In maybe the worst hour or so of Clayton Kershaw’s life as a major league pitcher, his immediate opponent had nothing but praise for him. Maybe that’s a big measure of a pitcher as a man. But after the Cardinals battered Kershaw and his Dodgers in the third and fourth innings of National League Championship Series Game Six, it would be Matt Carpenter whose mano-a-mano with Kershaw stood tallest as the Cardinals advanced to the World Series.
Let’s have no more than absolutely necessary about the Alex Rodriguez contretemps. For now, say only that he’s managed to provoke comparisons to the end of the McCarthy era while suing his own union, the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, in a filing that includes a rather nasty dig at the late executive director Michael Weiner (Weiner “falsely declar[ed] Mr. Rodriguez’s guilt and stat[ed] he should accept a suspension and resolve the Grievance at issue,” the filing charges) who urged A-Rod to make a deal rather than fight a war he couldn’t win.
Dan Le Batard’s novel gesture in protest of the Hall of Fame voting process and limitations, which got him nothing except the Baseball Writers Association of America proving him right and themselves fools. Ken Gurnick’s voting according to guilt by association. Now, we have Jerry Dowling—Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati City Beat cartoonist, not to mention blogger (he writes a blog called Dowling’s Drivel, which may prove a backfiring weapon)—admitting to, pardon the expression, a kind of cartoonish reason in refusing a vote for one Hall of Fame-worthy player.
We could see a 2014 baseball season and maybe more without Alex Rodriguez, after all. The original 211-game suspension didn’t hold up, but on Saturday independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz imposed a ban of 162 games plus any postseason competition into which the Yankees enter. As no few observers have noted already, that’ll be an easier jump to justify than a 211-game jump, the thinking being that losing a season is more defensible on appeal than losing an unprecedented season and a third.
I can admit when I’m wrong. I thought the Hall of Fame-voting writer who turned his ballot over to Deadspin, vowing to cast his ballot according to how Deadspin readers voted, might have opened the proverbial can of worms. A can at least as putrid as that which surrounds the farce of most years’ All-Star Game voting, where fans can vote multiple times and often use the game for the Hall of Fame’s purpose, a kind of lifetime achievement award even if the players for whom they vote are not having All-Star worthy seasons.
If you thought guilt by mere association was a discredited concept, you should be introduced to Ken Gurnick, a former Los Angeles Herald-Examiner reporter who’s been toiling at MLB.com for a considerable term. Thanks to Mr. Gurnick, Greg Maddux isn’t going to be the unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famer he absolutely deserves to be. Because, Gurnick himself says, his Hall of Fame ballot excludes everyone who played the game during the era of actual or alleged performance-enhancing substances.
Like Herb Score who preceded him to the Elysian Fields a little over five years ago, Jerry Coleman in the broadcast booth probably thanked God that Yogi Berra never sought a post-playing career as a baseball announcer. Upon Score’s death in 2008, Coleman stood supreme as the master malapropper of the microphones from his loft as the San Diego Padres’ broadcaster, even if the former second baseman scaled his working time back until this past season.