And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 10, Rays 6: Time to re-bookmark Matt Wieters Facts. The Chosen One’s grand slam in the 10th gives the O’s their 17th straight extra innings win.

Diamondbacks 6, Yankees 2: Frankie Cervelli hit a homer to tie it in the ninth. He also had two — not one, but two — catcher’s interference calls. Don’t see that everyday. Oh, and the AP game story spends a lot of time talking about how a guy named Zack Hample caught two homers in the game. It’s the same Zack Hample who has written a book and filmed videos about snagging baseballs at ballparks. He’s a professional ball hound or whatever.  Which makes this passage funny:

Even though he lives in Manhattan, Hample was wearing a Diamondbacks cap because he’s been a fan of Bell’s since 2004.

“Zack’s crazy. I know Zack from when I was a rookie with the Mets,” Bell said. “He probably was a Padres fan when I was a Padre, a Marlins fan when I was a Marlin.”

If you’ve seen his videos and things you actually know that he wears the cap of whatever team he happens to be visiting because he believes players on the field and in bullpens are more likely to give him a ball if he’s a local fan. But whatever.

Mariners 2, Tigers 0: Of course a Mariners offense that is struggling to score runs gets two off Justin Verlander, who otherwise struck out 12. Meanwhile, Hisashi Iwakuma and two Mariners relievers handcuffed the Tigers on getaway day.

Brewers 7, Giants 2: Yovani Gallardo hit a homer and gave up only one run over six innings. I’m guessing some Brewers blog somewhere will call this “redemption” or something. If they do, I highly suggest you not read that Brewers blog anymore.

Cubs 6, Rangers 2: Everyone I know who lives in Chicago said it was biblical-level rain there yesterday so I have no idea how they got this one in. Anthony Rizzo hit one 475 feet. Alfonso Soriano notched his first homer and RBI of the year.

Red Sox 6, Indians 3: Six in a row for Boston. More great pitching too: John Lester gave up two runs on four hits in seven.

Rockies 11, Mets 3: The Mets finally get the hell out of Colorado, and not a moment too soon. It was 28 degrees in Denver yesterday. Snow outs in Minnesota than a couple snow outs in Denver along with cold games. I don’t think anyone has ever been as happy to see Queens as the Mets likely were when they got home last night.

Cardinals 4, Phillies 3: Carlos Beltran with the go-ahead homer in the eighth. Yadier Molina was 3 for 4 with 2 RBI. Adam Wainwright has now pitched 29 innings without walking a batter. Cole Hamels, meanwhile, hasn’t won a game yet this year. I guess you want him to emulate Cliff Lee in some ways, but maybe not in this way.

Blue Jays 3, White Sox 1: R.A. Dickey had to leave early with neck and back tightness but he pitched well while he was in and got the win anyway. Dickey is around my age and I get neck and back tightness for no reason sometimes. I wonder if he makes big, exaggerated noises when he stands up and sits down and if he gets unexplained ear hair and stuff like I do too.

Braves 6, Pirates 4: Evan Gattis had a two-run pinch hit homer in the eighth. Both Uptons and Chris Johnson homered too. If the Braves were in New York columnists would be wringing their hands and wondering if the Braves hit too many homers as if that were actually a thing someone should ever worry about. For my part, I get blacked out of Pirates games here in Ohio so I couldn’t watch it. Thankfully, though, there’s a useful Twitter feed to follow in such situations.

Reds 11, Marlins 1: Shin-Soo Choo singled, doubled and scored twice, helping Tony Cingrani win his first big league start. Here’s hoping he keeps up the momentum for next time so he can get his first win over a big league opponent.

Joe Morgan is asking Hall of Fame voters to keep PED users out

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Hall of Famer Joe Morgan has never equivocated on his belief that users of performance enhancing drugs should not be allowed into the Hall of Fame. Whenever he has been interviewed on the subject he has been steadfast in his stance that PED users are not worthy of induction.

This week he has taken a further step: he has sent a letter to all of the Hall of Fame voters, asking them to keep PED users out.

In his letter — the entirety of which you can read over at Joe Posnanski’s blog — Morgan says “if steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.” By “we,” he’s clearly referring to Hall of Fame members. While he does not name any player he would like to see voters keep out, he spends a lot of time talking about how PEDs are bad for baseball, PED users cheated the game and how he and many other Hall of Famers do not want to see them elected. He invokes “youngsters” and refers to the Hall of Fame as “special” and speaks to the “sanctity” of election. It’s the moral argument against PED use we’ve been hearing for a good 15 years or so.

It’s also hopelessly naive and comes far too late in the game to be a useful plea.

As we’ve noted many, many times, there are already PED users in the Hall of Fame. Amphetamine users to be sure, but even if you want to give them a pass, there are steroid and/or HGH users too. In case you forgot about that, allow me to remind you about the time Hall of Fame voter Thomas Boswell appeared in Ken Burns’ “Baseball” documentary update “The Tenth Inning” and explicitly said that he personally witnessed a current Hall of Famer drink a PED-laden shake:

“There was another player now in the Hall of Fame who literally stood with me and mixed something and I said “What’s that?” and he said “it’s a Jose Canseco milkshake”. And that year that Hall of Famer hit more home runs than ever hit any other year. So it wasn’t just Canseco, and so one of the reasons that I thought that it was an important subject was that it was spreading. It was already spreading by 1988.”

Boswell tends to keep pretty silent about that come Hall of Fame voting time in December, but he has never backed off the claim either.

Less reliable, but still never refuted, were the stories of Patty Blyleven, former wife of Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven, who said that she knows of a Hall of Famer who took PEDs as well, and who continues to nonetheless publicly rail against PED use. There are likewise other Hall of Famers of whom baseball writers are strongly convinced — or know for a fact — took PEDs but about whom they’ve never reported because no one would go on the record about it or corroborate it in a way that satisfies prevailing journalistic standards. Go ask a BBWAA member about why it took Jeff Bagwell so long to get into the Hall of Fame. Or simply go back and read what they said about him a few years ago.

Going beyond those cases are the cases of a host of players — players who have been on the ballot for years —  about which we’ll never, ever know. Do we know for sure that any of the guys currently on the ballot who played before drug testing never took PEDs? Of course not. In light of that all Morgan can ask is for voters to keep players of an entire era out. Which is a completely unreasonable and unfair request.

In the absence of guidance from the Hall of Fame or Major League Baseball, BBWAA voters were somewhat inconsistent with alleged PED users for a time, but they’re beginning to coalesce around a set of rough standards:

  • If you tested positive for PEDs or were disciplined for PEDs after the testing program was fully online like Manny Ramirez and Rafael Palmeiro did, you’re not getting in. Figure Alex Rodriguez will fall in this group one day too;
  • If you were strongly and convincingly associated with PEDs in the pre-testing era like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the road you have to go down is going to be pretty bumpy, but you may, possibly, get in one day if you were an overwhelmingly great player;
  • If you were seen as one-dimensional like Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa and either admitted to PED use or were suspected of it, welp, sorry. We’ll leave why Sosa is suspected of it to another post.

All of this is will likely change slightly over time. Bonds and Clemens have recently gotten over the 50% voting threshold and could gain some steam with the voters. Alex Rodriguez was good enough and his post-career image rehabilitation has been such that he may get more support than most post-testing PED guys one day. Maybe McGwire and Sosa will get new looks down the road by some iteration of the Veteran’s Committee. After that, there aren’t a lot of guys who are seriously in the Hall of Fame discussion with credible PED claims against them.

Which is to say that history is sorting itself out, for better or for worse. Sorting itself out in a way that renders Morgan’s views on the matter — whether you consider them well-founded or otherwise — too little, too late and, given what we know and do not know about PED users, rather useless.