The results for the most recent Baseball Hall of Fame ballot will be revealed on January 9, 2013. As we draw nearer, there will be more and more ballot explanation columns from BBWAA members. Maybe they feel defensive about their choices, maybe guilty.
We knew this was going to happen when the ballot was announced and names like Bonds, Sosa and Clemens were on it for the first time. If I had a vote, I think I'd cast my ballot and just leave it at that without explanation. I think I'd just rather you infer I was a recklessly arbitrary and capricious voter instead of listing all the ways for you, right there in black and white.
Anyway, here is a guide if you were wondering how not to vote for the Hall of fame.
Step 1: Admit, straight away, that your entire thought process for voting is suspect.
Should players be enshrined in Cooperstown despite widespread suspicions that they cheated by using steroids and then lied about it?
It's a slippery slope for writers casting Hall of Fame votes. After all, how do we know who else was using steroids but didn't get caught? And why should alleged cheats be excluded if the supposed misdeed have never been proven? Or if they've never been convicted of a crime?
Fair questions. But I still can't bring myself to vote for Bonds or Clemens. Not yet. Maybe not ever. I'm shutting out Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire again, too.
And I'm not ready to vote for Mike Piazza or Jeff Bagwell, two players who fall into the suspicion category even though they never failed a drug test and weren't named in the Mitchell Report.
Fair questions. I will not consider them. No one gets in!
Step 2: Give careful thought to guys who were not suspected of steroid use.
I gave careful thought to Craig Biggio, one of 28 players in history with 3,000 hits.
Oh, good. That is a smart step. It could probably be applied to Step 1 above, but whatever. It's there, it is the thought that counts.
Step 3: After careful thought (Step 2), or no thought whatsoever (Step 1), Do not let anyone in to the Hall of Fame who played from, like, 1985-2005.
But when I think of the most dominating players in the 1990s and 2000s, Biggio (3,060 hits) just doesn't rank at the top.
Craig Biggio sits in his living room—sipping coffee, black. It is a clear winter morning and the paper has just arrived.
Biggio: Ah, The Palm Beach Post, my favorite paper. Let's see what's good this morning.
[he opens to the sports section]
Oh, the Hall of Fame. You know, I think I'm up for it this year. Had a lot of hits, might get in! Let's see. [reading] Bonds...Clemens...not getting in...Bagwell—now that seems unfair, he was never proven to be—
[Craig Biggio then reads the last sentence he will ever read: "But when I think of the most dominating players in the 1990s and 2000s, Biggio (3,060 hits) just doesn't rank at the top."]
Biggio (cont'd): [blank face] You...you son of a bitch. You son. Of. A. Bitch. [throws paper down in disgust, is now yelling] How could I be one of the most dominant players in the 1990s and 2000s when you just got done talking about all the dominant guys and how they were all cheats?! AND YOU'RE NOT LETTING THEM IN, EITHER! HOW DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE?!
Craig Biggio's Wife: Hon, everything OK in there?
Biggio: [composing himself] Totally fine!
Craig Biggio's Wife: Hey, Hall of Fame voting comes out soon! You excited?
Biggio: [Runs outside, through the living room wall, leaving a Craig Biggio outline.]