Three more Hall voters accuse Jeff Bagwell of being a juicer

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Via The Platoon Advantage, we come across three more Hall of Fame voters, all from Chicago, who have determined based on either (a) nothing; or (b) rumor or information that they posses but don’t feel is up to the standards of being published in a piece of ethical journalism,* that Jeff Bagwell did steroids and thus isn’t worthy of the Hall of Fame. They are Philip Hersh and Paul Sullivan of the  Chicago Tribune and Scot Gregor of the Daily Herald.

Hersh says “I’m still too suspicious about Jeff Bagwell to include him.”  Sullivan lumps Bagwell in with the “unindicted but suspected contributors to the PED mess.”  Gregor says “[s]uspicions of using “performance enhancing drugs” weigh heavily on my decision to leave off productive players such as Bagwell, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez.”

Hey, their ballots. They can use ’em how they want to. I just hope for their sake no one judges their careers’ worth in such a fashion, because it’s totally harsh and unfair and I’d hate for them to have to go through that.

Anyway, if that makes you feel all icky, go read Posnanski’s take on such Hall of Fame votes in historical context. I think he hits it on the head when he talks about how these guys see themselves as something more than mere assessors of baseball performance and something more like gatekeepers with an inflated sense of their place in the process.

But hey, at least they’re keeping us and history all safe from, well, something.

 

*Hopefully this point is not considered controversial. Because it’s nothing more than simple logic. By definition, people either have actual information establishing that Bagwell did steroids or they do not.  If they do have it, they have not published it. And given how newsworthy such information would be, the only plausible reason they haven’t published it is because their newspapers would not allow them to do it because the information is thin and/or uncorroborated. So: such a stance as the one shown by these gentleman is necessarily either one taken with no information or with information that falls short of the standards to which they usually adhere in their daily work.

Astros greeted with boos in first spring training game

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The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.

Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.

There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.

That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.

The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.

One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.

Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.

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