What does the indictment do for Clemens' Hall of Fame case?

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I only pose this question because someone will ask it, and I’ll be damned if I don’t have to have all the answers.  Short version: this shouldn’t matter a lick.

As we recently discussed when A-Rod hit his 600th home run, there are some Hall of Fame voters who will never, ever vote for a PED-associated player no matter what.  For them, Clemens’ name was already mud. They weren’t any more waiting for a court to convict him to make up their minds than they were trying to determine how much of a boost A-Rod got from a couple year’s of PEDs. Brian McNamee could recant tomorrow, and a great number of these voters would still not vote for Clemens based on his infidelities or his association with known PED dealers or what have you. The die has been cast.

Those voters who don’t take such an approach, however, aren’t likely to be deterred by the indictment. They — like Buster Olney — are able to appreciate that (a) lots and lots of players used PEDs in their career; and (b) still only a few, like Clemens, were elite players.  It doesn’t take a super genius to appreciate that Clemens (like Bonds and A-Rod) were a different brand of ballplayer than more borderline players like Rafael Palmiero or even Mark McGwire who, quite possibly, might not have gotten into the Hall of Fame conversation without PEDs.

My guess is that even some of the more open minded voters will change their tune if Clemens is ultimately convicted of perjury. Not because of the PEDs, but because of their belief that that the character considerations that are supposed to enter into Hall of Fame voting preclude convicted criminals (even if there are several convicted criminals in the Hall of Fame). I don’t think there are enough of these doubters to ultimately keep Clemens out, however.

My guess: while Clemens won’t be a first-ballot unanimous Hall of Famer like he should be based on his baseball accomplishments, he will eventually make the Hall of Fame.  As he should.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.