Thursday, March 12, 2015

2 comments Sportswriter Who Doesn't Cover Baseball Regularly, Yet Has a Hall of Fame Vote, Wants to Void PED-aided Home Run Record So PED-aided Home Run Record Isn't Surpassed

Philip Hersh covers the Olympics for the "Chicago Tribune." He covered baseball quite a few years ago, so naturally he still has a Hall of Fame vote. Because that makes sense and this is one of the 50 issues currently plaguing the baseball Hall of Fame voting system. That's beside the point. Hersh is keeping his vote for the Hall of Fame to prevent the PED-users from entering the Hall of Fame. It's not really a noble cause, but whatever gets him up in the morning, I guess. Hersh thinks that MLB should void some of the home runs that A-Rod has hit so that he doesn't pass the home run record that Barry Bonds set. First off, A-Rod isn't passing Bonds. It's not happening and I would bet money on this. Second, does he recognize the logic of voiding home runs set by a PED user so he doesn't pass a record set by another PED user is all kinds of crazy? He does, but he doesn't care. The integrity of the game is what is important, even though giving a Hall of Fame vote to a guy who regularly covers the Olympics probably isn't in the best interests of the integrity of the game either.

Here is Hersh's background:

Philip Hersh, the Olympic specialist for Tribune Co., has covered 17 Olympics and reported from some 50 countries in 30 years with the Chicago Tribune. He likes to use sport as a way to write about the culture of a country or an athlete. Hersh graduated from Yale with a Bachelor of Arts in French literature. His passions include chamber music, road cycling (takes no PEDs except Advil) and Dr. Siri mysteries. 

I don't think that precludes him from having a Hall of Fame vote, but since he is a self-admitted globetrotter then I wonder how he has time to pay attention to baseball enough to continue having a Hall of Fame vote? Also, is Hersh the only baseball Hall of Fame voter with a BA in French literature?

I love Hersh's picture alongside his column. It looks like he is very displeased that his picture is being taken because these newfangled cameras are going to suck just a little bit of the soul out of him. What happened to just taking a Polaroid picture and shaking it until it developed?

Alex Rodriguez reported Monday to the Yankees’ spring training camp, two days before position players were expected.

Which of course is another example of something that shows the selfishness of A-Rod in that he didn't even warn the Yankees he would be showing up early to prepare for the season. The Yankees want A-Rod to do his own thing and handle questions from reporters in his own way without involving them, but he should at least keep them updated on his every move. They want control over how A-Rod handles and interacts with the media until they don't anymore.

The repeat doping offender must have wanted to get a head start on his recently reported vow to break Barry Bonds’ career home run record.

Oh sure, Bonds' career home run record is THE OFFICIAL home run record when it comes time for Alex Rodriguez to chase it, but when it comes time to put Bonds in the Hall of Fame based on his all-time home run record, Hersh prefers to leave Bonds out of the Hall of Fame with his tainted record. It's the official home run record until it isn't convenient for it to be the official home run record. 

If baseball’s leaders were fully committed to anti-doping, there would be no way Rodriguez could get close to Bonds’ 762 (***) home runs, no matter how many more years the 39-year-old A-Rod plays.

Absolutely true. If baseball's leaders were committed to anti-doping then they would void A-Rod's home runs so that the real home run king, Barry Bonds, could have his record stand. Well, then they would have to void Bonds' home runs since he is tied to PED's as well. So that leaves Hank Aaron's home run record, though given the fact he played during a time of vast greenie use there really isn't any guarantee that Aaron didn't use something that is now illegal for MLB players to use. So baseball should probably void that record too and give it back to Babe Ruth. Though, given Ruth's proclivities off the field, there is no guarantee he didn't have an STD that helped him hit the baseball further and there was simply no testing that could prove this STD contributed to his power surge. So it's probably best if MLB voids his home run record as well, just to be safe. That leaves Roger Connor as the all-time home run king. But he retired in 1897, so he didn't even play against any quality competition during an era when baseball integrated. It's probably best to void that home run record too. In fact, let's just say there is no home run record and talk about it no more. Void every home run ever hit and every win ever won by any team that may or may not have had a PED user, greenie user, carrier of a super-powerful STD, and player who played prior to integration. Throw away the record book and start the records over beginning during the 2015 season. That should ensure there is no funny business with the MLB record book.

Because baseball should wipe at least 190 home runs from Rodriguez’ current total of 654.

Maybe just round up to 200. Fuck it, why not? If MLB is going to start eliminating records then let's just make it easier to keep count and start rounding up or down.

Sprinter Ben Johnson lost an Olympic gold medal and a world record after a positive drug test.

A gold medal is a totally different thing from an all-time home run record in baseball. One takes place over a short period of time, while the other takes place over a 20+ year baseball career. They aren't comparable to each other.

Sprinter Marion Jones lost five Olympic medals and had all results from nearly a year-long period erased after she admitted to doping.

Still not the same thing. These are individual performances and baseball is a team sport.

Little League International stripped Jackie Robinson West of a U.S. title for playing fast and loose with geographical boundaries for its team members.

This is a team sport and it's little league, not professional baseball. I don't think MLB should be in the business of just removing home runs that a player hit because he used PED's. The MLB record book is going to be a bit of a mess already and I see no reason to remove home runs used in the win total of the teams that A-Rod played for. I think it would make the MLB record books even more convoluted and confusing to understand. Worried about "the kids" and what they will think of PED users? Try to tell "the kids" that A-Rod played for the Yankees and hit home runs that count in the win total of the Yankees but don't count for the MLB record book. Sure, the wins count, but the actions taken to get the win do not count.

And baseball leaves A-Rod’s numbers as is?

Yes. You are a quick learner.

Rodriguez told ESPN he had used performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 through 2003.  He hit 156 home runs in those three seasons.

This is how Hersh got to the 190 home runs total. Of course, if A-Rod says he used PED's from 2001-2003, then why wouldn't Hersh trust a guy who has lied multiple times about his PED use? Let's base A-Rod's career home run total on when A-Rod states he used PED's. What could go wrong?

The Miami Herald reported Rodriguez told federal agents he had used banned substances from late 2010 to October 2012.  He hit 34 home runs in 2011 and 2012.

And again, this is a number that can be trusted because A-Rod has always spit out the truth about his PED use?

Yet the .pdf document spelling out Major League Baseball’s policy on drug prevention and treatment includes no reference to invalidating / erasing individual statistics of a player who tests positive or admits to doping, a common part of discipline for such offenses in Olympic sports.

Which is why voiding the home runs that A-Rod hit so that another PED user can be the all-time home run king is a dumb idea. It's professional baseball, not the Olympics. There is no MLB policy on changing the record book or erasing statistics of a player who tests positive or admits doping and there should not be. Simply because Philip Hersh loves the Olympics and thinks the Olympic penalty for doping is the best policy doesn't mean that MLB should agree. Altering the record book and simply pretending a record wasn't set is a bad precedent for MLB to start doing. Maybe the Olympics are fine with just erasing history, good or bad, but I don't think MLB should be in that business. If so, there would be a lot of history and records set in the 1960's that violated today's MLB policy on drug preventing and treatment. If records are set which violate MLB's policy on drug prevention and treatment, then those records need to be consistently erased from the record books. We wouldn't want a stain on the record book by having any greenie users holding important MLB records.

MLB spokesman Pat Courtney confirmed in an email that the MLB discipline for doping, proved by test or admission, does not include erasing statistics.

Did this really require an email confirmation? There is nothing in the policy that mentions erasing statistics and MLB has never erased statistics before.

It will be even more laughable if A-Rod, who is returning from a one-season doping suspension, passes Bonds’ record, even if that mark hardly is sacrosanct.

MLB wouldn't want the travesty of a PED user surpassing the home run mark set by another PED user. It seems that Hersh uses the LIFO method of statistic erasing. The last person who sets the home run record by using PED's is the person whose name gets erased from the record book first. Bonds may have used PED's, but he was before A-Rod in the record books so his tainted record stays.

It already needs asterisks (***) because of Bonds’ involvement with PEDs, his ridiculous claims of having used them unknowingly notwithstanding.

Why does Bonds get an asterisk but A-Rod's record (that he won't achieve) gets erased completely? The randomness of life? Or is this just how the Olympics would handle the situation? We all know the IOC is an incorruptible organization so it's best to base MLB policies on what the IOC would do in a given situation.

If Manfred wanted to show the sport really has cleaned itself up and that his is a new era, he should start by wiping all the demonstrably tainted statistics from the record books.

But rest assured, this wiping of tainted statistics from the record books would have to include any baseball players in the 1950's through the 1970's that used a substance which is now banned by MLB. The statistics weren't tainted at the time they were set, but those statistics were achieved using methods that violate the current MLB policy on drug prevention.

That means not only A-Rod’s but those of every other player for whom there is a known period of use.

Of course, with many of these players having lied about using PED's in the first place, it's smart to just trust them on the time period in which they used PED's. Of course.

Their best days shouldn’t be numbered.


Philip Hersh will now retire from writing or thinking about baseball until next winter when his Hall of Fame ballot comes in the mail. These are your Hall of Fame voters.


Anonymous said...

You did mention it and, admittedly, there is a lot wrong with this column, but, holy f*ck, in what world is arod hitting another 109 home runs?!?!?! jesus, man, pull yourself together, olympics correspondent.

Bengoodfella said...

If A-Rod hits another 109 home runs then I will be very, very, very, very shocked.