Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Eight Out, For Now / Young & Dumb

I don't know what the original source is, but I got a table today with the heading "The Votes Are In". I imagine that there was supposed to be an article attached to it, but the table is reproduced below:

"Here's how an informal panel of 10 Hall of Fame voters view the New Eight Men Out. Each voter is told he had to vote based on current information about each player."

Alex Rodriguez 5 4 1
Barry Bonds 4 6
Roger Clemens 5 5
Mark McGwire 2 8
Sammy Sosa 2 7 1
Ivan Rodriguez 6 2 2
Gary Sheffield 6 3 1
Rafael Palmeiro 1 9

McGwire is the only one of the eight who's been on the HOF ballot, and he received 21.9% of the vote in 2007 and 23.9% in 2008. That matches up pretty well with his 2 IN votes, and so the voting of these 10 individuals may be a good approximation of the entire HOF voting population despite the small sample size. That would mean that unless things change, maybe Ivan Rodriguez and/or Gary Sheffield would get in (I'm counting 7 INs out of 10 as close enough to the 75% entrance requirement).

Here's an adjusted table, ordered by level of HOF support:

NAME IN OUT MAYBE Career Win Shares Extras
Ivan Rodriguez 6 2 2 325 .301/.339/.475, 295 HR, 2605 H, 13 GG, 1 MVP
Gary Sheffield 6 3 1 426 .292/.394/.516, 499 HR, 2615 H
Alex Rodriguez 5 4 1 407 .306/.389/.578, 553 HR, 2404 H, 3 MVP
Roger Clemens 5 5
440 354 W, 4672 K, 3.12 ERA, 7 CYA
Barry Bonds 4 6
714 .298/.444/.607, 762 HR, 2935 H, 7 MVP
Sammy Sosa 2 7 1 325 .273/.344/.534, 609 HR, 2408 H, 1 MVP
Mark McGwire 2 8
342 .263/.394/.588, 583 HR, 1626 H, 1 GG
Rafael Palmeiro 1 9
395 .288/.371/.515, 569 HR, 3020 H, 3 GG

Sheffield is likely deserving of entry into the Hall of Fame, but I find it interesting that he has so much more support than Sosa. There is actual evidence that Sheff used steroids whereas with Sosa it's just speculation. Plus, Sammy has over 100 more HR, despite being the inferior player.
Maybe it's a case of the voters making the right choice (Sheffield > Sosa) but for the wrong reasons?

Take out three of these guys (kind of unfair, I know)....

Raffy is the only one caught by the testing in-season, so I guess that's why he has the least support.

Bonds is not well liked in general and is being made an example of in a sense. Ironically, if he had finished with less home runs I think he would have more support. The steroid use may very well count against him more because he broke the HR record.

Pudge was never a huge home run hitter and so I don't think there's as much stigma around his steroid use. (I may be jumping ahead a little bit, but when asked if he was on the list of 104 players that tested positive in 2003 he said something along the lines of "only God knows." That isn't even close to a "No". Cap'n Jeter said "why would I be?" That is the answer one would want to hear.) I find this bias funny, as the restorative benefits of using would be especially beneficial to catchers.

Anyway; take the remaining five guys and there HOF support is almost completely explained by their career Win Shares. That indicates to me that as people reflect on the era, those guys that really deserve to get in (Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod, Pudge, Sheff, etc.) will (though with some added difficulty), and the more borderline guys (McGwire, Palmeiro, Sosa - the first two I think are deserving) may get in and may not.

This is (hopefully) the last thing I'll write on steroids.

[Edit: Just kidding. A-Rod is having a press conference. The written statement he's reading is kind of absurd. He calls himself ignorant repeatedly, and makes himself sound like an idiot. Rodriguez is generally regarded as a smart guy, so I find it hard to believe that he and his cousin enacted a regiment of bi-monthly injections lasting for three years without ever talking to anyone else about it. He says he didn't really know it was steroids and stopped when steroid testing came into effect and made the situation serious (and he had a neck injury that scared him).

Some selected questions he was asked by the media:

Q: If you wouldn't have been caught would you ever have admitted it?
A: Rambling non-answer.
(Real Answer: Not in a million years.)

Q: Was it cheating?
A: I don't know. I wish I had gone to college so that I could have grown up.
(If he says yes then he's an cheater and if he says no he looks like a jerk. Tough situation.)

Q: How could you have been that stupid, considering how careful you are taking care of yourself?
A: Boy was I young and stupid. So very, very stupid.
(It seems like for 01-03 the clubhouse kid had to lace up his shoes for him.)

Q: If you didn't think what you were doing was wrong why did you hide it?
A: That's a good question. They weren't tic-tacs, and it might have been wrong. And I was stupid.
(Looks like he was caught of-guard a little bit on this one. If maybe it's wrong then you shouldn't have done it. Or at least asked someone first. This is the question that made him look worst.)

Q: Want to prove a point by asking to be tested every week?
A: Nah. MLB has a good system in place, and I don't want to mess with stuff.

Q: You said in Texas it was loosey-goosey - what the hell does that mean?
A: The steroid use has nothing to do with where I played; I was stupid and it's my fault.
(Canseco, Palmeiro, Pudge, Ken Caminiti - yeah, had nothing to do with it.)

Q: Why use it 36 (2 times a month for 3 years) times given your lack of understanding about it?
A: I was young and curious and stupid.
(Because I'm lying about not knowing what it was?)

Q: Should your 01-03 stats count?
A: Some stuff... honestly, the last 15 months have been tough (divorce, tabloids, etc.). I just want to get back to baseball.
(That was the first really honest thing he said. His tone and expression were different. And I'm 100% with him on that. )

MLB Network discussion afterwards:

Barry Larkin (future HOFamer, hopefully) agrees the the tough 15 months thing was his most honest time. Billy Ripkin believes that A-Rod didn't give it to any other player, since noone would accept something that A-Rod didn't know what it was but his cousin could handle the bi-monthly injections. (That makes sense, but why is Billy Ripkin on the MLB Network?) Nevermind. Ripkin makes a lot of very good points regarding A-Rod not really being able to use the young/stupid excuse after eight years in the big leagues. (Also, about the "maybe I should have gone to college" thing he says "after eights years you're a doctor." Zing.) Larkin says he's not being totally honest to protect other players. Consensus seems to be that A-Rod's message wasn't great and that he's still not open. I want to see the guy who comes out and is completely forthright about what he did. Perhaps one of the 103 remaining guys from the list will do so, but I'm not holding my breath. (The MLB Network seems to have some quality analysis - at leat relative to ESPN.)

Larkin - "I want to talk about baseball; I don't want to take about this crap."

Note: The replay of A-Rod's interview with Katie Couric from 2007 when she asks him if he ever used a banned substance he says "No" but nods his head "Yes". I don't buy what he's saying now either, but luckily I don't really care. Hopefully this story drop off soon (and I know I'm contributing to it.)]

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