Tuesday, January 08, 2008

'Roid Rage Redirected

For the second year in a row, Mark McGwire received the support of less than a quarter of those voting on his admission into the Baseball Hall of Fame, according to Jack Curry's piece in the NYT. (A candidate must get at least three-quarters approval in a single year to be enshrined.)

I'm a little surprised by this, although given the mood provoked over the past few years by the Sultan of Surliness and the recent release of the Mitchell Report, maybe I shouldn't be.

I'm also a little put off by the new holier-than-thou attitude displayed by the voters, all of whom are members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The use of performance-enhancing drugs was an open secret when McGwire was playing, based on mea culpas I've heard from sportswriters over the past few years. McGwire was everybody's hero back in 1998, when he and Sammy Sosa rejuvenated fan interest in the game with their twin pursuit of the single-season home run record. I find the current attitude displayed by the writers more than a little hypocritical, or perhaps more precisely, craven. It's as though they didn't have the guts to speak out against popular sentiment back then, and they still have yet to find some.

Well, the MSM as stenographers is hardly a new phenomenon, I suppose.


In better news, Rich Gossage was elected.

I'll never forget those happy days back in 1978, when he was all but untouchable. He had the characteristic that we used to call "pleasingly wild" -- even from the cheap seats in the upper deck of Yankee Stadium, you could see the skittishness of the batters.

In the game I remember best, it was late summer, and we were just starting to believe that catching the Red Sox was possible. He came in during the top of the ninth in a must-win game (they were all must-win games, back then), Yanks up by one, bases loaded, nobody out.

Strike one. Strike two. Strike three.

Strike one. Strike two. Strike three.

Strike one. Strike two. Ball one. Ball two. Strike three. Game over.

Whenever someone makes one of those inane calculations about how much some supposedly overpaid superstar makes per pitch, those are the ones I remember.

Congratulations, Goose.


Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the old Goose. Good to hear he was admitted. Your description of his prowess brings back memories. I remember shuddering in terror when he was called out to put the kibosh on any late game rally the opposition was trying to muster.

Sornie said...

Has it dawned on McGwire to just give up and walk away from trying to place what everyone knows is a tarnished person into the hall of fame? I like a good trainwreck and baseball is getting just what they deserve.

Adam said...

Good to see McGwire is not even close. I was upset, however, to see that Bert Blyleven, he of a 3.31 ERA over nearly 5000 innings, 3,701 strikeouts, didn't quite make it. It's good that he's getting closer every year, and hopefully he'll make it next year.

I'll spare you my long case for why he belongs there, but as others have articulated, he belongs there, like, 5 years ago.