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Monday, January 14, 2013

Rob Neyer: Jack Morris, the Tea Party, and WOW THE INTERNET

PAYDIRT! As you know…I’ve has been trolling the site for a decade now with anything remotely related to the peds issue, Rob Neyer, Jack Morris, and the Tea Party!

Later in the show, Tom Verducci previewed next year’s ballot, which will include first-timers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas. What will happen, Verducci asked Ken Rosenthal, next time? Here’s Rosenthal’s response:

  I think those three get in, and Morris is going to be awfully close. And I will say this about Morris: I don’t vote for him, but the level of discourse against him, by certain segments of the sabermetric community right now, is over the top. It’s almost a crusade, and it’s ridiculous. One thing that has bothered me, at times, not among many of us, but some of us, is the almost polarized view of the world now, that has come to pass. It’s as if the Tea Party is taking over one part of baseball discussion, and that’s not right.

Heyman, of course, weighed in there: “And the internet campaign against Jack Morris has really hurt him. I think it was the opposite with Blyleven, the internet campaign got him in.”

Here’s a question for Ken Rosenthal (who I like, and who generally does great work) ... How, exactly, should certain segments of the sabermetric community best present their case that Jack Morris was not, for example, as good as Bert Blyleven or Curt Schilling?

Basically, in Rosenthal’s world-view, it seems that it’s okay to mention in passing that a candidate isn’t quite good enough for the Hall of Fame. But if you truly engage the question, and do some ACTUAL RESEARCH, then you’re engaging in some ridiculous ill-spirited crusade.

Repoz Posted: January 14, 2013 at 08:20 PM | 71 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, site news

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   1. JRVJ Posted: January 14, 2013 at 08:57 PM (#4347098)
I disagree with Neyer, as I have stated in the past that some (a lot?) of the anti-Morris campaign/writing has crossed over the line onto ad-hominem attacks.

Ultimately, Morris will either get in or not get into the HoF. But I have absolutely no opinion about Jack Morris the man, and whether he gets voted into the HoF or not will not change my quality of life one scintilla.
   2. Rob_Wood Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:09 PM (#4347102)
Neyer mirrors my thoughts exactly. Heyman, in particular, but also Rosenthal, Ringolsby and other writers have come off very badly in these Hall of Fame debates.
   3. Squash Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:33 PM (#4347109)
I disagree with Neyer, as I have stated in the past that some (a lot?) of the anti-Morris campaign/writing has crossed over the line onto ad-hominem attacks.

Expand that to both sides and I would agree with you. I don't see how you can look past all the fervor on both sides and find only one campaign (the antis) guilty of ulterior motives and engaging in ad hominem campaigning. How many million mother's basement and their ilk articles have there been written in support Morris's candidacy in the last 5 years? The Morris debate isn't just about Morris, it's proxy for a lot of other debates that have been raging back and forth for a while now and everyone is jumping in on the side they want to win.
   4. fra paolo Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:36 PM (#4347111)
Also, you're ignoring the WOW FACTOR ... which was so WOW during his playing days that five years after he retired, only 20 percent of the Hall of Fame voters were WOWED by him.
And, five years after he retired, 48.7 per cent of HOF voters were WOWED EVEN MORESO by TIM RAINES (in last year's HoF election).

Really, this whole Internet contra Morris voters' vendetta is a waste of energy. The BBWAA look unlikely to elect Morris, and look like they are going to elect Raines. Rather than lose our cool to the frustration of a campaign to elect Morris, we should find a better use for our time.
   5. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:39 PM (#4347114)
For better or worse the internet gives everyone a voice. I'm sure Rosenthal and Heyman have read some ugly things about Morris that would qualify as "over the top." The issue I have with them bringing it up is the lack of a cite. Tell me what person has gone over the top and how they have done so. "The internet" is not a homogenous thing and the people that I would consider serious or influential writers have not been over the top but have strongly refuted the arguments in favor of Morris.

I'm sure it's not a new observation on my part but Heyman arguing that the internet campaign has hurt Morris is rather silly given that Morris' candidacy started at 22%. A more accurate reflection of his candidacy would be to say that despite a large number of internet-based writers opposing his candidacy Morris' vote total has grown steadily to a point where he has a real chance to get in next year.
   6. JRVJ Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4347118)
3, just so you are clear, let me add "Ad-Hominem attacks ON MORRIS."

(A pity you couldn't infer the above).
   7. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:47 PM (#4347119)
3, just so you are clear, let me add "Ad-Hominem attacks ON MORRIS."


I haven't paid too close attention to the debate, but what are some examples of the ad-hominem attacks on Morris?
   8. Matt Welch Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:49 PM (#4347120)
Just so I understand the political analogy here, Jack Morris is ... an increase in the debt ceiling, or ObamaCare, or the fiscal cliff?
   9. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:50 PM (#4347121)
ObamaCare, I think.
   10. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:51 PM (#4347122)
Just so I understand the political analogy here, Jack Morris is ... an increase in the debt ceiling, or ObamaCare, or the fiscal cliff?
Sandy Alomar Jr. is possible involvement in Mali.
   11. OsunaSakata Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:53 PM (#4347123)
On "Clubhouse Confidential", Brian Kenny passed a sheet of paper to John Heyman presenting the case against Jack Morris. Heyman said,"That's too small, I can't read that."
   12. Squash Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4347125)
I'm sure it's not a new observation on my part but Heyman arguing that the internet campaign has hurt Morris is rather silly given that Morris' candidacy started at 22%. A more accurate reflection of his candidacy would be to say that despite a large number of internet-based writers opposing his candidacy Morris' vote total has grown steadily to a point where he has a real chance to get in next year.

I would say all the internet campaigning has helped Morris, not hurt him. Internet campaigning got Blyleven in, with Morris riding along on his coattails for a lot of writers who thought the two were equivalent, and as has been discussed ad nauseum on this site (with some people agreeing and some not), it's very possible that the loud squawking from internet types has led to a certain percentage of old-timey types voting for Morris out of spite for the internet crowd. Without the internet Morris very possibly tops out at 40% and none of this is ever an issue in the first place (we'd have no Blyleven in the Hall either of course).
   13. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:56 PM (#4347126)
I think it was inevitable that some thought lines were crossed wrt Morris. Nature of the argument - people were arguing Morris did NOT belong in the Hall. Of course, the case(s) presented will be negative.
   14. vivaelpujols Posted: January 14, 2013 at 09:59 PM (#4347127)
Heyman said,"That's too small, I can't read that."


That's what Heyman's wife said! wait..
   15. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:12 PM (#4347132)
I would say all the internet campaigning has helped Morris, not hurt him


Clearly not. His vote total only went up 0.1 % this year, and it was a big year for him. Given the steroid era backlash against all the better qualified candidates on the ballot he should have seen a big jump. He should have been elected this year.

Really, this whole Internet contra Morris voters' vendetta is a waste of energy. The BBWAA look unlikely to elect Morris, and look like they are going to elect Raines. Rather than lose our cool to the frustration of a campaign to elect Morris, we should find a better use for our time.


I totally disagree, if the rational analysts hadn't weighed in on Morris this year, he would have been easily elected. It was only the outpouring of scorn from the "internet" people that held back his election this year, and it's not over. He will now have another big boost from writers knowing that it's his last shot, who still don't want to vote for over muscled steroid freaks like Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, and Tim Raines, and who finally give Jack Morris enough sympathy votes to put him over the top.
   16. bobm Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:16 PM (#4347136)
add "Ad-Hominem attacks ON MORRIS."


I would agree with you that people have attacked Morris voters for persisting in making nonsense arguments to the point that they appear foolish.

I have not read any attacks on Morris personally here at BBTF. Arguing that a player's career record does not merit induction into the HoF is not equivalent to a personal attack. Unfortunately for Jack Morris, his candidacy has become a proxy conflict for what is perceived to be a stats/MSM "war."

I do not think he is a Hall of Famer, but in interviews Jack Morris seems passionate about baseball and thoughtful rather than indignant about his Hall of Fame chances, even if he may still believe in pitcher wins over ERA, pitching to the score, etc. When the VC inducts him, at least one can count on his making an interesting acceptance speech.

20 Greatest Games: No. 2: Oct. 27, 1991; Braves @ Twins; Morris blanks Braves over 10

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=14627017

See 1:57; 2:42; and 3:30.

Morris on MVP race, Hall chances (11/15/12)

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25487889
   17. Squash Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:17 PM (#4347137)
Clearly not. His vote total only went up 0.1 % this year, and it was a big year for him. Given the steroid era backlash against all the better qualified candidates on the ballot he should have seen a big jump. He should have been elected this year.

I'm not saying just this year, but over the last several years. Without Blyleven I don't think we have Morris (not to this degree). Without the internet I don't think we have Blyleven. Add in a few Murray Chass's who are voting out of spite and I think it's been a net positive for Morris.
   18. bobm Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:19 PM (#4347138)
On "Clubhouse Confidential", Brian Kenny passed a sheet of paper to John Heyman presenting the case against Jack Morris. Heyman said,"That's too small, I can't read that."


If Brian Kenny wanted Heyman to read a script, Brian Kenny should have first asked Scott Boras to pass the paper to Heyman to read. :)

   19. Darren Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:24 PM (#4347139)
The Pro-Morris side is the one engaging in a crusade. They are sure they are right because they just know they are. The other side is actually engaging in an argument.

And which one of these sounds more like the Tea Party:

"We've analyzed this on a number of levels and, although Morris was a good pitcher, he simply doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame."

"I remember back in my day how Jack Morris pitched a 10 inning game and things were better back then--Hall of Famer!"
   20. Squash Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:24 PM (#4347140)
He will now have another big boost from writers knowing that it's his last shot, who still don't want to vote for over muscled steroid freaks like Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, and Tim Raines, and who finally give Jack Morris enough sympathy votes to put him over the top.

Given this and Rosenthal's comments in the article, how likely do we think it is he goes ahead and votes for Morris in 2014?
   21. JRVJ Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:25 PM (#4347141)
16, Frankly, I have not saved everything I've heard or read about the subject (e.g. a couple of VERY popular podcasts on baseball).

I did not, however, je accuse! BTF on this matter.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:39 PM (#4347149)
On "Clubhouse Confidential", Brian Kenny passed a sheet of paper to John Heyman presenting the case against Jack Morris. Heyman said,"That's too small, I can't read that."

He should have just written "3.90 Career ERA" in 120 point font.

Really, that's all you need to know to know Morris is no HoFer. For a pitcher with a 3.90 career ERA to be worthy of Cooperstown he'd have to have the most absurd league/park factors against him, and/or pitch 400 innings a year.
   23. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM (#4347155)
I'm exhausted with the whole debate at this point. I really don't care.

I will say this, however: people acting as if Jack Morris' induction will singlehandedly RUIN the Hall Of Fame -- and the otherwise very strong anti-Morris argument does sometimes shade over into these sorts of hysterics, both here and elsewhere -- do their cause no good whatsoever. The HOF survived the induction of Jim Rice and Bruce Sutter. It survived the induction of Rabbit Maranville and High Pockets Kelly. It will survive the induction of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds if, god forbid, that should eventually happen. The slippery slope arguments along the lines of "oh noes if they induct Morris soon they'll have to vote in Kyle Lohse!" are so silly that they almost make me pause and begin to squint and try to see a case for Morris.
   24. Squash Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:52 PM (#4347159)
For a pitcher with a 3.90 career ERA to be worthy of Cooperstown he'd have to have the most absurd league/park factors against him, and/or pitch 400 innings a year.

Especially in Morris's era. For a lot of the 80s if you had an ERA north of 3.60 or so you weren't actually considered that great of a pitcher, let alone a star. In the late 80s it was even lower. As has been mentioned in other threads, an ERA over 4.00 meant that you were actually bad.
   25. AROM Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:55 PM (#4347161)
Really, that's all you need to know to know Morris is no HoFer. For a pitcher with a 3.90 career ERA to be worthy of Cooperstown he'd have to have the most absurd league/park factors against him, and/or pitch 400 innings a year.


And not have gotten incredible defensive support for about 80% of his career. Tigers had a top defense from the day he started till about 1988. Then it went to crap, but the 1991 Twins could field, as could the 92-3 Blue Jays. If he had just had average defensive support I could almost accept his HOF case. But by setting the standards so high as to reject the very players who gave Morris so many wins, there is no way a Morris vote can be justified.
   26. Squash Posted: January 14, 2013 at 10:57 PM (#4347162)
I've been posting a ton in this and similar threads, but I see your point. However given this:

It will survive the induction of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds if, god forbid, that should eventually happen.

and the vehemence in particular with which those two are treated, why not get worked up over Morris or any other candidate? Clearly a lot of people care a lot about the HOF, it's January 14 and a solid month and a half until pitchers or catchers, there's labor peace, and the Hot Stove is cold as ice. What else are we going to talk about? We need one of Boras's guys to sign a huge contract to put another conversation topic on the board.

EDIT: to be clear, I mean Eso's point in #23.
   27. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 14, 2013 at 11:01 PM (#4347165)
I totally disagree, if the rational analysts hadn't weighed in on Morris this year, he would have been easily elected. It was only the outpouring of scorn from the "internet" people that held back his election this year, and it's not over. He will now have another big boost from writers knowing that it's his last shot, who still don't want to vote for over muscled steroid freaks like Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, and Tim Raines, and who finally give Jack Morris enough sympathy votes to put him over the top.


This really isn't consistent with, well, anything. He jumped last year because he'd been making steady gains (riding in Bert's wake), and then Bert was finally cleared from the ballot. Until then, he hadn't made any major jumps. In 2012, it also helped that, from the voters' perspective, there were no obvious new candidates and only one Hall-bound holdover.

This year, a wave of better candidates joined the ballot. Not surprisingly, Morris didn't build on his support, even though he was the top backlogger and with the perceived flaws in some of those candidates. (And if they didn't have those flaws, Morris likely loses support overall, rather than makes minimial gains).

Next year, two undeniably better pitchers will hit the ballot*, guys with no perceived PED taint, and Morris will fall considerably short of election, regardless how much sympathy voters feel toward him.

Morris's bigger hindrance to election was not the Internet dweeebs and their numbers and coherency, but guys like Heyman and Chass who never voted for Bert. Had Bert been elected a year earlier than he was, Morris would have had an extra year to build support before the wave arrived. But Jon (and whatever ire these guys may be receiving, Heyman's response to Bert's candidacy AND his election was far worse) and Murray held firm. But deliciously, they couldn't prevent Bert's election, but they might have prevented Jack's.

* To stave off DL's fix, that's to the voters, not to us.

   28. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 11:34 PM (#4347183)
ust so I understand the political analogy here, Jack Morris is ... an increase in the debt ceiling, or ObamaCare, or the fiscal cliff?

Monica Lewinsky
   29. jobu Posted: January 14, 2013 at 11:39 PM (#4347185)
Just so I understand the political analogy here, Jack Morris is ... an increase in the debt ceiling, or ObamaCare, or the fiscal cliff?

Pissers for McGovern.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM (#4347201)
Well ...

it is very easy to go from "Morris was good but not HoF good" to "Morris sucked" when you've spent years debating people who come forward with silly stats like 14 years of 52% starts of 8+ innings to justify his HoF case. The frustration one feels for the proponent of Morris is very easy to transfer to Morris -- see, e.g., the way that frustration over the media treatment of Jeter gets turned against Jeter. Just the other day one of use posted something like "Morris's "wow" factor was as in "wow, I can't believe how few runs we've scored after knocking this guy all over the park." And that's just silly of course -- Morris was a good to very good pitcher for most of his career. Morris also probably takes more heat for his various statements about the good old days than he should since a lot of what he says is pretty tame by "get off my lawn" standards.

That said, one suspects most of the "over the top" stuff is emails from readers saying "you're an f'ing idiot for voting for Morris" -- which is an ad hominem attack against the voter not Morris.

Anyway, he's going to the HoF even if it's by the VC ... unless the Mayans were just off by a year.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM (#4347202)
PAYDIRT! As you know…I’ve has been trolling the site for a decade now with anything remotely related to the peds issue, Rob Neyer, Jack Morris, and the Tea Party!

If only there was a Pavement reference!
   32. Don Malcolm Posted: January 15, 2013 at 12:11 AM (#4347214)
BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Just so I understand the political analogy here, Jack Morris is ... an increase in the debt ceiling, or ObamaCare, or the fiscal cliff?

No--guns for everyone. Thanks to sanctifyin' our freedom to bear arms, right after the WS next year the headlines will scream that 149 members of the BBWAA have been shot dead.

Campaigns to disenfranchise them first having failed, of course. After all, we are a nation of laws...
   33. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: January 15, 2013 at 04:45 AM (#4347306)
it is very easy to go from "Morris was good but not HoF good" to "Morris sucked" when you've spent years debating people who come forward with silly stats like 14 years of 52% starts of 8+ innings to justify his HoF case.

If it had been 14 years, I could see the case, but it was only 7. Not good enough for the HoF.
   34. John Northey Posted: January 15, 2013 at 07:17 AM (#4347315)
Morris is a weak candidate and it has been known in stats circles for a long time that there was a risk the writers would fall in love with him due to three factors...
1) Most wins in the 80's
2) Game 7 1991
3) 'Pitches to the score'

The HOF guidlines clearly state a single game (or season) should not be used as a reason to induct someone. Yet that is a very big factor here just like it was for Maris and Larsen. The most wins in the 80's is largely a case of focusing on a stat that really doesn't mean a lot when measuring a pitcher - sorry, it just doesn't. Wins are a team stat and Morris was built to accumulate those thanks to being a) healthy, b) on a very good team, c) having his prime hit perfectly with the decade. Dave Stieb needed to be up a year earlier and have a team that scored for him (going 14-13 with a league leading ERA is just screwed when you are on as good a team as the 99 win 1985 Jays) or at least had a good pen (for his first 4 years the pen was horrid). Many other top pitchers started just a bit too late to accumulate wins that decade (Clemens, Gooden, etc.). I view his wins like Mark Grace's most hits in the 1990s - a fun trivia question but nothing more. The pitching to the score has been throughly debunked by others - showing that Morris was as likely to lose a lead as others with similar stats, he just got bigger leads more often thanks to a great offense.

I view his supporters as the 'Tea Party' - a group that ignores science and evidence in order to advance their own goals. A group made up largely of older white men (boomers primarily) who have had power for years and don't want to lose it. Morris is their proxy, just like Jim Rice and Bruce Sutter were before him. Not sure who'll be the next proxy ... Lee Smith is one the online community would be strongly against, Fred McGriff has the 'clean' image, Trammell & Mattingly are too late to make it, Larry Walker might be the one after Smith except many online stats people like him so that would be an odd case. So I expect a campaign pushing Lee Smith for his final few years, then McGriff to take over the 'non-stathead' voters proxy since neither would get much of an endorsement from the online community. As a Jays fan I'd love to see McGriff get it, even though I know he doesn't have that strong a case relative to the others on the ballot. Meanwhile online fans will continue to push for Tim Raines and, to a lesser degree, the big 2 PED guys and Piazza/Bagwell who are hurt by PED even though the evidence is super thin on them.
   35. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 15, 2013 at 09:13 AM (#4347324)
...it is very easy to go from "Morris was good but not HoF good" to "Morris sucked"...


The thing is, Jack Morris was a professional athlete. If "player X sucks" constitutes an unconscionable over-the-top ad hominem attack, then everyone who has ever talked about sports is guilty.
   36. Robinson Cano Plate Like Home Posted: January 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4347363)
Right. Complaining about an ad hominem ("to the man") argument when we're debating the man's place in history is a bit rich.
   37. SoSH U at work Posted: January 15, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4347374)
The most wins in the 80's is largely a case of focusing on a stat that really doesn't mean a lot when measuring a pitcher - sorry, it just doesn't. Wins are a team stat and Morris was built to accumulate those thanks to being a) healthy, b) on a very good team, c) having his prime hit perfectly with the decade. Dave Stieb needed to be up a year earlier and have a team that scored for him (going 14-13 with a league leading ERA is just screwed when you are on as good a team as the 99 win 1985 Jays) or at least had a good pen (for his first 4 years the pen was horrid). Many other top pitchers started just a bit too late to accumulate wins that decade (Clemens, Gooden, etc.). I view his wins like Mark Grace's most hits in the 1990s - a fun trivia question but nothing more.


This really isn't close to being true. Jack Morris's most wins in the 80s isn't like Mark Grace's most hits in the 90s at all. Grace's feat was a true case of selective end points. Morris had the most wins in a decade for six straight 10-year-stretches. It doesn't make him a Hall of Famer (and most of his goofy supporters don't even seem to be aware of it), but it's simply not a case of fortuitous timing. He was piling up more wins than his peers for quite a stretch.
   38. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: January 15, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4347380)
Next year, two undeniably better pitchers will hit the ballot*, guys with no perceived PED taint, and Morris will fall considerably short of election, regardless how much sympathy voters feel toward him.

What's the consensus on Mussina's HOF odds? Will people see him and Morris on the same ballot and realize/think Mussina is/was clearly better?
   39. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 15, 2013 at 11:18 AM (#4347382)
I have not read any attacks on Morris personally here at BBTF.


Let me clear my throat...
   40. SoSH U at work Posted: January 15, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4347391)
What's the consensus on Mussina's HOF odds? Will people see him and Morris on the same ballot and realize/think Mussina is/was clearly better?


A number of them will, but those are guys who haven't and won't vote for Morris.

But Moose will finish much, much lower than Morris next year, not because that percent of the voters think he's worse, but because x percent of the voters won't be invested in examining his case yet. That will come later, if he sticks around (which I'm pretty confident he will).

Morris will beat Moose handily next year in the BBWAA vote, perhaps getting four times as many votes. OTOH, Moose has a much better chance of getting elected to the Hall through the BBWAA than Jack does. It's one of the many peculiarities of the process.
   41. Karl from NY Posted: January 15, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4347478)
Anyway, he's going to the HoF even if it's by the VC .

This. Any Morris bloviating is a waste of time, the VC is taking him at the first opportunity, and nobody but us statpeens distinguishes between elected HOFers and VC HOFers.
   42. CrosbyBird Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4347489)
Any Morris bloviating is a waste of time, the VC is taking him at the first opportunity, and nobody but us statpeens distinguishes between elected HOFers and VC HOFers.

Didn't the HOF president recently make a statement like "when I look around the HOF at the plaques, I don't see any candidate elected by the BBWAA that I think is unworthy"?

I think there are plenty of people less geeked out than us that see the VC as a lower bar.
   43. Squash Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4347493)
Any Morris bloviating is a waste of time, the VC is taking him at the first opportunity, and nobody but us statpeens distinguishes between elected HOFers and VC HOFers.

By the same measure nobody distinguishes between first-ballot and non-first-ballot HOFers either, yet it seems to make a very big difference to the voters at the time. We get our kicks where we can. My subjective opinion is that which ballot a guy is elected on is even less remembered than VC choices personally - I can pretty much remember which players were VC choices and which were elected choices in my lifespan of baseball watching, whereas past the last few years I have no idea on which of their years elected guys went in, and even those are shaky.
   44. JRVJ Posted: January 15, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4347504)
OTOH, Moose has a much better chance of getting elected to the Hall through the BBWAA than Jack does


Well, considering that for Morris it's 2014 or out, it's not much of a contest (unless Moose does not get 5% next year).
   45. JE (Jason) Posted: January 15, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4347551)
As Walt brought up in 30, the ad hominem attacks are far less directed at Morris and more at those in the BBWAA who gush "WOW" while casting a vote for him.
   46. Baldrick Posted: January 15, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4347637)
I view his supporters as the 'Tea Party' - a group that ignores science and evidence in order to advance their own goals. A group made up largely of older white men (boomers primarily) who have had power for years and don't want to lose it. Morris is their proxy, just like Jim Rice and Bruce Sutter were before him. Not sure who'll be the next proxy ... Lee Smith is one the online community would be strongly against, Fred McGriff has the 'clean' image, Trammell & Mattingly are too late to make it, Larry Walker might be the one after Smith except many online stats people like him so that would be an odd case. So I expect a campaign pushing Lee Smith for his final few years, then McGriff to take over the 'non-stathead' voters proxy since neither would get much of an endorsement from the online community.

McGriff got decent support here in the HOF-voting last time around. And I feel like he would continue to do so if the ballots weren't limited to 10.

He's not a stathead 'favorite' or anything, but I think most people see him as a borderline guy who it wouldn't take much to push over the edge. Very different from Morris, Rice, Sutter, et al.
   47. sunnyday2 Posted: January 15, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4347657)
I don't think it's the content of the campaign against Morris that really bothers these guys. It's that it's on the Internet.

I mean, how is the campaign IN PRINT against McGwire and Bonds any more civil or admirable?
   48. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: January 15, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4347707)
I view his supporters as the 'Tea Party' - a group that ignores science and evidence in order to advance their own goals.

You know, in my role as Mr. Local News Guy, I've actually covered several Tea party rallies. They seem to be fairly decent people who want taxes and spending to be reduced. They don't have a very clear idea exactly how this is to be accomplished, other than "take money away from people we don't like and give it to the people we do" (which is pretty much what everybody thinks, across the political spectrum). They're overwhelmingly white bread and older and polite and rather dull. And, yes, they're overwhelmingly Republican -- or they would be, if Republicans were actually interested in cutting taxes and spending these days. (They are, kinda, but not if it costs them re-election or prime committee spots.)

And yet, the commentariat regards the Tea Party -- excuse me, teabaggers -- as the Worst People Ever, sort of like Nazis on steroids. They're like the night riders in Django Unchained: not merely stupid and racist but petty and silly and badly dressed. When a fellow media guy or politician starts in on tea partiers, I'll sometimes ask them if they've ever actually met any. They look at me in shock, as if they'd never even contemplate such a thing. "Actually talk to them, the Worst People Ever? Quelle horreur!" About the only people who have gotten a worse rap than the tea partiers are the Occupy crowd, but at least the tea partiers clean up after themselves.

Is the Tea Party rife with racists, gun nuts, paedophiles, etc.? Dunno; I never saw any. Were they just really good at hiding bad stuff from me, the reporter? Could be. I'd say the movement's pretty much burned itself out now, anyway: not only have they received acres of bad press, but they were never very clear about their goals in the first place (again, like the Occupiers). The problem is that there's no real constituency for cutting spending: nobody wants to volunteer to fall on their own sword. The last election proved that people believe the current malaise (Jimmy Carter, come back...all is forgiven) is all somebody's else fault and all somebody else's problem. In the meantime, we want more cake. There is no more cake, of course, but we wants it anyway.

TL, DR: That vicious right-winger RMc is whining again, and not about the Tigers (for once).
   49. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2013 at 04:48 PM (#4347731)
What's the consensus on Mussina's HOF odds? Will people see him and Morris on the same ballot and realize/think Mussina is/was clearly better?

As SoSH notes, Mussina will finish far behind Morris but this isn't necessarily a sign voters think he wasn't as good. No that's not rational but humans aren't rational. 2/3 of voters went for Morris and all/almost all of them will go for him again next year. Nobody ever falls from 67% to 27%. Almost nobody is even gonna make that comparison really ... and those Morris voters who do will probably vote for them both.

The question next year is Mussina vs. Schilling. With a more crowded ballot, I can't see Mussina doing better than Schilling did this year but I can see Schilling falling back in the crowded ballot. Those two will be a sort of Morris/Blyleven pair, mostly falling and rising together, I'm just not sure which gets in first. Smoltz might join them but for now I'm assuming the CYA and closer pixie dust gets him a much stronger debut.
   50. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 15, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4347745)
If the Tea Party wants to improve its PR, it might consider disassociating itself from many of its congressional allies and stop backing crackpots in GOP primaries. If you look at the Tea Party platform, it's got nothing but bromides about deficit spending and reducing the size of government. But as soon as you see what Tea Party darling candidates like Sharron Angle, Allen West and Joe Walsh are into, it's not hard to conclude that this is just one more group that uses bland language in its official positions to mask what its members really believe underneath it.

And if the few Tea Party supporters I know are indicative of the overall attitudes of the group, it's no wonder they're seen as screwballs or worse. It's true that they're definitely nice people, but that doesn't stop them from bombarding me with every sort of nutball Obama Derangement Syndrome argument that's out there, including jokes about his birthplace and citizenship. They're exactly the sort of "nice guys" who cheered Romney when he made that crack in Michigan about "nobody's ever had to ask ME where I was born." The point being that when you lie down with dogs, you tend to wake up with fleas, and the Tea Party has been lying down with a bunch of mad dogs ever since the day it was formed.
   51. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: January 15, 2013 at 05:07 PM (#4347751)
Tea Party darling candidates like Sharron Angle, Allen West and Joe Walsh


Great guitarist, though. I never figured him as a tea party guy after "Life's Been Good".

I will support Jack Morris for the Hall if they agree to not only kick Jim Rice out, but to eliminate all traces of him from the baseball record books.
   52. stanmvp48 Posted: January 15, 2013 at 05:17 PM (#4347755)
My personal favorite was the head of the Tea Party in Missouri who had received a million dollars over the years from the Department of Agriculture for not growing wheat, and would not concede that this contradicted his "limited government" beliefs.
   53. JE (Jason) Posted: January 15, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4347775)
If the Tea Party wants to improve its PR, it might consider disassociating itself from many of its congressional allies and stop backing crackpots in GOP primaries. If you look at the Tea Party platform, it's got nothing but bromides about deficit spending and reducing the size of government. But as soon as you see what Tea Party darling candidates like Sharron Angle, Allen West and Joe Walsh are into, it's not hard to conclude that this is just one more group that uses bland language in its official positions to mask what its members really believe underneath it.

Andy, may I introduce you to "crackpots" Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, Pat Toomey, and Ted Cruz?
   54. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: January 15, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4347782)
And if the few Tea Party supporters I know are indicative of the overall attitudes of the group, it's no wonder they're seen as screwballs or worse. It's true that they're definitely nice people, but that doesn't stop them from bombarding me with every sort of nutball Obama Derangement Syndrome argument that's out there, including jokes about his birthplace and citizenship.

See, I saw very little of that, and I talked to quite a few Tea Partiers. Screwballs? Really? Because they made jokes about Obama? You do realize you're allowed to make fun of politicians, right? (And after eight years of Bush Derangement [actually twelve, and counting], I'd say the left has pretty much given up the civility high ground for all time.)

The point being that when you lie down with dogs, you tend to wake up with fleas, and the Tea Party has been lying down with a bunch of mad dogs ever since the day it was formed.

"Mad dogs"! Please. Get over yourself.
   55. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 15, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4347838)
I'm exhausted with the whole debate at this point. I really don't care.

I will say this, however: people acting as if Jack Morris' induction will singlehandedly RUIN the Hall Of Fame -- and the otherwise very strong anti-Morris argument does sometimes shade over into these sorts of hysterics, both here and elsewhere -- do their cause no good whatsoever.


Sorry, but this is the sort of hysteria that I'm not seeing from anti- folks. I have yet to hear anything approaching a claim from them that Morris' election will ruin, let alone "RUIN" the Hall of Fame. I can't even recall a post on this site that attacks Morris, the man. There's been some contempt aimed at writers who persist in nonsense like 'he pitched to the score', but at some point you have to expect to be called on willful ignorance.

Other people upthread have made the case that the question of Morris in the Hall is a proxy for all kinds of other, worthwhile arguments. We're at a point in the US where a large, powerful faction with significant representation at the highest levels routinely argues without any recourse to facts, and pretends that important, substantive evidence (when it's against them) simply doesn't exist.

That's not a good place for a body politic to be, and it's easy to see that also being played out at the vastly less important level of the Morris debate; hence, sometimes, the passion.

If the Tea Party wants to improve its PR, it might consider disassociating itself from many of its congressional allies and stop backing crackpots in GOP primaries.


The problem with this is, you can't improve your PR much when a lot of what you believe is simply nutty. Alan West isn't the fringe of the Tea Party. He's much closer to its heart than he is to its edge.

   56. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 15, 2013 at 07:53 PM (#4347860)
If only there was a Pavement reference!


What is Pavement?
   57. DA Baracus Posted: January 15, 2013 at 08:23 PM (#4347868)
What is Pavement?


The Jack Morris of music.

*slowly backs away*
   58. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: January 15, 2013 at 08:30 PM (#4347871)
You know, in my role as Mr. Local News Guy, I've actually covered several Tea party rallies.
And in MY role as Mr. Local Government Guy, I've actually sat down for face-to-face meetings with Tea Partiers and attended their monthly meetings at the community center.

I had to coin a phrase for their collective attitude: Aggressively ignorant. They knew what they knew was True, and if it wasn't (No, ma'am, cities are not allowed to run deficits.) they dismissed any word to the contrary.
   59. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: January 15, 2013 at 09:33 PM (#4347902)
@58: My experience as well. In life, I've noticed that being dumb isn't necessarily all that dangerous. It's the people who are dumb, and absolutely certain they are absolutely right that cause the most damage, by far.
   60. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM (#4348011)
I had to coin a phrase for their collective attitude: Aggressively ignorant. They knew what they knew was True, and if it wasn't (No, ma'am, cities are not allowed to run deficits.) they dismissed any word to the contrary.

Well, you can say this about many people on all points of the political spectrum. I'm not saying many Tea Party types aren't ignorant; they are. But being ignorant ain't a hanging offense; if it were, we'd all be dead men.

Look, if you believe more government is the solution to whatever problem, you're naturally going to have little patience for people who insist it isn't...and vice versa. "If those people weren't so damn stupid, they'd agree with us more often!" And so it goes.
   61. zonk Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4348028)
Tea Party darling candidates like Sharron Angle, Allen West and Joe Walsh



Great guitarist, though. I never figured him as a tea party guy after "Life's Been Good".


Let me first get the obligatory I hate the ####### Eagles, man, out of the way...

But the guitarist actually played an event for Tammy Duckworth, the lady who knocked off the former congressman of the same name.

   62. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4348032)
I never think of Guitarist Joe Walsh* as a member of the Eagles, just as a solo artist (and James Gang member).

* - As opposed to Nutty Politician Joe Walsh.
   63. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:38 AM (#4348039)
But being ignorant ain't a hanging offense...
if you believe more government is the solution to whatever problem...
You seem determined to put words in my mouth. I sincerely hope you're not my Mr. Local News Guy, because I'd have little choice to distrust every word you said. Also, having once been a Mr. Local News Guy myself (print version), I detested jackasses in the business ruining my credibility before I even got to the scene.
   64. stanmvp48 Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4348048)
"Look, if you believe more government is the solution to whatever problem, you're naturally going to have little patience for people who insist it isn't...and vice versa. "If those people weren't so damn stupid, they'd agree with us more often!" And so it goes."

Nobody believes that more government is the solution to whatever problem, nor do the Tea Party types believe that it isn't from what I can see. They only believe that the government should help them and not anyone else.
How many Tea Party members did you run across who were willing to give up a dime of what they get from the govt?

How many tea party rallies did you cover when Bush was President running up the National Debt?
   65. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4348049)
Look, if you believe more government is the solution to whatever problem, you're naturally going to have little patience for people who insist it isn't...and vice versa. "If those people weren't so damn stupid, they'd agree with us more often!" And so it goes.

Talk about unfair and ridiculous stereotypes...
   66. stanmvp48 Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:52 AM (#4348054)
"But being ignorant ain't a hanging offense; if it were, we'd all be dead men."

Didn't a survey find that some huge percentage of Tea Partiers don't believe in evolution? No we are not all equally ignorant.

   67. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4348056)
When a fellow media guy or politician starts in on tea partiers, I'll sometimes ask them if they've ever actually met any. They look at me in shock, as if they'd never even contemplate such a thing. "Actually talk to them, the Worst People Ever? Quelle horreur!"


I've met quite a few. Some are nice-but-misguided people who don't know much about government or think very deeply about issues, and some are legitimate whackjobs, like the guy down the street from my work who kept five hundred kajillion rounds of ammunition in the basement of his hardware store so that he'd be ready when society collapsed.

Andy, may I introduce you to "crackpots" Marco Rubio, Mike Lee, Pat Toomey, and Ted Cruz?


I can't say for certain about the others (my impression has always been that Rubio is more of a cynical panderer than a legitimate crazy person), but Pat Toomey (my current senator, unfortunately) is absolutely a crackpot.
   68. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4348058)
Didn't a survey find that some huge percentage of Tea Partiers don't believe in evolution?


51%, according to this poll from 2011.
   69. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 16, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4348063)
And if the few Tea Party supporters I know are indicative of the overall attitudes of the group, it's no wonder they're seen as screwballs or worse. It's true that they're definitely nice people, but that doesn't stop them from bombarding me with every sort of nutball Obama Derangement Syndrome argument that's out there, including jokes about his birthplace and citizenship.

See, I saw very little of that, and I talked to quite a few Tea Partiers.


By amusing coincidence, here are the latest three messages from my favorite Tea Party proselytizer, all received in my inbox this morning:

2:48 AM
all they wanted was to have nothing to do with this idiot

http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-texas-must-remain-part-us-212720777.html

guess these tax and spend lunatics need all the suckers , oh I mean gullible citizens they can get.

I can't think of a better outcome, what we are trying to say , and I know you don't believe it but there are 10's of millions of us , we just want to have nothing to do with you. You type are expendable, must be hard to realize that your thinking is all wrong , to the point we want to never see you again.


3:00 AM
first it was how much sugar you can consume, then catholics and non believers in murdering defenseless babies are forced to actually pay for these murders, then forcing Americans to purchase insurance, then using your tax money forcing Americans to pay for legal aliens college ( while black poor Americans don't even get fed properly, and they were born here, then you don't have to show an ID to vote, but ya sure do need one to get a drivers license, hmmmmmmmm now it's how many bullets you can have, hmmmmmm I think I see a pattern here, oh yeah
America land of the enslaved,

I really want to leave and have no use for this nonsense, workin on it can't wait. what a ######## this country has become

But I suppose people like yourself do need to be shepherded, and told what to do and what to think, and then there are those of us that are independent!


3:05 AM
come to think of it, since we are so stupid why not propose legislation to get rid of us ?????? Funny how all liberal progressive zealots don't want to separate, it is strange here is your chance to get rid of the slime in society, and strangely you still want us around, it is perplexing. Oh yeah I just realized as Margaret Thatcher said so eloquently social liberalism is a great idea until you run out of other peoples money!


Of course there are loons on the Left, too, and in the past I've known a lot more of them than I've known people like this. But the loons on the Left these days don't control the majority faction of one of our two major parties, and if the views expressed by the congressional Tea Party caucus don't reflect the tone of these latest messages from my friend (who remains a friend in spite of his insanity), I'd sure like to know where the difference lies.
   70. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: January 16, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4348433)
I sincerely hope you're not my Mr. Local News Guy, because I'd have little choice to distrust every word you said. Also, having once been a Mr. Local News Guy myself (print version), I detested jackasses in the business ruining my credibility before I even got to the scene.

Every word? Really? What about the words, "And now here's the weather"? Calm down, ace.

My point is that many officeholders (mostly Dems, but more than a few Repubs) do indeed look at more government as the solution to most problems. It's what they do. Hammer and nails, and all that.

How many Tea Party members did you run across who were willing to give up a dime of what they get from the govt?

None, of course, although there were those who claimed they would. Nobody ever wants to give up anything, merely shift the cash from "people we don't like" to "people we do like, preferably us".

More cake, please.
   71. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: January 16, 2013 at 08:13 PM (#4348528)
The most awesome Tea Party-vs.-government throwdown took place in Fountain Hills, Ariz., where the uninformed masses got all pitchfork/torch-y because... the town was re-upping its solid waste contract.

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