How Mark McGwire gets into the Hall of Fame

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I was being facetious when I said earlier this afternoon that Mark McGwire simply needs to talk about the past in order to get into the Hall of Fame.  Bob Ryan is serious:

If he ever holds a press conference in his new gig as batting coach of
the Cardinals, and if he answers the questions, he could probably punch
his ticket. I know many of you hate it when people like me say or write
something like this, but that’s the way I feel.

Though I disagree, I get not voting for McGwire because he used PEDs. Though I disagree, I can even see voting against him because he wasn’t forthcoming before Congress.  But neither of those things can be cured, can they?  No matter how much he talks now, he still used PEDs and still failed to be forthcoming before Congress, didn’t he?  How on Earth does giving quotes to Bob Ryan and some other writers around a batting cage fix that?

Has the case against McGwire always been merely that he wouldn’t cater to the press and give juicy quotes about his past?  Was it not about cheating and being uncooperative in front of the House of Effing Representatives?  If not, aren’t the writers who agree with Ryan — the ones who would change their votes merely because McGwire gave a press conference — saying that they’re more important than the rules of baseball and The United States Congress?

If McGwire’s behavior sours you on his Hall of Fame candidacy, it seems totally unreasonable to change your mind simply because he talks into your Dictaphone down in Flordia this March.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.