Great Moments in Hall of Fame Voting

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Pat Hickey from the Montreal Gazette goes over his Hall of Fame ballot. He notes that voting is a difficult and involved undertaking, and says “If you’re doing it right, it should take three to four hours to fill out a ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

Then, after noting that he’s not voting for the PED guys on character grounds, he says this:

Pete Rose was ignored by a majority of voters for the 15 years he was on the ballot …

Pete Rose has never appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot as he is banned from baseball and is thus ineligible pursuant to the Hall of Fame’s rules. Which inspires one to ask what the hell Hickey is doing in those 3-4 hours he studies his ballot.

Hickey goes on to say that “The black mark against [Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens] is their arrogance in denying any wrongdoing.”  This comes a couple sentences after he notes that Mark McGwire garnered only 19.5% of the vote in his sixth year of eligibility. Given McGwire’s lack of denials — indeed, the complete opposite of denials — something tells me that the black mark changes depending on the candidate.

This is not unique. Expect to see a plethora of incoherent things like this from Hall of Fame voters in the coming weeks.

 

Alex Bregman shows how easy it is to manufacture “controversy” in baseball

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In most sports it takes legitimate trash talk to create off-day “controversy.” In baseball, it takes the weakest sauce. We saw how weak that sauce was yesterday.

Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros are going to face off against Nate Eovaldi and the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS tonight. It’s worth noting that earlier this season, they hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off of Eovaldi when he was pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Yesterday, in an act which was likely somewhat inspired by self-motivation, somewhat inspired by getting in Eovaldi’s head and somewhat inspired by a simple interest in having fun, Bregman took the video of those back-to-back-to-back homers off of Eovaldi and posted it to his Instagram:

Of course, since this is baseball, where even farting off-key can be construed as “showing up” the opposition or somehow disrespecting the game, it became a thing. Or at least people tried to make it become a thing.

Indeed, it took them a bit to find someone who would help them make it a thing, because Eovaldi himself didn’t care about it a bit, nor did Astros manager A.J. Hinch or Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Eventually, however, they hit pay dirt. Here’s Sox infielder Steve Pearce talking to WEEI.com:

“Wow. I don’t know why he would do that. We do our talking on the field. If he wants to run his mouth now we’ll see who is talking at the end of the series.”

My guess is that almost no one on the planet, Steve Pearce included, would care about this in a vacuum or if they allowed themselves to think through it for more than a second. Baseball culture, though — and let’s be clear about it, baseball media culture — has conditioned most of its players and participants to think that stuff like this is supposed to be controversial, so it actually takes effort not to start dancing to this kind of tune on auto-pilot.

Kudos to Hinch, Cora and Eolvaldi for exerting that effort and not dancing to it. To the press that automatically sought out comment on this and Pearce who dutifully gave it: hey, I get it. It’s hard to resist one’s conditioning. Maybe you’ll be able to resist it next time.