The Hall of Fame is losing money: is it because they won't let the 'roiders in?

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Darren Rovell reports that the Hall of Fame is losing money due to dropping attendance. After reporting — and dismissing — some of the Hall’s own explanations for its financial troubles, Rovell says what he thinks is going on:

But none of those reasons is why the Hall of Fame is suffering.

If the stars, who were caught using PED’s, aren’t being inducted, people aren’t going to show up. It’s that simple.

Look, I’m always near the front of the line to yell at the Hall of Fame and its voters for making silly decisions, but this can’t possibly be the reason, can it? Mark McGwire is really the only Hall of Fame worthy player* who has been kept out due to PEDs. OK, so that’s one induction ceremony a couple of years ago.  All of the others who look to be blackballed — Clemens, Bonds, Sosa, Palmiero — aren’t even eligible yet so their absence cannot be the reason the Hall has suffered.

Not that the Hall has necessarily distinguished itself in terms of its baseball choices in recent years.  I’d like to think that inducting Buck O’Neil like they really friggin’ should have would have made for an amazingly well-attended ceremony. And of course, if Bert Blyleven had been inducted I and literally dozens of my fellow members of the Bert Blyleven Truther’s Brigade would have gone up to Cooperstown to it all go down.

But museum finances are a lot more complicated than that.  The Hall of Fame is a very private and fairly secretive institution and, really, we have no way of knowing the real reasons why it’s having trouble making ends meet these days.

*Spare me the “McGwire wouldn’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame even if he was clean” argument. Sure, there’s a statistical case to be made, but if you don’t think the writers wouldn’t have voted him in on the first ballot but for the steroids stuff, you’re dreaming. I’ve yet to believe any actual voter who has cited that as the reason for not voting for him these past couple of years.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.