Cooperstown

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?

Ichiro was happy to see Pete Rose get defensive about his hits record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Miami Marlins warms-up during batting practice before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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You’ll recall the little controversy last month when Ichiro Suzuki passed Pete Rose’s hit total. Specifically, when Ichiro’s Japanese and American hit total reached Rose’s American total of 4,256 and a lot of people talked about Ichiro being the new “Hit King.” You’ll also recall that Rose himself got snippy about it, wondering if people would now think of him as “the Hit Queen,” which he took to be disrespect.

There’s a profile of Ichiro over at ESPN the Magazine and reporter Marly Rivera asked Ichiro about that. Ichiro’s comments were interesting and quite insightful about how ego and public perception work in the United States:

I was actually happy to see the Hit King get defensive. I kind of felt I was accepted. I heard that about five years ago Pete Rose did an interview, and he said that he wished that I could break that record. Obviously, this time around it was a different vibe. In the 16 years that I have been here, what I’ve noticed is that in America, when people feel like a person is below them, not just in numbers but in general, they will kind of talk you up. But then when you get up to the same level or maybe even higher, they get in attack mode; they are maybe not as supportive. I kind of felt that this time.

There’s a hell of a lot of truth to that. Whatever professional environment you’re in, you’ll see this play out. If you want to know how you’re doing, look at who your enemies and critics are. If they’re senior to you or better-established in your field, you’re probably doing something right. And they’re probably pretty insecure and maybe even a little afraid of you.

The rest of the article is well worth your time. Ichiro seems like a fascinating, insightful and intelligent dude.

There will be no criminal charges arising out of Curt Schilling’s video game debacle

Curt Schilling
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In 2012 Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios, delivered the fantasy role-playing game it had spent millions of dollars and countless man hours trying to deliver. And then the company folded, leaving both its employees and Rhode Island taxpayers, who underwrote much of the company’s operations via $75 million in loans, holding the bag.

The fallout to 38 Studios’ demise was more than what you see in your average business debacle. Rhode Island accused Schilling and his company of acts tantamount to fraud, claiming that it accepted tax dollars while withholding information about the true state of the company’s finances. Former employees, meanwhile, claimed — quite credibly, according to reports of the matter — that they too were lured to Rhode Island believing that their jobs were far more secure than they were. Many found themselves in extreme states of crisis when Schilling abruptly closed the company’s doors. For his part, Schilling has assailed Rhode Island politicians for using him as a scapegoat and a political punching bag in order to distract the public from their own misdeeds. There seems to be truth to everyone’s claims to some degree.

As a result of all of this, there have been several investigations and lawsuits into 38 Studios’ collapse. In 2012 the feds investigated the company and declined to bring charges. There is currently a civil lawsuit afoot and, alongside it, the State of Rhode Island has investigated for four years to see if anyone could be charged with a crime. Today there was an unexpected press conference in which it was revealed that, no, no one associated with 38 Studios will be charged with anything:

An eight-page explanation of the decision concluded by saying that “the quantity and qualify of the evidence of any criminal activity fell short of what would be necessary to prove any allegation beyond a reasonable doubt and as such the Rules of Professional Conduct precluded even offering a criminal charge for grand jury consideration.”

Schilling will likely crow about this on his various social media platforms, claiming it totally vindicates him. But, as he is a close watcher of any and all events related to Hillary Clinton, he no doubt knows that a long investigation resulting in a declination to file charges due to lack of evidence is not the same thing as a vindication. Bad judgment and poor management are still bad things, even if they’re not criminal matters.

Someone let me know if Schilling’s head explodes if and when someone points that out to him.