Craig Calcaterra

It appears Curt Schilling’s politics are costing him Hall of Fame votes

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Last year Curt Schilling claimed that he wasn’t getting the same support for the Hall of Fame as John Smoltz because he was a Republican and Smoltz was a Democrat. That was kind of crazy, not least of why because Smoltz is not a Democrat. Either way, it seemed like Schilling was acting paranoid or deluded or playing the victim or some combination of the three.

Whatever was the case last year, however, this year it seems like Schilling is, in fact, losing votes because of his political views and/or public statements. At least that’s the argument Will Leitch, with an assist from the Hall of Fame vote tracking expertise of Ryan Thibodaux, is making. Or, if he’s not actually losing votes, he’s not gaining them at the same rate as everyone else. It’s an interesting analysis.

A couple of takeaways:

If Schilling is indeed losing votes, it doesn’t validate what he said last year about being a Republican. There had not been that much focus on Schilling’s social media habits before this past year, making those comments — and not his status as a Republican — the factor which has caused the damage. Also: being a Republican and holding the views Schilling appears to hold based on his social media posts are not the same thing. Also: there are LOTS of Republican baseball players. A distinct majority, I’d guess. If Schilling’s politics have cost him votes, it’s specific things he’s endorsed and statements he’s made, not his status as a member of the Republican party that has cost him.

A more important takeaway: Schilling should not be losing votes for ANYTHING he says. There is no reason whatsoever for Hall of Fame voters to judge Schilling’s candidacy on his statements or his actions which took place after he stopped throwing baseballs for a living. The character clause is dumb when it comes to PEDs. If the anti-Schilling voters are using it as a justification for not throwing support his way, it’s even dumber.

Of course, it’s possible that they’re not even going through the mental motions of applying the character clause to Schilling but, rather, are just not voting for him because they don’t like him or what he says. That would probably be the dumbest thing of all, even if it’s not unprecedented. Schilling may be the best player to have this happen to him, though. No matter what his vote totals have been the past few years and no matter what is happening to them now, he is clearly deserving of a Hall of Fame plaque.

Happy Hall of Fame week, everyone!

Gee, I wonder if Dexter Fowler is talking to the San Francisco Giants?

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Dexter Fowler, who turns 30 in March, hit .250/.346/.411 with 17 home runs, 46 RBI, and 20 stolen bases in 690 regular season plate appearances for the Cubs in 2015. He performed well in the playoffs, hitting two doubles and two homers in 39 trips to the plate.

The San Francisco Giants are in need of an outfielder. Preferably one who can play center field given Angel Pagan‘s recent ineffectiveness and fragility.

Hmm . . . if only those two parties could get together and talk things out . . .

I wonder how he was able to get center court, courtside tickets to the best team in basketball last night. How fortunate that his financial advisor got a ticket next to him. I wonder what they talked about last night and what they have planed in the Bay Area today?

If you’re going to the Hall of Fame press conference on Thursday, dress appropriately

7th November 1956:  Leonard Barratt takes the measurements of a customer to be fitted with a bulletproof waistcoat in his second floor office of the Wilkenson's Sword Company in Pall Mall, London  (Photo by Harry Kerr/BIPs/Getty Images)
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The Hall of Fame has arbitrarily reduced the amount of time candidates can be on the ballot, has refused the request of the BBWAA to increase the 10-vote limit and continued to include the so-called “character clause” on ballots while providing no guidance to voters what it actually means.

Now, just when you think the Hall of Fame couldn’t be sillier and more priggish than it is, it issues a press release to reporters demanding that they adhere to a dress code for Thursday’s post-election press conference:

UPDATE: The dress code is apparently from the New York Athletic Club, where the press conference will be held. You can read it in its entirety here.

I’ve spent a lot of time poking fun at journalists over the years, but I will say that I have never once seen one dress inappropriately for a professional function. They aren’t always the sharpest bunch in the world — pleated Dockers and gleaming white New Balances can generally only be pulled off by aging basketball coaches — but they don’t show up to press conferences in culottes and bare midriffs and stuff. Thank GOD they don’t.

Also: who uses the word “slacks” anymore? I mean besides my mom.

Oh well. Hall of Fame is gonna Hall of Fame. They don’t trust baseball writers to vote for worthy players so they insist upon silly rules. They don’t trust them to be professionally competent in a professional setting so they issue a silly and unnecessary dress code. I suppose the sun will still come up tomorrow.

Still, I’d like to see someone challenge it. Perhaps a well-respected member of the media. Perhaps someone whose character and credentials are unimpeachable in the assessment of the Hall of Fame. Someone who could show up at the press conference in whatever the heck he wanted to wear and force the Hall of Fame back down. Who could it be . . . ?

Palmer

It’s on, Class of 1990-style.