Mark Buehrle hoped that Michael Vick would get injured, but MLB.com doesn’t want you to know that

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Weird stuff afoot over at MLB.com.

Yesterday afternoon a story by Scott Merkin appeared featuring Mark Buehrle and focusing on his passion for animal rights.  Not surprisingly, the subject of Michael Vick came up.  When the story first went up, the following quote was in it:

“He had a great year and a great comeback, but there were times where we watched the game and I know it’s bad to say, but there were times where we hope he gets hurt,” Mark Buehrle said. “Everything you’ve done to these dogs, something bad needs to happen to these guys.”

I read it when it was published. And Merkin teased the story on Twitter with that exact quote.  But if you go there and read it now, the quote about hoping Vick gets hurt is gone.

I can think of three reasons why the quote might have been excised: (1) it was a total misquote by Merkin; (2) it was supposed to be an off-the-record quote that Merkin mistakenly put on-the-record; or (3) Mark Buehrle, the White Sox, Major League Baseball or someone else complained about it being in there because it made Buehrle look bad and asked that it be removed.*

The first two reasons are defensible (though I would hope for some note of the correction in the piece itself).  Unless I’m simply missing something — and since I am not a trained journalist I admit that I may be — the third reason is not acceptable. Rather, it would tend to put lie to the disclaimer that appears at the end of every MLB.com story: “This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.”

When MLB.com launched I was initially skeptical and believed that we’d get a lot of propaganda pieces.  I have been so happy over the past few years to realize I was totally wrong about that.  The MLB.com folks do a great job for the most part, and I think their beat writers are on par — and often better — than their newspaper counterparts.

But this one troubles me a bit.  I hope there’s an innocuous explanation for it.  I’ll say this much, though:  Merkin is a good writer and reporter and I have a hard time featuring him misquoting a guy in a major fashion.

*It’s beyond the subject of this post, but I question whether the quote makes Buehrle look bad.  Sure, it’s bad form to ever wish injury on someone, but as an animal lover you have to believe that it’s Buehrle’s honest opinion. And I’m guessing he’s not alone in that opinion.

Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay lead newcomers on the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot

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The Baseball Hall of Fame has released its ballot for 2019.

The newcomers to the ballot, two of whom I presume will be first-ballot inductees, include Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay:

  • Roy Halladay
  • Todd Helton
  • Andy Pettitte
  • Mariano Rivera
  • Rick Ankiel
  • Jason Bay
  • Lance Berkman
  • Freddy Garcia
  • Jon Garland
  • Travis Hafner
  • Ted Lilly
  • Derek Lowe
  • Darren Oliver
  • Roy Oswalt
  • Juan Pierre
  • Placido Polanco
  • Miguel Tejada
  • Vernon Wells
  • Kevin Youkilis
  • Michael Young

Given his PED associations — and the writers’ curious soft touch about them when it comes to him vs. other players who got caught up in that stuff — Pettite will be an interesting case which we will, without question, be talking about more between now and the end of January. There will be more than mere novelty votes thrown at Helton, Berkman, Tejada, Youkilis and Young, but I don’t suspect they’ll make it or even come particularly close. Everyone else will either be one-and-done or receive negligible or even non-existent support.

The holdovers from last year’s ballot, with vote percentage from 2018:

Edgar Martinez (70.4%)
Mike Mussina (63.5%)
Roger Clemens (57.3%)
Barry Bonds (56.4%)
Curt Schilling (51.2%)
Omar Vizquel (37.0%)
Larry Walker (34.1%)
Fred McGriff (23.2%)
Manny Ramirez (22.0%)
Jeff Kent (14.5%)
Gary Sheffield (11.1%)
Billy Wagner (11.1%)
Scott Rolen (10.2%)
Sammy Sosa (7.8%)
Andruw Jones (7.3%)

This is Edgar Martinez’s last year on the ballot. He’s so close to the 75% threshold that one hopes — and suspects — that he’ll get over the line in 2019, especially given that four guys were cleared off the ballot last year. It should be a move-ahead year for Mike Mussina too, who has suffered from criminally low support given his numbers and the era in which they came. That Jack Morris is now in should further strengthen his case given that he was a far, far better pitcher than Morris.

The rest of the candidates all either have long-discussed PED-associations that should prevent them from getting the required support, were too far out in vote totals last year to expect them to spring to 75% support in a single ballot or are Curt Schilling, who basically everyone hates.

Results of the voting will be revealed on January 22nd and, of course, we’ll be talking at length about this year’s ballot over the next two months. At the outset, though, I’ll go with a gut prediction: Rivera, Halladay, Martinez and Mussina will be inducted.

Your predictions start now.