Programming note: For complete reaction to Wednesday's Hall of Fame vote tune into SportsNet Central at 7:30 and 10:30 and Yahoo! SportsTalk Live at 8:00, only on CSN Bay Area
I know with metaphysical certitude that the Baseball Hall of Fame is not a sacred place, and may not even be a terribly important one. I know this because people let me vote for Hall of Famers. There is no lower bar to clear without the use of a backhoe.
In other words, to all of you on your rhetorical high horses about this election or the ones in the past or the future, a word of advice. Go to Home Depot, buy some quick-drying putty, a roll of gorilla tape and a small table clamp, and apply them to the lowest hole in your heads. You are just opinion pack mules, like me, with approximately 1/600th of a say in the membership of the Hall.
And if you don’t have a vote, your percentage is somewhat lower.
Oh, you are allowed to possess an opinion. You are allowed to express it. You are even allowed to have it acknowledged. But it doesn’t have to be respected, because maybe your voting patterns are just idiotic. You may say, “I believe cannibalism should play a major role in modern cooking,” and you may say it expecting to be noticed for it, but I doubt that respect is the next logical landing place.
So, because you didn’t ask, don’t care and really shouldn’t bother one way or another, here is my ballot – released only because of transparency, and not because I think it should sway, enlighten, entertain or discomfort you. I used a blue highlighter on 10 names; I did not crack the Chinese military codebook.
JACK MORRIS: He was a dominant figure in an era with few dominant pitchers, and while I like math as much as the next guy who didn’t date much in high school, I as a voter acknowledge all eras – even the drug-infested, racially restricted, dead-ballish and just plain crap eras. The Hall of Fame is the history of the game, good, bad, cheap, stupid, hateful, arrogant, smug and even Jack Morris-y. If you think it is anything more, reread Paragraphs 1 through 4. And then hit yourself in the face with a titanium meat tenderizer.
Many people will hate this vote, which is why I got it out of the way first. As a gift to you from me, you can now ignore the rest of the paragraphs if you so choose with no further damage to your sensitive intestinal tracts. You twerps. If he gets in, I had 1/450th to do with it. Take your outrage and forcibly insert it in a tender spot.
BARRY BONDS AND ROGER CLEMENS: I have, do, and will always believe that baseball did the PED Era to itself, so even if you hate drugs and their proponents, you can only ignore them if you honestly think the Hall of Fame is a place for only happy stories, heartwarming ethical stands and majestic figures. In other words, if a player meets the other criteria for the Hall, PEDs shouldn’t keep said player out because:
1. The player did things on the baseball field that few others did.
2. We actually don’t know who did PEDs and who didn’t. We have a few admissions, a conviction or two, and a lot of crap guesswork, which our profession actually does not technically allow.
3. Sportswriters suck at setting and maintaining the moral codes of others.
4. The Hall of Fame still has the color line to answer for.
5. Baseball willfully ignored and massively profited from the drugs era and to date has returned exactly zero dollars earned during those years. Anyone think Bud Selig isn’t going to the Hall of Fame on the first allowable bullet train?
6. I DON’T WORK FOR BASEBALL, AND I DON’T CARE WHAT IT PURPORTS TO BE. I CARE WHAT IT IS, AND THIS IS PART OF IT.
CRAIG BIGGIO AND JEFF BAGWELL: Free the Astros. I feel more strongly about Bagwell, but I voted for Biggio a year ago and despite him batting .000 a year ago, a lot of Astros batted .000 last year.
FRANK THOMAS: Math, record books, corneas, nerve receptors in the brain. All these things tell me he is a Hall of Famer. My pancreas does not, but my pancreas is not an informed voter.
GREG MADDUX AND TOM GLAVINE: I credit Ken Gurnick of MLB.com for owning his “no” vote on Maddux rather than slinking behind the cover of anonymity. I do not credit his logic behind it – that he is voting for nobody in the steroid era. In fact, I think it is bat-guano loopy. But this is America, and he gets to be bat-guano loony and still keep his vote. If you think otherwise, move to North Korea and train dogs to eat disgraced Kim family relatives. You have the right mindset for that job.
TIM RAINES: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. More people should think like me on this, but more people should like comedian Doug Stanhope too. We live with the limitations of our own minds, and the tyranny of the majority.
MIKE PIAZZA: I am no more a dermatologist than I am a moralist.
I have never voted for 10 players before. I don’t ever want to do so again. But needs must be met when the devil spits in your kettle. I could have voted for 13 and felt good about it. But those libels are for another day. And no, it won’t be Thursday. People who try to plot out future Hall of Fame classes are people who bore others easily, have a small circle of interests, and in general are not people who will ever buy you a beer you would want to drink.
And you don’t need any kind of metric standard to understand that. Now go away.