Rick Telander explains!
I made the point that [Andre] Dawson deserves to be in the Hall of Fame -- and he will be by next year, mark my words -- but that my protest needed to encompass even the straight arrows of yore, such as him, because the sown doubt from clown-farmers Bud Selig, Donald Fehr and the say-nothing players themselves had made even the greatest, most trustworthy heroes suspect.
If no one can be proved guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs, no one can be proved innocent. It's an equation.
At any rate, once I read the column to Dawson, he got it.
"I understand you now," he said. "I know that regardless of what I've accomplished, it doesn't count. Because nobody is trustworthy."
I guess. I'm not sure I agree with that point -- in effect, what Telander is saying is that because steroids are used now, they make everyone guilty across every era -- but at least he's explained himself. I wish he had put it better the first time. And this was a poor way of making a protest -- if, as he says, Dawson will get in next year (and implying he'll probably vote for him), why is everyone suddenly trustworthy again because a year's time has passed?
Food for thought.
- The Brian Roberts deal is going to happen. No, really. Seriously. This time for sure. Phil Rogers has the lineup card all filled out, too:
If the Cubs get Roberts (.377 on-base percentage and 50 stolen bases last season), Piniella will shuffle the batting order, likely dropping Alfonso Soriano from first to third. It could look like this: Roberts, Ryan Theriot, Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, Derrek Lee, Geovany Soto and Felix Pie.
It could look like that, but probably won't. (And I'm figuring this will start the firestorm of debate that flares up here every time I remind people that Alfonso Soriano's not going to be dropped out of the leadoff spot.)
- Goose Gossage says that if he were playing today, he'd probably have tried steroids. Nice thing to say the day after you're elected to the Hall of Fame, Goose. And this doesn't make sense, either:
"I've been in that situation, trying to prolong my career with the money that was out there to be made at this time in baseball. I can't sit here and say that I would not have done it," he said. "But had I done it, I'm going to face the consequences. And the consequences are, that whether they belong in the Hall of Fame or not, the records can't stand."
"The records can't stand"? How so? The numbers are what they are -- you can't start randomly eliminating numbers from the record books without ripping up the fabric of history. Example: take Barry Bonds' HRs away (or some of them, anyway, say, many of them after 1998, which is the time when he supposedly started doing steroids). What happens to the results of the games where those HR were hit? What if Bonds hit a HR, or several, that won games for the Giants? What if those HR put the Giants into the playoffs some of the years they made them? Do you take those postseason games out of the books?
You see the problem here, I think.
- Mike Downey shows that he understands counting stats! He's got 45 Hall of Famers (and says there are a "couple of dozen" more, and that doesn't even include all the pitchers) listed who have fewer hits than Harold Baines, who got "only" 28 votes this year. As if that alone would qualify Baines for the Hall. And then, there's this nonsense:
Bert Blyleven is not a Hall of Famer. That is a fact as well as an opinion. I have friends and colleagues who all but crusade for Blyleven's candidacy, year after year, citing his very impressive shutout and strikeout counts.
Yet I cannot bring myself to deem Blyleven any better or more worthy than Jim Kaat, Tommy John, Jack Morris and so many others who have failed to gain admission to the Hall. I can't find the discrepancy in their careers.
Hmmm. Blyleven's not qualified? That's a "fact"? Let's see; you can't figure out why a man who's fifth all-time in strikeouts and ninth all-time in shutouts isn't more qualified than Jim Kaat (33rd and 103rd in those categories, respectively), John (47th & 26th) oir Morris (31st and 134th)?
Actually, I think Tommy John ought to be in, for career longevity and the fact that a famous surgery is named for him, and Kaat's a marginal Hall of Famer for longevity and reinventing his career a couple of times; Morris is borderline. But Blyleven's head and shoulders above all three of them -- and likely, rubbed Downey the wrong way during his career, as he did to a lot of writers, which is probably the reason he isn't in yet.
There. Let me wipe my fingers off (after typing about all of that, they need that!) and you can have at it.