Rick Morrissey knows a non-roider when he sees one

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Stellar Hall of Fame reasoning from Rick Morrissey of the Sun-Times:

Dawson, who played 11 years with Montreal and six with the Cubs, was
wiry strong his entire career. He looks very much the same today–the
same ridiculously skinny waist holding up the same solid upper body. He
had one season that popped out–49 home runs and 137 runs batted in to
win the 1987 most valuable player award while a Cub–but never put
together a string of seasons with outrageous power numbers.

I love this. With some players — usually players the writer doesn’t like all that much — we’re told we’re supposed to be skeptical of fluke seasons.  Big spike in his home run total?  ‘Roider!!  Now,
however, when there’s a player the writer likes, we’re supposed to be skeptical
only of sustained power numbers and let the flukes lie. This is nonsense.

Look, I’m not accusing Andre Dawson of taking steroids. I don’t get
in the business of accusing anyone of doing steroids unless and until
there is actual evidence out there. So even if there were whispers about Dawson — which there are not, and to be honest, I highly doubt he ever touched the stuff — I’d ignore them unless and until someone actually put some evidence on the table.

But the point is, Morrissey doesn’t know that Andre Dawson didn’t do steroids, just like he doesn’t know all of the players who have taken PEDs.  There could be a steroid user in the Hall of Fame as we speak. We could elect one next year.  We have, and always will have, imperfect information on the subject, and in my mind, that renders the “well, he never did steroids” argument to support someone’s Hall of Fame candidacy ridiculous. Don’t presume guilt. Don’t presume innocence. Don’t presume at all. Punish the confirmed users if you wish, and stop speculating one way or the other about the personal use (or not) for those for whom we do not have the information. How hard is that?

Not that Morrisey cares about reason or fairness, as evidenced by the sense of dictatorial entitlement with which he views his Hall of Fame vote:

The civil libertarians might argue that without hard proof of
steroid abuse, those players should be allowed into the Hall of Fame.
But that’s the great thing about the Hall: You vote your conscience,
not the preponderance of evidence. And in the public square, we all get to be judge, jury and unfeeling despot. Somebody hand me my riding crop.

If you think this “I know better than the evidence” attitude is limited to steroids, you’re dreaming.  Morrissey and like-minded voters simply know a Hall of Famer when they see one. QED. 

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.