Some Hall voters juke and dodge, but sometimes dumb is just dumb

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We’ve reached the “Hall of Fame voters getting defensive” portion of the Hall of Fame season.

First, Pedro Gomez — a guy with a rich history of intellectual dishonesty and out-and-out idiocy when it comes to Hall of Fame voting — tells you that (a) he doesn’t have to tell you why he’s keeping a 3000-hit dude off his Hall of Fame ballot; and (b) tells you to take your complaints up with the Hall of Fame:

and

Given what he’s said about Jeff Bagwell in the past, I’m guessing Gomez suspects Biggio of PEDs but is unwilling to publicly comment about it. I mean, it can’t be standards themselves. He voted for Jay Bell once for the Hall of Fame. For real. Still, it’s awesome that a guy with a huge platform at a major sports network so stridently states that you’re not entitled to his rationale when it comes to his own news and history-making acts.

As for the second tweet, Gomez needs to appreciate the difference between people who have “a problem with Hall of Fame voting” in general and people who have a problem with his Hall of Fame votes specifically. The process may be flawed, but that’s a separate topic. The people he’s fighting with on Twitter today just think his vote is dumb. No matter what you do to the process there will be dumb votes. You’re not any more immunized from criticism for them based on an appeal to the Hall of Fame than a politician is from his acts in office based on an appeal to the Constitution. I mean, how would that even look?

President Obama: I have decided to issue an executive order declaring Nickleback the Official Rock Band of the United States of America.

People: THAT’S AWFUL!!!

Obama: Anyone with a problem with my Nickleback as America’s Band order should contact the the next-convened Constitutional convention. They’re the ones who made and set the rules.

In other BBWAA defensiveness, we have Joe Strauss, who deflects criticism of Hall of Fame voters with this old canard:

You got us, Joe. People don’t criticize Hall of Fame votes because they want to see players they believe to be worthy given the sport’s highest honor. It’s all jealousy. Totally. It’s exactly like how, when Congress passes a law I disagree with, I’m not objecting to policy, I’m just jealous I’m not a congressman. And when I look at the incarceration rates in this country and think they’re appalling, I am really saying that I wish I was a cop. And when I see the outcome of a game turn on a blown call, it’s actually all about me wishing I was an umpire. My dissatisfaction about the outcome and the idiocy that got us there is totally irrelevant.

Sure, the process may be messed up and the Hall of Fame and BBWAA should probably examine it. But this punting to that structural problem I’m seeing from Gomez, Strauss and others ignores the fact that it’s possible to call dumb Hall of Fame votes dumb without either (a) demanding change to the system; or (b) being jealous. Sometimes, they’re just dumb and criticism is warranted.

We’re allowed to still do that, right?

The Mets are a mess

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The Mets lost again on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 7-5 defeat at the hands of the Braves. It’s their sixth consecutive loss and the club is now in last place in the NL East. Not exactly the start the Mets envisioned.

Matt Harvey got the start, but lasted only 4 1/3 innings. He gave up six runs on five hits and five walks with only one strikeout. After the game, Harvey said he was tight and that he threw yesterday expecting to start on Friday instead, per Matt Ehalt of The Record. Sounds like no one communicated to Harvey that he’d be starting this afternoon until it was too late for him to properly prepare.

Harvey started because Noah Syndergaard was scratched due to a “tired arm.” Syndergaard blew reporters off after the game, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. Puma then added that Syndergaard ripped Mets P.R. guy Jay Horwitz for letting reporters approach him.

By the way, the Mets also lost outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a hamstring injury. Not much else can go wrong in Queens.

Joey Votto isn’t on board with the latest fly ball trend among hitters

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If you haven’t heard, fly balls — not ground balls or line drives — are all the rage among hitters these days. Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez summed it up perfectly last month when he said, “I’m not trying to hit a [freaking] line drive or a freaking ground ball.” The goal is to maximize damage. Last year, for example, fly balls became hits about 17 percent less often than ground balls (7.4% versus 24.6%), but hitters had a slugging percentage more than twice as much as on ground balls (.539 versus .267). This refocusing has helped hitters like Martinez as well as Ryan Zimmerman reinvigorate their careers.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who is as much a student of new age analytics as anyone in the game, doesn’t feel that this approach is necessarily a good one, as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto said:

Where I get concerned is the guys that make this attempt and burn out too much of their time and don’t get a chance to be their best selves, and either don’t make it to the big leagues or don’t perform their best in the big leagues because they’re always attempting this new style of hitting. I see it with a lot of guys. Everyone tells the good stories, but there’s a lot of s—ty stories of guys who are wasting their time trying things.

Votto added that while the fly ball approach is working right now, pitchers will soon adapt and the fly ball approach won’t be so good anymore. And he’s right. Baseball has always been a game of adjustments. For example, as teams have gotten comfortable with shifting their infield, hitters like the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber have both dropped bunts down the third base line for easy hits. Knowing that hitters are aiming to hit fly balls now, pitchers may stay higher in the strike zone more often as one possible solution.

Votto is just trying to stay as well-rounded as possible. He says that he wants to become “unpitchable.” Votto wants to be like Angels outfielder Mike Trout, whom he describes as a guy “who can do absolutely anything he wants” and “at all times [has] all options.”

So far, Votto is having another productive season despite a relatively pedestrian batting average and on-base percentage. He’s hitting .238/.330/.563 with seven home runs and 16 RBI in 94 plate appearances. Coincidentally, he’s been hitting way more fly balls than usual as he’s currently carrying a 42.3 percent rate compared to his 33.1 career average, according to FanGraphs. His line drives are way down to 16.9 percent compared to his 25.4 percent career average.