Thursday, January 15, 2015

Murray Chass opines about the HOF results; is an ass

Well first of all, let me cram my fucking foot as far into my mouth as I can get it re: Simmons.  He only went 2-2 straight up in picking the divisional games last weekend, but he went 3-1 against the spread.  And much more importantly from the perspective of me and this angry blog, 1) he nailed his prediction for the GREATriots, correctly picking them to not cover but advance (in a game they really should have lost), and even better, 2) the one game he missed against the spread, and completely whiffed on straight up, was the Denver-Indy game.  As I've probably made clear, I'm a Denver fan.  So that was a really fun little cherry on top of a shit sports weekend.  MAYBE THEY LOST BECAUSE BILL JINXED THEM IN SAYING THEY'D WIN EASILY.  THAT MUST BE IT.  WHAT OTHER EXPLANATION IS THERE?  DAMN YOU SIMMONS YOU HAVE FOILED PEYTON AGAIN!  Anyways, fuck the Patriots and fuck John Fox.  I now hate all four teams remaining in the playoffs, but I hate the Patriots most of all, so besides go meteor, go Colts, I guess.  The good news is that if they move on, Seattle is going to toast them in the Super Bowl.  I hope.  MAYBE.

Moving along to things that make me slightly less angry, HOF voters managed to not totally fuck the dog, in electing four very deserving members to Cooperstown last week.  I mean, they still blew the dog and/or jerked off the dog by leaving Piazza and Bagwell out, but this was progress.  What does Murray Chass think about all this?  Caution: HOT TAEKS ahead.

As Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa sink slowly in tandem toward steroids oblivion, reprising their relationship in their electrifying home run derby of 1998 but in a different direction, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens run slowly in place, doomed to their personal Groundhog Day in baseball cleats. 

Or so Murray hopes.  He's already reneged on this promise, and I'm going to guess the reason is so that he can help continue to keep CHEATING CHEATERS who CHEAT and are BAD PEOPLE out of the Hall.  We'll know in a decade or so whether he succeeded.

Mike Piazza, meanwhile, is very likely headed, undeserved as it may be, 


to having the last laugh on his nemesis Clemens.

I'm surprised he admits defeat in his quest to keep Piazza unenshrined.

That, in brief, sums up my view of the results of this year’s voting for the Hall of Fame, 

I like how his view is entirely focused on five dudes who didn't get elected.  He doesn't give a shit about baseball greatness--he's just in it for the witch hunting.

[Dumb summary of the vote totals of McGwire and Sosa, who are TOTALLY GETTING WHAT THEY HAD COMING TO THEM MUHAHAHAHAHA ALL IS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD, omitted]

Bonds and Clemens aren’t in danger of falling off the face of the earth, but they aren’t in danger either of reaching the doors of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.  Voters have been remarkably consistent in their treatment of the pair. In their first two years on the ballot, Bonds and Clemens each received votes in the mid-30 percent, and that’s precisely where they wound up this week, 36.8 percent for Bonds, 37.5 percent for Clemens.  Each actually went up 2.1 percent, but with seven more chances, at that rate they won’t very likely get where they want to go.

I don't know--every year the electorate gets a little less curmudgeonly as people like Chass retire or die and are replaced by younger voters who are less likely to be fucking stupid.  I'm not aware of (nor could I find) any public opinion polls about how the baseball-following public generally feels about the Steroid Era, but I would wager that attitudes towards the accomplishments of its most accomplished players soften every year.  It sucks for Bonds and Clemens that they are victims of the reduced number of years on the ballot rule that was recently adopted, but I am still hopeful they both get elected (assholes though they are).

By the way, Chass's moralizing got even funnier this week when this news broke, which should remind everyone that not only does the HOF contain horrible shitty people, but it contains other people, like MacPhail, who are also guilty of compromising the integrity of the game.  That second fact is important, because of course the stock comeback from dipshits like Chass when you point out that Ty Cobb was a racist and an asshole and he's in the Hall so why shouldn't Bonds be is "But what Bonds did WAS AN AFFRONT TO BASEBALL ITSELF."  Even if that argument is granted, segregationists like MacPhail actively worked to block talented players from entering MLB for decades, and thus robbed fans of watching exciting players and better teams.  Just food for thought next time you read some asswiping-worthy scree about Bonds or Clemens.

There would seem to be a hardcore group of voters and no one else who ignore the steroids/HGH elements of their careers and believe Bonds and Clemens belong in the Hall of Fame even if they cheated and used illegal substances.

They've only been on the ballot three years, and those were three very crowded ballots.  I'd wager they start trending up next year, when the only sure thing new arrival is Griffey.

What puzzles me is the different vote totals for the pair. If a writer opts to ignore the cheating aspects of their careers, why doesn’t he or she vote for both? 

He actually did a piece on this, which I'm not going to link to and didn't read, because after reading a brief excerpt on HardballTalk my head almost exploded.  Go check it out if you want to read things that really dumb people think.

Yet this year 206 voted for Clemens, 202 for Bonds. Does that mean four voters have a different reason for believing that Bonds doesn’t belong in the Hall?

BBWA members are among the biggest cuntswabbers on earth.  I don't think a little inconsistency among their voting preferences for steroid era guys is anything to be surprised by.

Tim Raines’ vote total also was cause for excitement for some analysts. The outfielder went from 46.1 percent to 55.0, but a year ago he tumbled from 52.2 to 46.1. He has two more chances.

The departure of fringe guys like him from the ballot (even though he might get replaced by Jim Edmonds or Trevor Hoffman, who I think should be out and in, respectively) should also help Bonds and Clemens eventually.

I think the primary reason for the excitement for both Schilling and Raines was that they rank high on the lists of the practitioners of the monster metrics, 

Monster metrics?  That's actually a really cool and non-pejorative sounding name for it.  What happened to calling advanced stats "FWARP, GORP, and other made up computer numbers for nerds in their parents' basements"?

who seemed to be thrilled that the writers were finally starting to get it right where those two players are concerned.

Imagine that--the people who like analyzing baseball using the modern tools that EVERY MLB team are now using (at least to some extent--looking at you, Diamondbacks) to evaluate players would like HOF voters to follow in the steps of those teams.  You know, the ones with huge financial stakes in the success or failure of their franchises.  The ones who are generally (not always, but generally) the right entities to look to if you want to know how people are figuring out which baseball players are good.  Funny that.

Interestingly, while watching one of those shows, I saw a film clip from another show, in which Brian Kenny of was arguing with Chris Russo, a talk show host, about which players belong in the Hall of Fame.

Chris "Mad Dog" Russo probably has a hard time tying his shoes and remembering his own birthday.  You do not want to be on his side in an argument, Murray.

Getting nowhere and becoming exasperated with Russo, Kenny, a major proponent of monster metrics, said, “Well, what basic methodology do you use to rate players?”

“I watch the games,” Russo said.

Really?  Do you watch ALL the games?  Would you vote for Raines for the HOF?  Why or why not?  How many of his games have you seen?  He played in over 2500 of them.  He had many 4 and 5 hit nights.  I'm sure he also had plenty of nights with no hits and an error or 2.  How would you know how good he really was unless you watched a statistically significant number of games from throughout every phase of his career, which I'm sure you haven't done?  Needless to say, "analysts" like Mad Dog should be punched in the face and then sent to live somewhere in Montana with no phone or internet service.

I have always avoided listening to Russo, who screams too much and too loud for my liking, 

Yes!  He's going to reach the conclusion that he and Russo have more in common than he originally thought, without realizing that the reason for that is they are both fucking morons!  Yes!

but in this instance, he won my allegiance. In four words, he made the case for those of us who prefer to judge players on what we see on the field, not on the computer screen.

It's glorious!  I told you that was about to happen!  I hope you believed me!

How should we judge Piazza, whose 69.9 percent puts him on the brink of walking into the Hall a year from now? Based on that vote, most writers don’t believe or even suspect that he used steroids. That is probably naïve of them.

One very vocal blogger named Murray Chass is utterly convinced that Piazza used steroids with only the most pathetic and flimsy evidence available to support this position.  That is probably fucking unprofessional and horrid of him.

Using the New York newspapers as a barometer, the New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro wrote a column about Piazza in which he didn’t mention even the possibility of the catcher’s use of performance-enhancing drugs. 


If he doesn’t believe Piazza used them, why didn’t Vaccaro write that the accusations are baseless?

Oh my God.  If that alone doesn't raise your blood pressure a few points, this blog is not for you.  I want to go kick a tree after reading that.  It's so insanely idiotic.  THE PERSON WHO BLOGGED THAT LAST SENTENCE GETS A HALL OF FAME VOTE.  HOLY JESUS CHRIST ON A FERRIS WHEEL.  WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS PROCESS?

John Harper of the Daily News did not duck the issue.

Get ready for some courageous truth bombs!

“The problem is we can’t know for sure and there was so much whispering about Piazza and PEDs during his career that you can’t help but have at least some reservations about voting for him.

If you're dumb, yes.

“I heard some of it myself over the years from people in baseball, but in the end I don’t think it’s fair to deny a player the highest honor in baseball without more proof than there is on Piazza.

“So after withholding my vote for his first year of eligibility, as a statement of sorts on all the suspicion, I’ve voted for him the last two years. And it seems there are other voters taking a similar tack, feeling more compelled to vote for Piazza with each year that passes.”

This is what progress looks like in the BWAA.  I'd like to say mean things about John Harper, but you know what, the BWAA needs more John Harpers.  So I'll let it slide.

Harper quoted from Piazza’s 2013 autobiography, which in itself was controversial. 

No way!  I'm sure that had nothing to do with the publisher's desire to sell books!

Michael Bamberger, a fine writer from Philadelphia, was originally going to collaborate on the book with Piazza, but he withdrew from the project when Piazza declined to commit to being forthcoming about steroids.

Michael Bamberger is not solely a sportswriter, and when he does write about sports, he is a fucking golf writer.  As far as baseball is concerned, fuck him and fuck any opinions or suspicions he had or has.

When Piazza was writing the book with Lonnie Wheeler, I asked their Simon & Schuster editor if Piazza would include steroids in it. He said Piazza would cover the subject. He, of course, did not admit to using PEDs, saying training and diet were responsible for his bigger, more muscular body.

WHY DIDN'T HE JUST DENY IT IF HE HAS NOTHING TO oh wait, that's what he did.

Had he acknowledged a use of PEDs, he would have killed his chances of making the Hall of Fame, which he desperately wanted to do and now is in position to do.

Conclusion: If Murray Chass says a guy used steroids based solely on Murray claiming that guy had back acne at one point, from that point on we can't trust anything the guy says, because the guy is obviously lying about those steroids he obviously took.  Makes sense.

The New York Times mentioned Piazza and steroids in the same story, and that was by far my favorite. On at least two occasions, maybe three, during Piazza’s years with the New York Mets (1998-2005), 

Glad to hear you're super sure about how this all went down.

as a baseball writer and columnist for The New York Times, I wanted to write about Piazza and the possibility that he had used steroids.

I wonder what Piazza did to Chass to put Chass on this stupid crusade?  My guess: failed to give Chass a juicy quote for a story and brushed him off because he needed to be at some stupid charity event when Chass REALLY was running up against deadline.

However, I was told I could not because Piazza hadn’t tested positive for steroids use and hadn’t been named anywhere as a suspected user.


An article in the Times Wednesday cited Piazza’s 427 career home runs and .308 batting average and said, “Those are standout numbers. But in an era in which the voting is shadowed by baseball’s entanglement with steroids, Piazza has suffered from the perception, among some writers, that he might have been a user, although no evidence has emerged that he was.”

Subtext: some writers (by which I mean bloggers like Murray Chass) are unprofessional fuckheads who should never be listened to.

The article was written by Jay Schreiber, who was the editor who said I couldn’t write about Piazza and steroids.

And then, like his previous post I wrote about last month, the blog post just ends.  Was that supposed to be a SPINE TINGLING conclusion or something?  MY GOD.  JAY SCHREIBER SEEMS NOT TO HAVE CHANGED HIS POSITION ON FLIMSY STEROID ACCUSATIONS AT ALL.  CONNECT THE DOTS YOU FOOLS!  IT'S ALL RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!  

Murray Chass is a fundamentally bad person.  Do not be like him.


Anonymous said...

Mostly spot on as Chass is low hanging fruit but I disagree that Trevor Hoffman should be a hall of famer.

Biggus Rickus said...

I'm with Anonymous. I'd be better with Edmonds making it than Hoffman, and I don't think either should be in.

Larry B said...

Hmm, you guys feel strongly about that? If you don't want him in, you're presumably a "no relievers allowed period, if they were better they'd have been starters" person (possibly excepting Rivera). 141 career ERA+, well over a K per inning, incredible longevity, that huge saves number despite not being a closer until age 26, 28 WAR in only 1089 IP. I'd allow him in.

If Edmonds gets in, I'm going to shit my pants in anger if Larry Walker doesn't also somehow eventually get in.

Anonymous said...

No, I don't believe that all relievers would have been starters if they were better. I believe that Hoffman could have been a decent starter as he was fairly good in a few minor league starts. I do believe, however, that a good starter is more valuable than a good reliever and as such needs to have an overwhelming resume (like Rivera) to merit HOF induction. I wouldn't have voted for Gossage, Fingers or Sutter either. I can see voting for Kimbrel in twenty years if he doesn't flame out.

Biggus Rickus said...

What Anon said.

Larry B said...

But that's the thing--none of Gossage, Fingers or Sutter can match up to Hoffman. He was significantly better than all in ERA+ and K/9, and only Gossage (who started early in his career) comes close in WAR/IP. Hoffman was way better than those guys (especially Fingers) and he did it for way longer than Fingers and Sutter and somewhat longer than Gossage.

Your comment about Kimbrell is illustrative of my point--yes, Kimbrell is amazing and in another stratosphere from Hoffman in terms of dominance to this point in his career. But "if he doesn't flame out?" That's the whole thing about Hoffman. Statistically, it's nearly a sure thing that Kimbrell will flame out. They all do. Percival. Gagne. Lidge. Even K-Rod, who is now kind of getting back on track, has partially flamed out already. Let's see Kimbrell put up a 226 ERA+, 8.4 K/9, 37 save season at age 41 like Hoffman did. It's like 99% unlikely to happen. Hoffman is very underrated. He's like 75% as good as Rivera, and I'm not sure any other reliever in history is even 50% as good as Rivera was (factoring longevity, of course). For that, I think he should go in.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Hoffman was as good or better than the guys I mentioned and if they set the bar then of course Hoffman should be in the HOF as well. I wouldn't vote for any of them though.

Kimbrel probably won't have a career as long as Hoff's but my point was that his are the kind of #s that IMO would be good enough for a closer to merit induction. Hoffmann only had a couple of years as good as Kimbrel's least effective season and for those who care about such things he has already led his league in saves twice as many times as Hoff.

I actually like the WAR/IP stat and if he pitched 100 innings a year instead of 60 I'd give his HOF case more serious thought.

FWIW I think there are a number of starting pitchers in the HOF who should not be in there either. I'd probably be considered a "small hall" guy.

Biggus Rickus said...

Billy Wagner was probably slightly better than Hoffman. More dominant with a little less longevity. I don't think he should be in either. I am generally against relief only pitchers making it into the Hall. I don't think any currently enshrined should be there. Without crazy good numbers, I just don't think they deserve it. The best closers in the league basically pitch an inning or two every third game. They just don't contribute enough. Honestly, it would probably be easier to talk me out of putting Rivera in the Hall than it would be to talk me into putting Hoffman in.


Well unless we're going to rebuild the HOF in some sort of three dimensional triangular fashion divided into five levels (WHO WOULD BE AGAINST THIS???), we need to strike some kind of balance between guys who are in and serve as a baseline, and those who shouldn't be in and we can safely ignore. The entire class of closers is therefore a tough situation. We can't really use Rivera as a baseline, because he's the best closer in history by miles, but we can't use Gossage and Lee Smith as a baseline either because they're from a different era. I am okay with one or two closers from every era being in, but I think they have to be dominant for longer than ten years (to make up for their lack of use relative to SP's). By that standard, I'm ok with Hoffman and Wagner, but they're not exactly first in line with currently eligible guys.

Anonymous said...

Dude, you've gotta take on some of these Patriots deflating the footbals articles. There was one on espn by Jackie MacMullan that is gold.