Rick Morrissey knows a non-roider when he sees one

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Stellar Hall of Fame reasoning from Rick Morrissey of the Sun-Times:

Dawson, who played 11 years with Montreal and six with the Cubs, was
wiry strong his entire career. He looks very much the same today–the
same ridiculously skinny waist holding up the same solid upper body. He
had one season that popped out–49 home runs and 137 runs batted in to
win the 1987 most valuable player award while a Cub–but never put
together a string of seasons with outrageous power numbers.

I love this. With some players — usually players the writer doesn’t like all that much — we’re told we’re supposed to be skeptical of fluke seasons.  Big spike in his home run total?  ‘Roider!!  Now,
however, when there’s a player the writer likes, we’re supposed to be skeptical
only of sustained power numbers and let the flukes lie. This is nonsense.

Look, I’m not accusing Andre Dawson of taking steroids. I don’t get
in the business of accusing anyone of doing steroids unless and until
there is actual evidence out there. So even if there were whispers about Dawson — which there are not, and to be honest, I highly doubt he ever touched the stuff — I’d ignore them unless and until someone actually put some evidence on the table.

But the point is, Morrissey doesn’t know that Andre Dawson didn’t do steroids, just like he doesn’t know all of the players who have taken PEDs.  There could be a steroid user in the Hall of Fame as we speak. We could elect one next year.  We have, and always will have, imperfect information on the subject, and in my mind, that renders the “well, he never did steroids” argument to support someone’s Hall of Fame candidacy ridiculous. Don’t presume guilt. Don’t presume innocence. Don’t presume at all. Punish the confirmed users if you wish, and stop speculating one way or the other about the personal use (or not) for those for whom we do not have the information. How hard is that?

Not that Morrisey cares about reason or fairness, as evidenced by the sense of dictatorial entitlement with which he views his Hall of Fame vote:

The civil libertarians might argue that without hard proof of
steroid abuse, those players should be allowed into the Hall of Fame.
But that’s the great thing about the Hall: You vote your conscience,
not the preponderance of evidence. And in the public square, we all get to be judge, jury and unfeeling despot. Somebody hand me my riding crop.

If you think this “I know better than the evidence” attitude is limited to steroids, you’re dreaming.  Morrissey and like-minded voters simply know a Hall of Famer when they see one. QED. 

Yordano Venutra killed in an auto accident

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 2:  Starting pitcher Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals jokes with teammates as he walks off the field after the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on June 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.

Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.

Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.

Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.

Report: Tim Lincecum is not ready for retirement

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  Tim Lincecum #55 of the Los Angeles Angels during the second inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 29, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).

Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.

While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.