Great Moments in Not Understanding The Rules

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Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a Hall of Fame voter. In the past he has voted for players who used PEDs, but he’s never been totally happy with it, seeing the whole PED mess as a dilemma for voters.

On the one hand he doesn’t like voting for users and doesn’t like harming those who were clean by shifting votes away from them, but on the other hand, he doesn’t want to pretend history didn’t happen and that baseball hasn’t been filled with cheaters forever. What to do?

This year he decided to abstain altogether. A fair and noble act if one is as conflicted as Livingston happens to be. Except . . . he didn’t actually abstain:

Major league baseball will confer bronzed immortality on a few players Wednesday when the results of the national baseball writers’ balloting for the Hall of Fame will be announced.

I had a 2017 ballot. I returned it signed, but blank, with an explanatory note.

A blank ballot, signed and submitted, is not an abstention. It’s counted as a vote for no one. Each “no” vote increases the denominator in the calculation of whether or not a candidate has received 75% of the vote and has gained induction. An abstention, however, would not. So, in effect, Livingston has voted against all of the players on the ballot, both PED-tainted and clean, even though it appears that that was not his intention.

This is the second time in three years a Cleveland writer has had . . . issues with his Hall of Fame ballot. In the 2014-15 voting period, Paul Hoynes simply lost his ballot. Now Livingston misunderstood how to abstain.

I worry quite often that Ohio is gonna mess up a major election. I guess I’m just worrying about the wrong election.

Mets sign Vance Worley and Scott Copeland

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The Mets have signed pitchers Vance Worley and Scott Copeland minor league deals.

Worley had signed with the Reds in January but was cut by Cincinnati after failing to impress in spring training. That comes on the heels of a disastrous 2017 in which he pitched in 24 games for the Marlins, 12 as a starter, and posted an ugly 6.91 ERA, giving up 99 hits in 71.2 innings. He was much better in 2016 with the Orioles, in which he had a 3.53 ERA with a much lower hit rate in 31 relief appearances and four starts. As is so often the case, when a guy has some good year, as Worley has, he’ll get two or three or sometimes more chances to show he’s truly cooked. Worley will now try to make the most of it, most likely at Los Vegas.

Copeland with the Marlins last year too, though he spent all year at Triple-A. Copeland hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2015, when he posted a 6.46 ERA in 15.1 innings with the Blue Jays.

Viva organizational depth.