HOF voting: Did Joe Morgan flunk his chemistry test?

Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, shown autographing a ball for a fan at the Reds' spring training complex. Does he define cheating or performance-enhancing substances selectively?

Hall of Famer Joe Morgan—does he define cheating or performance-enhancing substances selectively?

Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, himself the institution’s vice chairman now, has raised quite a hoopla with his epistle urging one and all among Hall voters to resist, reject, and repel those candidates suspected or using actual or alleged performance-enhancing substances during their careers.

Writing specifically, though, Morgan—perhaps inadvertently—dropped a banana peel in front of himself, when his plea nearly concluded by citing “the deliberate act of using chemistry to change how hard you hit and throw by changing what your body is made of.”

The IBWAA ballot; or, how I voted for the Hall of Fame

National Baseball Hall of FameSince I wrote purely from an observer’s position, I was content to let my previous writings on this season’s Hall of Fame voting stand for themselves. But in the interim I was made a life member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, which conducts its own Hall of Fame ballot every year. My membership came just in time to have such a vote myself.

This vote, of course, is purely symbolic outside the IBWAA itself. Even if there are those in the mainstream press who actually pay attention to the balloting, sometimes using those results as one barometer toward gauging how the Baseball Writers Association of America vote might result. The day may come when the IBWAA vote is included in the ultimate tally that elects Hall of Famers. May.

PED penalty changes, Cabrera’s insane deal, and other springings

Miggy makes moolah . . .

Miggy makes moolah . . .

SELF-POLICING?—Baseball government and baseball labour have a new agreement regarding actual or alleged performance-enhancing substances: first-time suspensions raised from fifty to eighty games; second-time suspensions raised from one hundred to 162 games. And, if you get bagged during a season, you’re not eligible to play in that postseason regardless of whether your suspension is finished by the time the postseason comes around. And, yes, there will be allowances if a player can prove he inadvertently used a banned substance, as in the case of (to name one) Guillermo Mota (now retired) a few years ago. Early conclusion, of course, is that the players are finally banding further together to clean up and police themselves on the matter, not to mention being less than thrilled about potential future Jhonny Peralta deals. Best breakdown on the new rules and the pluses and negatives comes from David Schoenfeld of ESPN’s Sweet Spot.

Making sense of the Peralta deal

From Biogenesis to big deal . . .

From Biogenesis to big deal . . .

So what to make of the Jhonny Peralta signing with the St. Louis Cardinals, in the wake of his having been one of the Biogenesis 13? Among other things:

1) A four year deal at $52 million dollars isn’t exactly what anyone expected to see for a player bagged over actual or alleged performance-enhancing substances. Without that issue, however, it’s a questionable deal considering Peralta’s age (32), his faltering defensive range, and his batting average-dependent on-base percentage.

Pujols ready to jack The Ripper

Jack the Ripper may have ripped the wrong man with a PED charge . . .

Jack the Ripper may have ripped the wrong man with a PED charge . . .

Albert Pujols may not have been able to hit as customary for the last couple of seasons, thanks to nagging trouble with plantar fasciitis in his heel. But if you prick him in just the right place he can swing big with words just as deadly. Fellow former Cardinals first baseman Jack Clark may be preparing to learn the hard way just how deadly that might be.

They had a Hall election and nobody’s coming

Was it nobody's fault, really, that Biggio doesn't make it on the first try?

Was it nobody’s fault, really, that Biggio doesn’t make it on the first try?

I had the feeling it might turn out this way. Not since Bill Clinton looked his second presidential election campaign in the eye have the Baseball Writers Association of America ended up electing nobody to the Hall of Fame. And I’m not sure which, among factors gaining serious discussion as the voting commenced and, at last, the results came in, may prove the most controversial of them all:

Freeman’s Flog, and Other Flaggings . . .

Freeman’s flog fitted one more run at the flag for Mr. Chips and company . . .

Well, at least one of the teams who collapsed ignominiously last September has secured history’s failure to repeat itself. And when Freddie Freeman’s game-winning two-run homer dropped on the far side of the center field fence in the bottom of the ninth at Turner Field Tuesday, it couldn’t have seemed sweeter with retiring Hall of Famer in waiting Chipper Jones crossing the plate ahead of Freeman.

Got Melk—Under Drug Testing Program, That Is

This is just what the San Francisco Giants don’t need, though it probably did the Washington Nationals—who just squared off against the Giants in San Francisco—a small favour: Melky Cabrera, the MVP of this year’s All-Star Game, suspended fifty games for a positive testosterone test.

The announcement came practically on the heels of the Giants announcing contract talks with Cabrera would go on hold until season’s end. Cabrera, of course, was enjoying a very respectable walk year, with a .906 OPS and a National League-leading 156 hits, 51 of which came in May alone (tying Randy Winn’s team record for any month, and breaking Willie Mays’ team record for May, since the Giants came to San Francisco in the first place), a significant factor in the Giants at this writing sitting tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West.

Braun, with Brains

As regards the Ryan Braun hoopla, a thought or three:

1) There remains a presumption of innocence in law, in regulation, and in plain fact, if not necessarily in the proverbial court of public opinion. And public opinion’s consistency is, and has usually been, only slightly more reliable than the consistency of the average public office holder.

2) Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, stresses that baseball’s stringent enough drug testing policies were designed in part to prevent a rush to judgment. Never mind that it will do nothing of the sort in actual fact, considering that rushing to judgment is precisely what enough professional baseball analysts and elements of public opinion are doing.