#2 son chastised me for not commenting last week on the vote that did not find any candidates worthy of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Since #2 son is a chef who periodically prepares wonderful meals for me and my long-suffering wife, I certainly do not want to get on his “black list”. Ergo…
I understand that there are voters who believe that the use of performance enhancing drugs to accumulate the stats that would make one worthy of the Hal of Fame means that the player using those drugs is a fraud. Call these people “purists”. I also understand that there are voters who believe that without a verified positive test for performance enhancing drugs in some bodily fluid taken from a player, it is wrong to pin the label of ‘drug-user” on him. Call these people “empiricists”. I also understand that there are voters who believe that PED usage was so rampant in baseball in the 1990s that standout players did not get as significant an edge as might have been the case if they were the only users. Call those voters “rationalizers”.
The voters who do not fall into any of those three categories are the ones who constitute the voting bloc that a player needs to achieve a 75% level in the balloting and get into the Hall of Fame. These “independents” did not show up in anywhere near sufficient numbers to elect Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa or Roger Clemens this time around. [Note: Mike Piazza did not come all that close either.] Columnists have done a lot of opining on just what those votes meant and what it portends for the future. I do not read minds but I think it is plausible – not certain by any means – that some of the “independents” intended their vote to mean this:
I do not know with certainty that these players took PEDs but I know it well enough in my gut to make it a significant part of my vote. There are some worthy players on this year’s ballot who should ultimately be in the HoF, but I want to draw a line here. Since all of the HoF members are by definition great players, there are other hierarchies within the great Hall of Fame members.
Who got the highest percentage of votes in the election?
Who got in on the first ballot?
I may switch my vote sometime in the future to get some of these worthy players in the HoF, but they will never be able to say they are among the upper echelon of the members of the HoF. That is my way of telling these players that what I believe they did was not in the best interests of the game.
If I had a vote – and I most certainly do not – that is the way I would approach my future voting responsibilities. I did find it interesting that some of the “empiricists” decried the small turnout for Bonds and Clemens on the basis that both of them were acquitted at trial with regard to perjury on the issue of PED use. There is nothing wrong with that stance – unless you have also failed to lead the charge to get Shoeless Joe Jackson into the Hall of Fame since he too was acquitted at trial of any wrongdoing with regard to the Black Sox scandal of 1919. I know that Emerson said that foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds; nevertheless, I believe a smidgen of consistency on the part of some of the “empiricists” with regard to this matter would be welcome.
Sticking with baseball, Milton Bradley’s temper seems to have gotten him in trouble again but this time it is with the police and not with an umpire or a teammate. Last week, police arrested and charged Bradley with 13 counts of abusing his estranged wife, assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism and “dissuading a witness from making a report”. Bradley and his wife are in the midst of a “contentious divorce” and the charges filed last week cover incidents that have happened over the last year or so. Obviously, Bradley’s lawyer denies the charges categorically.
It is interesting to note that Bradley was a player with better than average skills on the field; and yet, he played for 8 different teams in an 11-year career. He once threw a water bottle at a fan, got into a physical altercation with a reporter and found himself under arrest after confronting police at a traffic stop. If convicted on these charges, Bradley might find himself in jail for up to 13 years. If that happens, it would be interesting to note that what Milton Bradley needed most was a “Get Out of Jail Free” card…
It seems as if baseball teams are eschewing the 10-year contract signings this year; there are a lot more 3-year contracts as compared to 8-year deals in the file cabinet this winter than in previous years. Perhaps some of the recent long-term deals have been sobering for baseball owners and execs.
The Yankees still owe A-Rod $114M on his deal – and that assumes that he does not trigger significant incentive bonuses for career home run totals during the rest of the deal. In any event, A-Rod needs his second hip operation in 4 years and the date is supposedly this week. He will be hors de combat until at least June.
Albert Pujols slumped in the first year of a 10-year deal last year. Oh, and he is having knee surgery this winter with 9 more years left on his contract.
Chase Utley signed a 7-year deal in 2007. Injuries have limited his playing time and his productivity for the last 3 seasons but he has cost the Phillies $15M per year for each of those 3 seasons.
However, before anyone thinks there may be collusion among the owners/GMs with regard to this situation, there is a countervailing example. Naturally, the Chicago Cubs provide the countervailing example by signing pitcher Edwin Jackson to a 4-year deal worth $52M. For his career, Jackson’s record is 70-71 and his ERA is 4.41. He pitches a lot of innings every year but while doing so he gives up lots of runs and comes out as a .500 pitcher. Perhaps that is a guy that a World Series aspiring team might sign for $13M for one year with an option for a second year. However, the Cubs want this guy for 4 years at that price. Also, note that Jackson has been with 6 teams in the last 6 years indicating that there are at least 6 teams that did not think he was one of their “bedrock players”.
Finally, Brad Rock found José Canseco’s tweet regarding Canseco’s New Year’s resolutions, which included appearing on various reality-TV programs and also “getting elected to public office. Here is what Professor Rock had to say about that in the Deseret News:
“Is it just [me], or does José Canseco always seem about one pitch short of a full count?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………