Rick Morrissey knows a non-roider when he sees one

Leave a comment

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. 

Mike Matheny tried to have his own son picked off at first base

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 26: Manager Mike Matheny #26 of the St Louis Cardinals looks on from the dugout during the first inning of a MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 26, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Diamondbacks 3-1. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Ralph Freso/Getty Images
2 Comments

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has a son, Tate, who was selected by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2015 draft out of Missouri State University. Tate, an outfielder, spent the 2015 season with Low-A Lowell and last year played at Single-A Greenville.

Now in spring camp with the Red Sox, Tate is trying to continue his ascent through the minor league system. On Monday afternoon in a game against his father’s Cardinals, Tate pinch-ran after Xander Bogaerts singled to center field to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. Mike wasn’t about to let his son catch any breaks. Via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

That’s right: Mike tried to have his own son picked off at first base. That’s just cold, man.

Tate was erased shortly thereafter when Mookie Betts grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Tate got his first at-bat in the seventh and struck out.

Do we really need metal detectors at spring training facilities?

sloan-metal-detector-1
Craig Calcaterra
10 Comments

MESA, AZ — Over the past couple of seasons we’ve, more or less, gotten used to the sight of metal detectors at major league ballparks. And the sight of long lines outside of them, requiring us to get to the park a bit earlier or else risk missing some of the early inning action.

Like so much else over the past fifteen and a half years, we’re given assurances by people in charge that it’s for “security,” and we alter our lives and habits accordingly. This despite the fact that security experts have argued that it’s a mostly useless and empty exercise in security theater. More broadly, they’ve correctly noted that it’s a cynical and defeatist solution in search of a problem. But hey, welcome to 21st Century America.

And welcome metal detectors to spring training:

scottsdale-metal-detector

Beginning this year, Major League Baseball is mandating that all spring training facilities use some form of metal detection, be it walkthrough detectors like the ones shown here at the Giants’ park in Scottsdale or wands like the one being used on the nice old lady above at the Cubs facility in Mesa.

I asked Major League Baseball why they are requiring them in Florida and Arizona. They said that the program was not implemented in response to any specific incident or threat at a baseball game, but are “precautionary measures.” They say that metal detection “has not posed significant inconvenience or taken away from the ballpark experience” since being required at big league parks in 2015 and believe it will work the same way at the spring training parks.They caution fans, however, that, as the program gets underway, they should allow for more time for entry.

And that certainly makes sense:

sloan-metal-detector-2

I took this photo a few minutes after the home plate gate opened at Sloan Park yesterday afternoon. As I noted this morning, the Cubs sell out every game in their 15,000-seat park. That’s a lot of wanding and, as a result, it could lead to a lot of waiting.

But the crowds here all seemed to get through the line pretty quickly. Perhaps because the wanding is not exactly a time-consuming affair:

Not every security guard was as, well, efficient as this guy. But hardly anyone walking through the gate was given a particularly thorough go-over. I saw several hundred people go through the procedure soon after the gates opened and most of them weren’t scanned bellow the level of their hip pockets. I went back a little closer to game time when most people were already in the park and the lines were shorter. The procedure was a bit more deliberate then, though not dramatically so. This is all new for the security people too — spring training just started — and it’s fair to say that they are trying hard to balance the needs of their new precautionary measures against the need to keep the lines moving and the fans happy.

On this day at least it seemed that fan happiness was winning. I spoke with several fans after they got through the gates and none of them offered much in the way of complaint about being wanded. The clear consensus: it’s just what we do now. We have metal detectors and cameras at schools and places of work and security procedures have been ratcheted up dramatically across the board. That we now have them at ballparks is not surprising to anyone, really. It’s just not a thing anyone thinks to question.

And so they don’t.