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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ray Ratto: The Hall of Fame is not church

Gospel primitivism! (say it, say it)

In fact, let me add to it by pointing out something to those voters who prefer to make their annual petulant stand on performance enhancing drug use and Hall of Fame – something they may have forgotten in their annual blood pressure spike.

YOU DON’T WORK FOR BASEBALL! YOU ARE NOT GUARDIANS OF THE GAME! IT IS NEITHER YOUR JOB, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY OR EVEN YOUR RIGHT TO KEEP THE GAME PURE OF MISCREANTS WHEN IT SHOWS EVERY DAY THAT IT DOESN’T WANT TO BE!

And might I add:

YOU SILLY SELF-DELUDED BASTARDS!

I just needed to get that last one off my chest. Sorry.

Repoz Posted: November 28, 2012 at 07:46 PM | 176 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof

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   101. Bhaakon Posted: November 29, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4312681)
Fair play and fair competition.

Armstrong traduced it so much that he's shunned by essentially everyone who cares about sport qua sport. Amp users in baseball didn't really traduce it at all; if they did, it was merely marginally.



Simple fair play is perfectly fine for private, amateur sporting ventures. If you want to take loads of illegal PEDs in your backyard home-run derby, then so be it, as long as the participants are agreed and join freely.

I have a problem with it in professional sports, though. I'd like to be able to watch a game of baseball without feeling like a damned Roman at the coliseum, cheering on as a bunch of athletes risk destroying their long-term health for my entertainment. If I wanted that, I'd watch football.
   102. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 29, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4312692)
Further, what right do spectators and writers have to declare something against "fair play and fair competition", exactly?

What right don't they have to make that declaration? Is pro wrestling "fair competition"? Is Globetrotters v. Washington Generals "fair competition"?
   103. TDF, situational idiot Posted: November 29, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4312697)
Simple fair play is perfectly fine for private, amateur sporting ventures. If you want to take loads of illegal PEDs in your backyard home-run derby, then so be it, as long as the participants are agreed and join freely.

I have a problem with it in professional sports, though. I'd like to be able to watch a game of baseball without feeling like a damned Roman at the coliseum, cheering on as a bunch of athletes risk destroying their long-term health for my entertainment. If I wanted that, I'd watch football.
Not to be nasty about it, but that's your problem, not baseball's.

The owners and players are the only ones who get to decide what's fair and not. If you don't like it, watch something else.
   104. TDF, situational idiot Posted: November 29, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4312703)
Further, what right do spectators and writers have to declare something against "fair play and fair competition", exactly?

What right don't they have to make that declaration? Is pro wrestling "fair competition"? Is Globetrotters v. Washington Generals "fair competition"?
Of course not, but not because of anything "we" (the observers) have decided; it's not "fair competition" because it's not competition at all - it's scripted, with the outcome pre-determined.

I've answered your question - they have no right to decide because they hold no title to the outcome. Now answer mine.
   105. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 29, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4312706)
Of course not, but not because of anything "we" (the observers) have decided; it's not "fair competition" because it's not competition at all - it's scripted, with the outcome pre-determined.

Do the promoters of pro wrestling tell us that before the matches?
   106. Bhaakon Posted: November 29, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4312708)
Not to be nasty about it, but that's your problem, not baseball's.

The owners and players are the only ones who get to decide what's fair and not. If you don't like it, watch something else.


If the goal of the owners and the players is to make money, then their customers' problems are their problems.

Plus, you know, all those sneaky laws that the government has which make certain things illegal even if the leagues make no effort to police them.
   107. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 29, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4312713)
I've answered your question - they have no right to decide because they hold no title to the outcome. Now answer mine.

"Title to the outcome" isn't a prerequisite to valid criticism of matters of interest and public import -- on grounds of fairness or purity of competition, or otherwise.
   108. TDF, situational idiot Posted: November 29, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4312729)
Of course not, but not because of anything "we" (the observers) have decided; it's not "fair competition" because it's not competition at all - it's scripted, with the outcome pre-determined.

Do the promoters of pro wrestling tell us that before the matches?
Were you equally up in arms when the writers of Dallas didn't tell you ahead of time who shot JR?

I've answered your question - they have no right to decide because they hold no title to the outcome. Now answer mine.

"Title to the outcome" isn't a prerequisite to valid criticism of matters of interest and public import.
1. You can criticize all you want, but it doesn't mean you have a say in what the rules are.

2. I hate to break your bubble, but there is no "public import" in baseball.

EDIT: While I was typing, I see you added "on grounds of fairness or purity of competition, or otherwise." The only people who get to decide what's "fair" or "pure" are the titleholders, despite what you think. Sports, business, government, your family rules - unless you're personally and directly invested in the outcome, what you have to say is only opinion.
   109. TDF, situational idiot Posted: November 29, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4312733)
Oh, and

3. Even in "matters of interest and public import" unless you're a tile holder to the outcome, what you have to say is merely opinion. People in Canada can complain about the relationship between the US and Mexico, but until they're part of the US their opinion can help inform our dealings but don't determine them.
   110. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 29, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4312746)
what you have to say is only opinion.

Of course.
   111. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 29, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4312804)
2. I hate to break your bubble, but there is no "public import" in baseball.


Maybe not in Russia, eh comrade?
   112. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 29, 2012 at 07:58 PM (#4312858)
1. You can criticize all you want, but it doesn't mean you have the Barry Bonds Fan Club has a say in what the rules are who gets elected to the Hall of Fame.

Fair and balanced? The BBWAA decides!
   113. BDC Posted: November 29, 2012 at 08:42 PM (#4312879)
I'd like to be able to watch a game of baseball without feeling like a damned Roman at the coliseum, cheering on as a bunch of athletes risk destroying their long-term health for my entertainment

I used to feel that way, so I can sympathize with the sentiment. But last I heard, Barry Bonds, who is five years younger than I am (ie getting on), was cycling a hundred miles a day up and down the hills of somewhere. And Willie Mays and Hank Aaron are old gentlemen in superb lifelong physical condition. There have been lifelong health effects of weird drug-and-drink regimens on many a player, most notably Mickey Mantle (though who knows? he didn't come from long-lived stock). Or Eddie Waitkus, as I often mention, who was eaten up by all kinds of substances. Or Caminiti. But clean, hard-working PED use does not seem to have destroyed its participants. That's an important fact, for me. And I guess the jury might still be out on whatever Bonds or Canseco or McGwire were taking. But whatever Mays and Aaron took, we should all take that.
   114. Steve Treder Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:01 PM (#4312894)
But clean, hard-working PED use does not seem to have destroyed its participants. That's an important fact, for me.

Indeed it is, and a decidedly inconvenient one for the PED Warriors.
   115. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:11 PM (#4312904)
Indeed it is, and a decidedly inconvenient one for the PED Warriors.

Not really. The long-term effects of roids have nothing to do with whether they traduce the principles of fair play and fair competition, and that's the critical measure.
   116. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:14 PM (#4312907)
And I guess the jury might still be out on whatever Bonds or Canseco or McGwire were taking. But whatever Mays and Aaron took, we should all take that.

Well, one thing we can say is that notwithstanding their "rampant" use of potent and addictive amphetamines, none of them became pill addicts. Hmmmmm.
   117. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:24 PM (#4312914)
Not really. The long-term effects of roids have nothing to do with whether they traduce the principles of fair play and fair competition, and that's the critical measure.


The only justification for the anti-PED position is that the success of users puts pressure on others to use, which is supposedly unfair because using is supposedly harmful. If using isn't harmful, then it's not unfair for it to be necessary to use in order to have success. It's not unfair to have to eat right to avoid getting fat. It's not unfair to have to put gas in your car to make it go. And if steroids aren't harmful to your body, it's not unfair to have to use them to hold down a job in major league baseball.
   118. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:29 PM (#4312919)
The only justification for the anti-PED position is that the success of users puts pressure on others to use, which is supposedly unfair because using is supposedly harmful. If using isn't harmful, then it's not unfair for it to be necessary to use in order to have success. It's not unfair to have to eat right to avoid getting fat. It's not unfair to have to put gas in your car to make it go. And if steroids aren't harmful to your body, it's not unfair to have to use them to hold down a job in major league baseball.

Maybe, assuming full knowledge of the necessity, availability, and legality. If you had a league wherein a prerequisite to employment was roiding and roiding was legal, that wouldn't necessarily be an anticompetitive league, though the comparison with bygone eras wouldn't be fair without some adjustment.
   119. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:29 PM (#4312921)
I don't think our friend Wolf is a troll. It's fine to think people who cheat shouldn't go into the Hall, and it's fine not to think one is bound by what one sees as dismal precedents.

That most of us disagree with him, and that he feels strongly, doesn't make him a troll. He might want to further his argument, though, perhaps expanding his arguments in order to address the issue of precedent, if he wants to.

The magnitude issue is this: Bonds went from a 40+ homer hitter to a 70+ homer hitter in 2001. That's a ratio of something like 7/4. Do you really believe that steroids have anything like that magnitude of effect? Because if you do, then those clean years before 2001 make Barry out not to be Babe Ruth, not to be Ted Williams, but to be Superman. I mean, he won MVPs over roiders, when roids give the competition a 7/4 boost? That's not possible.
I don't have any comment on the rest of your argument, but this is thoroughly illogical. That Bonds might have gotten a "7/4" benefit has essentially no bearing on the benefit his competition got. The latter doesn't follow from the former. Bonds could have been the outlier (someone had to be), most people don't benefit from steroids, etc.

But whatever Mays and Aaron took, we should all take that.
Objection (on similar grounds). Citing two examples out of thousands does not a case make. I'm not saying you're wrong, it's just that this isn't an effective argument.
   120. TDF, situational idiot Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4312940)
The long-term effects of roids have nothing to do with whether they traduce the principles of fair play and fair competition, and that's the critical measure.
For once, you're right.

Of course, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.
   121. Bhaakon Posted: November 29, 2012 at 09:55 PM (#4312949)
The only justification for the anti-PED position is that the success of users puts pressure on others to use, which is supposedly unfair because using is supposedly harmful. If using isn't harmful, then it's not unfair for it to be necessary to use in order to have success. It's not unfair to have to eat right to avoid getting fat. It's not unfair to have to put gas in your car to make it go. And if steroids aren't harmful to your body, it's not unfair to have to use them to hold down a job in major league baseball.


If, if if. The problem with that reasoning is that you have to actually use the untested substance widely and for an extended period under something approaching controlled conditions before you can draw conclusions about its safety. Until then, you're just pressuring the other players to play Russian roulette with a gun that may or may not be loaded. There will always be someone willing to take an untested substance if the potential payoff is big enough.
   122. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 30, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4313196)
The long-term effects of roids have nothing to do with whether they traduce the principles of fair play and fair competition, and that's the critical measure.


"the principles of fair play and fair competition" which I refuse to define or talk about in any specifics, so I get to apply them however I want.

And again I call BS.
   123. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4313208)
Well, one thing we can say is that notwithstanding their "rampant" use of potent and addictive amphetamines, none of them became pill addicts. Hmmmmm.


Milt Pappas wrote that guys used to get hooked on greenies over the course of the season, then use the winter to try to break the habit. He specifically named Joe Pepitone as someone who did this every year.
   124. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4313218)
Milt Pappas wrote that guys used to get hooked on greenies over the course of the season, then use the winter to try to break the habit. He specifically named Joe Pepitone as someone who did this every year.

Has any major leaguer or ex-major leaguer gone to rehab for greenie addiction? If they'd laid out lines of coke or heroin on the clubhouse table, you'd have addicts by the score, and guys still trying to clean up.

Has any major leaguer or ex major-leaguer shown the effects in retirement of excessive greenie use? Greenie use can lead to brain impact, memory loss, and loss of ccordination. Has any major leaguer or ex-major leaguer ever claimed disability or sought payment for such damage, since they used in the workplace?

Nothing that's happened since the "Greenie Era" is consistent with systematic use by major leaguers. The stories have taken on a life of their own at this point, and should be considered the functional equivalent of tall tales.
   125. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4313241)
An honest question to the staunch anti-PED guys. Do you allow yourself to enjoy most popular music, or impressionist art? Almost all of these people took "performance enhancing drugs" in the form of marijuana, absinthe, LSD, opiates, etc.. Like steroids, at some point all of these things were illegal, in some part of the world. Would you campaign to keep a musician out of the Rock & Roll HOF because he used weed to boost his creativity, thereby giving him an unfair advantage over the rockers who respected western drug laws? I don't see how this isn't germane to the discussion.
   126. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4313248)
"the principles of fair play and fair competition" which I refuse to define or talk about in any specifics, so I get to apply them however I want.

"The principles of fair play and fair competition" aren't something that can always be codified in any sort of a uniform manner. Corked bats, spitballs, and other on-field rules violations are enforced by umpires. Specific game-related but off-field violations like sign stealing from the bleachers are dealt with on an ad hoc basis by the Commissioner's office. And current PED use is detected by testing by outside groups hired by baseball, with penalties handed out by the Commissioner's office. And every single one of these rules is based on a subjective idea of what's "fair" and what isn't. Steroids are hardly unique in this respect.

And when it comes to past violations, this same subjectivity is bound to come into play. Whether some Primates like it or not, writers are going to view all these violations in the light of their subjective ideas of what constitutes "fair play and fair competition." Some writers to this day refuse to acknowledge Gaylord Perry as a legitimate Hall of Famer, just as some people here apparently see corked bats as a worse violation than repeated steroid usage.

And what else would you expect? I'll bet if someone were to list 20 or 30 "violations" that have been cited through the years, from spitballs to Polo Grounds sign stealing to a baserunner yelling "hey!" at a fielder to Eddie Stanky standing behind second waving his arms, you couldn't get two people here to rank those violations in the order of their affront to the spirit of "fair play and fair competition."

Bottom line is that we all have our subjective ideas as to what constitutes "fair play and fair competition," and as to what violations cross the line when it comes to disqualifying a player from the Hall of Fame. The HoF has a character clause, but it doesn't define it in any but the most general terms. I'm sorry** that up to now, the writers don't seem to agree with the consensus here about which side of that line that steroids fall on, but OTOH just think of all the page hits it's given Lucky Jim.

**Of course I'm not sorry when it comes to their evaluation of known steroids users, but I am sorry that their standard of proof seems to be so low. And therein lies yet another subjectively decided issue. Life sure is messy.
   127. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4313252)
Bottom line is that we all have our subjective ideas as to what constitutes "fair play and fair competition," and as to what violations cross the line when it comes to disqualifying a player from the Hall of Fame.


Yes. That's why what was said was "'the principles of fair play and fair competition,' which I refuse to define or talk about in any specifics, so I get to apply them however I want."

You make it up as you go along. There are no actual principles at play. Amps players? Pshaw. Steroids players? Ban them!

(Well, I guess "boyhood idols" is a principle, but not a fair one or a logically consistent one.)
   128. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4313258)
An honest question to the staunch anti-PED guys. Do you allow yourself to enjoy most popular music, or impressionist art? Almost all of these people took "performance enhancing drugs" in the form of marijuana, absinthe, LSD, opiates, etc..

Of course. None of those things are competitive activities; they're creative ones.

If you went to Giants' games in 2005 to see Barry Bonds hit, that's more akin to the impressionist artist. If you went, instead, to see the Giants compete against the Reds (and implicitly compete with their major league forerunners), you'd have a different perspective.
   129. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4313259)
An honest question to the staunch anti-PED guys. Do you allow yourself to enjoy most popular music, or impressionist art? Almost all of these people took "performance enhancing drugs" in the form of marijuana, absinthe, LSD, opiates, etc.. Like steroids, at some point all of these things were illegal, in some part of the world. Would you campaign to keep a musician out of the Rock & Roll HOF because he used weed to boost his creativity, thereby giving him an unfair advantage over the rockers who respected western drug laws? I don't see how this isn't germane to the discussion.

Legality or illegality has little or nothing to do with my view of the relative seriousness of baseball code violations, and to even raise the comparison with other forms of entertainment is, to put it politely, mindless. We've got too damn many lawyers and would-be lawyers trying to play their game with baseball ethics questions as it is, without having someone try to get an injunction to close down the Rock and Roll Museum or the Boston Symphony Orchestra over the fact that many composers or musicians have broken their countries' drug laws.

EDIT: coke to SBB
   130. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4313262)
Bottom line is that we all have our subjective ideas as to what constitutes "fair play and fair competition," and as to what violations cross the line when it comes to disqualifying a player from the Hall of Fame.

Yes. That's why what was said was "'the principles of fair play and fair competition,' which I refuse to define or talk about in any specifics, so I get to apply them however I want."

You make it up as you go along. There are no actual principles at play. Amps players? Pshaw. Steroids players? Ban them!

(Well, I guess "boyhood idols" is a principle, but not a fair one or a logically consistent one.)


You say all this as if your own particular standards aren't subjective. What a laugh. But then you've never been much for self-reflection, so this hardly comes as a shock.
   131. Nasty Nate Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:33 AM (#4313268)
An honest question to the staunch anti-PED guys. Do you allow yourself to enjoy most popular music, or impressionist art? Almost all of these people took "performance enhancing drugs" in the form of marijuana, absinthe, LSD, opiates, etc.. Like steroids, at some point all of these things were illegal, in some part of the world. Would you campaign to keep a musician out of the Rock & Roll HOF because he used weed to boost his creativity, thereby giving him an unfair advantage over the rockers who respected western drug laws? I don't see how this isn't germane to the discussion.


I'm not a staunch anti-PED guy, but I will address some of your points. First of all, for most people there is a distinction between creative and competitive things - the way to cheat for an artist is to steal someone else's music, and yes most people have problems with that. Also, in most cases for artists, the drugs are performance-retarding and not performance-enhancing. Also, people who care a lot about music do not treat induction into the R&R HOF as some huge important music topic - sadly the same can't be said about the baseball HOF and people on this site.
   132. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4313272)
Nothing that's happened since the "Greenie Era" is consistent with systematic use by major leaguers. The stories have taken on a life of their own at this point, and should be considered the functional equivalent of tall tales.


So you think people who wrote about greenie use contemporaneously, like Jim Brosnan and Jim Bouton, were just making things up? When Pappas wrote that Braves pitcher Pat Jarvis used to take something called a Black Beauty, and his teammates would practically have to peel him off the backstop, he was just having a little fun? When a doctor was charged with writing 23 illicit amphetamine prescriptions for members of the Phillies organization, including seven major leaguers, back in 1980, that was all a lie?
   133. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4313276)
Of course. None of those things are competitive activities; they're creative ones.


I'd disagree with that. Many artists strive to get rich and famous, and to do that you need to compete with other artists venues, radio play, etc.

Andy - I was only bringing this up to highlight the sillyness of most anti-PED arguments, not because I want drug-free rock music.
   134. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4313284)
Also, people who care a lot about music do not treat induction into the R&R HOF as some huge important music topic - sadly the same can't be said about the baseball HOF and people on this site.

The baseball HOF is so hotly-debated around here because it exemplifies the writers' status as primary curators and interpreters of the sport and its mores. People are railing primarily at that, not so much the choices themselves.

This underlying battle is why you see all the hullabaloo about the baseball awards and HOF choices, and why you don't see it in any other sport or the R&R HOF.
   135. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:41 AM (#4313288)
You say all this as if your own particular standards aren't subjective. What a laugh.


Let's start with this: I treat both amps players and steroids players consistently, which is basically a prerequisite for being taken seriously on this issue. I know that sticks in your craw.

And as I've said, I can respect a position that says that BOTH amps players and steroids players should be banned from the Hall. I don't agree with it, but I respect it because it's logically consistent. But the idea that there is a meaningful distinction between steroids and amps for the purposes of the issue of the HOF is decidedly non-serious, and unworthy of respect.

   136. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4313292)
I treat both amps players and steroids players consistently,

Because you subjectively believe they should be treated "consistently." There's no more to it than that.

But the idea that there is a meaningful distinction between steroids and amps for the purposes of the issue of the HOF is decidedly non-serious.


Another entirely subjective conclusion. You're getting good at this!!
   137. JJ1986 Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4313293)
The baseball HOF is so hotly-debated around here because it exemplifies the writers' status as primary curators and interpreters of the sport and its mores. People are railing primarily at that, not so much the choices themselves.

This underlying battle is why you see all the hullabaloo about the baseball awards and HOF choices, and why you don't see it in any other sport or the R&R HOF.


Who do you think vote for the pro-football Hall-of-Fame?
   138. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4313296)
Who do you think vote for the pro-football Hall-of-Fame?

Writers. In football, there isn't a blabby faction attacking writers' place within the sport, and thus no one gives a crap about who gets picked for the HOF.

In baseball, there is an attack.

Isn't that what I said?
   139. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4313297)
And what else would you expect?


I expect reasonableness, and I think your post was reasonable. But you and I (though we disagree on this) I think at least understand each others opinions. I hoped to get SBB's definition, because his seems much less reasonable than yours.

You say all this as if your own particular standards aren't subjective.


My standard (I know you were not replying to me) is I think fairly objective. Apply the enforced rules of MLB at the time (along with the standards and practices) when evaluating a player for inclusion in the Hall of Fame.

Since black players were not allowed in MLB for a time I don't try to evaluate MLB players from that era in the context of them and those that were excluded. Right or wrong (it is wrong by the way) the black players were not there and even though the white players should have been competing against them they were not, so you don't adjust the white players performance in some capricious way downward (or ban them all together) because of the circumstances. Those were the circumstances the competition happened in.

Similarly PEDs (Greenies, Steroids, HGH, whatever) have been present in baseball. When there is no enforced MLB ban on them then that is the context the game was played in and you take it for what it is. Now that the game is "clean" (take that for what it is worth) evaluate in that context.
   140. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4313300)
Apply the enforced rules of MLB at the time (along with the standards and practices) when evaluating a player for inclusion in the Hall of Fame.

But if you do that, you aren't applying the correct standard, so it doesn't matter how "objective" it is.
   141. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4313301)
Let's start with this: I treat both amps players and steroids players consistently, which is basically a prerequisite for being taken seriously on this issue. I know that sticks in your craw.

This just in: Ray takes himself seriously.
   142. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4313302)
Because you subjectively believe they should be treated "consistently." There's no more to it than that.


heh. Under this standard there is almost nothing that can be said to be not subjective. Which is I guess an opinion, but one that sort of renders the distinction between subjective and objective meaningless.
   143. JJ1986 Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4313303)
Writers. In football, there isn't a blabby faction attacking writers' place within the sport, and thus no one gives a crap about who gets picked for the HOF.


There is most certainly an anaylst-type of football writer who thinks the mainstream and old school writers make bad HoF choices.

Edit: in both football and baseball, most of the people publically attacking the "writers" are writers themselves so being a writer isn't really the distinction you want to make.
   144. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4313308)
But if you do that, you aren't applying the correct standard, so it doesn't matter how "objective" it is.


So what is the correct standard? Does it by chance involve the undefined phrase including the words "fair", "play", and "competition"? Do you have any posts on this subject that are not just assertion without any foundation?

   145. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4313309)
There is most certainly an anaylst-type of football writer who thinks the mainstream and old school writers make bad HoF choices.

Of course. There's also a rump of people who thinks the basketball HOF makes bad choices. Those groups are nowhere near as big and loud and resolute as the baseball saberists.
   146. Nasty Nate Posted: November 30, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4313311)

The baseball HOF is so hotly-debated around here because it exemplifies the writers' status as primary curators and interpreters of the sport and its mores. People are railing primarily at that


Don't you see the contradiction here? Making HOF induction and the awards all-important topics that deserves constant discussion adds to the writers' status as curators and interpreters (which you are supposedly railing against).
   147. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4313317)
Don't you see the contradiction here? Making HOF induction and the awards some all-important topic that deserves constant discussion adds to the writers' status as curators and interpreters (which you are supposedly railing against).

I do now. I'm not your audience, though. To me, Murray Chass is the guy who got Billy Martin to utter the immortal, "The two of them deserve each other; one's a born liar, the other's convicted," not the caricature you read about in these pages.
   148. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 30, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4313318)
My standard (I know you were not replying to me) is I think fairly objective. Apply the enforced rules of MLB at the time (along with the standards and practices) when evaluating a player for inclusion in the Hall of Fame....

Similarly PEDs (Greenies, Steroids, HGH, whatever) have been present in baseball. When there is no enforced MLB ban on them then that is the context the game was played in and you take it for what it is. Now that the game is "clean" (take that for what it is worth) evaluate in that context.


That's an objective standard on paper, but as it doesn't allow for any evaluation of pre-testing steroid use as an unfair competitive advantage, I don't think it fully engages the underlying question of (as you put it) "fair play and fair competition". If you're either forgiving or agnostic about steroids, your position makes a lot more sense than if you're not, but if you're not forgiving of steroid use, it seems like little more than a quasi-legalistic way of avoiding the underlying issue.

Again, I make no claim to any "objectivity" about this, since like all opinions when it comes to steroids, one's own particular set of ethical standards are inevitably going to come into play, not to mention one's subjective opinion about the relative degree of ethical violations involved in those PEDs you listed above.
   149. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: November 30, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4313319)
It's nice to know, though, given how many people here endorse cheating and support cheaters, that there used to be someone else who posted here once who was on the side of integrity.


Thanks--you've cleared up why this story is already at 150 comments.
   150. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4313331)
but as it doesn't allow for any evaluation of pre-testing steroid use as an unfair competitive advantage, I don't think it fully engages the underlying question of (as you put it) "fair play and fair competition".


Well I think it does (subjectively). The premise is all participants in play at any given time participate in that context and should be evaluated in that context. If a player does something innovative that gives them an advantage then it happens.

Babe Ruth changed baseball by innovating the art of hitting. He gained a huge advantage, and the rest of MLB caught up. But you can't try to judge players before that innovation, during or after any way other than within the context of the times. How much was the Ruth change and how much was balls, playing fields and so on. How much do you discount those players before Ruth for not innovating (if at all)?

The second premise I use is you can't try to parse out every advantage each player seeks and how that impacts the competitive ecosystem. It is just not possible to do either objectively or subjectively, so don't bother. Fair play and fair competition have to be handled at the time in the context of the times by the participants, it can't be retroactively and subjectively applied.
   151. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4313347)
but as it doesn't allow for any evaluation of pre-testing steroid use as an unfair competitive advantage, I don't think it fully engages the underlying question of (as you put it) "fair play and fair competition".

Well I think it does (subjectively). The premise is all participants in play at any given time participate in that context and should be evaluated in that context. If a player does something innovative that gives them an advantage then it happens.


But if you see steroid advantages as an independent factor independent of timeline, that lets known pre-testing era users off the hook. I can't buy that.

The second premise I use is you can't try to parse out every advantage each players seek and how that impacts the competitive ecosystem. It is just not possible to do either objectively or subjectively, so don't bother.

I use that argument when it comes to trying to perform "steroid discounts" to known users. I agree that trying to come up with any sort of objective modification of statistics is a fool's game. IMO if Barry Bonds is in, then so is Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire. Inducting Barry Bonds is effectively equating the Hall of Fame with the Hall of Merit, which is fine if you want to do it, but in that case you should be judging players strictly by the numbers in the record book, and not trying to come up with some silly (and comically subjective) formula that puts Palmeiro or McGwire below the line.

Fair play and fair competition have to be handled at the time in the context of the times by the participants, it can't be retroactively and subjectively applied.

But that depends of what your view is of what was "the context of the times." That's a topic that's been dealt with over and over, and rather than rehash it for the 10,000th time I think it's best to say that we're not likely to agree on it. Gonfalon is the best-researched spokesman for your POV on that topic, and I'm sure he'll be back here at some point to reinforce it, but he's yet to convert me to the Church of Forgiveness.
   152. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4313384)
Let's see... McGwire has gotten 20-25% of the vote. Palmeiro has gotten 10-15%.

I've got the following predictions:

Clemens 45-55%
Bonds 45-55%
Bagwell 45-55%
Piazza 65-75%
Sosa 20-30%
Morris... In!!

   153. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4313385)
Thanks for the response Andy. As always a pleasure to disagree with you on this topic. Now go over the the politics thread and save us from zombies :)
   154. Moeball Posted: November 30, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4313452)
But whatever Mays and Aaron took, we should all take that.


I don't want whatever Willie took/is taking. He's just bitter these days. Even Buck O'Neil couldn't cheer Willie up and if Buck can't put a smile on your face it's pretty sad.

As to what is a "fair and level" playing field (sounds like a term Rupert Murdoch would come up with) - I find it interesting that baseball is the only major sport I can think of that lets teams create all kinds of advantages for themselves if they want since there are no requirements for standardization of fence distances, height, etc. In the NFL you don't have some stadiums where the field is 150 yards long (defensive, low scoring games ensue)and some stadiums where the field is only 50 yards long (scoring galore). All the teams have to try to score in the same environments. I would think that is a "level playing field". But in baseball you can have some stadiums with shorter, easier to reach fences and others with deeper, harder to reach fences and this directly impacts the scoring levels - and the individual statistics. If you're a batter who plays his home games at Petco (or Anaheim, LA, SF or Oakland, for that matter - BTW, how did all the California parks become pitcher-friendly parks?) or a pitcher who has to log a lot of innings at Coors Field - well, it sucks to be you. If, on the other hand, you're a batter in a good hitting park or a pitcher in a pitching-friendly park, you get all kinds of help with your numbers. Yet we consider this "fair" because it is within the accepted rules? Melky Cabrera can't win a batting title because he had an "unfair" advantage but all the titles won by Larry Walker, Todd Helton and Andres Gallarraga in Colorado are perfectly "fair"? I don't see a single person here saying we should take away their records because they had an "unfair" advantage, although it is fairly obvious that they had a huge advantage in compiling offensive numbers. I think there are some contradictions here that we as fans turn blind eyes on. For example, in the "Trout vs. Cabrera" MVP threads earlier this month, several of the Cabrera fans made it clear they don't really believe it is much more difficult to hit in Anaheim than Detroit, despite the fact that the park factors indicate this pattern not just for 2012 but for the past several seasons. This was in response to the batting runs' adjustments (B-Ref) for park factors which showed that Trout wasn't just a better baserunner and fielder than Cabrera was this year, but a better hitter. I guess "fair", like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.



   155. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 30, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4313486)
I don't see a single person here saying we should take away their records because they had an "unfair" advantage, although it is fairly obvious that they had a huge advantage in compiling offensive numbers.

I also don't see many (if any) people here saying we should take away Barry Bonds's records. And how close is Larry Walker to the Hall of Fame? The record book and the Hall of Fame are completely distinct entities. One is objective and the other isn't. That seems to be a problem for lots of people here, but until you replace writers with statistically programmed robots whose programmers all agree on what the multitude of statistics mean, it's a problem that's not likely to go away.
   156. HGM Posted: November 30, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4313553)
Pretty sure his point about records was concerning Melky Cabrera and the batting title.
   157. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4313566)
Did the testing for roids and the suspensions of users codify what had always been contrary to the principles and spirit of fair play and fair competition, or was it a redefinition of those principles? If it redefined them, what was the basis and/or reasons for the redefinition and where would we look to confirm that they were in fact the reasons?
   158. JJ1986 Posted: November 30, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4313572)
Did the testing for roids and the suspensions of users codify what had always been contrary to the principles and spirit of fair play and fair competition, or was it a redefinition of those principles? If it redefined them, what was the basis and/or reasons for the redefinition and where would we look to confirm that they were in fact the reasons?


They test for and suspend for amps now too. Either they're both redefinitions or they're both codifying already existing principles.
   159. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2012 at 03:52 PM (#4313573)
I also don't see many (if any) people here saying we should take away Barry Bonds's records.


Andy, Melky Cabrera had his batting title taken away.
   160. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4313578)
They test for and suspend for amps now too. Either they're both redefinitions or they're both codifying already existing principles.

That doesn't follow (*), but taking it on its face the penalties are lower for amps, indicating that they are less of an affront to competition.

(*) For example, the roid ban could have been a codification of something always contrary; the amp ban could have been a discouragement of the use of addictive drugs, with little to no competitive intent or effect. The waiver process and frequent granting of waivers for amps would be consistent with this dichotomy.

   161. HGM Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4313583)
That doesn't follow (*), but taking it on its face the penalties are lower for amps, indicating that they are less of an affront to competition.

(*) For example, the roid ban could have been a codification of something always contrary; the amp ban could have been a discouragement of the use of addictive drugs, with little to no competitive intent or effect. The waiver process and frequent granting of waivers for amps would be consistent with this dichotomy.

I have never before seen someone twist themselves into logic knots like this.
   162. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4313589)
codify what had always been contrary to the principles and spirit of fair play and fair competition


Codify what now?

Seriously though MLB did codify one rule in terms of the HoF, the banned list rule. And while that perhaps was just aimed at Pete Rose, I think it telling that they have only acted like that with regards to the banned list and not steroids or anything else like it.
   163. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4313594)
Page SR-1 of the Mitchell Report attributes steroid use to "the drive to gain a competitive advantage." Is this conclusion wrong?

Footnote 19 of the Mitchell Report, the official pronouncement of MLB on the subject, states that, "The allegedly widespread use of amphetamines in baseball, rumored for decades, is a problem distinct from more recent allegations that players have used steroids and other substances with anabolic or similar effects to gain an unfair competitive advantage. I was asked to examine the latter question, and I am comfortable that a thorough examination did not require me to look into the additional problems posed by amphetamines use, serious as those problems might be ..."

In other words, the widespread use of amphetamnes was deemed not germane to the investigation of means by which an "unfair competitive advantage" was gained by major league baseball players. Was that conclusion wrong? If so, why?

It's crystal clear that the official position of Major League Baseball is that steroids provide an unfair competitive advantage that amps don't. That has now been formally adopted as a position, though, as noted often herein, it has been the sport's de facto position for decades.

Page 37 of the Report also notes the disparate treatement in the 1985 Drug Testing Agreement as between "drugs of abuse and amphetimines" -- subject to testing -- and "steroids or other performance enhancing drugs" -- not tested for.

Amps are now subject to testing not as an affront to competition, but for the same reason they were part of the 1985 agreement -- they're drugs of abuse. Baseball's purposes couldn't be more unambiguous.

   164. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4313614)
The Mitchell Report is dispositive now?
   165. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4313617)
The Mitchell Report is dispositive now?

As the official opinion of MLB as to the relative impact on competition of steroids and amps, very much so. Completely dispositive. When HOF voters distinguish between the two on the basis of their impact on competition, they're merely adopting the official position of MLB.

And so the answer to the ultimate question is quite clear. In MLB's eyes, they were merely codifying and punishing anticompetitive roid use that had always been anticompetitive. Which, of course, it had been.
   166. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4313618)
I also don't see many (if any) people here saying we should take away Barry Bonds's records.

Andy, Melky Cabrera had his batting title taken away.


Which is insane, but OTOH not awarding him a silver bat isn't "taking away his records," any more than Mark McGwire's records have been removed from the books. Melky's full record for 2012 is still right there for anyone to see.
   167. JJ1986 Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4313623)
The Mitchell report was a sham conducted to get Congress off MLB's back. No one thinks it's definitive.
   168. Ron J2 Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4313629)
#162 It's worth restating this. The Hall has made it very clear that if Rose (or Jackson) is reinstated they will immediately become candidates.

Quoting from an old FAQ from the HOF: "If and when he is re-instated by Baseball, he then would automatically be a candidate for election,(were he to meet the other requirements for eligibility)."

Ditto for Jackson (and Cicotte -- not that Cicotte has a chance)

As things stand, this means he'd go to the Veterans Committee and it's very uncertain how it'd play out there. Mike Shmidt's been pretty vocal in supporting him but in the past Bob Feller (supported by other older players) was able to stop any compromise proposals from getting any kind of hearing.

Worth noting that the one person who truly matter -- Jane Forbes Clark (who could change policy pretty much at will) -- has cited Tom Seaver as convincing her of the importance of the current rules.
   169. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4313631)
And so the answer to the ultimate question is quite clear.


Where does it state that the conclusions in the report should be retroactively applied? That punishing players before the context of baseball could be changed to better exclude PEDs was critical?

When Mitchell hoped "that readers of the report will look past the players' names that are included in the report and focus on the conclusions he reached during his investigation"?

Maybe when the report talked about "While players that use illegal substances are responsible for their actions, that responsibility is shared by the entire baseball community for failing to recognize the problem sooner"?

Way to cherry pick what you want out of it and ignore everything else. Not that I accept the Mitchell report as the final official word of MLB on the issue, BTW.
   170. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4313633)
The Mitchell report was a sham conducted to get Congress off MLB's back. No one thinks it's definitive.

It's a conspiracy, man!!!!



   171. JJ1986 Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4313636)
It's a conspiracy, man!!!!


Out of the thousands of people connected with steroids in MLB, they had 2 sources.
   172. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4313639)
Out of the thousands of people connected with steroids in MLB, they had 2 sources.

That goes to who used. It has nothing to do with baseball's position on the broad question of the relative competitive advantage of amps and roids.(*) The report just gave them a formal way to restate that position which, again, had been its de facto position for decades.

People are free to dissent from that position, but there's really no confusion over baseball's stance on the matter.

(*) Or the issue of whether baseball believes roids provided an unfair competitive advantage even when "not against the rules."
   173. bachslunch Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4313644)
In football, there isn't a blabby faction attacking writers' place within the sport, and thus no one gives a crap about who gets picked for the HOF.

Not true at all, as a look at several places online (including the Pro Football Hall of Fame's own website) will show.
   174. bachslunch Posted: November 30, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4313650)
I have never before seen someone twist themselves into logic knots like this.

You must be new around here.
   175. HGM Posted: November 30, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4313653)
You must be new around here.

Nah. I'm pretty sure I've said similar things in threads in years past about SBB. He just keeps topping himself, as such people are prone to doing apparently.
   176. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: November 30, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4313695)
I have never before seen someone twist themselves into logic knots like this.


Don't visit the political threads--there's a guy there who, umm, makes SBB look like the pinnacle of rationality.
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