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.
A scary thing just happened in Yankee Stadium. A young fan, it appeared to be a young girl, sitting down the left-field line was struck by a Todd Frazier foul ball. Play was halted on the field as she was attended to. They carried her out, not waiting for a stretcher to come. It was hard to see how bad her injuries were, but those on the field — including Eduardo Escobar of the Twins — were visibly shaken.
Major League Baseball has encouraged — not demanded or required, but merely encouraged — teams to extend netting farther down the foul lines in the name of fan safety. Many teams have done so. The Yankees have not, and have remained somewhat non-committal about it all.
We’ll provide an update of the girl’s condition once it is known.
Most of you are likely aware of baseball’s history of collusion. Specifically, the three instances between 1985 and 1988 when the league, the owners and their general managers entered into a conspiracy to suppress salaries by agreeing to share information and to not to sign free agents away from other teams. The scheme, which violated the explicit terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, led to a series of arbitrations which resulted in the owners being forced to pay the players $280 million in damages.
While you may know that large-arc story of collusion, there is an awful lot of stuff relating to it all that is seldom talked about. Interesting stuff which, despite its genesis over 30 years ago still impacts baseball to this very day. If you want to hear some talk about that, I was on the This Week in Baseball History podcast with Michael Bates and Bill Parker last night, and we talked about it, all in honor of the first decision in the three collusion cases which came down 30 years ago this week.
We covered a lot of topics you may not know arose out of the collusion cases. For example:
- Did you know that the collusion cases led more or less directly to the existence of the Marlins, Rockies, Rays and Diamondbacks?
- Did you know that it led, eventually, to Bud Selig becoming commissioner?
- Did you know that it contributed greatly to the 1994-95 labor impasse which led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series?
- Did you know that it spun off litigation that continued for nearly 20 years after the collusion plan, so that in the year 2005 people were STILL talking about what Steve freakin’ Garvey was supposed to earn back in the 1980s?
- Did you know that, in one key respect, the collusion cases of the 1980s had their genesis in something Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale did back in 1966?
Maybe you knew some of that, maybe you didn’t, but it was all kinda wild. If the topic interests you, I highly recommend you take a listen to the podcast. We go light on the legalities, heavier on talking about stuff like what might’ve happened if Kirk Gibson signed with the Royals in 1986 and never made it to the Dodgers in 1988. It’s baseball talk that you may not hear every day.