No, you don’t re-vote the MVP award in light of Ryan Braun’s positive test

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You figured someone would say this. That someone is Fox’s Jon Paul Morosi, who makes the argument that the BBWAA should be allowed to re-vote the NL MVP award if Ryan Braun’s positive test for testosterone is upheld on appeal.

At the outset, it’s worth noting that the BBWAA has no intention whatsoever of doing this. It’s not the official position of the organization. It’s simply Morosi’s personal view. So let’s take a look at that view.

The leading premise — really the only premise — of the argument is that he doesn’t want the sports writers to feel like schmucks:

The BBWAA awards — MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year — are the most significant individual honors in North American professional sports. They have more permanence, and inspire greater debates, than similar honors in the NFL, NBA and NHL. And the voters should be able to say their process was just. Ultimately, it is up to us — the writers. They are our awards. We vote on them. We present them to the players. We have license to determine the procedure by which winners are determined.

He basically says “oh those poor sportswriters who didn’t know Braun may have been taking banned substances deserve another chance.”  But he acknowledges that the positive test allegedly came after the season was over and the voting was all done, so how exactly were the writers hoodwinked?

Morosi goes on to note that the BBWAA didn’t go back and change the votes for when Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and others won postseason awards. The distinction: that was a long time ago and the voting for Braun was recent. It’s unclear what the cutoff is supposed to be. A year? Three years? When the writers stop feeling hurt? I think that might be it, actually.

Morosi is allowed to feel however he feels about this. But it’s pretty clear that this is about just that — feeling — and not about some objective idea of justice and propriety when it comes to postseason awards. This is about throwing out all of the presents your boyfriend bought you two days after the breakup.

And because of that it’s just the latest reason why I’m coming around to the idea that the sportswriters shouldn’t be in the business of handing out these awards in the first place. There’s too much narrative and emotion read into it. And it really doesn’t have a place.

Ryan Braun was the NL MVP. It happened and it’s history and if it came at a time when he was using banned substances, then that’s part of the history too. The sports writers should then do what they do best: place that history in context and tell the stories to readers.  Not act like this has anything to do with them.

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.