Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wallace Matthews Should Probably Stop Talking Part II: HOF Edition

It's been a while since I've had the pleasure (displeasure?) of ripping the ESPN NY crew for their blatant stupidity and shameless trolling for pageviews, and even longer since I've done it to Wallace Matthews.  Luckily for me he was generous enough to throw his hat in the moral ivory tower ring that everybody is clamoring to get into in regards to this year's Baseball HOF voting.

By the time you get a chance to read this post, this year's HOF class will have been announced, and it's almost certain that nobody will be inducted, certainly not anybody from the large group of first-time eligible players from the "Steroids Era."  Everybody knows who the names are, and anybody with half a brain knows that guys like Bonds and Clemens should be in regardless of their PED connections.  Not old Wally, though.  He's using this year's vote as a way to teach a lesson to those players and pretty much all of us about morality and how that's the most important criterion for determining HOF worth.  The whole steaming pile of garbage can be found here, and after the jump are the lowlights.

"Cheaters don't deserve a Hall pass"

That's actually the title of the article.  Because nobody in the Baseball HOF has ever cheated.  Ever.  Give Wally credit, he came right out swinging the big BS stick.

"A Hall of Fame vote is a large responsibility... "

Far too large for any of us common folk to understand.  We can never truly know the agonizing amount of emotional and mental stress that goes into something like that.  I mean, it's not like any of us have ever had to think about something, make a decision, or write names on paper before.

"It's not something I take lightly nor give out easily."

Wallace Matthews: Keeper of The Votes.  Seriously, dude, get the fuck over yourself.  You're one of hundreds of writers who gets to do this every year.  The odds of your single vote tipping the scales in or against a player's favor are minuscule.

"My reasons for this are several, and not at all personal."

If they aren't personal, then how are they YOUR reasons?

"I covered Clemens as a Yankee and found him OK to deal with, had numerous chats with Sosa in the opposing clubhouse at Shea Stadium and had at least one memorable, and quite pleasant, conversation with Bonds when the Giants came to Flushing a few years ago."

"Oh I'm sorry?  Have you not met these guys?  Are you not a big fancy baseball writer like me?  This is why I'm writing this article, folks.  For you, the little people, who can never understand the burden that comes with having to talk to professional athletes and then decide whether or not you think they're worthy of being elected to the Hall of Fame.  Such a large responsibility.  Like Atlas balancing the world on his shoulder, I tell you."

/smells own fart

"But over the past decade in which I have had the privilege... "

Oh now it's a privilege?  I thought it was a world-changing responsibility.

"... and responsibility... "

There we go.

"Steroid or HGH use is cheating, plain and simple. And by definition, cheaters lack integrity, sportsmanship and character. Strike one, strike two, strike three."

YYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRR OUT!!!!  Suck on it, Sosa!  Your 'roided up body can't compete with Wally's 534 MPH morality fastball.

"By cheating, they were able to leapfrog players such as Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Roger Maris and Reggie Jackson, but by no means eclipse them."

Huh?  Isn't that exactly what they did if they leapfrogged them?  Six one, half dozen the other, dude.

"I've heard all the justifications and all the apologies: Everyone was doing it. It wasn't against the rules. They were all Hall of Fame players anyway. Steroids don't help you hit a baseball or throw strikes. And if you're going to punish juicers, what about guys who used greenies or scuffed the ball or threw a spitter? I laugh at (almost) all of them."

"Because I lack basic critical thinking skills, you see."

"They would have been Hall of Famers anyway: This, to me, makes their decision to juice up sadder and all the more incriminating."

But doesn't change the fact that they were Hall of Famers anyway.  Jackass.

"You can argue that I should have voted for Jack Morris (I have in the past but wasn't feeling it this year) or Tim Raines or Edgar Martinez, and if your argument is persuasive enough, I might listen."

Wait a minute.  Did he just say he "wasn't feeling it this year" in reference to a HOF vote??  THAT MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE!!!!!  If a player is deserving of your vote once, he's deserving of it every year after that!  Jack Morris' stats have changed since he retired.  What makes him more or less eligible from year to year?  If there are 10 players more deserving of him, fine.  But if you're basing your vote for him year-to-year on whether or not you're "feeling it" then you're doing it wrong and you should not be allowed to vote.

"The damage baseball has already done to itself, and its legacy... "

A legacy filled with racism, segregation, alcoholism, gambling, every other form of drug abuse imaginable, collusion, unfair work practices, and all other forms of cheating.  Yeah, we wouldn't want to tarnish that now with steroids, would we???

"But I will not compound that sin by rewarding those guys with a plaque in Cooperstown."


Seriously, does he need to be reminded that his 1 vote is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of the process, and that he just openly admitted that he flip-flops on his own decisions year to year?  Please, Wally, I'm begging you.  Climb out of your own ass for just 5 minutes and join the rest of us up here in the real world.  It's nice.

Look, I don't want to drag this talk out anymore than it already has been by the rest of the blogosphere and MSM this week.  The bottom line is that since the beginning of professional baseball there have been things that have created an unlevel playing field, things that surely affected every single member of the HOF's career in a positive way.  There are other cheaters in the HOF, there are other liars in the HOF, there are other assholes in the HOF, and if you really tried you could probably spin a reason for why each player in there DOESN'T deserve to be.

Guys like Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa benefited from advancements in medical science that weren't available back in the day, just like Ruth and Gehrig benefited from not having to play against black players and Hispanic players.  It's where society progressed to, it's where humanity progressed to, and it's the era in which they lived and played.  If people want to put an asterisk on that, fine.  But to simply say these players, some of the greatest players from the era in which they played, should never be in the HOF for their era-related transgressions is lazy, stupid, and wrong.


Anonymous said...

You're demeaning yourself and cheapening your otherwise astute commentary. All your cheap shots at Matthews could just as easily be turned on you and your indiscriminate ranting here.

Anonymous said...

It'samazing to me how someone who writes a blog and follows baseball can be so clueless. you don't think roids changed the playing field then explain Dan Naulty. How does a fringe player go from 86-87 mph to 95+ overnight. Your rants on Matthews just shows how out of touch you are.

Brad V. said...

Is that you, Wally?

Jamie said...

I'm with you, Brad.

"By cheating, they were able to leapfrog players such as Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Roger Maris and Reggie Jackson, but by no means eclipse them."

should we tell Wally that Roger Maris isn't in the hall of fame? (just his bat is - leading the AL in single season home run total for 50 years coupled with back to back MVPs is not good enough for admittance)

"what about guys who used greenies or scuffed the ball or threw a spitter?"

Brad pointed out some of the other ways the game has changed, like the color barrier, but we could also mention that the mound is lower, the stadiums are smaller... of course, babe ruth didn't have to play in night games... and calling them 'greenies' kinda takes the emphasis off the fact that everyone was taking speed up until a few years ago. and specialized relievers... look how much relief pitching has changed since the TV show CHEERS debuted! Wally just doesn't get that the game has changed over time and comparing one era to another is almost akin to comparing apples to oranges.

Great post, Brad!