There were 573 ballots returned to the Hall of Fame this year. Nine of them came in blank.
Blank ballots vex me. If they are genuine assessments that no one — not one single candidate — on the ballot is worthy, they strike me as evidence of a voter whose standards are unreasonably high and who is possessed of a basic failure of performance assessment and a general lack of understanding of baseball history. Whether you’re small-hall, big-hall, anti-PED or PED-apathetic, there has to be at least one candidate who appeals to you, right? I mean, Javy Lopez got a vote.
If, on the other hand, a blank ballot is a protest of some kind, such a thing strikes me as evidence that the voter in question is not worthy of his ballot. You’re a writer: protest in your column. You’re tasked with voting for the Hall of Fame: take your task seriously.
I would like to see voters have reveal and/or explain their ballots publicly in some way. I would truly like to hear why someone honestly believes that a blank ballot is justified. Because to me it makes no sense.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.