Bill Conlin

How can we even think about what the Bill Conlin story means for the Hall of Fame?

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I’ve tried really hard to not think too deeply about what the Bill Conlin allegations might mean for the Hall of Fame. For a couple of reasons, really.

For one thing, the Spink Award, which makes Conlin “a Hall of Famer,” isn’t really an induction into the Hall of Fame. It’s really just the inclusion of his photo and bio in a broadcaster and writer exhibit in the museum. Yes, it’s an honor, but the conversation about “should Conlin be removed from the Hall of Fame” is kind of beside the point. No offense to the other Spink winners, but if they do anything to him it’s more akin to taking a guy’s picture off the Employee of the Month display than it is like taking Jefferson’s face off Mt. Rushmore.

But really, the largest reason this conversation seems inappropriate is that it seems really wrong to use what is the most awful and nightmarish thing imaginable — child abuse — as a means for pivoting into what is basically a political argument about the nature of the Hall of Fame.

Yes, like a lot of people, when I immediately heard the news about Conlin I thought “well, what does THAT mean for the Hall’s character clause?” But it was a fleeting bit of defense mechanism snark before the enormity and awfulness of the news set in. With a few moments’ reflection, the notion that there is any kind of appropriate equivalence to be drawn between steroids and a player’s induction and molestation and a writer’s exclusion is just too difficult to get my brain around. I will argue about almost anything if given the chance, but I can’t, at the moment anyway, make those kinds of analogies with anything approaching gusto.

Some are, though. And that’s fine. My issues with this are my issues with it. I’m a father and I’m not objective so I don’t trust myself to bring anything approaching reason to bear on the matter.  The best I can say is that, rather than anyone rethinking the character clause for future Hall of Fame inductees, the Conlin stuff is more likely to make the BBWAA and the Hall of Fame look for ways to drum people out after they are inducted or honored, as the case may be.

I have no faith, however, that whatever happens will be well-considered. This kind of stuff inspires the exact opposite of reason in people. And that, in turn, inspires rash and ill-considered acts.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Monday’s action

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 21: Starter Corey Kluber #28 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field on September 21, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Indians, leading by one game over the Tigers, can clinch the AL Central on Monday night and they’ll have their best starter going for them in Corey Kluber. Kluber will match up against the Tigers’ Buck Farmer in a 7:10 PM EST start at Comerica Park.

Kluber won the American League Cy Young Award in 2014, going 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA, but regressed last season, finishing with a league-worst total of 16 losses and a 3.49 ERA. Thankfully for the Indians, he bounced back in 2016. He’ll enter tonight’s start with an 18-9 record, a 3.11 ERA, and a 224/56 K/BB ratio in 211 innings. Among qualified starters in the AL, Kluber is fourth-best in ERA behind Michael Fulmer, Masahiro Tanaka, and Rick Porcello.

Kluber’s best case for the Cy Young is a Sabermetric one. Though his record is good, Porcello shares his 3.11 ERA but with a 22-4 record. Kluber, however, has the best Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) in the league at 3.11. FIP, for the uninitiated, is a “retrodictor.” In other words, it attempts to figure out what a pitcher’s ERA should have been if defense weren’t a factor. Kluber shines with a 26.6 percent strikeout rate that ranks as the fourth best in the league and a 6.7 percent walk rate that is the 17th-lowest. xFIP is like FIP but it assumes a home run rate close to the league average (about 10 percent as a percentage of fly balls). Kluber falls back to fifth in the league at 3.46 here, but the only players above him have much worse real results. So, even xFIP bolsters Kluber’s case for the Cy Young Award.

If Kluber is able to help the Indians beat the Tigers on Monday night, the club will have won a division title for the first time since 2007. That was when the club was led by CC Sabathia, then all of 26 years old. It’s been a long time coming for the Indians.

The rest of Monday’s action…

Arizona Diamondbacks (Archie Bradley) @ Washington Nationals (Tanner Roark), 7:05 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl), 7:05 PM EDT

New York Yankees (Luis Severino) @ Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ), 7:07 PM EDT

New York Mets (Bartolo Colon) @ Miami Marlins (Adam Conley), 7:10 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Matt Garza) @ Texas Rangers (Martin Perez), 8:05 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma) @ Houston Astros (Collin McHugh), 8:10 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays (Drew Smyly) @ Chicago White Sox (James Shields), 8:10 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Tim Adleman) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Jaime Garcia), 8:15 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Sean Manaea) @ Los Angeles Angels (Jered Weaver), 10:05 PM EDT

Officials: Speed, impact likely killed Jose Fernandez

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 03: Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins looks on during a game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on August 3, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Some details have been released in connection with the investigation into the boat crash which killed Jose Fernandez.

Lorenzo Veloz, an official with the Florida Wildlife Commission, told USA Today that the boat carrying Jose Fernandez and two others was traveling at a high rate of speed when it struck rocks as it approached a channel near the port of Miami. While autopsy results have not yet been released, it is likely that trauma from the crash, and not drowning, is what killed the boat’s passengers. Veloz said it did not appear that Fernandez was driving and that, while it was a boat he used often, it did not belong to him. Rather, it belonged to one of the other men killed in the crash.

Veloz said neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to have been a factor in the crash. Toxicology results will take some time, however.

It is estimated that the boat was traveling at full speed, between 55 and 65 miles per hour, when it hit rocks and capsized.