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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fay Vincent: Here’s a three-pronged solution for handling admission to Cooperstown going forward

Fay and the 8000 pound eighth wonder of the world in the room!

ka

Those who favor the election of Bonds and Clemens, the two superstars of the group, point to the absence of hard evidence either one cheated. But we all know the difference between a fact and proof of that fact. If I tell you a man walked on the moon and returned safely, you may ask me for proof. Similarly I may tell you how far it is to the moon, but would have trouble proving that fact. Bonds and Clemens cheated, and we all know it. I see little reason to honor them.

...1) I would propose to the Hall that it establish some new form of recognition for those who cheated but put up career numbers that deserve Hall recognition. Perhaps there should be a separate wing for cheaters. And I would let the present members of the Hall decide which wing a player belonged in. Then if someone gets in under false pretenses, there is a corrective mechanic in place.

2) The Hall should make clear the voters are not obliged to reconcile their votes with the historic standard of noble conduct. Who says the voters have to be fair and not use evidence that might not stand the judicial standards? The task of the voters is to select for honor those players they believe meet a very high standard for on- and off-field conduct. If the Hall does not stand firmly for the tests of integrity and fair play, will the ring ceremony one day have to be held in the prison yard at Leavenworth or some comparable penitentiary?

3) I would have the present members of the Hall vote along with the writers who presently do the electing. That way the voting pool would include those who believe most in the honor component and not be confused by abstruse arguments over evidence and fair process. After all, the election to the Hall is based on subjective judgments by the voters. There is no science to it. And the voters make mistakes of omission and commission. Think of the exclusion of Marvin Miller. ‘

The confusion in this nation on the subject of what is “fair” is endemic. The complaints about the failure of the baseball writers to elect obvious cheats and others who may not have cheated to the Hall of Fame are cloaked in the “fairness” shroud.

In fact the writers did the wise thing. They deferred the question. Many tough issues in this nation get deferred. I like the result and much prefer a flawed deferral to a flawed election.

 

Repoz Posted: January 13, 2013 at 06:47 AM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Benji Posted: January 13, 2013 at 07:13 AM (#4346042)
God not freakin Fay Vincent again. To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw: "Have you no unexpressed thoughts?". And thanks again, Fay, for your sterling work as commissioner in eradicating all forms of PEDS from ever "tainting" the game.
   2. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 13, 2013 at 09:15 AM (#4346051)
It is terribly unfair to insult Fay Vincent's opinions about steroids after he wrote such an influential and historically important memo banning them.
   3. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: January 13, 2013 at 09:29 AM (#4346054)
Actually, that memo can be found here.
   4. kcgard2 Posted: January 13, 2013 at 11:58 AM (#4346103)
OK, so, would players in the "cheating wing" of the HOF also be allowed to vote on other HOFers? Or only players in the "non-cheating wing" of the HOF? Also, does the "cheating wing" only include steroids, or does it include everything that was either illegal or against the rules? Because the "cheating wing" would dominate the HOF by probably about 3-1 in the second case. It would be weird to say that the players' peers "believe most in the honor component" when well over half of the players in the HOF cheated in some form or another when they played.
   5. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4346118)
Its a shame it will be at least 5 years til we get to see what they do with pettitte on the ballot.
   6. Nineto Lezcano needs to get his shit together (CW) Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4346134)
The Hall should make clear the voters are not obliged to reconcile their votes with the historic standard of noble conduct.


Has there BEEN a historic standard of noble conduct? If so I missed it.
   7. depletion Posted: January 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4346138)
Repoz' Fay Wray crush: Unrequited and built to stay that way!
   8. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 13, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4346148)
Its a shame it will be at least 5 years til we get to see what they do with pettitte on the ballot.


I'm not sure how much we'll learn from Pettitte's BBWAA support, since his HOF case is marginal on the merits before one reaches the PED question.

Has there BEEN a historic standard of noble conduct?


Apparently, having a standard and upholding a standard are not the same thing.
   9. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 13, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4346163)
But we all know the difference between a fact and proof of that fact. If I tell you a man walked on the moon and returned safely, you may ask me for proof. Similarly I may tell you how far it is to the moon, but would have trouble proving that fact.

I'm kind of confused here. Does Fay Vincent think that there's no actual proof that men walked on the moon, or that astronomers have just taken their best guess at the distance (which was first estimated with remarkable accuracy in 270 BC)? We have proof of these things, which is why they are considered facts in the first place.
   10. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 13, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4346173)
I think he was trying to say that he could produce proof of the moon landings if you asked him for it, but would be hard pressed to prove the distance from the earth to the moon. He is apparently trying to draw some kind of equivalency between everybody knowing how far away the moon is even though many of us don't know (or don't remember) what the proof is, and everybody knowing that Bonds and Clemens cheated even though there isn't any proof that they did.
   11. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: January 13, 2013 at 01:54 PM (#4346174)
I'm kind of confused here. Does Fay Vincent think that there's no actual proof that men walked on the moon, or that astronomers have just taken their best guess at the distance (which was first estimated with remarkable accuracy in 270 BC)? We have proof of these things, which is why they are considered facts in the first place.


Now, Fay Vincent is a moron and this article is awful, but this is a little unfair, I think.

I don't think Fay Vincent could produce the proof for either of those facts. His claim is not that there isn't any, just that he doesn't have access to them. Similarly, I am confident he thinks there /is/ proof of Clemens and Bonds using, he just believes no one has found it yet.
   12. John Northey Posted: January 13, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4346176)
I swear the boomers have had their brains blown by PED (steroid/HGH version) use. Yes, your old favorites no long hold the all-time HR records (single season or career). Yes, guys in the 90's used the most powerful drugs they could find just like your favorites did. Rules were broken throughout MLB history - from future HOF'ers who held guys by the belt, to ones using monkey testicles, to spiking opposing players whenever possible in an attempt to injure if they didn't move. Greenies were common in the 60's/70's/80's and so on. Records were shattered then too - the single season HR mark, the career one, only one guy hit 540 HR before 1960, then pre-1993 we had another 6 do it. Did they do it 'clean'? Odds are strongly that the answer is 'no'.
   13. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 13, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4346186)
I don't think Fay Vincent could produce the proof for either of those facts. His claim is not that there isn't any, just that he doesn't have access to them.

Fair enough, at least if he's referring to the ability to prove these things directly himself. But that's not typically the standard for something being accepted as fact; someone has proved the distance from the Earth to the moon, and now the proof is available to anyone with access to Google. Whereas with Clemens, there may be conclusive proof that he used steroids, but if so, it hasn't been found yet.
   14. The District Attorney Posted: January 13, 2013 at 02:44 PM (#4346202)
Random thoughts:

1. I almost hope the separate wing/"let's write it on the plaque" people get their way just because of what a Pyrrhic victory it would be. Okay, on Bonds, Palmeiro, Manny, A-Rod, and Pettitte's plaques, you can put something concrete -- convicted of perjury (although that itself is a story...), failed a drug test, confessed (see #2 on this last point). For everyone else, the optics of a public display detailing how these people were judged based on anecdotal evidence would be horrible. I don't think history would view it very kindly at all.

2. "if someone gets in under false pretenses, there is a corrective mechanic in place" - I love this idea that if we keep waiting, we're going to find out more about what people did 20+ years ago. The only way I could see that happening would be via confessions. And after what's happened to Mark McGwire, why would anyone ever confess? (And then this plan takes away the one time someone might currently confess, i.e. after they're already in.)

3. Let's stipulate that PED use = lack of character. If lack of character means you're not a good candidate, that means that the character clause is the most important clause of the HOF definition. If the character clause is the most important clause of the HOF definition, then why can't you get elected for great character? Where's the Jim Abbott campaign? One would think this argument would have been settled years ago when Kenesaw Mountain Landis campaigned for "Harvard" Eddie Grant (who died in World War I) and the guy topped out at 1.3%, but apparenty not.
   15. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 13, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4346245)
God not freakin Fay Vincent again. To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw: "Have you no unexpressed thoughts?".

Wrong George: the one you wanted was George S. Kaufman.
   16. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 13, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4346248)
Let's stipulate that PED use = lack of character.


As I said in the other thread, I think it's not perceived as just "lack of character", but as "lack of sportsmanship" (i.e. trying to get an unfair advantage on the field). And that's a little harder to justify.

-- MWE
   17. DA Baracus Posted: January 13, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4346250)
I would propose to the Hall that it establish some new form of recognition for those who cheated but put up career numbers that deserve Hall recognition. Perhaps there should be a separate wing for cheaters.


Are you going to move players who took greenies?

Then if someone gets in under false pretenses, there is a corrective mechanic in place.


Which right now would be nearly all of them. Brilliant stuff.
   18. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: January 13, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4346256)
That way the voting pool would include those who believe most in the honor component and not be confused by abstruse arguments over evidence and fair process.

Fish in a barrel here, but what in the past weeks has suggested that the current electorate are interested enough to be confused by evidence or fair process?
   19. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 13, 2013 at 05:28 PM (#4346329)
Fay Vincent is still alive? It almost seems now like baseball commissioner is an office you hold until death.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2013 at 05:41 PM (#4346344)
Based on that it seems pretty clear that Vincent doesn't know how the HoF works.

2) The Hall should make clear the voters are not obliged to reconcile their votes with the historic standard of noble conduct.

Primey!

Who says the voters have to be fair and not use evidence that might not stand the judicial standards?

The man just argued in favor of "unfairness" -- his word choice, not mine. I mean feel free to draw a line between "fair" and "beyond a reasonable doubt" but of course the voters have to be fair.

The task of the voters is to select for honor those players they believe meet a very high standard for on- and off-field conduct.

Idelson recently clarified that it does not refer to off-field conduct (as we'd normally understand it). Moreover it is clear that a high standard of conduct has never been required and the voting guidelines do not offer any reason to think a high standard of conduct is a necessary condition of election.

3) I would have the present members of the Hall vote along with the writers who presently do the electing.

Nobody would ever be elected again -- see Joe Morgan and his Super Friends VC era.

That way the voting pool would include those who believe most in the honor component and not be confused by abstruse arguments over evidence and fair process.

So HoF inductees have even less responsibility to be fair than the writers.

And the voters make mistakes of omission and commission. Think of the exclusion of Marvin Miller.

Dear Fay, the voters aren't responsible for Marvin Miller. People like Miller and your own fine self and your dear friend Bart Giamatti are the responsibility of various special committees the HoF puts together.
   21. base ball chick Posted: January 13, 2013 at 07:10 PM (#4346404)
sigh

FINE

all the maroons on their assinine high horses of pretending that steroid use is TEH EVULLLL because it made males get bigger muscles!!!!! get their way, isn't that special.

a bunch of freddie lindstrom crap plaques and no great players from 1990 on except rickey henderson. my whole generation excluded - and just putting in the borderline guys like larkin and dawson who of course, NEVAH touched no NOTHIN

i really REALLY wish that someone would do some investigating, prove that one of the living hall of famers did roids and put an end to this stupid shtt

i don't want to go to cooperstown and bagwell and biggio aren't in it because of a vendetta started by jeff freaking pearlman
   22. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: January 13, 2013 at 09:54 PM (#4346490)
Perhaps there should be a separate wing for cheaters


This should be popular with the players' families and children. Maybe they could put it out by the restrooms at the lake.
   23. jdennis Posted: January 13, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4346493)
I'm cool with letting HOFers vote, and Frick winners. Perhaps they could have the veteran's committee screen applications for a HOF vote from people like Bill James, etc. Honestly, if they just gave a new vote to James, would the BBWAA really complain? Would anyone argue that he doesn't deserve a vote (besides the if he gets one, so does this guy argument)?

I think they could come up with other ways to expand the voting bloc. I think the large voting bloc is what separates the baseball HOF in quality from football and basketball, though football would always be tough because of the sheer amount of players. If I ran the football elections I would do what they do for the FE and decide after the fact what the necessary percentage would be on a finalist ballot. What if another organization, say SABR, adopted a ten year requirement like the BBWAA and then held their own elections and tried to get them certified by the HOF when the voting body became comparable in size to the BBWAA voting body? Thus it would be like having two elections, perhaps with very slightly different ballots each year or maybe SABR could have old time player votes also, and then a player would have to get 75% and 5% on one of the two to be elected or retained.

In another thread, I also had another idea, that retired players who had fallen off the ballot could vote if they gave up the chance at election during their lifetime. Perhaps many players would be delusional and not want to do that, and many players would vote for their buddies but what voters would not be biased? I mean, why shouldn't they let a guy like Aaron Sele vote on who should be in the HOF, when he competed against them and was in tune to the game on a daily basis? And while retired players may not be plugged in, you know they would respect the HOF and take their duties very seriously.

I don't really see the point of a steroids wing of the HOF. What do they mean by wing anyway?

   24. Walt Davis Posted: January 13, 2013 at 11:13 PM (#4346521)
Does Gonfalon take requests? Barry Bonds' acceptance speech upon being inducted into the HoF's cheaters wing please.
   25. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 13, 2013 at 11:39 PM (#4346531)
Hypothetical for discussion since talking about how Fay Vincent needs to shut the hell up and go away is old news:

After Vincent was forced out the Neverending Reign of Bud began. Do you think baseball would have been better or worse off if Vincent had been allowed to remain commissioner and Selig never ended up with the post?
   26. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: January 13, 2013 at 11:54 PM (#4346537)
After Vincent was forced out the Neverending Reign of Bud began. Do you think baseball would have been better or worse off if Vincent had been allowed to remain commissioner and Selig never ended up with the post?


From whose perspective?

Owners: Bud, no doubt

Players: Bud -- maybe you could cherry pick some things that Vincent would have done better, but given the explosive growth in salaries and no real major issues otherwise, the players aren't risking that by going with an unknown.

Fans: Tougher to answer. The strike alone is a pretty bad mark, plus the PED mess. Generally I'd lean towards Bud, given the health of the game's finances, positive labor relations since (also, the other leagues have also had work stoppages during his tenure, though his was the worst), and expanding coverage/accessibility.
   27. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:15 AM (#4346556)
The piece by Vincent is priceless.

Perhaps there should be a separate wing for cheaters


Does Vincent understand what an "honor" is?

The confusion in this nation on the subject of what is “fair” is endemic.


Fortunately, Vincent has a hilarious solution to this:

Who says the voters have to be fair


You can't make it up.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:22 AM (#4346558)
Do you think baseball would have been better or worse off if Vincent had been allowed to remain commissioner and Selig never ended up with the post?

Vincent was a completely ineffective commissioner and never would have been able to corral the owners into a consensus. Bud has many (many, many, many) faults but he gets stuff done. Sometimes even the wrong direction is better than spinning around in circles.

Baseball commissioner is a strange job but, generally speaking, you get let go because you don't have enough political capital to hold onto the job*; and if you don't have enough political capital to hold onto the job, you don't have enough to be a good commish.

*Or you're just the owners' toady but I think you'd have a hard time arguing that about Selig, especially when it comes to big franchises. He may be Reinsdorf's ***** though -- although that may be one of those complicated "alternative" relationships.
   29. Sunday silence Posted: January 14, 2013 at 01:50 AM (#4346564)
Vincent went out on the perfect sour note. After the owner's fired him or whatever they did he insisted that he COULD win this case in court, but he didnt want to hurt the game or something.

I guess he was some sort of SEC lawyer back in the day, which makes perfect sense. Many of these types write and argue complete bull#### all day long and then act like it's actually true. That was how just about everything he said came across. Utterly incomprehensible nonsense passed off as truth.
   30. vivaelpujols Posted: January 14, 2013 at 02:57 AM (#4346579)
asshat
   31. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:07 AM (#4346580)
On the MLB HOF show the day of the voting, Jon Heyman took the opportunity to lament the non-election of... Jack Morris.
   32. Rob_Wood Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:19 AM (#4346582)
Tris Speaker? Have you no sense of decency??
   33. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:29 AM (#4346584)
I am absolutely a steroid apologist, but I do think this is very true with how Hall voting currently works:

In fact the writers did the wise thing. They deferred the question. Many tough issues in this nation get deferred. I like the result and much prefer a flawed deferral to a flawed election.


Unless I think the guy is gonna get voted off due to 5% or it's their last year, voting no if you're unsure absolutely seems right. Enshrinement is (in practice) forever.
   34. Benji Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:12 AM (#4346592)
Thanks for the correction, Nolan. Since that is one of my favorite putdowns, I'll now be able to attribute it correctly.
   35. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 14, 2013 at 04:57 AM (#4346595)
Does Gonfalon take requests? Barry Bonds' acceptance speech upon being inducted into the HoF's cheaters wing please.

Since the inductions are televised live, the best we can hope for is a lot of "forget you"s and "yippee-ki-yay, Mister Falcon"s.
   36. Walt Davis Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:56 PM (#4346996)
Unless I think the guy is gonna get voted off due to 5% or it's their last year, voting no if you're unsure absolutely seems right. Enshrinement is (in practice) forever.

I agree with this but ... what more information can realistically come to light at this point? 15 years since the HR chase, 10 years since BALCO, Congressional hearings (the big circus and Clemens v McNamee), the Mitchell Report, the Clemens and Bonds trials. Those two trials, with the weight of Federal prosecutors behind them, turned up no new evidence -- at least none that was actually useful to the prosecution. OK, I guess that woman testifying that she once saw Bonds get an injection of something.

We've had a handful of player confessions -- and not one of those players seems to have been "forgiven". Without forgiveness and with a rapidly declining (maybe now nonexistent) shock value of confession, where's the incentive for any player to come forward?

And of course nobody can prove they didn't use. So the only evidence that can possibly come forward at this point (other than a confession) is somebody saying "I know X did steroids" which will be nothing more than unsubstantiated hearsay at this point.

Let's take Sosa. Again, it's been 15 years since he became super-famous. There's the NYT report based on anonymous sources "familiar with the list" who, several months after the list was obtained and several months after AROD's name had been revealed, "confirmed" that Sosa was on the list although they couldn't remember what he had tested positive for. But beyond that? No personal trainer, no ex-wife, no spurned mistress, no ex-teammate, no busted steroid dealer has even taken a shot at him to my knowledge. I think Canseco brings him up in the book but I believe even that is just in the "c'mon, look at him" category. Mark Grace made news for a day saying Sosa took steroids only to make it clear the next day that his evidence was "c'mon, look at him".

So what's the point of waiting? If you aren't sure whether Sosa (or Bagwell or Biggio or Piazza or ...) took steroids now, you're not going to be any more certain 5 years from now.

All the "waiters" are really doing is procrastinating at best and hiding behind "waiting" rather than admit they have no evidence at worst.

If there are any genuine "waiters" out there, unfortunately this is a rare time when there is some harm in waiting because the ballot is getting clogged and reasonable to downright worthy candidates are going to get screwed. There's no obvious solution to that other than coming to your senses and electing Larry Walker ASAP. :-)
   37. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:03 PM (#4347003)
Now, Fay Vincent is a moron and this article is awful, but this is a little unfair, I think.


I don't think it's unfair, Fay Vincent is an insufferable jack ass, Seligula has been a vastly superior commish despite being basically evil.

Does Vincent understand what an "honor" is?


I don't think he understands any of these worse/concepts:

Fair
Just
Honor
Proof
Noble
Noble conduct
wise

   38. Depressoteric Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:53 PM (#4347038)
I swear the boomers have had their brains blown by PED (steroid/HGH version) use. Yes, your old favorites no long hold the all-time HR records (single season or career). Yes, guys in the 90's used the most powerful drugs they could find just like your favorites did.
Opposition to steroid users being voted into the Hall of Fame doesn't just come from "baby boomers," or have anything to do with outrage that "childhood heroes" have had their records taken from them, and it's a fairly cheap ad hominem to attack who hold anti-steroid views along those lines. (I'm no baby boomer, for example -- my heroes growing up were McGuire, Canseco, Clemens, Bonds, etc.)
   39. Depressoteric Posted: January 14, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4347041)
Fans: Tougher to answer. The strike alone is a pretty bad mark, plus the PED mess. Generally I'd lean towards Bud, given the health of the game's finances, positive labor relations since (also, the other leagues have also had work stoppages during his tenure, though his was the worst), and expanding coverage/accessibility.
Everyone knows my views of the PED mess, obviously. And needless to say I was no fan of the strike. But even taking those into consideration I find it hard to look upon Selig as anything other than one of the best Commissioners baseball has ever had. In particular, MLB's early-adopter positioning with respect to the internet and the wild success of the MLB Network have to be considered major feathers in his cap. Throw everything else in his tenure into the "demerit" side of scales, if you will (and you shouldn't), and those two would alone still outweigh all the bad.
(also, the other leagues have also had work stoppages during his tenure, though his was the worst)
I think the NHL's has clearly been worse, at this point.
   40. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:06 PM (#4347046)
Opposition to steroid users being voted into the Hall of Fame doesn't just come from "baby boomers," or have anything to do with outrage that "childhood heroes" have had their records taken from them, and it's a fairly cheap ad hominem to attack who hold anti-steroid views along those lines. (I'm no baby boomer, for example -- my heroes growing up were McGuire, Canseco, Clemens, Bonds, etc.)


How does this preclude you having resentment over players you feel "cheated" to break cherished records? After all, this fits Mike Lupica: He wrote a book following the 1998 home run chase entitled "The Summer of ’98: When Homers Flew, Records Fell, and Baseball Reclaimed America." In the book he wrote glowingly about how the home run chase enabled him to bond with his son. Later he was shocked to learn that -- gasp! -- people might have been on drugs when they hit the home runs. And so he feels that they cheated to break records. One need not have grown up a fan of Maris in the '60s to feel that way. And yet one still is so blinded by the resentment of the 90s players for breaking records that one forms illogical and unsustainable conclusions about steroids and amps, etc.

   41. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 14, 2013 at 07:15 PM (#4347050)
Does Gonfalon take requests? Barry Bonds' acceptance speech upon being inducted into the HoF's cheaters wing please.

Since the inductions are televised live, the best we can hope for is a lot of "forget you"s and "yippee-ki-yay, Mister Falcon"s.

I hope Bonds continues to deny steroids, and instead announces to the world that he is gay.

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