Pat Hickey is a hockey columnist for the Montreal Gazette. So, of course he has a vote in the National Baseball Hall of Fame inductions. And of course he takes that vote very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he informs his readers in the very first paragraph of his latest piece, that:

If you’re doing it right, it should take three to four hours to fill out a ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

While this might lead one to question the efficiency of Mr. Hickey’s judgment, he quickly offers his readers an explanation for the lengthy process. It seems as though some practical joker has been sending false ballots to Hickey that must be far more complicated than the genuine articles that are sent to the more than 580 writers who decide such things.

How else do we rationalize this piece of justification from Mr. Hickey?

Pete Rose was ignored by a majority of voters for the 15 years he was on the ballot.

Rose, rather well-reportedly, has never appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot. Ever. So, considering that Mr. Hickey brags of spending three to four hours going over his ballot, the only reasonable explanation is that he’s receiving counterfeit ballots from some devious trickster.

Such conniving behavior is only matched by Mr. Hickey himself, who hints at his own future reversal.

I didn’t vote for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens or Sammy Sosa. That’s not to say I won’t vote for them in the future — as long as they receive a minimum number of votes the players remain on the ballot for 15 years — but they’re not getting my nod on the first ballot.

Or perhaps Mr. Hickey’s bogus ballot also includes moving goal posts when it comes to Hall of Fame standards, as well. How else is he able to justify inconsistencies in his final judgment on a player’s career that goes unchanged after retirement?

I suppose there’s one other explanation: He’s entirely full of shit, and particularly attached to the idea that he’s capable of sending a malformed message to Bonds and his like that sports writers will always remain the pettiest human beings alive. In that case, I’d call his column a rousing success.