Your first blank Hall of Fame protest ballot of the year

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Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for this self-righteous, grandstanding attention whore:

My ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame 2013 election is in the mail. It’s dutifully signed, has my Baseball Writers’ Association of America badge number recorded, all official. What it does not have is a vote for a single player … I am choosing to speak loudly by using silence … …I don’t know what I’ll do next year, but I’m fairly sure I won’t send in a blank ballot. This one-year protest should make my point.

That’s Mark Faller of the Arizona Republic, by the way. The headline on his column is “Nobody deserves my Hall vote this year.”

But at least it’s “dutifully signed.”

Oy.

Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds

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As is offseason tradition, the first of player-shape reports are trickling in. These usually use some variation of the phrase “best shape of [my/his] life.” This one, though, avoids that at least.

According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds so far this offseason. Schwarber said that he’s “already big and strong,” so “might as well try to get more explosive, faster.”

Though Schwarber knocked out 30 home runs this past season, his numbers were otherwise pedestrian. He hit .211/.315/.467 with 59 RBI and 67 runs scored in 486 plate appearances.

There has been some speculation that the Cubs will try to trade Schwarber to an American League team where he can be a DH. He’s a subpar defender, so making him a full-time DH makes a lot of sense. So far, though, the only team that has been linked to Schwarber this offseason has been the Red Sox.