worked perfectly for 71 years, why should it change now? Other than the Steroid Era presents a problem that Hall of Fame voters admit they aren't sure how to solve and haven't ever had to deal with in the past which some believe is affecting the process, of course. And other than an era of baseball that has changed the way voters consider candidates, nothing has changed from 71 years ago. Change isn't always good, sometimes it's scary when you don't have the energy to adjust to these changes.

No matter how many people the Baseball Writers’ Association votes into the Hall of Fame — Tuesday’s class of Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio was the biggest since 1955 — there are always those who want to change the process,

Why change something that is working and causes very little controversy?

even though that process and the way it’s played out over 71 years are why baseball’s shrine at Cooperstown is the only Hall of Fame anybody cares about so passionately.

Yes, people care about the baseball Hall of Fame so passionately because of the process and how voting works. If the Hall of Fame allowed voters to include 12 potential inductees on the ballot it would ruin the process forever. FOREVER, I tell you! If two more players can be placed on a single voter's ballot it would disrupt the delicate balance that currently exists which makes the Hall of Fame voting so flawless.

Johnson, with his 303 wins, 4,875 strikeouts (the second-most ever) and five Cy Young Awards; Pedro, with his three Cy Youngs, five ERA titles and three strikeout titles; “Double Duty” Smoltz, with his 213 wins and 154 saves and 15-4, 2.67 postseason record; and the versatile Biggio, with his 3,060 hits and 668 doubles, the most by a righthanded hitter, were clearly the cream of one of the strongest Hall of Fame ballots ever, and as a result, a lot of eminently Hall-worthy candidates not linked to steroids — such as Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent — suffered the consequences, with vote totals not even approaching 50% when 75% is required for election.

This is pretty annoying. Why should Hall-worthy candidates not receive votes because Johnson, Smoltz, Biggio and Pedro were on the ballot? If Schilling, Kent, and Mussina are all worthy of getting a Hall of Fame vote when the ballot is not as loaded then they wouldn't they be worthy when there is a more loaded ballot? The purpose of voting for the Hall of Fame isn't to elect new members every year, but to elect worthy members when they are worthy. If Curt Schilling is not a Hall of Famer on a loaded ballot, then he isn't a Hall of Famer on a weaker ballot either. His status doesn't and should not change simply because there are considered to be fewer Hall-worthy candidates on the ballot. I know this isn't how many of these moronic voters work, but it's how they should work. The point isn't to save votes for Schilling on a less loaded ballot, but to vote for him if he deserves induction no matter how many other worthy candidates are on the ballot.

On one hand, you still have the diehard fans and other media critics who feel the baseball writers should not have the power to keep the accused or suspected steroid cheats — Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Co. — out of Cooperstown

I don't know of any person who has written that Hall of Fame voters should not have the power to keep these suspected and accused steroid cheats out of the Hall of Fame. I've read people opine the voters SHOULD NOT keep these accused and suspected cheats out of the Hall of Fame, but not read these voters lack the power to do. I feel like Bill Madden doesn't even understand the argument the opposition to his point of view is making and he prefers to simply create the argument he believes they are making, in place of being informed.

What’s a mockery is what Bonds did to the home run records and the argument that, well, he was already a Hall of Famer before he started doing steroids.

I think he was.

As if we know exactly when that was, just like we didn’t know Alex Rodriguez was doing steroids all those years with the Yankees — and not just from 2001-2003 with Texas — until he confessed as much to the feds last summer.

Bill Madden pulls out the "We don't know when Barry Bonds started cheating" card. So Bill Madden knows Barry Bonds was cheating, because just look at his statistics, but he isn't able to tell when exactly Bonds started using steroids. Madden has no way of looking at Bonds' statistics and determining what seasons Bonds was clean, but he is an expert at looking at Bonds' statistics and knowing for sure that Bonds was cheating and when. It's funny how that works isn't it? Madden knows Bonds cheated, he just can't tell if Bonds' statistics were affected by it or not.

One would think that Bill Madden could use the same information that accuses of Bonds of using PED's to figure out when Bonds started using PED's and work his career backwards from there. But why would Madden use the same information he uses to indict Bonds in order to figure out whether Bonds was a Hall of Famer prior to his steroid use? It's Madden's job to do the smallest amount of research possible in order to come to the conclusion he wants to reach.

It has been shared in books that Bonds started using steroids after he saw how McGwire and Sosa were able to put up fantastic numbers by using them. So that would be around 1998-1999. A look at Bonds' career shows this to be true. Bonds had normal human numbers until the 2000 season when he all of a sudden exploded and started hitting career highs in home run numbers. So just looking at Bonds' career statistics it can be seen he probably started using PED's in 1999 or 2000. So he was a Hall of Fame prior to using PED's because he would have had 3 MVP awards, 445 home runs, 1299 RBI's, 2010 hits, and 8 Gold Gloves. Assuming that Bonds never used steroids he would have been a Hall of Famer with the statistics he accumulated from age 35 to when he retired. Even if Bonds retired in 1999 and never played again he would have been 40th in home runs all time, which would be even higher if I took the time to remove the other players above him who were suspected or accused of using PED's. Basically, I think Bonds was a Hall of Famer if he never used PED's and posted numbers that regressed like a normal 35 year old would regress.

The point is, it doesn’t matter when or for how long a player cheated. A cheater is a cheater and shouldn’t be bestowed with baseball’s highest honor.

Fine, that's your point of view, but I think if Bonds had never used steroids then he would have been a Hall of Famer. In determining a player's Hall of Fame credentials some voters would consider Bonds' numbers only when he was clean and vote for him anyway. A cheater is a cheater, but if the time when Bonds wasn't cheating is considered then he possibly should be bestowed with baseball's highest honor. He didn't cheat his whole career. It's pretty obvious when looking at his career statistics.

But there is now another faction of critics of the process — among the baseball writers themselves — complaining about the Hall limiting voters to “up to 10” candidates. Writers are venting over not having enough room on their ballot for players such as Mussina, Schilling or Kent, whom they really wanted to vote for but could not because they prioritized 10 other people.

I really fail to see the issue with having 12 candidates on the ballot. As will be pointed by Bill Madden, and pointed out by others, most voters don't even vote for 10 candidates. So what's the harm in responding to the Steroid Era's impact on the ballot by simply allowing voters to choose 12 candidates permanently or even temporarily? Voters will vote for who they choose to vote for. Maybe 4 candidates, maybe 12. No one gets hurt and the ballot gets changed in response to voters who are vexed by the Steroid Era players on the ballot.

Recently, a special committee formed by the Baseball Writers’ Association submitted a request to the Hall’s Board of Directors to expand the ballot to at least 12.

I suspect the request is going to be denied — as it should be.

Yes, because change is bad. The Steroid Era provides a predicament that the baseball Hall of Fame hasn't encountered before, but the Hall of Fame should not adjust the voting process in order to adjust to the predicament. Obviously.

Yes, the ballots in the last two years have been overcrowded with top quality candidates — in successive years, you had three no-brainer first ballot guys, Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz, all of whom were elected — and it has been exacerbated by the continued presence on the ballot of Bonds and Clemens, who would’ve been elected by now had they not been the poster boys for steroid cheating

But no special consideration should be given to deal with this overcrowding and the presence of Bonds and Clemens on the ballot. Again, this would be a change and the Hall of Fame balloting has done fine for 71 year now without change. Why should an unprecedented situation call for a change now?

Despite the laments of all those writers who wanted to vote for so many of the players who finished way down in the voting, if only they had room, what this election clearly showed is that the overwhelming sentiment of the writers was that those players were not in the same class as Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz and Biggio.

So there is nothing to worry about by increasing the number of candidates who voters can vote for. No unworthy Hall candidates will be elected into the Hall of Fame and those writers who want more room to vote for candidates they perceive as worthy will receive two extra spaces on the ballot. Everyone is happy.

It’s not to say they’re not worthy or will never get in, they just have to wait for a much leaner ballot, quality-wise.


If a player is worthy, then why should a lean or heavy ballot matter? A player's Hall of Fame candidacy should be irrelevant to what the rest of the ballot looks like. This infuriates me about the Hall of Fame voting. A player is suddenly deemed worthy of the Hall of Fame if no other quality candidates are on the ballot, but if the ballot is heavy then all of a sudden that player's Hall of Fame resume doesn't look as good, despite the fact nothing at all has changed about his candidacy. All of a sudden, Curt Schilling becomes the skinniest kid at fat camp because OF COURSE they have to elect someone to the Hall of Fame every year. Sure, Schilling wasn't worthy last year, but that's because the players around him were worthy. Now that the ballot is lighter, Schilling's candidacy which hasn't changed at all suddenly looks better to Hall of Fame voters.

And for the record, only 280 of the 540 voting writers, barely more than 50%, used all 10 spots on their ballots. The average was 8.4 spots per ballot.

Then increasing the amount of spots available to use for worthy candidates to 12 wouldn't make a difference at all. It would simply help out the 50% of voters who may want to vote for more than 10 candidates. Bill Madden can't argue increasing the number of spots would hurt or dramatically alter the Hall of Fame and then be all like, "Well, no one even uses those spots anyway." If no one uses the spots, then the Hall of Fame isn't in danger of being hurt or altered dramatically.

For what it’s worth to the “increase the ballot” bunch, 17 players, including the four just elected, will be coming off the ballot next year and, of the 2016 newcomers, only Ken Griffey Jr. could be considered a no-brainer

Which means these brain dead voters will all of a sudden think inducting Curt Schilling is a good idea, since we wouldn't want Ken Griffey Jr. to be standing alone on the podium would we? All of a sudden, Curt Schilling should be in the Hall of Fame. Not based on his career achievements, but based on the lighter ballot.

(The year after, the biggest names are Vladimir Guerrero, Jorge Posada and steroids-tainted Manny Ramirez and Pudge Rodriguez — none of them automatics.)

Vlad should be in. I didn't know Pudge Rodriguez was officially steroid-tainted. He's the Hispanic version of Mike Piazza I guess. I can't wait to see articles about Pudge's regression later in his career as proof of his PED  use, while the fact other Hall of Fame catchers have regressed later in their career due to the wear and tear of the position will be ignored.

So for those voters who couldn’t find room for Schilling, Mussina or Kent this year, that’s at least four spaces that have opened up for you next year.

(Bangs head on the wall)

Vote for these guys, that's fine. Just don't vote for them next year, but not vote for them this year, simply because the ballot is lighter is next year.

And for those who voted for Bonds and Clemens, don’t bother wasting any of your 10 spaces on them anymore. They’re never getting in.

But some voters do want to waste their space voting for these guys. That's the purpose of increasing the spots on the ballot by two. The only reason Bill Madden doesn't want to increase the spots available to 12 is because he knows it is intended to allow voters to vote for Hall of Fame-worthy candidates who are PED users. He's already stated the increase to 12 wouldn't change much because barely 50% of voters put 10 players on their ballot this year anyway.

Now Bill Madden tells his readers why he didn't vote for Mike Piazza. It's because he can't predict the future and what if in the future it turns out Mike Piazza is found to have used steroids? Not that Madden would pay attention to rumors around Piazza of course, but he just wants to be sure no information that probably won't come out ends up not coming out. I'm sure Piazza will get Madden's vote during his last year of eligibility, right? Because that's the final chance for additional information to come out about Piazza's suspected PED use. I'm sure Madden isn't just saying he is waiting for additional information to come out as an excuse to not vote for Piazza based on rumors, innuendo, and bacne.

First of all, I’ve always had my suspicions about Piazza, even though he never tested positive nor was he mentioned in the Mitchell Report.

This doesn't sound like the opening statement of a sportswriter who is definitely open-minded about waiting to find information about Piazza in the future. It sounds like the opening statement of a sportswriter who thinks Mike Piazza used steroids and can't figure out a way to prove it yet. So basically Madden has his mind made up, he just wants to wait to find proof that verifies his conclusion, and then he won't vote for Piazza either way.

Those suspicions were heightened when players who played against Piazza, a number of players, told me he used steroids.

Bitter, angry, competitive opponents stated that Mike Piazza used steroids? If there is a better source for accurate information on a player's PED use then guys who used to play against that player then I don't know what it could be. I'm sure these players wouldn't smear Piazza's name to further their own agenda or discredit Piazza's accomplishments. Competitive athletes would never do that.

Again, there may have been no proof of that, but I do know that those same players didn’t tell me other players were on steroids who weren’t.

How does Bill Madden know which players were on steroids and which weren't? Contrary to what he wants to believe, it's not that easy to tell. I'm sure Madden is one of those who had Jason Grimsley, Jay Gibbons and Francisco Cervelli pegged from the very start. He's the Steroid Whisperer and knows who has and has not used steroids.

Sure, there may be no proof that Piazza used steroids but these players didn't tell Bill Madden other players were on steroids and they weren't. So obviously because these players had never lied before, they would not lie about Piazza. The first lie is always the hardest to figure out by the way.

Nobody ever told me Fred McGriff was on steroids, or Jeff Kent.

Okay, so that means they were definitely clean? Jeff Kent had a few 'roid rage fights with Barry Bonds through the years. I'd have some suspicions about him, but I guess he had no bacne.

So with all of that, I decided to withhold my vote on Piazza, the reason being I did not want to vote somebody into the Hall of Fame who I would then find out two or three years later had, in fact, been a steroids cheat.

See, this is just an excuse. Bill Madden just doesn't want to vote for Piazza because he believes he is a steroids cheat. Madden is waiting for revelations to come out which prove his theory that Piazza used PED's, and if these revelations never occur, he's still not voting for Piazza. You can bank on that.

As far as anyone knew for certain, Alex Rodriguez did steroids only those three years he was in Texas, because that’s what he told us, over and over again. And then five years later, we find out different: It turns out Rodriguez was a huge figure in the Biogenesis doping scandal in Miami, was suspended for a season by Major League Baseball even as he continued to deny publicly that he used steroids, then finally confessed to federal investigators that he was indeed a user during the years he was with the Yankees.

And if Bill Madden can't tell the difference in a two-admitted steroid user and a suspected steroid user then there is absolutely no hope for him. In fact, this comparison to A-Rod simply goes to my conclusion that Madden is hiding behind the whole "I need more information about Piazza's PED use" as an excuse for simply not wanting to vote for Piazza. There's not going to be information that proves Piazza didn't use steroids, so the only information Madden is waiting on is information that proves the conclusion he has already reached. So no matter what happens, Bill Madden is not voting for Mike Piazza. Just say it and don't hide behind the desperate search for new information like you are O.J. trying to find his wife's killers.

That’s why I withheld my vote on Mike Piazza.

So because an admitted steroid user again got caught using steroids then a suspected steroid user shouldn't get a vote? I guess that makes sense to someone who feels strongly that Mike Piazza used steroids. The same lack of benefit of the doubt that Madden is giving Piazza is the reason Madden will never vote for Piazza until he disproves a negative. Just don't hide behind the "I need more information on Piazza's suspected PED use" excuse. If you buy the rumors then your mind is already made up.

Conceivably, I may eventually vote for him.

You probably will not. Conceivably.

Of course my vote may not be necessary anyway, because barring revelations between now and then that he was a steroid user, I think he is going to get elected next year.

Maybe. I'm sure Bill Madden thinks Piazza will definitely get elected into the Hall of Fame if the ballot allows 12 candidates to receive a vote.

With or without my vote.

Probably without your vote. If you aren't going to vote for Mike Piazza just say it's because you think he used PED's. Don't say it's because you suspect he used PED's and are waiting for more information. Your readers aren't as dumb as you think they are. 

I don't like Mike Piazza and I'm tired of seeming like I like him and want to defend him.