December has come and gone and January is upon us. And as everyone knows, this means three things: One, we’ll be spending the next 3 months writing “2014” on our dates and haphazardly scribbling a 5 over it; B, I’ll be going to the gym everyday for the next five days, then not again for the next 360; And thirdly, the MLB Hall of Fame ballots for the class of 2015 have been officially submitted.
Now normally this is a fairly uninteresting event. Hell half the time you barely know the players nominated. But between the litany of worthy candidates, the rule changes implemented by the Hall, and the general f*ckery of the BBWAA, this year’s gonna be a little more interesting. So with everything going on with this year’s class, there’s more than enough for me to whine about.
Now if I was a member of the BBWAA (i.e. some fat bum from Missouri who wrote for the Post-Dispatch like twenty years ago) and had a vote my ballot would look like this: Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Mike Piazza, John Smoltz, Jeff Bagwell, Fred McGriff, and Edgar Martinez. Boom. There it is.
At this point I’m sure about 99% of you are thinking “Hey dipsh*t you missed ____, what the hell is wrong with you?” And we arrive at problem number one: the ballot cap. Each ballot is limited to ten votes maximum. So even though there are a few players outside the ten I chose who should be in the Hall of Fame (like Craig Biggio, Tim Raines, Lee Smith, Jeff Kent, Mike Mussina, and Gary Sheffield… so you know… just a few). So the fact that each writer can only pick ten players is pointless and arbitrary. There are 16 legitimate Hall of Famers in this class, and at the very least 6 deserving players won’t get in. And with players like Ken Griffey Jr, Trevor Hoffman, Jim Edmonds, and Billy Wagner on the ballot next year, this problem isn’t going away any time soon either.
Next up is the overly veiny elephant in the room: the Steroid Era. The BBWAA has no concrete stance on PEDs which is f*cking ridiculous. There are guys that will vote for steroid users and others that treat them like lepers. I personally have a big problem with the latter. If you truly believe that steroid use should keep Hall of Fame caliber players like Clemens and Bonds out of the Hall, then steroid use should be a lifetime ban, straight away. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. But if you’re not going to kick people out for this, you can’t keep them out of the Hall.
But what pisses me off the most about Cooperstown and “baseball purists” is the levels they go to try and keep the their precious game clean from the Steroid Era. Because after all, baseball’s been scandal free since 189never, so it only seems natural that you must preserve its untarnished reputation. It’s pretty hard to keep your white gloves clean when you’re polishing a 150 year old turd, no matter how shiny it is.
But seriously, the BBWAA doesn’t even want to spit in the general direction of the Steroid Era. Not only do they turn away steroid users, but some of them won’t even vote for players vaguely associated with the era. Both Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza have never even come close to a positive test. And yet there are people in the BBWAA who won’t put them on their ballot. Why? Because they played during the Steroid Era? Because they put up Hall of Fame worthy numbers and that makes you paranoid and suspicious? Because where there’s smoke there’s fire? Uh, yeah, no, that;s not gonna fly here. Even if they were using steroids (which considering most players were isn’t an accusation that far off base) to deny a Hall of Fame caliber player entry into the Hall of Fame because of just a hunch is utter crap. In this country you’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, so if you have no proof of wrong doing, you can’t keep them out because of general suspicion.
Personally, I couldn’t give a flying fck about steroids in the MLB. I realize this may not be a popular opinion but it is one I’m semi-serious about. Do you know why baseball Is losing viewership shares to the NFL, NBA, and even the NHL? Because no one wants to sit around for four hours to see a game end 2-1. Baseball was at it’s height when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were scorching baseballs into other zip codes every night. And don’t try and give me “competitive advantage” crap. It’s not much of an advantage when literally the entire league was doing. The players who got caught weren’t the only ones doing it, they were the only ones stupid enough to get caught by Bud Selig’s half-assed testing plan. Honestly, I’d rather watch 500 foot homeruns smash windshields on the Pike then what we got right now. But clearly, the BBWAA can’t quite see through the stink lines wafting from the bullsht they’re sitting in to see that that was the heyday of modern baseball and put these guys in the Hall of Fame where they belong.
And I don’t understand why they feel like they can look down upon the league from their fictitious moral high ground. Especially when it comes to substance abuse. Baseball has been abusing drugs since the game was invented. League history is littered with alcoholics. Greenies were rampant in 1960-1980s. And anabolics were in the game long before BALCO and the Mitchell Report. So the BBWAA can calm down and hop off its high horse when it comes to steroids now. Because writers around the country knew about all of these stories long before they broke. Any writer who claims they didn’t is a liar, and any writer who actually didn’t is preposterously unaware.
I don’t know man, the BBWAA just really grinds my gears. And it’s not just me either. Toucher & Rich call them “The Lodge”, Brian Kenny calls them “The Brethren”. Yeah, Brian Kenny. Primetime host for MLB Network Brian Kenny. This guy works for the league, and even he doesn’t agree with the way they run things. They’re a bloated group of self absorbed ass-hats who love the smell of their own farts. They get drunk on their own power like Pacman Jones gets drunk on Listerine. And for some reason, 574 members of this elitist cult are the ones who elect Hall of Famers. It makes the electoral college look like an adequate voting system.
Both the BBWAA and the Hall of Fame itself have been turning a blind eye to greenies and amphetamines for decades, but all of a sudden they’re serious about keeping the game “clean”. All they care about is keeping steroid users out of their history, even if it keeps deserving players from the hall. In an effort to do so the Hall of Fame cut the years of player eligibility from 15 to 10, just so guys like Bonds have 5 fewer years to be elected. This move keeps the Jim Rices (who was elected in his 15th year) of the world from getting into the Hall like they deserve.
I just don’t understand why they’re doing this. To get the players from steroids away from you and your game as soon as possible? News flash: baseball is still about as dirty as the skies of Beijing. My inner conspiracy theorist would be willing hedge a bet that up to 90% of pros still use. And unless Rob Manfred can dramatically improve Selig’s testing policies, (which are as feeble, useless, and misguided as he is) and properly increase punishment, that’s not changing anytime soon. So if the BBWAA is so hellbent on keeping steroids out of the Hall of Fame, they should just suspend voting for the next 30 years, because no one “clean” is coming to a Cooperstown plaque any time soon.
So that’s it for this week. It was a little long and rambly but the BBWAA makes my blood pressure rise like its a f*cking funnel cake. Also it’s been over three months since I’ve seen the Sox play and three weeks since I’ve seen the Patriots so I’m a little high strung at the moment. So to conclude, the BBWAA puts the ass in asinine and steroids make baseball better… enjoy your evening.