FIRE JOE MORGAN: Earth People: We Are Officially Through The Looking Glass


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Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Earth People: We Are Officially Through The Looking Glass

(SOMEBODY killed SOMETHING: that's clear, at any rate)

I know we're a little late to this party, but in honor of the Hall of Fame results being announced later today, let's get to know Paul Ladewski. In fact, let's be 100%, 4th-Grade learning disabled clear about what Paul Ladewski did.

He did not vote for any of the candidates on his 2007 Hall of Fame ballot, because he does not have enough information to make value judgments about players from what he calls the "Steroid Era."

Oh no no -- he didn't hold on to his ballot and abstain from voting. He also didn't refuse to vote for certain players. He didn't vote for anybody. That's right: he didn't vote for Steve Garvey; Tommy John; Dave Parker; Jim Rice; Dave Concepcion; or Bert Blyleven; and zero of those dudes played in what he himself defines as the Steroid Era (1993-2004).

(That doesn't include Andre Dawson; Don Mattingly; Goose Gossage; Dale Murphy; Jack Morris; and Alan Trammel, whose careers barely dip in to those murky post-'93 waters.)

The really strange part is, techincally speaking, he didn't vote "No" at all. According to the Baltimore Sun, he submitted a completely blank ballot, "which, in effect, will be counted as a 'No' vote for all candidates." What kind of shit is going on in a dude's brain that leads him to vote "No" for everyone, but only by not voting at all?

NOTE: It would seem to me, judging from the Sun article and other references on Hall voting, that voters are instructed to vote "yes" or "no" on each eligible player. However, other sources refer to a player being "named" on ballots, which sounds more like voters writing in the names of those eligible players who they are voting for inclusion. So I'm not sure what to think exactly, but for now I'm going to conclude that one is asked to vote "yes" or "no" for each player.

Honestly, baseball fans: it is time to stop giving a fuck about the Baseball Hall of Fame. I've been there. I'm sure most of you have. The Museum is fine and everything -- it's got stuff about baseball in it; how bad could it be? -- but the Hall is ugly. And kind of boring. You can read and discover anything written on them boring plaques on the much prettier internet. Unlike the Hall, you can even bring your sons and daughters to the internet for free these days.

And most importantly, inclusion into this ugly, boring Hall is voted on by gentlemen like Mike Celizic and Paul Ladewski.

Just to bring everybody up to speed for those of you who started reading at this paragraph: Paul Ladewski did not vote "Yes" or "No" for players like Bert Blyleven, who finished his career before 1993, on the 2007 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. This lack of any type of vote at all counts as a "No" vote for Bert Blyleven. The reason that Paul Ladewski did not vote "Yes" or "No" for any player is because he has suspicions about steroid use in Major League Baseball from 1993-2004. ("Give or take a year or two.")

To get your brain parts around what Ladewski says next in his column, you're going to have imagine a scenario wherein a crazy person gets crazier during the course of writing a piece of literature. Either he's writing very slowly, or getting crazier very quickly. Tough to tell. (I'm kidding -- of course he's getting crazier very quickly!)

What makes Gwynn and Ripken so special that they deserve to be unanimous selections?

One thing that would make them so special is if everybody voted for them. That's never happened before.

Walter Johnson, Cy Young and Honus Wagner didn't receive such Hall passes. Neither did Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. In fact, nobody has in the history of the game.

Based on the standards set by the Hall of Fame voters decades ago, is there a neutral observer out there who can honestly say Gwynn and Ripken should be afforded an unprecedented honor?

Of course not. No reasonable voter would say that Ripdog or Gwynnstone deserve to be elected unanimously unless everybody votes for Ripken or Gwynn. Ladewski, you senile, secret retard've tangled me in some sort of nightmarish logic puzzle.

People don't vote "yes" for dudes because they think they should be unanimous, they vote "yes" because they personally believe that dudes belong in the Hall of Fame.

Let's look at it this way: voter A decides to vote "No" on player Z because he doesn't think player Z should be voted in unanimously. However, voter A really likes player Z, and does think player Z belongs in the Hall of Fame. It turns out later that everyone else voted "Yes" for player Z. Every single person believed that player Z belonged in the Hall of Fame. Now, doesn't that mean that player Z should've been voted in unanimously?

Paul Ladewski doesn't think so. He gets to call the non-unanimous shots around here.

From the Sun article:

"In an attempt to uphold the Hall of Fame standards established by their predecessors, I will not vote for anyone who played in the 1993-2004 period, which I consider to be the Steroids Era."

As the 2007 HOF ballots were mailed, it formed in the clouds of upstate New York, over Doubleday field, not unlike Voltron. The legs of Honus Wagner; the torso: half Josh Gibson, half Stan Musial; the right arm of Walter Johnson; the left arm of Sandy Koufax; the heart of Tris Speaker; the scabby, disease-infested genitals of Ty Cobb; the hat of Trot Nixon.

The Ghost of Baseball Past. It descended into our mortal world, and found its way to the headquarters of the Chicago Sun-Times media conglomerate. It swirled its way up the stairwell to the 18th floor, where it finally found one man who could uphold in the real world what the GBE upheld in the baseball heavens and hells. Indeed, the only man:

Paul Ladewski.

Before my brain spins out of control, I'd like to take a different angle on this whole thing. I'm going to list some things, generally about baseball and the Hall of Fame, that I believe to be true in an effort to calm myself. You can start disagreeing with me wherever you see fit.

1. Many players in the Hall of Fame have been suspected of cheating (in such a way as to give them an unfair advantage in either one or many games).

2. Many players in the Hall of Fame did cheat.

3. Many players in the Hall of Fame were caught cheating.

4. Many, if not most of the players in the Hall of Fame, broke the law at some point during their lives.

5. Many players in the Hall of Fame were caught breaking the law at some point during their lives.

6. "Integrity, sportsmanship, and character" are among the supposed criteria listed for Hall voting.

7 . Some types of performance enhancing drugs were, and are, against the law.

8. Some types of performance enhancing drugs have been against the rules of baseball for a very long time; some have more recently become illegal.

9. Steroids can be bad for you.

10. Sometimes Jim Leyland smokes in the dugout.

11. There are many rules in baseball; for each violation of a rule there is a clear penalty.

12. As recently as 2005, the penalty for a first positive steroid test was a suspension of 10 games, or the same number of games Michael Barret was suspended in 2006 for punching A.J. Pierzynski.

13. No one on the 2007 Hall of Fame Ballot has ever tested positive for any type of performance enhancing drug.

14. Were I a Major League Baseball player from 1993-2004 (it may surprise you to learn that I, in fact, was not), and a teammate of mine told me he was taking steroids in an effort to better his performance, I would have said to that teammate: "Thank you for taking steroids. I hope it makes you, and, consequently, our team better. It seems odd that there are no real penalties for taking steroids. I myself would not take these steroids because there seem to be very serious health risks. But seeing as we are not great friends or anything, and you will probably be playing for a different team in a couple of years, and you seem to have made the decision that steroids are right for you, I am really glad that you are taking these steroids because it might help us win a few games. I hope you don't die prematurely."

15. George Steinbrenner was once banned from baseball for life, and was also indicted on 14 counts of illegal campaign contributions to the Nixon campaign. Eventually he was saved by a pardon from President Reagan. One day he will probably be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

16. Bert Blyleven belongs in the Goddam Hall Of Fame.

17. On at least one occasion, Sammy Sosa played baseball with a corked bat, and that is illegal, and we should not forget that when the time comes to vote on whether he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

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posted by dak  # 1:38 AM
Thanks to KL (and others, later) for the tip.
I had the same reaction to this news. I did not write about it because I felt that Ladewski was simply doing it to get attention, and I did not want to give him attention. Then I read this post and thought, darn it, I wish I had ripped Ladewski on our blog that we invented in order to rip people.

The end.
I would also like to posit a crazy "name" theory that goes like this:

People like the way the name Jim "Ed" Rice sounds, but do not like the name Bert Blyleven because it sounds nerdy and confusing.

Their Hall of Fame cases are being helped and hurt, respectively, because of this.

Let me put it to you this way: which person do you think would be more likely to be elected president of the United States, based solely on their names?

James Edward Rice
Rik Aalbert "Bert" Blyleven

I know, voting for president isn't the same as voting for the Hall of Fame, but as with any type of vote where popularity and beauty pageant subjectiveness start coming in to play -- and think of the sheer number of people voting here -- I think there is at least a subconscious element of "that guy sounds like he does / does not belong in the Hall of Fame based only on his name" which might -- MIGHT -- affect the way one votes. Or maybe the way one talks about a player, which in turn affects the way others view the same player.

I believe this with about 70% of my heart.
People voting for Andre "The Hawk" Dawson would fall into that category as well.
Yes. And Hal F. Fayme.

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