MLB may not want A-Rod in the playoffs, but they’ll get over it

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I don’t know if the Yankees will close the 2.5 game gap between them and the playoffs, but they might. And if they do, Mike Lupica argues, the league will hate it:

Now it is September of 2013, what the Yankees hope will be a big September as they try to clinch a wild card or maybe still win the American League East from the Red Sox, whom they would play in three hours. And less than four years from A-Rod’s dream October, he has become Major League Baseball’s worst nightmare. There is only one player whom the people who run the sport don’t want to see playing baseball this October, and it is Alex Rodriguez . . .

I suppose there is a lot of truth to that. I also suppose that baseball will quite gladly accept the high TV rankings and generalized buzz that will flow from the Yankees — and A-Rod — making the playoffs.

And even if they hate it now, I would think that at least some forward thinkers at the league office will recognize that an A-Rod in the playoffs story will — while certainly causing a lot of controversy and hand-wringing — reveal that the sport is larger than the controversies which so many wish to have define it. That A-Rod’s foibles will not turn Yankees fans off of their team’s run. Nor will it kill non-Yankees fans interest in rooting against the Yankees. It will fuel it, actually, and while that may still be based on the ugly PED stuff, it’s always been good for baseball when folks root for and against the Yankees.

The sport has survived so many scoundrels and scandals. It is and will continue to survive this one. Anyone saying otherwise is ignorant of the game’s history and is misapprehending the seriousness — as opposed to the mere salaciousness — of A-Rod and the Biogenesis stuff.

Jones, Maddux, Morris consider Bonds, Clemens for Hall

USA TODAY Sports
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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Hall of Famers Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris and Ryne Sandberg are among 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee that will meet to consider the Cooperstown fate of an eight-man ballot that includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro.

Hall of Famers Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also are on the panel, which will meet in San Diego ahead of the winter meetings.

They will be joined by former Toronto CEO Paul Beeston, former Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs executive Theo Epstein, Anaheim Angels owner Arte Moreno, Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng, Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter and Chicago White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams.

Three media members/historians are on the committee: longtime statistical analyst Steve Hirdt of Stats Perform, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Neal and Slusser are past presidents of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Hall Chairman Jane Forbes Clark will be the committee’s non-voting chair.

The ballot also includes Albert Belle, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy and Curt Schilling. The committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A candidate needs 75% to be elected and anyone who does will be inducted on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the BBWAA vote, announced on Jan. 24.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their 10th and final appearances on the BBWAA ballot. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program, just over two weeks after getting his 3,000th hit.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) in 2021. Support dropped after hateful remarks he made in retirement toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the BBWAA ballot in 2019. Murphy was on the BBWAA ballot 15 times and received a high of 116 votes (23.2%) in 2000. Mattingly received a high of 145 votes (28.2%) in the first of 15 appearances on the BBWAA ballot in 2001, and Belle appeared on two BBWAA ballots, receiving 40 votes (7.7%) in 2006 and 19 (3.5%) in 2007.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.

This year’s BBWAA ballot includes Carlos Beltran, John Lackey and Jered Weaver among 14 newcomers and Scott Rolen, Todd Helton and Billy Wagner among holdovers.