By In Stuff

The DH, Pete Rose and other stuff

OK, let’s just come out with it: I had one very specific goal when I created the latest baseball poll … I wanted to test one specific theory I have about the designated hitter. I figured that, as long as I’m doing that, I might as well ask a bunch of baseball questions just to test the weather. There was some interesting stuff in here, I think. Let’s start with the DH.

First of all, thank you to all who filled this out … more than 3,000 people responded in one day which makes this one of the bigger polls I’ve done. I fully understand there are all sorts of biases in here but, what the heck, let’s just go with it.

The designated hitter poll question phased like so: “The National League should add the designated hitter.” The possible responses were: Agree; Disagree; No strong opinion.

As you might have guessed, Disagree won but not by a huge margin:

No DH: 46.7%

Add the DH: 36.1%

No strong opinion: 17.2%

Nothing too revealing there. But in this case, I wasn’t really looking for an overall number … the first question I put in the poll was to ask whether your favorite team is an American League or National League team. As you no doubt guessed, I wanted to get a sense of how American League fans and National League fans differ on this subject. Most of the people who responded were American Leaguer fans.

AL: 55.1%

NL: 34.0%

Both: 10.9%

I was a little surprised that 11 percent of the people who responded that they liked teams in both leagues equally. That’s interesting; I don’t know many people who don’t connect more closely with one league. Of course, maybe they just saw through this charade of mine and didn’t want to be categorized. Anyway, here’s what they think about the DH.

Self-described American League fans with an opinion on the subject:

Add the DH in the NL: 59%.

Let the pitchers hit: 41%

So that’s a pretty substantial victory for adding the DH. Can’t say that’s a big surprise. More than 20% of the voters did not have a strong opinion so that says something also; American League fans are not especially passionate on this subject. Now, how about National League fans?

Self-described National League fans with an opinion on the subject:

Add the DH in the NL: 21.8%

Let the pitchers hit: 78.2%

Um, yeah. They ARE passionate. That’s a rout. That’s more than a rout — that’s a higher percentage than Yogi Berra got for the Hall of Fame his first time around. That’s a higher percentage than I have received on almost any question since I began these silly little polls. There was little doubt in my mind before but now there’s no doubt in my mind:


And National League fans, when it comes to this subject, should be the only fans that matter. American League fans, like myself, can yap on and on about how much better the game is when you’re not watching pitchers bunt and strike out, but that’s irrelevant. NL fans don’t want the DH. They have never wanted it. If it comes down to be a safety issue — which is to say that if it simply proves too dangerous for pitchers to hit — then baseball will have to do something,. But adding the DH will be over the strong objection of National League baseball fans, who very much like their game the way it is now.

I think about this because every argument about the DH — save for the safety argument — is very personal. It’s about nothing more than the kind of baseball you like watching. I did an informal survey of friends about the DH. One said the DH should be added to the National League because it’s a better brand of baseball. One said that the National League should keep things the same because he prefers National League strategy.

ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel, a lifelong Cardinals fan, went on a long and passionate soliloquy about how much more fun baseball is with the pitchers hitting, how much more shape it gives the games, how boring and dry it can get when you just throw in some professional hitter. Joe Sheehan wrote in his newsletter that, “Pitchers are different, they have been for 130 years, and it’s long past time to accept that. Bring on the universal designated hitter.”

Michael Schur wrote to me: “I think they should (add the DH). Bunting is dumb. Pitchers hitting is boring. Double switches are only fun until you figure out in your head what happened. Good hitters are better than bad hitters.”

It was while surveying all this that I realized: Mike is an AL fan. Mechelle is an NL fan. Joe grew up a Yankees fan. My National League strategy buddy grew up with the Cubs. This argument is split right along league lines. Yes, there are a handful of NL fans who believe it’s time for the DH, but only a handful — a lower percentage, according to my polling, than Americans who believe global warming is not happening. And it seems ludicrous to me that NL fans should have the DH jammed down their throats by American League lugheads who believe that their way of playing baseball is better.

OK, let’s take a look at some of the other polling questions:

* * *

Pete Rose

Statement: Pete Rose should be allowed back in baseball.

Agree: 34.0%

Disagree: 22.0%

I think he should be eligible for the Hall of Fame but not allowed back in baseball: 38.5%

No opinion: 5.5%

Nothing too earth shattering here. This shows 72.5% of people think Rose should be allowed back in baseball or at least be made eligible for the Hall of Fame. There is some new momentum for Rose after he joined Fox as a baseball analyst (and after Baseball began getting more curious about the gambling business), and I hope he does get reinstated in the game as I’ve written many times before. I don’t think the Hall of Fame is a viable possibility, now or in the foreseeable future, but maybe there still can be something of a compromise here toward the end of Pete Rose’s life.

You probably saw this a few months ago: John Dowd, who investigated Rose and put out his scathing report in 1989, remains vigilant that Rose should never be let back in the game. Former commissioner Fay Vincent remains equally rigid on the subject as do many baseball fans. Those two in particular seem to believe their best argument against Rose is that the deterrent of a lifetime ban is working (nobody has been caught gambling since) and that the deterrent would be compromised if baseball let Rose back in the game after more than 25 years. Like people would say: “If it’s a lifetime ban, whew, I definitely will not gamble. But, hey, if they’ll actually let me back in when I’m 74 years old, maybe I ought to lay down a bet.”

Anyway in that Cincinnati Enquirer story, Dowd says something that I think has been overlooked: In 1989, Bart Giamatti wanted to suspend Rose, not ban him. He just wanted Rose to admit that he gambled on baseball and get professional help for his addiction. If he had done that, Dowd suggests, Rose might have been suspended for six months or a full season and be allowed to return. Unfortunately, Rose was not a man to be negotiated with then; he was overbearing and narcissistic and certain that he could beat the rap. His lawyers turned down the offer. “We never got a chance to finalize the deal or figure anything out because Pete got in his own way and his lawyers shut us down,” Dowd said.

That was stupid and arrogant, and Rose has paid a heavy price for that stupidity and arrogance.

But I don’t see how people can miss the bigger point: Giamatti himself did not believe that Rose’s gambling, when combined with his contributions to baseball, merited a lifetime ban. He wanted to settle with a suspension. Even after Rose and his people were so self-destructively short-sighted, Giamatti still gave Rose and his lawyers every indication that, after a year, a petition to have Rose reinstated would be taken seriously if he shaped up. Then, sadly, Bart Giamatti died. The hard-liners have been out ever since.

My point is this: Rose is not serving his 26th year as a baseball pariah because he gambled on baseball. He’s serving his 26th as a baseball pariah because he was too egotistical to admit his mistakes. And that, in my opinion, is too long a sentence for being dumb.

* * *

Balls and strikes

Statement: Balls and strikes should be called by the newest technology and not umpires.

Agree: 22.7%

Disagree: 36.3%

I am for a system that blends technology with human umpiring: 37.0%

No strong opinion: 4.0%

I was once doing a panel discussion with Bill James and Bob Costas. Bill, best I remember, brought up the idea that the umpire should wear an earpiece that would beep if the technology called a pitch a strike. But, Bill insisted, it would still be up to the umpire whether or not to call the pitch a strike. He could overrule the machine any time he wanted. Bill saw this as a good compromise.

Bob, best I remember, so hated this idea he said something to the effect of it not being a kind of baseball he would want to watch.

A couple of years ago, I wrote that baseball would soon have instant replay, not because it would be good for the game — people will disagree on that — but because technology would FORCE baseball to add instant replay. My feeling then was that you can’t fight reality for very long. Once instant replay became so good that it could conclusively prove umpires wrong, the inevitability clock to instant replay had begun. Human error in an age of irrefutable evidence cannot stand for long. Then a pitcher lost a perfect game, there were some high-profile embarrassments in the postseason, the league dipped its toe into instant replay with home run calls … and it happened.

We are now on the same inevitability clock toward ball-strike technology being a part of baseball.

Again, we can argue about how good or bad it would be for baseball, but it seems to me those arguments have nothing to do with technology. Is the Internet good or bad for the world? This is such a complex question with so many different variables, there is no real place to start. And, more to the point, it’s a pointless discussion. It just doesn’t matter because the Internet is all-encompassing and overwhelming and it changes the landscape on an almost daily basis completely oblivious to whether or not the results are good or bad. The Internet and technology are amoral.

These days, ball-strike technology is good enough that we SEE umpires miss ball-strike calls all the time. We don’t THINK they are missing those calls. We see it. They call balls 6 inches outside strikes, and the television box shows it conclusively. They call balls waist high over the middle of the plate balls, and we all are aware of it. We see these things with high definition clarity, and the technology will only get better and more conclusive. Years ago, I implored Baseball to be proactive and creative about instant replay before their hands were forced. They did not, and baseball now has a replay system that is essentially just a copy of football’s. It’s fine, I guess. It could have been a lot better.

Now, I would hope they would get ahead of the curve on ball-strike technology before they are forced to make bold moves. I think Bill’s idea is one they should pursue; find a way (taptic technology?) to alert the umpire if the cameras saw the pitch as a ball or strike. I get Bob’s point of view: Baseball with umpires calling balls and strikes is all we have ever known; it’s the game so many of us have fallen in love with. But technology will not wait. And change is inevitable.

* * *

Barry and Roger

Statement: The following best expresses my view or Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds regarding the Baseball Hall of Fame.

They should both be elected immediately: 57.1%

They should both be elected eventually but not now: 15.9%

Neither should ever go to the Hall: 16.0

I have different opinion about Clemens and Bonds: 4.3%

No strong opinion: 6.7%

Well, it look like 73% of the voters think Bonds and Clemens should go into the Hall of Fame either now or later. Of the people with strong opinions (and who do not separate Clemens and Bonds), 64% would put them in right now and another 18% would put them in later, I guess after they have served a proper penance or are no longer with us.

I have obviously heard a lot from people about my Roger Clemens post the other day, one where I make the case that based on the performance in the books, Clemens is the greatest pitcher of all time. Many people have made the point that it’s a ridiculous statement because you simply cannot separate Clemens from PEDs, that what he did after age 34 was so unnatural and ludicrous that it ends all comparisons.

But is that really so? Let’s look at a few pitchers after age 34 with their comparative ERA+, how many strikeouts they had, and their Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), which you will recall is like an ERA based only on strikeouts, walks and home runs.

Pitcher A: 2,140 innings, 140 ERA+, 2,082 Ks, 3.21 FIP.

Pitcher B: 2,401 innings, 141 ERA+, 2,875 Ks, 3.23 FIP

Pitcher C: 3,312 innings, 137 ERA+, 1,562 Ks, 2.15 FIP

Pitcher D: 2,461 innings, 113 ERA+, 2,605 Ks, 3.21 FIP

Pitcher E: 2,810 innings, 111 ERA+, 1,299 Ks, 3.20 FIP

Pitcher F: 3,735 innings, 112 ERA+, 2,301 Ks, 3.53 FIP

OK, I think you see the point.

Pitcher A is Clemens.

Pitcher B, with more innings, a better ERA+ and more strikeouts is Randy Johnson.

Pitcher C is not a particularly fair comparison, but that’s Cy Young.

Pitcher D is the one I think has always been the best comp for Clemens: Nolan Ryan. Both were country strong Texans who put themselves through intense workouts and seemed to be ageless.

Pitcher E is Gaylord Perry.

Pitcher F is Phil Niekro.

A few good pitchers always have found ways to pitch well into their late 30s and 40s. Tommy John did. Early Wynn did. Steve Carlton did. Greg Maddux did. They threw knuckleballs or spitters or split-fingered fastballs or whatever they could to get hitters out. They might not have been quite as successful as Clemens, and maybe Clemens did get an unfair edge because of PEDs. But how much of it was an edge and how much of it was that Clemens was simply a fantastic pitcher?

One more thing: This idea that he was done in Boston before he left for Toronto is myth; in his last year in Boston he threw 242 innings, led the league in strikeouts and posted a 139 ERA+. And before that? Well, he was injured in 1995. In 1994, though, he led the league in ERA+ and gave up just 6.5 hits per nine innings. Clemens still had plenty left, and he furiously redoubled his efforts after Boston gave up on him — even the official anti-Clemens story seems to be he was NOT using steroids when he had his extraordinary year with Toronto in 1997. I know it always seems like I’m coming up with reasons to defend the steroid users, and maybe I just am … maybe I think that Baseball happily looked the other way when it was convenient and good for the game and then shoved all the blame on those players when the tide of opinion had turned.

But, more than that: I think too many people simply look at PEDs as a black-white thing, like Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds would have simply disappeared as legendary players without some help. I believe that it was wrong for players to use steroids, it was cheating, and I have no problem at all with people not forgiving steroid users or not voting them into the Hall of Fame. But I simply don’t believe steroids had the earth-shattering impact on Clemens’ career that so many seem to accept as fact.

* * *

Length of game

Statement: The following best expresses my viewpoint on baseball’s longer games:

The longer games are a major problem that are driving me away from baseball: 11.6%

The longer games are an annoyance but my enjoyment of the game is essentially unchanged: 63%

The longer games do not bother me in the least: 22.6%

No strong opinion: 2.8%

I don’t think the longer games have much impact on big baseball fans. Are they keeping mild fans or potential fans away? That’s a different issue … I doubt many mild or potential fans took this poll.

* * *

Alex Rodriguez

Statement: When Alex Rodriguez passes Willie Mays on the home run chart …

… I will not care at all: 39.4%

… I will be deeply offended: 9.2%

… I will be reminded just how good a player A-Rod has been: 40.7%

… it will go unnoticed by me: 10.7%

I was surprised how many people went with the one positive option here. I said at the beginning of the poll that I was looking for people to click the answer that BEST reflects their viewpoint, not the one that they feel FULLY reflects their view. I think, against all odds, A-Rod has won back some fans by the way he’s played (he’s slugging .500 early in the year) and by the generally subdued way he’s handled things since his return.

There are also people who would like A-Rod to play well because it will put the Yankees in the clearly uncomfortable position of having to deal with that.

A-Rod was an all-time great player. Like with Clemens, what part of that was real and what part illusion will remain the stuff of talk radio and blogs like this for a long time. But A-Rod could really play.

* * *


Statement: The one-game wildcard playoff is …

… great for baseball: 25.7%

… a silly gimmick: 25.8%

… fine, but I’d prefer to see them make it a three-game playoff: 35.9%

… not something that I think about much: 12.6%

Several people pointed out that this wasn’t a well-framed question because you could think all of these things at one. You an think it’s great for baseball AND a silly gimmick AND you’d like for them to make it three games AND not something you think about much. That’s true.

I think it will become a three-game playoff sooner or later, by the way.

* * *

Unanimous Hall of Famers

There will probably never be a unanimous Hall of Famer, but of the great players becoming eligible soon which one is most worthy of unanimous Hall of Fame recognition:

Ken Griffey Jr.: 40.7%

Chipper Jones: 5.6%

Mariano Rivera: 27.4%

Derek Jeter: 21.2%

No player should ever be elected unanimously: 5.1%

Several people pointed out that this wasn’t a well-framed question either, but I disagree with them. Their point was that you might think that the RIGHT player should be elected unanimously but none of these four deserves it.

But that’s not what the question says, it says which one is MOST worthy.

The unanimous Hall of Fame question is a funny one to me because, if you think about it, any slam dunk Hall of Famer should be elected unanimously. I simply have not met a single person who thinks that Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Mike Schmidt, George Brett, Tom Seaver, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Honus Wagner, Steve Carlton, Bob Feller, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove, Christy Mathewson, Rickey Henderson or Cal Ripken should not be in the Hall of Fame … and honestly that just 20 players right off the top of my head as I thought of them. I could probably could up with 20 more in the next five minutes.

Those players are CLEARLY Hall of Famers; it would take an absurd argument of the sort I’ve never heard to make the case that any of those 20 do not belong. And, the next group of 20 might have a cockamamie argument against them, but I’ve not heard a VIABLE argument against, say, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson, Carl Yastrzemski, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, Bob Gibson, Jackie Robinson, Pedro Martinez, Warren Spahn, Wade Boggs, Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Oscar Charleston, Eddie Collins or Jimmie Foxx. There … another 20.

To me, if you are a serious baseball fan who loves and understands the game, you would vote those players into the Hall of Fame. Unanimous? Damn right it should be unanimous.

Then there are players who inspire disagreement. Should Craig Biggio be in the Hall of Fame? Well, he had 3,000 hits and he was a really good player in the mid 1990s. But was also stuck around a very long time to get those 3,000 hits, and he wasn’t an especially good player for the last eight years or so years of his career, and his peak wasn’t that long …

That’s a real argument, you can see why someone WOULD vote for Biggio and why someone WOULD NOT vote for Biggio. That to me is a legitimate reason why the vote would not unanimous. It is not because a player is only 99% Hall of Fame worthy. It is because there is a viable reason or numerous reasons that a voter believes the player IS NOT a Hall of Famer. Warren Spahn got only 83.2% of the vote in his induction year. Are you telling me almost 17% of a knowledgable base of baseball fans honestly believe that WARREN FREAKING SPAHN is not a Hall of Famer? This stuff is so stupid.

Take the four players I listed. My history with Derek Jeter is pretty well known; I coined the word “Jeterate.” I am no fan of Chipper Jones. I readily acknowledge the lack of innings Mariano Rivera pitched and am generally skeptical of the value of closers. And Griffey was never a great player after he turned 30 — absurdly his total WAR after age 30 is 7.5. Yeah. That’s over 10 years.

That said every one of them is a no-doubt Hall of Famer for me. Should they be voted in unanimously? I really don’t see a particularly good argument why they SHOULD NOT be unanimous, except that no player ever is.

* * *

Changing the game

If I could change one thing in the game it would be to …

… reduce intentional walks: 6.9%

… make extra inning play more interesting: 0.9%

… reduce pitching changes: 18.2%

… speed up the game: 28.8%

… create more offense: 5.1%

… further clamp down on steroid use: 9.9%

… alter the umpiring system: 13.9%

… do nothing; I wouldn’t change the game at all: 16.3%

I’ll admit … this question was kind of a throwaway. I didn’t want just nine questions and I kind of threw this one together to make it an even 10. With more time I probably should have come up with better ideas for changing the game. Not surprisingly, 71% of the people who said that the longer games are major problems for them voted to speed up the game.

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103 Responses to The DH, Pete Rose and other stuff

  1. Art Valentine says:

    One other qualifier on the poll. It was filled out by people who follow Joe Posnanski. I suspect a disproportionate number of us are pre-disposed to agree with Joe’s view on many of these points. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have found the poll in the first place.

    • Yeager says:

      Agreed – if anything this poll ONLY proves that Joe is capable of maintaining a decent sized audience that doesn’t agree with him (me often being one of them!).

    • asdf says:

      this is especially true i would think regarding his views about steroids (considering the number of polls he’s done versus more general ones i’ve seen).

    • duffy01 says:

      I agree. This pol is certainly not scientific. I got so sick of Joe saying PEDs were no big deal that I quit reading him at all for several years. Now I only rarely read him. I wish he’d give it a rest.

  2. BHolm says:

    I do think the NL – AL biases will fade over time, seeing as how there are always NL-AL games now, any date of the schedule. It’s really heading the way the NFL-AFL did, where it generated strong feelings at the beginning of the “combined NFL” era, but now, years later, it’s really not see as anything but separate divisions of a single league. I think that’s where MLB is going – – to a point where the NL-AL distinctions are rendered near meaningless. And when that comes, there will be no reason whatsoever for there to be separate rules for separate teams/divisions.

    • wjones58 says:

      That is a day I don’t want to see. That’s when baseball gets to be “just like every other sport.”

  3. simeon says:

    You forgot to ask whether the AL should get rid of the DH.

  4. sansho1 says:

    Lack of unanimity is not an injustice, unless the rules require unanimity. As such, the relentless focus on it wrt HOF voting is misplaced. In my opinion — yours may differ. Which is fine.

  5. JD says:

    Curious why Joe is “no fan of Chipper Jones.” Can anyone point me to some of Joe’s past work that might explain further?

    • Karyn says:

      Naw, I got nothing. Maybe he meant as a man and not a player?

    • DJ MC says:

      Just a guess, but he was a great offensive player who played almost entirely in a huge offensive era, was an iffy-at-best fielder, and missed a lot of time after the age of 30 (he only averaged around 121 games between ages 32 and 40).

  6. Joe S. says:

    Worth noting about the liking teams in both leagues equally. I’m 36 and have been a Mets fan for as long as I can remember. But I have lived in Minnesota for almost twenty five years and at this point I’m a bit of a Twins fan and while my love for the teams are not equal, my enjoyment is. That and I get to go to Twins games several times a year.

    • Karl Weber says:

      Jerry Koosman!

      • G-Man says:

        Thanks for the Koosman shout out. He instantly became my favorite player when I was an eleven year old fan in 1968. Where do you think Joe will put him in his top 100?

        • puckpaul11 says:

          Funny. Loved Koosman too,. A lot of people did, that is why his rookie card is so valuable and famous.

    • Cuban X Senators says:

      Yes. I grew up an O’s fan, but then spent 3 years abroad & when I got back to watching baseball the O’s had a new stadium, new owner, new team (except for Cal in winter); in short very little link to what I’d known. Plus I lived 1500 miles away. Then I settled in SF & there was Jon Miller, and so another native AL fan is now a fan of an NL club.

    • Chris K. says:

      Indeed. I enjoy both leagues equally. I grew up in Seattle and have been a long time fan of the Mariners. However, the proliferation of cable in the 80’s gave me a lot of exposure to WTBS — all Braves, all the time. So, I happened to be catching Dale Murphy at his peak. He was my favorite player, by far, and no one else was particularly close.

      So, I grew up in Washington, but fell in love with the Braves first and became a Mariners fan later. A sports bigamist?? I suppose.

    • largebill says:

      As an Ohioan (Cleveland born but living in Cincinnati as punishment for marriage), I can’t like both pro football teams because they are in the same division. However, have no problem rooting for the Reds other than the few times they player the Indians each year.

  7. Hack says:

    Since you’ve opened up platooning with the DH rule why not have 9 designated hitters and 9 designated fielders? I am a Red Sox fan since 1965 and I DESPISE the DH. Why do I have to watch some light hitting baseball player try to hit when there is a better hitter on the bench? Because in baseball there is no platooning…and there shouldn’t be. If you don’t like baseball without the DH, you don’t like baseball, you like softball.

    • oilcan23 says:

      No one is talking about having nine designated fielders and nine designated hitters. No one. No one. How has this became a reasonably common anti-DH argument?

      It’s been 40 years. There’s no slippery slope. They added the DH and then … nothing else changed in the composition of MLB rosters or baseball rosters at any level, anywhere in the world baseball is played. It stops at the DH. Stop pretending there are monsters in the closet. There are not.

      • BobDD says:

        seems like a reasonable argument to me

      • Larry Biitner says:

        It’s called hyperbole, oilcan23.

        “There’s no slippery slope.” Yes there is a slippery slope, and it’s called “addding the DH to the National League.”

        There weren’t monsters in the closet in the ’70s and ’80s. There have been since the ’90s, however, as the media–for whatever reasons–decided to stir up American League fans and casual fans into arguing for the extension of the DH to the National League. It’s completely obnoxious, people with little or no vested interest arguing for a change against the vehement objection of people who *do* have a vested interest.

    • DJ MC says:

      Major league position players are paid to do two things: hit and field. You have guys that are better, often significantly, at one or the other, but there are limits. A guy who is the greatest possible fielder won’t sniff the major leagues with a .300 OPS, and the only way you can fit an amazing hitter who is a statue–complete with stone hands–in the field is at DH, and you only get one. You can’t hide embarrassing hitters or defenders in the lineup or on the field.

      Pitchers are paid to do one thing: pitch. They could make an error every time they touch a ball in play or try to make a play at a base. They could walk up the the plate with their eyes closed and swing as soon as they hear the pop of the ball in the catcher’s mitt. And it won’t matter, if they are good at getting the ball past the batter, or in play in a way to get outs.

      Because no one cares about the pitcher doing anything but pitching, allowing them to hit–when as a group they cannot, and it’s only getting worse over time–it doesn’t make sense to have them take any time or unnecessary risk hitting.

      • Chris M says:

        They’Re getting worse over time because every freaking league has a DH so they don’t hit until they get to the NL.

        Being in favor of the DH is being against Babe Ruth and Stan Musial.

        • DJ MC says:

          You’re right that they are getting worse because no one else uses the DH. The problem is that no one uses the DH because pitchers haven’t been able to hit.

          In 1940–the first year BBRef makes available for comparison–the average OPS for NL pitchers was 57% of the league average (.400, compared to .702). In 1950, it was 57.5%. In 1960, 56%. In 1970, 53%. By last year, it was down to 45%. But it is a fall from an already embarrassingly-low bar.

  8. Glanzer says:

    Didn’t take the poll, but the one thing I’d change about baseball is the playoff schedule format. There are way too many days off, thereby eliminating the need for 4th and 5th starting pitchers, thereby allowing teams to add defensive specialists or pinch-runners to their rosters which weren’t there during the bulk of the regular season. It’s like a totally different game. Now all you need is a Bumgarner to get red hot instead of a whole 5-man rotation. Doesn’t seem quite right to me. I’d be all for having scheduled days off only in between series, otherwise play all 5 or 7 games of a series straight through just like the regular season.

    • mrpinkfloyd71 says:

      I agree with you, but unfortunately right there is where the TV networks get involved. They like specific dates to start a series which is why there are so many days off. MLB is willing to do anything (including looking for solution in the wrong place: i.e. adding a clock) as long as it does not mess with the cash provider TV networks.

  9. Gee Tee says:

    “Even after Rose and his people were so self-destructively short-sighted, Giamatti still gave Rose and his lawyers every indication that, after a year, a petition to have Rose reinstated would be taken seriously if he shaped up.”

    What’s the source of this? The only person I have ever heard claim this is Rose.

    • Yeager says:

      I would also like to see source on this.

      • BobDD says:

        I thought I had read that as Rose’s claim and that Vincent adamantly refuted it. If that is indeed true, then it changes almost everything I have always thought about the “absolute lifetime ban”.

        I shudder that gambling on the game by a player would be excused.

      • NevadaMark says:

        And don’t forget, when Giamatti passed away, Rose said “Now look who is suspended for life” or very similar words. What a complete asshole, pissing off to the max the very people who held the power of his reinstatement in their hands. Who pisses on a dead man’s grave like that? Giamatti and Vincent were extraordinarily close. Did Rose think Vincent wouldn’t care?
        Not saying this had much to do with the length of Rose’s banishment. But it sure didn’t help.

  10. Lou Gherigh is an unanimous Hall of Famer and uou didn’t mention him. There to have 41 players.

  11. Mr Punch says:

    On the DH, I (AL- Red Sox- fan) voted for adoption by the NL because of interleague play. Consider what would have happened if Boston (99 wins) had made the ’78 Series: to play Rice, the MVP, Yaz would have moved from LF (7 Gold Gloves) to 1B, sending Scott (8 Gold Gloves) to the bench. Both leagues should have the same rules.

    On the Bonds/Clemens question, I voted for delay — not to make them suffer, but in hopes of some consensus on a general approach to PEDs cases. These two are the easy ones, and I’d like to feel the voters mostly know what they’re doing before tackling the next levels of (possibly) tainted candidates.

  12. cclh says:

    Regarding the DH, I heard a comment once that I’ve never heard anyone else make.

    Back when I was a bigger NL than AL fan (living in Houston), I was driving in the midwest and listening to a Royals game. The announcers were talking about this whiz shortstop the White Sox or Indians had who couldn’t hit anything, but they kept playing him for his defense. The point was that in the AL, you can afford a no-hit fielder because that’s only one out of nine. That’s when the Astros were playing Adam Everett, and some stat service rated him the best fielder in baseball. But we felt we had to trade him because two automatic outs in the lineup were too much to bear.

  13. I have said this before and I’ll say it again. Why does everyone assume Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr. and Greg Maddux never used steroids? I don’t understand why they get a free pass! In Joe’s post above, he said Randy Johnson was BETTER than Clemens after the age of 34. It is assumed Clemens was so good because of steroids. What about Johnson? Why is he given a pass? I don’t get it.

    • Doug says:

      I think it’s mostly scuttlebutt and rumor and assumptions – which, really, is not a reliable guide. Then again, why limit it to those players? There’s no reason that players couldn’t have done steroids in the 80s – and there are players from that era who are already in the Hall. Who’s to say that a Wade Boggs, for instance, couldn’t have done steroids?

      • Spencer says:

        We now know one of steroids primary uses for baseball players is injury prevention and recovery. Yet we don’t point fingers at Cal Ripken Jr. He wasn’t surly with the media though and has blue eyes so he couldn’t have cheated!

    • MisterMJ says:

      Yeah, it’s dumb – NFL started testing for steroids and other banned substances in 1987 as a response to rampant steroid use throughout the 1970s and 1980s! But somehow none of that stuff leaked into MLB? And the narrative the media embraces is Clemens and Bonds BAD, Jeter and Maddux GOOD. I think folks are fixated on what they believe a PED-user looks or behaves like … but how about Neifi Perez or Andy Pettitte? The funny thing is that there’s probably already a bunch of folks in the HOF who dabbled in PEDs/steroids at some point in their career.

    • Well, Ken Griffey, Jr., had a reputation for not training, especially as a young player. Without addressing the veracity of the reputation, people assume that taking steroids would be useless for someone who wasn’t hitting the weight room religiously. If Griffey took steroids as an older player, he didn’t do it right because he was never healthy enough to stay on the field in his 30s.

      I suspect that MisterMJ’s reasoning is also correct: people assume that PED (or at least steroid) users are hulked up guys like Bonds and McGwire, not regular sized guys like Pedro.

    • Spencer says:

      This is a fantastic point. It really comes down to the layman not knowing that steroid use doesn’t necessarily make you big and bulky.

  14. Zac Schmitt says:

    One minor quibble Joe: It’s not entirely true that A.L. fans shouldn’t have any say in the N.L.’s policies whatsoever as long as inter-league play continues. When our teams need to play by N.L. rules intermittently throughout the season and not just a couple times in the World Series (if we’re lucky) then it does impact us and our pitchers to some tiny extent.

    • Doug says:

      In the exact same proportion as NL fans should have a say in whether the AL should have a DH. It seems to me that they would cancel each other out.

  15. Craig From Az says:

    I thought it was interesting that Joe thinks the “silly” WC play-in game will be increased to a 3 game series in the future (he didn’t say if he liked this or not). In my opinion, the ONLY thing good about the extra WC is it made the WC playoff berth MUCH less attractive than winning your division. If you expand to a 3 game series, that disadvantage is somewhat eroded. I personally prefer less playoffs to more playoffs (with longer series in the playoffs), but if we are going to have wild cards, I prefer making it the way it is.

    • mrpinkfloyd71 says:


    • Marc Schneider says:

      I don’t like the WC playoff at all. I have no particular objection to the WC per se because the WC teams often have much better records than some division champs. And the playoff didn’t seem to hurt the Giants and Royals last year. What I would really like to see would be fewer divisions so that you don’t have cheesy champions that can get hot in October, a la the Cardinals in 2006, who were barely over .500 and won the World Series. I don’t see why teams should necessarily be rewarded for being in a weak division just because they “won” something and another team penalized for being in a strong division. In my heart of hearts, I would prefer to go back to two divisions with no wild cards but that’s not going to happen, so as long as you are going to have multiple divisions, I want to see the wild cards with the best records.

  16. Jake says:

    I am a NL (Pirates) fan and don’t necessarily WANT the DH, but it’s not going to break my baseball purist heart either. That ship has sailed so many times that if I don’t get to watch Gerrit Cole and AJ Burnett flail about helplessly 60-70x a year, you know, somehow I’ll find the strength to move on.

  17. manimalof7 says:

    I just want the NL to get the DH to watch the NL purists’ heads explode.

  18. Evan says:

    Yes, Randy Johnson’s post-age 34 career compares favorably to Clemens’s, but what about post age 35? 36? 37? 38? I suspect (maybe someone here has the time and inclination to do the numbers) that as you raise the cutoff, Clemens will look better and better by comparison, which is the better measure of an unnatural aging curve. I understand why Joe used 34 for his comparison, but that doesn’t mean it tells the whole story.

    • Karyn says:

      Pitcher 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45

      Clemens 8.3 3.2 3.6 5.6 4.3 4.5 5.8 6.0 3.4 1.5 —

      Johnson 9.6 9.7 10.4 8.0 2.4 9.5 4.1 3.3 1.6 3.7 0.3

      • Karyn says:

        Hmmm. Formatting fail.

        Anyway, that’s supposed to show that only three times did Rocket’s fWAR exceed Unit’s, after age 34: their Age 40, 42, and 43 seasons.

        • Evan says:

          Interesting.Thanks for doing the numbers, Karyn. Although, if I read them correctly, it was Clemens’s 41, 42 and 43 seasons that were more productive (and 43 and 44 were shortened by Clemens’s decision to, well, shorten them). So, while not a huge difference, this indicates that Clemens did age better post 40 in spite of the fact that Johnson was a better pitcher in his late 30s. My sense is that Johnson’s productivity seems to follow a standard trajectory, albeit much later in his career than most pitchers. Clemens career, on the other hand, looks oddly like a plateau after 35.

          Or maybe I’m just reading tea leaves?

  19. Ed Walton's Back Yard says:

    Regarding Pete Rose, I am in the ‘put him in the hall of fame, but don’t let him near baseball camp.” Did Giamatti ever comment on Rose with regards to the Hall of Fame? The rule banning those on the permanently ineligible list didn’t exist until after Rose was ruled ineligible, and of course after Giamatti passed away, so it might have been that ineligibility for the Hall of Fame was not a punishment that Giamatti expected to be meted out to Rose. Giamatti might have preferred to have it left up to the voters, who would have kept Rose out for a while, but (probably) eventually put him in. Just curious if there is any documentation one way or the other.

    • Pat says:

      Question about this: Pete Rose is 74 years old. Is there really a substantial likelihood of him being back in baseball anyway? Are there teams clamoring for the chance to hire a manager twenty years away from the game and older than Jim Leyland? I’m not saying someone that age couldn’t be a valuable contributor, but I just don’t think teams would take that step.

      • John Leavy says:

        A few weeks ago, I’d have thought it extremely unlikely that Pete would get a broadcasting gig at a major network at age 74. Moral: you never know

  20. Joe says:

    I might argue that making pitchers hit is actually safer overall for baseball players. While watching some of Kansas City’s fracases over the past month, I’ve heard more than one announcer say that the pitcher faces no retribution for throwing at a batter because the pitcher doesn’t have to hit (other than being thrown out, fined, and suspended – which is equal in both leagues). In the NL, the pitcher has to pick up a bat and stand up there against the team he’s throwing at. With pitchers batting, maybe fewer hitters would get plunked.

    • manimalof7 says:

      Last year NL teams averaged a HBP per 111.6 plate appearances, while the AL averaged one per 111.1, so it doesn’t seem like the NL having pitchers bat is making much of an impact.

    • KHAZAD says:

      Listening to the internet and TV driven hype seems to lead most to erroneously believe that the Royals are out there hitting batters indiscriminately on a regular basis. In truth, only one of the fourteen other AL teams have hit less batters than the Royals. The White Sox hit as many Royal batters when the two teams played as Royal pitchers have hit overall during the season.

      Of course, when people get their news from headlines and twitter comments, and then repeat the third hand information ad nauseam without any real knowledge, these are the kinds of things that follow.

  21. TimG says:

    As a Mariners fan, I’m an AL guy, but M’s DHs have subjected us basically to the equivalent of pitchers hitting for 10+ years now (since Edgar). So I guess that makes me an honorary NL fan.

  22. Dave says:

    No comments on your balls and strikes calls so I’ll weigh in with one thought. Rarely when watching a game on TV and the announcers complain about the ump missing the call can I say that I definitely can agree with the announcers. I have never seen a time-synchronized showing of a shot from center field (or even left center where most of those cameras are) and a shot from overhead (or from back in the press box or wherever). (There can be a bit of a parallex problem with slanted views on close pitches.) Yes, there are some pitches that sure look like they never could ever have been in the strike zone along the path of the ball from the outfield camera, but many others do cross the zone sometime on their path. Recently there was a big todo about a pitch that was “clearly outside and low”–I forget the game but it was a third strike for the third out in the 9th. The film shown only showed that the catcher caught the ball nearly in the dirt and outside the strike zone. It also showed that not long at all before the catcher caught it, it did appear to cross the strike zone. I have no idea if that happened at 52 ft, 56 ft, or 60 ft. Cameras, plural, have to be synched and aligned straight in and straight down, height has to be adjusted for each batter and each batter’s at-bat (Carew for example often changed his stance from at-bat to at-bat) and that has to be done quite quickly. What I’m saying is two-fold–be somewhat skeptical of announcers declarations and technology is not a panacea nor easily implemented in a timely fashion. (As to the latter, what if a ball hits the camera? How long will it take to put everything in synch and alignment again? )

    One other thing on technology and strikezones–Yes, electronics are being used to help the umps–advisory role if you will–but not to call the pitch. One thing that’s come out of that is it didn’t look that umps weren’t missing the outside corner nearly as much as the low pitch. Umps have started calling more low strikes the last several years, and writers and fans have also lately been saying that the strikezone has gotten bigger. Nope, it hasn’t.

    And I’m one who grew up an NL fan–only games we could get–but now equally follows teams in both leagues and who doesn’t understand HoF voters who pan DHs who “only play half the game” but vote for relievers who only play 60 half innings a year. That does not compute.

    • mrcs58 says:

      I don’t know for sure, but I assume that the technology used to track the trajectory of the pitch, the speed and where it crosses the plane of the plate is similar to that of the Hawkeye system used in tennis, which we and all the players now accept as having millimetre accuracy.

      So it’s likely not tied to whatever you see via the TV cameras, just superimposed on it.

      • Richard says:

        Ah, but is the strike zone at the front of the plate or at the back of it? In the middle? Where the batter is standing? Is it his front knee, or back knee? What about his shoulders? What if he shifts position while the pitch is on the way? Do you track the center of the ball, or is any part of it sufficient?

    • jroth95 says:

      They’ve looked at it, and it’s pretty clear: computers/cameras are better for inside/outside calls, and umps are better for high/low. It’s not clear to me that technology will ever be able to get high/low perfect (as noted, height of the zone can vary pitch to pitch, let alone batter to batter), and until it’s perfect, I don’t see the point in swapping it.

      Which is to say, Bill James + Joe get at what I’ve thought for a year or two would be the perfect system: ump gets an instant (and it has to be instant; not sure if the tech is there quite yet) buzz from a device telling him if the pitch was over the plate, and then calls a strike if he thinks the pitch was between the knees and the letters*. No buzz, no strike. IMO it’s the inside/outside stuff that’s really agonizing, because the plate is static. But we know that height is variable (and also that vertical movement in pitches tends to be greater), and so it’s harder to say with certainty that a pitch was high or low (occasionally it’s totally blown, of course, but you don’t see a lot of pitches 6″ above the letters or below the knees called strikes; every day there are pitches 6″ off the plate called strikes).

      *roughly speaking

    • Marc Schneider says:

      Dave, that’s a great comment. Not one of the announcers seem to understand that they are seeing a distorted angle of the pitch. I hear fans groaning at games from up in the stands at pitches when there is no way they could possibly know if they were strikes or balls. The umpires certainly have different-and, in some cases, bizarre, strike zones but not everything is as obvious as it appears. And hitters, themselves, aside from their obvious self-interest, are not in any position to really know if a close pitch is a strike or ball.

  23. Apollo says:

    I grew up in rural Japan where the only games on TV were of the Central League Yomiuri Giants and high school baseball, both of which use NL rules. I knew the Pacific League used DHs, but it was a foreign concept.

    When I moved to the US as a teen, I learned more about the DH and and didn’t understand what made hitting for pitchers so special. Why not catchers too? Or how about all those awful middle infielders? There are some pitchers who hit better than them and it’s an advantage over teams that don’t have them.

    I think the poll needed to ask if the AL should get rid of the DH. I know money will never make it happen, of course. But if people are concerned about different rules, then adding the DH is not the only way to make things equal.

    Or maybe the AL can just go to batting any 9 guys on the roster to completely separate offense and defense and call themselves the football of baseball.

    • oilcan23 says:

      There are no pitchers who hit better than any middle infielders for more than 100 plate appearances or so. Strange things happens in small amounts of plate appearances. Derek Jeter once started out a season hitless in his first 30 or so.

      Here’s the pitchers who, since 2012, have had more than 100 plate appearances:,d

      Zack Greinke is the best of them with a batting average of .241, OBP of .294 and slugging .352 in 100 plate appearances. And here are the WORST hitting seasons by shortstops in that same time period:,a

      There is one pitcher — one — who hits about as well as the very worst middle infielders do. Please don’t suggest that there are any more than that.

    • Marc Schneider says:

      Apollo, that’s sort of a specious comment. Yes, there are SOME pitchers that are better hitters than SOME middle infielders, but VERY few. The reason for the DH is simple; the AL was having problems with attendance in the late sixties/early 70s and wanted to get more offense in the game. Pitchers AS A GROUP don’t hit much; in addition, it was thought that the DH would lengthen the careers of aging stars. But it’s not as if the DH had never been considered; people had brought it up back in the 40s.

      As for having offensive and defensive platoons, who the hell is talking about that. That’s just a straw man argument that no relationship to anything people are talking about. The reason for having a DH for pitchers is simple; pitchers, in general, far and away the worst hitters; in fact, most are not even approaching anything like being professional hitters. It’s not as if there were no awful hitting pitchers before the DH; they were still generally terrible hitters. As bad as a lot of middle infielders are/were, such as Mark Belanger, they are still better than the vast majority of pitchers and always have been.

      I don’t necessarily love the DH but many of the arguments against it border on the surreal.

  24. daniel says:

    My view on the steroid use is one I have not heard discussed. Yes some players used steroids but everyone in baseball either did know or should have known it was going on. If we are going to blame the players we also need to blame the owners, the coaches, the general mangers, the trainers, and possibly the sports casters. We should blame anyone who did not speak up. It was obvious, at least to me, that steroids were in wide use. I lost interest in baseball and only now am coming back to follow the game. About the hall of fame, I say let them in but always view their stats with a bit of suspicion. If you do not let the players in the hall, any managers or others from that era should not be in either. You can not just blame the players when it seemed to be an accepted practice.
    An interesting tidbit from the 70’s. I once talked to a reporter who covered the Royals in the 70’s. According to that person toward the end of the season it was obvious that a player was at the very least drunk on the field. According to the reporter they were not allowed to report it.

  25. KHAZAD says:

    My favorite part of this entire poll was the Bonds/Clemens question, in which only 16% said they should never be in the hall.

    If you read the comments after an article that brings up the steroid question, or even read articles at HOF time, you would think it was a vast majority who felt this way, and perhaps even a majority that wish to even keep others out who have not been implicated because, for whatever reason, they think they have done it, with no proof, or even a valid reason.

    It is just that the minority is angrier and louder which gives the illusion that there are more of them. It is kind of a microcosm of American politics and society, where the same principal applies on many issues.

    • Although I think you’re right that the anti-Bonds/Clemens crowd may be louder than it is large, I also think that there’s a HUGE selection bias involved conducting a poll on the question by using people who are not only Posnanski fans but fans who go the extra step of taking his quiz.

      • KHAZAD says:

        That is an interesting theory, but quite a few of the experiences that caused me to feel that there was a majority of people that wanted them never to be in the hall were on comment threads on this very site. It seems like discussion of the steroid era on this site brings angry commenters out in force, so they must be reading. Because of this, I certainly don’t think it should be assumed that people who read the site are somehow softer on steroids than anyone else.

  26. likedoohan says:

    The “purist” point of view on electronics for calling pitches seems to be that there is no roll for it. I would argue that, at its essence, baseball is a confrontation between a hitter and pitcher with a defined strike zone. Pitchers work the plate to fool the hitter into either taking a strike or swinging at a ball. If a hitter has great command of the strike zone and takes a pitch 2 inches off the plate, but the umpire is fooled, the hitter suffers. Alternately, if a pitcher works the outer edge of the plate, then comes to the inner edge of the plate, the umpire can be fooled into believing the pitch is inside. I would prefer to see the umpire’s subjectivity removed from the equation. The battle should be between the players.

  27. Tom I. says:

    Reducing pitching changes will shorten the length of games, and probably lead to an increase in scoring. What an easy, simple solution to many of baseball’s problems. It is when a manager switches pitchers multiple times in the same inning that the game artificially lengthens – pitching changes are at least 5+ minutes of downtime during the game.

    Maybe limit it to one switch per inning – I think that would lead to more strategy (less one batter and done pitchers) so a manager would have to take into account multiple hitters. Also, would likely lead to more scoring, if a pitcher struggles after being brought into the game.

  28. no one asked AL fans if they wanted a DH, either. we just got one, one off season….

  29. John Leavy says:

    I was one of the people who voted that Pete Rose should get his lousy plaque in the Hall of Fame but should never be allowed in baseball again.

    Joe had the gall and the dishonesty to count me and people like me as part of the huge majority that wants Pete back in the game. STOP, Joe! My vote in no way suggested that Pete should ever be allowed to work in baseball again. DOn’t you DARE interpret my vote as saying he should.

    Incidentally, the John Dowd quote you cite is not new. Dowd has said for many, many years that he’d love to sit down for a beer with Rose. He’d like to tell Rose “People are forgiving. Just admit what you did, show some remorse, get some help, and you’ll be back in baseball in a few years.” Dowd has said often that, if Pete had done that, he might well be managing the Reds today.

    Joe is disappointed that Pete didn’t do that. Personally, I’m DELIGHTED Pete was too stupid and arrogant to do so! Dowd is right- if Rose had shed a few crocodile tears and said “I’m sorry,” the stupid fans and the stupid writers and the stupid commissioners would have welcomed him back with open arms. I’m GLAD Pete shot himself in the foot.

    • the Dude says:

      how about reading comprehension

      This shows 72.5% of people think Rose should be allowed back in baseball or at least be made eligible for the Hall of Fame.

      He said OR and as you indicated you do support him getting his lousy plaque – so you are included in the huge majority that wants Pete back in the game OR at least in the hall of fame
      jeez relax eh

    • likedoohan says:

      You are so right. How DARE he conduct an informal poll for general amusement, then interpret the results without personally contacting every respondent to obtain the nuance of every vote. I mean, it’s not like this was done for entertainment purposes and does not purport to be scientific. it is horrifying that someone could participate in an anonymous internet survey and thinks his opinion is misrepresented. Understandable that you are so upset!

  30. stork says:

    Regarding the DH -my suggestion would be to drop it in both the Al and NL, but don’t let the pitcher bat either. Go with an 8 man batting order. Then drop about 15 games from the schedule to prevent outrageous AB records, and, as a side benefit, to prevent playing in snow.

  31. Devon says:

    I wish you’d asked our age range in the poll. It’d be very interesting to see if the “put the DH in the NL” people tended to be younger fans. I’m guessing they would be mostly fans that grew up with interleague play? I’m guessing the older the fan, the more traditional the view? Even when it comes to Rose & other stuff.

  32. Pat says:

    If I could change one thing about the game, I would get rid of interleague play. I’m kind of surprised that wasn’t one of the options.

  33. jalabar says:

    Oft times, what makes someone NOT a unanimous HoFer isn’t that certain people think that you aren’t worthy, but that they have others that are also worthy that were there first. Which begs the question:

    Do you organize your personal list of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ votes based on chronology or primacy? In other words, Bagwell is on your list of HoF-worthy people and Griffey becomes eligible. Assuming you consider Griffey more HoF-worthy than Bagwell, does he move ahead of Bagwell on your list, or does Bagwell stay ahead of Griffey based on having been on the eligible-list longer? If Tim Raines is your 10th, does he become your 11th? Or do you vote for Raines because both he and Griffey are obviously Hall-of-Fame caliber players (despite the continued ignorance of the voters, this is fact), and Raines was there first? It seems to me, if you agree that a player is a Hall of famer, other Hall of Famers becoming eligible shouldn’t change where the first player stands.

    If Tim Raines was my 10th last year, I’d have put off voting for RJohnson or PMartinez or JSchmoltz until Raines (or another on my list) got in. And thus, no unanimous.

    • Richard says:

      It’s also worth remembering that nowhere in the entire Hall of Fame is it recorded how you were selected. There’s absolutely nothing on the plaques that gives your percentage, how many times you were on the ballot before being chosen, or whether you had to wait for one of the Veteran’s Committees. Tom Seaver (highest percentage ever) is a Hall of Famer just as much as Ralph Kiner (by two votes in his last year of eligibility). It’s only the stat nerds (and this time, I *am* using the term derogatorily) who care about the numbers.

  34. Jim N says:

    I hate the low strike. If umps are calling it correctly (and I have read that they are), it needs to be changed. If you just adjusted the overall zone by moving it up two inches, it would be closer to what I remember it being in past decades. And the game would be better off.

  35. mrpinkfloyd71 says:

    To MLB: please, please, PLEASE do not make the wild card a 3-game series. The only thing worst than a long game is a long meaningless game.

  36. B.g. Levy says:

    What ‘s the throwaway comment about global warming in a sports column? So you have to flex some kind of liberal bonafides to be in the media?

    • BobDD says:

      Will global warming make the abominable snowman melt?

    • Evan says:

      Nope, Joe didn’t politicize anything. There’s a misperception that climate change is a “liberal” point of view. It’s not. It’s a consensus point of view. The only political point of view in the discussion is climate change denial, which is decidedly conservative.

      • John says:

        No offense, Evan, but this is idiotic. “Climate change” is of course happening. It has been happening basically since the beginning of the earth’s existence. The question is how much or how little human beings have to do with it when compared to say, the sun (of course, the reason it’s called “climate change” now is that the world, um, stopped warming, so the term “global warming” became inoperative). Also, to what degree should we hamper our own economy to deal with it? The answers to those questions are debatable (no, there’s no “consensus view”–you really should broaden your horizons on what you read), but you’re being extraordinarily disingenuous in the way you’re framing the issue. Regardless, the throwaway line did feel out of place.

  37. Chip Lee says:

    Joe, to your point about Rose’s time served, Joe Jackson is in about year 95 of being a pariah for being “dumb” so I have no sympathy for the arrogant self-serving Pete Rose. Put Joe in the HoF

  38. aaronshalom says:

    I think that the DH analysis is missing something. What were the responses of AL fans when it was introduced in the early 1970’s? Before then, there was only one set of rules and suddenly half of the teams were playing by a new set. Did those fans, AL fans, instantly love the new approach or did they gradually come to get used to it and then through in some league-based chauvinism to insist that it is a better product? And how do you know that the same thing will not happen to NL fans if the league (not some AL lugheads, but the commissioner of baseball) makes that change? I can see NL fans actually appreciating the fact that rallies are no longer killed by the pitcher coming up and deciding that it is a worthwhile tradeoff for the once-a-week double-switch.

  39. Chad says:

    My take on Bonds and Clemens is somewhat similar to that of Giamatti when it came to Rose: If they would just admit that they took steroids, and quit the grandstanding, I’d be much more apt to welcome them to the Hall of Fame. Both were almost certainly Hall of Famers before they took their first PED. I’d like them to own up to it and admit their shortcomings.

  40. MikeN says:

    Should Tom Brady be kept out of the Hall of Fame?

  41. Geri Monsen says:

    Sorry, I still disagree with your defense of the question on Unanimous Hall of Famers. All four of the choices had enough questions that I don’t think any of them deserve it, and I can see legitimate reasons why someone would not vote for them. However, I do think that some players are so no doubt about it deserving of the Hall of Fame that anyone not voting for them should have their voting privileges and maybe press cards revoked. For example, most recently, Greg Maddux. In the end, I chose “no one should be voted in unanimously,” because I couldn’t pick any of the four choices given as being in the unanimous category.

  42. […] to Ben’s pitcher hitting article Link to Joe Posnanski’s DH article Link to Jeff’s Pablo Sandoval article Link to Troy Carter’s Vroom Vroom Guy chronicles […]

  43. […] to Ben’s pitcher hitting articleLink to Joe Posnanski’s DH articleLink to Jeff’s Pablo Sandoval articleLink to Troy Carter’s Vroom Vroom Guy chroniclesLink to […]

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