The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

The Agony and the Idiocy

If there’s one thing you should have learned from reading this blog, it’s that a morally outraged sportswriter is the stupidest creature alive. I think this guy might have a shot at the title even when he’s sober. He’s written a column about steroids that he begins with the lines

The Agony Of Filling Out A Hall Of Fame Ballot

While leaving an empty box next to Jeff Bagwell’s name …

Yeah, it’s going to be one of those articles. Hold on to your hat. Oh, and you better read this quick; I’m going to quote whole huge swaths of it in utter defiance of SOPA, so the government may lock me and my website up in an overseas torture chamber per the provision in the other law they passed today but which fair-weather leftie "civil libertarians" don’t seem to care much about.

Lots of folks have a bucket list, or at least that’s the term they assign to it after the 2007 movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. And while it is probably best to keep most of the Before-I-Croak inventory private, I will share one checked off mine:

Cast a vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Really, BBWAA, why do you give people like this Hall of Fame votes? If they write shit like that, you just know they’re going cast stupid ballots.

The first hint reality wouldn’t be nearly as romantic as the dream arrived in the form of Michael Felger, Boston television and radio provocateur, in the Patriots locker room in 2008.

I can parse that, but it took me like four tries. And it totally wasn’t worth it. Also, I’m guessing you mean "raconteur," since that word you used… isn’t complimentary.

He pointed out I was the only new voter from the Boston chapter of the BBWAA that year and the Jim Rice ballot could come down to one vote either way. He offered two words of advice, "Be ready."

Better advice would have been "be quiet."

The two words scared me so much sabermetric decimal points started running down my leg.

Congratulations — you have written the very worst hacky stat-nerd joke of all time. Not only is it weirdly scatological, but it doesn’t even make sense; what makes a decimal point "sabermetric?" The decimal point in WPA is somehow materially different from the ones in like batting average and ERA?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the restroom and take a giant Jeff Jacobs column.

Rice got in by seven, with 412 votes among 539 ballots. Phew, dodged one bullet … only to be dragged into bottomless mire of performance-enhancing drugs. And, man, I have come to hate it.

It’s only bottomless for stupid people. Here’s a simple test: do the following people belong in the Hall of Fame?

• Ty Cobb
• Gaylord Perry
• Joe Morgan
• Willie Mays
• Rickey Henderson

If you said yes to any of them, then you have the answer: you do not care about allegations of cheating. All of those men were accused (some proven) of breaking the rules of baseball to get an advantage. To say nothing of the fact that the official rules of baseball contain the line "the pitcher shall not Intentionally Pitch at the Batter," which seriously disqualifies every pitcher ever, especially Bob Gibson.

On the other hand, if you said no, they’re all possible rule-breakers and they should all be out, then you’re completely mad. Easy!

Few things open you up more quickly to Internet ridicule than releasing your Hall of Fame ballot.

Among those things: supplementing it with lots of pointless, defensive hand-wringing.

You’ve got your, "Hey, moron, it’s not the Hall of Very Good. If you need to ask if a guy is a Hall of Famer, he’s not."

That’s Colin Cowherd you’re quoting there. He’s an idiot. Who cares what he thinks?

You’ve got your, "The guy hasn’t had one at-bat in five years, you’re a hypocrite for changing your mind." Guilty on that count, I’m voting for Barry Larkin this year after not voting for him the previous two.

Those people are the worst of all people. Like Colin Cowherd. And good on you for being at least slightly vulnerable to reason!

There’s the, "You’re an imbecile for voting for a compiler [Bert Blyleven]."

Okay, are any of these people not Colin Cowherd? Because I really think you’re just quoting something he said on his show yesterday. Look out! The SOPA will get you!

There’s the, “You’re an imbecile for voting for a guy who only came up big in big games [Jack Morris].” Guilty on both counts.

Oh, that one’s not Cowherd. Jack Morris is his favourite. Which is really, really funny, since Jack Morris kind of stank.

Yet it wasn’t until Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated wrote something last December that I began to wonder if voting for the Hall of Fame is worth the hassle. There are places on the Internet where you are called a man playing God if you don’t vote immediately for Jeff Bagwell. You are called Joe McCarthy. Posnanski didn’t use either term, but he came close.

Yeah, because Bagwell was great. All-time great. I wouldn’t call you a man playing God, though; I’d stick with "moron."

Bagwell never tested positive for steroids. He was not named in the Mitchell Report. Yet because Bagwell has become, in some voters’ minds, a player who used PEDs, Posnanski wrote, "I can’t even begin to describe my disgust … it makes me absolutely sick to my stomach.

"I hate the character clause in the Hall of Fame voting. I think it encourages people to believe their own nonsense, to stand up on high and be judge and jury …I’d rather a hundred steroid users were mistakenly voted into the Hall of Fame over keeping one non-user out."

Posnanski is often correct. This is one of those times.

Joe Posnanski is the best sports writer in 2011 America, but it doesn’t mean he’s 100 percent correct on this issue.

As in it’s not a causal relationship, sure. But… he is 100 percent correct on this issue. I get the feeling you’re about to say something really stupid.

Based on numbers alone, Bagwell deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. That part is easy. He hit .297 with 449 homers, eight 100-RBI seasons and had a .948 OPS as well as a Gold Glove and an MVP Award.

His grown-up numbers were good, too, by the way.

Yet because of the sins of his baseball generation, fair or not, Bagwell finds himself in an uncomfortable position.

Yeah. Which is: left out of the Hall because of idiots like you.

Yet we also have heard tens of players like Bagwell deny steroid use over the years only for it to turn out otherwise.

So add this to the list of reasons to bar people from the Hall of Fame: he says he didn’t cheat at baseball. This is a Life of Brian thing, isn’t it.

We have seen tens of players like Bagwell blow up from a skinny 20 to a cartoon 35.

I… what? That is fifteen years, you ignoramus. You don’t need to be on the juice to put on a bunch of muscle over fifteen years!

We have seen tens of players like Bagwell break down physically in their late 30s.

Players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Rafael Palmeiro, right? That’s what they were notorious for doing? Breaking down in their late 30s?

Come on, stupid. The notorious juicers had unnatural longevity. And now you’re using a late-30s breakdown — which we’ve seen not tens but thousands of players go through — as evidence that he was juicing?

Oh shit, you guys! Nap Lajoie was on the juice!

I will never vote for Rafael Palmeiro or Mark McGwire, not in 15 lifetimes, but I also don’t want to be part of any witch hunt.

I will never eat meat, not in 15 lifetimes, but I also don’t want to be a vegetarian.

I only want to play the percentages. I want Bagwell’s insistence he was clean to be true. I don’t want his induction to backfire in an ugly way.

So, wait. Your Hall of Fame standard is that you will never vote for anybody unless he can absolutely prove that he never cheated at baseball? No permissible ambiguity? And the reason for this is: you’re afraid of being wrong.

Great. Great people you’re letting in, BBWAA.

My view certainly is not foolproof, but it’s one I’m comfortable with given the uncomfortable parameters. Forget 100 juicers. I don’t knowingly want to vote for one.

Your view is bullshit. If I had a Firing Squad vote, I’d vote for you.

I have wanted to wait a few years to see if anything surfaced. To watch ESPN, Yahoo!, New York Daily News, the Texas media — someone with the resources and vigor — put Bagwell in its headlights and see if he emerges clean.

BBWAA: Mr. Jacobs, we’re thinking about giving you a Hall of Fame vote. But we’re concerned; will you ever make a decision for yourself?
Jacobs: I’ll have to check with my lawyer and get back to you.
BBWAA: You’re hired.

I have no intentions of making him wait forever. I will wait another year or two. If the worst thing I do is to make him enter the Hall of Fame with his teammate Craig Biggio, well, that’s damning Bagwell with a great blessing.

Yeah, the "great blessing" of spending another two years wondering why being one of the best first basemen of all time isn’t sufficient for getting into the Hall. Blessing of Caprice! Paladins get that at 40, I think, but only if they spec Dipshit.

I believe in using the 15-year voting period. The years give perspective. They help us look at circumstances differently. There’s strength in the process, not weakness.

You’re not gaining perspective, dummy. You’re waiting for a bunch of other people to change their minds so you don’t look like a dangerous maniac who disagrees with popular wisdom.

As much as it infuriates me, I have to agree with BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O’Connell’s assessment that the National League MVP vote on Ryan Braun stands even if his positive test holds up. Ken Caminiti and A-Rod kept their MVP trophies after it became known they did steroids in 1996 and 2003. And, yes, the 2011 voters voted on the information they had at the time with Braun. But that’s not why Braun should keep his MVP.

No, the reason Braun should keep his MVP is because the rules don’t contain any provision for revoking it. Like how president Obama gets to keep the Nobel Peace Prize even though he’s started three wars.

It is because the test he flunked was taken during the postseason. The MVP is a regular season award and unless it was scientifically proved he was using during the 162 games — even though the award announcement wasn’t made until November — I’d argue Braun should keep the 2011 award on a technicality.

What the fuck is wrong with you? With your brain, I mean. I thought the idea was to wait until there was absolute positive scientific proof that people didn’t take steroids. You said so yourself! I mean, for fuck’s sake.

There’s no evidence that Jeff Bagwell took steroids in the post-career either. The Hall of Fame is a regular-career honour. So oh my god you are making my brain evaporate did you even read what you fucking wrote?

Now make new precedent. Immediately. In this case, the BBWAA should make a rule that if a player tests positive for PEDs at any time during the calendar year he wins an award, he loses that award. Set the rules in advance and live with them.

What the fucking fuck is the point of that? Don’t hamstring everybody else because of your peccadilloes, asshole. What if I think 2004 Barry Bonds was so obscenely good that he deserves the MVP, steroids or no? Because I do. I’m now not allowed to vote for him, because it would offend your crazy head?

PEDs have made for a complicated, agonizing world for BBWAA voters.

Especially the stupid, spineless ones.

And until someone steps forward with a firm set of Hall of Fame guidelines, it’s not going to get any less agonizing. Brace yourself. Next year’s incoming Hall of Fame class with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa will bring arguments and name-calling like we’ve never seen.

Can’t wait. Any luck you’ll be dead by then and we’ll have smart people casting ballots instead.

In the meantime, peek over my shoulder at my 2012 ballot: Barry Larkin and Jack Morris. That’s it. I only hope this doesn’t make Joe Posnanski barf or for someone to call me Joe McCarthy.

Jack Morris was not very good, and there’s no excuse for voting for Barry Larkin and not Alan Trammell. Oh, and you left off Jeff Bagwell. Other than that, you did a great job oh my god I just realised that nobody can fucking prove that Barry Larkin and Jack Morris were not juicing. Larkin retired in 2004. Morris in 1994. These are not ancient players! Either one of them could have been on the juice, stupid. You have just randomly declared them not juicers with no better evidence than we have for Bagwell. You sir are unbelievably stupid.

Hey, Grant Brisbee’s written a better version of your article. Maybe you should just retract this mess.

December 15th, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

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