Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Yes. We did.

Um, no. We didn't.

What we said (back in late July, when the craven folks who run the HOF changed their voting procedures) was that me, you and ten-plus million dogs named Boo (the perfect appellation in this instance, n'est-ce pas?) should boycott these mofos until they rescind this rule.

Just as folks today want to send a message to the cloistered world of uber-wealthy white greedocrats that the justice system actually pay lip service to its own procedures (cough-Ferguson-cough), those of us who want to protect the principles of fairness should make sure that we give these holier-than-thou, pompous pariahs a battering at the cash register.

That said, we did not say that we would cease and desist with respect to the results of Hall of Fame balloting--effed up as it now is.

Sorry to dash any hopes out there. (Or, alternatively, sorry to interrupt your sleep...)

We'll keep this brief. We dodged Whisky Jack, at least for now. There is nothing egregious on the ballot in that way, at least not for awhile (we'll let you figure out who the next Whisky Jack might be on your own).

There are too many worthy players to put on a 10-man ballot (wonder if the HOF chimps would be brazen enough to decrease that as well? Don't put anything past these guys...), which forces us (and you, and Boo, and the journalistic demimonde who actually get to vote on all this) to create a tactical ballot.

That means, as noted previously, leaving off Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who will probably have to wait into their late sixties before they finally get the call.

With that doubly reluctant double omission, we get down to the folks that go on the ballot:

New eligibles: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez.

No-brainers here.

The other guys that should go in this year (but only one will): Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell.

That's right: just Biggio, who barely missed (two votes) last year. Clearing the decks here with two worthy guys somehow still caught up in the 'roids rage idiocy--Piazza and Bagwell--would be the way to go, but as Mike O'Hara (Orson Welles) says in The Lady From Shanghai: "It's a bright, guilty world." (Actually, he could have left off the first adjective in that assertion...)

The "movie star...and the rest!" (figure out that reference without Google, and win a free used cigar!): Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling.

Folks will want Alan Trammell here. He's worthy, but no amount of effort will get him elected (14th year, 20% of the vote last time). Sammy Sosa is tainted, Gary Sheffield has a strong enough case of "Dick Allen Disease" that he will struggle to stay on the ballot.

Some folks think John Smoltz will rise up the ballot in short order and join his Atlanta amigos in 2016/17. We would like some of what they are smoking. Smoltz has 95% of the case that Schilling has, but--just like birth order in family dynamics--he's coming on board behind a candidate who is a better (and older, more established) version of what he is. Figure on 15-20% for him at this point, and no real traction until Schilling rises up the ballot (which will take a few more years). He belongs, but given the new reprehensible rule, he (like many others) may have to go in via the side entrance.

Folks will think we are stubborn about Edgar Martinez, and they're half-right. Somewhere, somehow, there has to be leeway for non-numeric considerations in this type of voting. Not that Edgar isn't qualified numerically. He's just the victim of a lot of overthinking by bright folks who should know better. Even in a jammed ballot, room must be made for players who bring an inestimable aesthetic dimension to the baseball diamond. Edgar managed to do that as well or better than anyone despite rarely taking the field. He did so as the most interesting batter of his generation to watch while at the plate (and if you don't think so, you aren't watching enough baseball).

Only a few players make the batting process into something intensely cerebral, and do so in a way that radiates across an entire stadium. Edgar is one of those select few. There will a spot for him on our HOF ballot until the bitter end.

There it is. Nothing more needs to be said until the votes have been counted. Of course, that won't stop anyone, now, will it?