This one from Howard Bryant of ESPN:
As it turned out, I sent my 2013 Hall of Fame ballot in blank. This wasn’t science. It wasn’t a clever attack in the three-front culture war among the players, the SABR s and the BBWAAs. It wasn’t a protest, either. It was just one voter’s inability to reach a comfortable verdict on a colossal mess that for years no one wanted to take responsibility for and that isn’t going to get any less complicated as time goes on.
No, Howard, it was you being a drama queen.
Bryant has kind words for Fred McGriff and Jack Morris later in his column. Two guys who, depending on how close the vote is, may not make Cooperstown because of the handful of voters who, like Bryant, submit blank ballots.
But at least Bryant is relieved from having to participate in what he calls “a joyless and sour” process. Bravo.
Anyway, this is all that needs to really be said about blank ballots.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: