Nah, there’s nothing wrong with the Hall of Fame voting process

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Except for the fact that three writers — not one, not two but three writers — from something called “GolfersWest.com” have Hall of Fame votes. And justify votes for some guys by saying things like “[a]dmitted bias here, as I covered [player] for his entire career …”

But fine, the GolfersWest.com did cover baseball for a long time and their ballots are not awful or anything. But gee whiz this is a bit much:

As for bias, that part is correct. We have the responsibility as to who gets in, so that gives us a natural bias toward doing it correctly. We stand by the door like a nightclub bouncer behind the velvet rope. We check IDs. We check authenticity. We compare those already in to those standing on the doorstep. For better or worse, we are to ones who approve the credentials. Yea or nay. That job has been entrusted to us and our bias tends to bend toward merit, not whim.

Today Joe Sheehan — whose newsletter is fabulous and to which you should subscribe — said the following:

This is the year, I would say, that the Hall of Fame voting ceased to be about the players and became, wholly, about the writers.

I’ve seen nothing to dissuade me of that notion.

There are probably a dozen dudes on the ballot this year who far exceed historical precedent for induction. If the patterns shown among publicly-released ballots so far, absolutely none are getting in.  All because a bunch of writers who, once upon a time, covered baseball for a living have decided that they are neither reporters nor historians nor analysts, but bouncers at Studio 54.  Just fabulous.

Pirates looking for outside outfield help

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates GM Neal Huntington is looking for outside outfield help in the wake of Starling Marte‘s 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. With Marte out of the picture, the club moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field and have played Adam Frazier, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna in right field. But, as Brink points out, Osuna and Jaso — neither an outfielder by trade — misplayed balls over the weekend against the Yankees.

Among available free agents, the pickings are slim. There’s Coco Crisp, Jeff Francoeur, Cole Gillespie, Kelly Johnson, and Nolan Reimold (who is currently in independent baseball). The Pirates may have to find themselves a trade partner. They could also try to talk Angel Pagan back into action, as the veteran outfielder recently said he’s taking the year off. The Pirates could also look at Leonys Martin, who was recently designated for assignment by the Mariners.

Matt Barnes ejected after throwing at Manny Machado’s head

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On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.

For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”

Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.

MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”

Update: Pedroia even apologized to Machado and the Orioles, per Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.

Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.

The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.