Nobody wants to read my thoughts on the Hall of Fame. Nobody wants to read that far too many voters are morons, dinosaurs, hockey bloggers, or self-important twats crying out for help by wielding whatever little power the sporting world has left them to shrivel and die with (though many are very much not!). Nobody wants to be told that what we actually know about steroids, and especially their impact on statistics, especially given how widespread their use in baseball was, is nothing close to what assfaces think we can just safely assume. Nobody wants to think about why we’ve placed those, and not other training methods, on the wrong side of our collective line of morality. Nobody wants to hear what a fucking disgrace it is that writers who essentially cheered on the steroid era– who looked down on Steve Wilstein like he was strangling the golden goose– act now like the world’s moral compass, when they know goddamn well that PEDs were used under a far more complicated system of tacit acceptance than implied in the intellectually dishonest horseshit they shovel to a readership they clearly do not respect. Nobody wants to accept that we just can’t possibly ever know who did what, how much was being done, how much it impacted individuals, or how level the playing field was, given that such a large number of both hitters and pitchers certainly used. Nobody wants to admit that this was simply part of the game, understood by fans, by owners, by players, and by reporters, and not raged against until a token attempt to make the game “clean” could put the issue in a neat little box laughably marked “Even Though They’ve Been Around Far Longer, People Only Took Steroids in Baseball From 1994 to 2003, and They Were All Filthy, Cheating Swine and Now Everything Is OK (And Don’t You Even Think About Mentioning Greenies).”

Nobody wants me to point out that, for fucking goddamn sakes, a fuck-tonne of the people voting can’t even process the far simpler concept that, while guys like Jim Rice and Jack Morris were indeed some of the most famed and feared players of their eras, they were famed and feared to a level made excessive by gross misinterpretations of their abilities and their stats– and that we needn’t compound those initial errors by digging in our heels like a bunch of I’m-not-man-enough-to-ever-let-my-ego-down-and-admit-fault chickenshits.

Nobody wants me to point out that the Hall of Fame ballot you fill out isn’t your chance to save face, and pursue grudges, and act like you’re some kind of fucking scientist, and redefine the notion of “evidence,” and pretend that ignored internal memos are written in stone, and rail against anything illegal whenever that’s a convenient position, and scoff at seamheads’ proof no one pitches to the score, and act that the Hall of Fame should be a clean, whitewashed place, and pretend you’re not on your fat fucking ass every Sunday watching the NFL and not giving a shit what they put in their bodies, and to screech from the bully pulpit and revise the perhaps-ugly bit of history you fully fucking participated in without ever pushing back. Dickholes.

Congratulations to Barry Larkin.

Comments (48)

  1. But I watched Jack Morris play with my own eyes and thought “He’s a Hall of Famer.” Isn’t that his ticket in? That’s all I heard on the radio today, anyway.

  2. You’re right, I didn’t want to hear any of that!

  3. Journalist voters have a better shot of making the Hall than players do.

  4. Cosign. +1

  5. Yes guy.  Great post. 

  6. Jack Morris is a hall of famer as far as I’m concerned. Sure some of his stats don’t blow you away. There is something to be said for sustained excellence. And obviously post season brilliance gets him extra credit. When you think of pitching in the eighties, you think of Morris. And Clemens and gooden and some others, but Morris performed well in the spotlight and should be rewarded for it.

  7. I think of Stieb and Morris

  8. Morris is on the edge.  If he gets in then Stieb gets in.  I’d vote for Bonds, Clemens, etc in a second.

  9. I’m a big hall guy in that I think the players in it should represent its history fairly completely, and Morris is very much an icon of the 80′s and the last workhorse, number one, never say die kinda pitcher that is becoming (deservedly or not) more and more romanticized in the era of eight men bullpens and six inning quality starts.  I certainly understand that, by the stats, and I won’t try to make any pitching-to-the-score arguments or whatever; he doesn’t make the cut for the hall of the statistically significant, but as a figure in baseball history, I don’t see why we can’t celebrate him.

    And yes, I know how much I’m mirroring the attitudes of writers I’d normally scorn.  Whatever.

  10. You can celebrate guys without pretending they were better than they were, or giving them honours that are supposed to be reserved for the truly elite and not just the mistakenly-thought-of-as-truly-elite, you know.

  11. Somebody doesn’t remember the ’92 playoffs!!!!

  12. The hall will become completely meaningless when jack morris is in, and pete rose barry bonds and roger clemens aren’t

  13.  I thought the same about Tony Fernandez, arguably one of the best shortstops of his era…

  14. You get angry a lot, maybe I haven’t read your stuff enough, and this should be obvious, but whenever you encounter dissenting opinions that go against what you think, you seem to become upset.  Some people don’t think the way you do. This doesn’t inherently mean they are less intelligent than you are. They may be, but they may also just have different values. For example, I think anyone who was caught doing steroids shouldn’t be in any record books, the hall of fame, whatever. Not because I believe that they make Joe Schmoe become some sort of superhuman-slugger, but because if they’re not looked down upon, then Peter Prospect might feel like they have to warp their body with unnatural chemicals to succeed. Do you only allow certain, not as dangerous as other steroids, drugs? If so, then what amount of harmfulness should be consider enough to ban a drug? If Peter Prospect thinks that steroids will make him live a less healthy life, but feels like he has to take steroids to excel, not get injured, etc., I think that’s wrong, I think what an athlete does or doesn’t inject into his body shouldn’t be something that an athlete has to worry about. No one’s going to sway me from my opinion. Don’t be so incessantly angry when there are people who you flat-out cannot convince to have the same opinion that you have. Not everyone who this post seems to imply that you hate is an idiot. Just, chill out.

  15. Who really gives a fuck about the hall of fame? 

  16. Fair enough, though there’s so many people in the hall for so many reasons that, while Morris might stand out a bit, he’d hardly be the worst ever inductee. Which is a terrible argument for his induction, but we can’t pretend like the Hall has any true standard for induction, mainly because its gatekeepers have never been consistent in their aims (Poz’s recent article was amazing) and so basically any viewpoint can be championed, with people take their examples from both the best and the worst decisions made over its history.

  17. How the fuck was Bill Mueller on the ballot?

  18. Ah yes, the slippery slope argument. Looks like someone failed Philosophy 100.

  19. For Bagwell to miss again and Dick Allen to not be in – the hall voting is a joke….   Morris is one of my 3 favorite pitchers of all-time and is much as it would pain me, I wouldn’t vote for him. (but I would have never voted for Catfish Hunter, Pee Wee Reese or Phil Rizzuto either

  20. On that reasoning, Blyleven doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall.

  21. I think he’s just trying to be entertaining and is not as upset as he lets on.  Or he’s off his meds today.

  22.  Doesn’t the hall deciede eligability and the writers vote or is it all a writers shit gig.  If the h0f wants roid user out then they should deciede that, not the sanctimonious baseball writers. 
    Does writing  about baseball allow you to deciede the course of  baseball.  I would think those decisions would be made by people who played the game.

  23. Hall of famers should be voted in by their peers not some writer who doesnt have a athletic bone in their body nevermind one ounce of talent! It’s a pure joke that these self-righteous assholes who knew full well that players were juicing now have the power to vote on what professional athletes get into the hall. This is the biggest travesty in all of sport and it makes me sick to see some fat useless turd having a say in who gets in

  24. Take away the useless wins category and Stieb pretty well crushes Morris. That`s just how much of a joke Morris` candidacy is.

    Stieb
    16 Seasons, 176-137,  3.44 era, 123 era+, 1.245 WHIP, 53.0 rWAR

    Morris
    18 Seasons, 254-186, 3.90 era, 105 era+, 1.296 WHIP, 39.3 rWAR

    Letting Morris in would do nothing but to lower the bar for future entrance. Look at how much trouble Blyleven had to get in and he outclasses Morris too. Just look at the Cy Young voting back in the mid eighties. It was all about the wins. Stieb who finished 7th in 84 and 85 probably would have got it with today`s voters. If you want to talk about iconic figures from those days that`s fine but you have to look at the false foundation the praise was based upon back then – pitcher wins.

  25. “Hall of Fame”. Not “Hall of Good Players not on Steroids”. Who is more famous in baseball than Bonds, Clemens, McGuire etc. They made baseball in our era popular and exciting. They were the stars. They played on an even playing field and broke no rules between the lines. Hall of Fame.

  26. Well, shit, let’s give Ben Johnson his medal, too. You might not like that steroids torpedoes one’s candidacy, but that’s how the world works for those who aren’t morally retarded.

  27. pretty much bang on on all your points stoeten. 

    but i’m still not convinced on the steroid guys. i totally agree with your assessment of the hypocracy involved with the current crop of HOF voters, but even regardless of that, if it were up to me i’m not sure i could vote the known steroid users in. its unfortunate that there is so much misinformation about the effects of steroids and ambiguity about how much they boosted career totals and so on, but i dont think the players should all be given free passes for their choices in that era. for me, baseball’s steroid users fall under the same category as those that used them in the olympics and the punishment should be equally severe. 

    is there some hypocracy involved in my POV? sure. i loved the HR races of the late ’90s and early 2000s. but i was also less than 10 years old at the time and knew next to nothing about steroids. i hate to be one of those bleeding heart-moral compass types, but whatever integrity the game has left leaves no place for steroids.

  28. Thanks for the update. I was beginning to wonder if something had changed.

  29. I don’t believe that ALL prospects will be taking steroids if the negative stigma surrounding them is relinquished, I just believe that some, who wouldn’t otherwise, would. I didn’t say, nor do I think that I implied, that a positive cultural attitude towards steroids would cause EVERY prospect to act as Peter Prospect did, he was one example. I don’t believe that’s completely out of the realm of possibility. A more positive attitude towards steroids in the media and in the hall of fame, etc. would create a culture in which more, maybe not a lot more, maybe only very few more, people would be open to taking steroids to recover faster and train harder. Not every prospect would feel like they need this edge, but some would. I think this is wrong, I don’t like the modification of one’s biological make-up in order to improve performance, I think that hard work and natural talent and skill should be the only factors determining a player’s skill. If you saw a slippery slope argument in what I wrote, then either I wrote poorly or you read poorly.

  30. Alternatively, you just have no idea what a slippery slope argument is, because that’s a textbook one. If  x (where x = suspected PED users admitted to the Hall), then y (where y = “…more people would be open to taking steroids to recover faster and train harder”) is what you are saying. What’s so hard to understand about that?

    Ignoring the entirely legitimate debate about whether PEDs actually E P, I’d suggest some reading on PEDs from an ethical standpoint if you’re really interested in the moral aspect of it. I’d suggest John Hoberman’s “Listening to Steroids” as a starting point.

  31. From my laboratory in the castle AL east 

    To the master bedroomwhere the vampires feast 

    The ghouls all came from their humble abodes 

    Toget a jolt from my electrodes 

    They did the mash 
    They did themonster mash 
    The monster mash 
    It was a graveyard smash 
    They did themash 
    It caught on in a flash 
    They did the mash 
    They did the monstermash 

  32. Go on YouTube and search for “Steroid Debate”…. it’s a debate moderated by Bob Costas and includes many of the World’s leading authorities in this topic…. there’s 14 speakers (7 supporting each side of the argument).  If you watch all of the clips through one by one, even if you don’t change your mind completely, my guess is that you’ll at least be less convinced of your position than you were prior to watching the debate.

    Here’s a link to one of the more compelling arguments:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v… 

  33. I’d give Johnson his medal. Everyone else in that race was roided up as well. You’re retarded if you think he was the only one. 

  34. WOW…Great Rant!! This has to be the 2012 early leader and already in the clubhouse. Right on the money.
    Good Job!!

  35. As I kid I idolized Ken Griffey Jr.
    I remember thinking to myself sometime in 95/96 “wow, as amazing as Griffey is, and he IS the best player in the game today, I don’t see how he could ever come close to 61 home runs. 50 is ridiculous and 60 is just unheard of.”
    Then steroids changed the game and made it possible for decent power hitters to hit over 60 home runs with artificial muscles.
    Steriods ruined the game, and maybe numbers nerds dont get that, but baseball fans get that.

  36. In the spirit of this site, here is Boggs’ drunken take:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v… 

  37. First I should say that I don’t really care about the Hall of Fame, but Jack Morris isn’t the first guy to get in without the statistical body of work to “earn” his way in. There are a whole bunch of guys who rode narrative to their place in history.

    The Hall isn’t irrelevant in my mind.. it still means a whole lot to a lot of people. But was Rollie Fingers famous because he was actually good – or had a creepy hipster moustache and played on good teams?

    Ultimately there are so many players in there that we would have difficulty justifying if numbers were the ultimate deciding factor. The writers are dinosaurs – and they always have been. Mostly because they have to write about a sport they don’t really understand.

  38. Drunkeness can lead to anger just as easily as exuberant overtures of love.

    Read the banner.  ”We are smarter than you.  And more drunk.  Go Jays.”

    So if you really have a problem with the way in which Stoeten expresses his point of view, then you can fuck right off.  I would also argue than 90% of people who disagree with Stoeten are maybe not less intelligent than him, but they certainly have their head’s up their asses.

  39. Except the IAAF had banned whatever substance Ben Johnson was using, so he broke the rules, which is exactly the point being made.  It was legal, permissible, and mostly out in the open.

  40. Which do you think is more motivating?  Seeing a hero of your getting the highest honour in the sport and knowing that there was a small chance they would not have gotten there had it not been for PEDs, or, going to the ballpark day and in and day out and maybe feeling a little tired, or a little drained and in need of a boost because you are constantly competing for a chance to make the big bucks in the show.

  41. Bravo. As for Morris, a HoF moment (1991 WS Game 7) does not a HoFer make. Celebrate the moment, not the barely above average pitcher that came up with it.

  42. I don’t care about any of this. I want to see great players. If some great players are caught using PEDs, all it means is that they are great players who use/d PEDs. It would be moronic to assume that only the guys who got caught are/were using them. I’m not ready to strike out an entire era of (exciting) baseball because of a few players.

    Sorry, just can’t get behind a Hall of Fame that might not have Clemens, Bonds, and McGwire and will definitely never have Pete Rose. No one complained about Ty Cobb or Paul Molitor soiling the game.
     

  43. idjit.

  44. fangraphs’ fans like the jays.

    adding up the projected WAR for the starting lineup (using thames), the top 3 starters, along with janssen and santos puts the jays at around 87 wins (presuming 43 wins for replacement level team).

    rosy picture, to be sure, but not out of the question.

  45. Stoeten I 100% agree with your angry post and I too recognize that the HoF and MVP/CY voters are (on average) pretty dumb about their own jobs. It’s absolutely a giant circle-jerk of old-school thinking and hypocrisies. However, when I was arguing about this with my dad, he said something valid: it’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Really Good. It is absolutely a popularity contest.

    Also I’ve stopped caring about all of the bullshit honours they hand out in baseball.

  46. it’s not the baseball hall of fame, its the baseball writers hall of fame, no hits king, ho home runs king… its full of people that were granted access by people who never played the sport and refuse to give specific guidelines as to how to gain a spot in the hall.

  47. It is difficult to compete with individuals who have an artificial advantage.  The problem we are faced with then is one of definition, what is “artificial” and what is “natural”.  I think, in this situation at least, that common sense provides a clear answer.    The use of PEDs in sports exposes the body to health risks without a proper justification (medical etc…).  For that reason, although it may seem arbitrary to some, it makes perfect sense to declare PEDs to be an artificial advantage.   

    I simply don’t find it credible that Barry Bonds, Rodriguez etc… didn’t appreciate this dynamic.  

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