“Why doesn’t anyone stump for Aaron to be booted out of Cooperstown?”

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Ken Davidoff, following up on his Hall of Fame ballot column from yesterday, brings the noise about why PED stuff shouldn’t matter when it comes to this sort of thing.  hitting the following bases:

  • Hank Aaron did greenies, so why aren’t people on his case about that?;
  • The fact that non-prescribed steroids are illegal should not be relevant to a Hall voter because (a) Hall voters aren’t lawyers; and (b) that logic would apply to greenies, cocaine and — though he doesn’t say it — alcohol in the 1920s too. It’s just not a workable reason to withhold a Hall vote now; and
  • More generally, people and the times in which they live are imperfect and there’s no way to be consistent or fair if we apply the standards of one era to the acts of those in another.

I imagine Davidoff will catch a lot of flak for this column, particularly when it comes to the Hank Aaron stuff.  But nothing he says in it is wrong, and I love the fact that he’s willing to ruffle some feathers on this stuff.

Rob Manfred blames Bryce Harper for going unsigned

Bryce Harper
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Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.

No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.

Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:

Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.

Manfred didn’t stop there, however.

An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?