Retro Relapse: The MLB to 7 Innings Idea

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

Recently, an unnamed high-ranking baseball executive discussed trimming MLB games down to 7 innings (story here). Homeboy is probably unnamed because he doesn’t want millions of boots up his idiotic ass.

It seems that this executive feels that limiting games to 7 innings would enhance the sport. He pointed out that MLB’s audience is aging and that younger people want shit faster and faster.

Well, fuck that argument. The executive is assuming that baseball is boring and slow. It is a common argument usually broadcasted by baseball naysayers because they have the attention span of mallards in heat. The fact of the matter is, there are other ways to speed up the game, as opposed to shaving off two innings. Additionally, if kids today don’t care about baseball because the pace is a bit more relaxed than basketball or football, it just means that their parents failed them. These kids should have had certain things instilled in them like the fact that baseball is the greatest thing America has ever produced.

He also talks about how teams are having a hard time finding good pitching and that pitchers are getting injured more frequently. Okay, well how is a 9 inning game to blame? Major League Baseball has always consisted of games that went 9 innings (or more in the case of a tie after 9). The problem here is obviously something else other than the game being 9 innings. That’s like saying, more car accidents are occurring so it must be this 70 MPH speed limit, even though it has always been a 70 MPH speed limit. Yeah, ignore all other factors and single out the one thing that has always been a constant. Additionally, haven’t they already altered the game, on numerous occasions, to benefit the hitters? So bad pitching means better batting. I guess logic and consistency are in short supply.

With two less innings, games would finish at around two and a half hours as opposed to three hours. This executive is high up on that idea. Personally, I think this guy is stupid as hell. Maybe I’m a true baseball purist because I want three hour baseball! Hell, I get really fucking excited when games go to extra innings. Granted, 17 innings are probably way too many but extra baseball means more bang for your buck! Why would you want less? And why even watch baseball at all if you want short ass games? Just watch highlights like a fucking tool.

However, apart from all of that, what would this do to the history of the game? Every record from this day forward would have an asterisk because to compare records over 7 innings against records over 9 innings just won’t work. It’s as if you would have to close the book on baseball history and start the record books over from scratch.

For instance, it’d be much easier for pitchers to pitch no hitters, as there are less innings. It’d be easier for batters to maintain higher batting averages, as they’d be taking less at bats. This would also effect on-base percentages. Additionally, it’d lower the amounts of strikeouts a pitcher could get. It’d also lower the amount of homeruns a player could get over the season considering games are now 7 innings instead of 9, which for a whole season of 162 games adds up to 1,134 innings instead of the current 1,458. The same issue arises for stolen bases, hits, RBIs and everything else you could think of, really. Furthermore, it’d be damn near impossible for anyone to ever beat Barry Bonds homerun record of 762. Same goes for all-time records in hits, strikeouts, stolen bases, RBIs, innings pitched and so on. This is why we couldn’t compare new stats and records to old stats and records.

Being a traditionalist for the most traditional sport, the thought of this 7 inning idea is beyond baffling. Truthfully, this idea is fucking madness. Fortunately, this most likely will never happen. It is a horrible proposal but that doesn’t mean that this idiot exec couldn’t convince other idiot execs and thus, gain some traction with this insane weirdness. Still, I doubt enough people would be this crazy but at the same time, enough people had to think that the DH rule was a good idea.

Retro Relapse: The DH Rule Is for Pussies

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

You read the title right.

Yes, the designated hitter rule is for pussies. Maybe I am biased as my team, the Chicago Cubs, is in the National League and maybe I am cool with my pitchers hitting, as they have no problem knocking home runs and at the very least, getting base hits and RBIs. Travis Wood, one of our starting pitchers currently has a batting average of .240 and in 25 at-bats has 2 home runs and 8 RBIs. I’ll take it!

Regardless of Travis Wood’s success in the batter’s box, I have always felt this way about the DH rule.

Over there in the American League, teams are too scared to have their pitchers bat because typically, pitchers are shitty batters. That’s a bullshit cop out! Do the pitchers in the AL make half the money since they only play half the time? No, they get paid full top dollar while on the flipside their team has to waste a roster spot on a player who sucks defensively but justifies having his job because he can hit. The AL is where veteran sluggers go to die. That may be harsh but it’s true.

There are several players in the American League that are making a career out of being good in the DH role. The biggest one right now is the Boston Red Sox’s Tito Ortiz a.k.a. Big Papi. Don’t get me wrong, I love that guy and he is a great presence not just on the field and in the dugout but also as an ambassador of the sport. However, he wouldn’t have a career anymore if he was in the National League. Why? Because he isn’t a very effective defensive player on the field. At one point he was better than decent but old age has caught up to Big Papi. Luckily for him, he can still swing like a beast and knock home runs in the clutch.

Yes, in a clutch situation, a very good hitting DH is exciting. Ortiz knocking balls out of the park during the playoffs and World Series last year was a pretty awesome display of his hitting prowess. But should a one trick pony be put on a pedestal and celebrated at the most elite level of the greatest sport in the world? I’m sorry but I think that a player in Major League Baseball should be great on both sides of the field. The DH rule keeps guys around longer than they should be.

Does this mean that I think pitchers should be criticized for not being able to hit just as much as I am criticizing designated hitters for not being able to play effectively in position roles? Yes and no. While I think that pitchers should strive to be better hitters and be as effective as possible in the batter’s box, I also realize that pitching is their priority and having an ace on the mound and a stud in the bullpen is more important than having a better-than-average guy reach first base. But yes, pitchers should make a serious effort at becoming better batters when time allows for it and they shouldn’t go up to bat and not take it seriously. The one thing I love about the Cubs pitchers is that they can produce and there has been more than one occasion where a pitcher at bat has been the offensive catalyst that produced a Cubs win.

Additionally, what’s more exciting? A DH getting hits like they’re routine or a pitcher, expected to flounder, hitting a two run homer for the lead late in a game? I’m going with the latter.

The DH is a bitch rule. It is like a fucking cheat code. It reminds me of when I used to play my cousin in Triple Play ’99 on Playstation 1, back in the day, and I used to put in the home run cheat code allowing myself to bunt homers – just to be a dick. He hated it and I don’t blame him. But how he felt is how I feel when an American League team forgoes a hitting strategy when coming to the lowest point in their batting lineup because they can just pull out their big gun.

I like the challenge and the competition and the DH rule eliminates some of the challenge and strategic planning. Sure, one can argue that when the NL plays the AL, it is an even playing field because if the AL team is at home, the NL team can use a DH but that misses the point. You see, the National League didn’t need a designated hitter until it had to play the American League. The NL shouldn’t have to lower itself but if you’re forced to play tee-ball teams, you have to play as a tee-ball team.

Vids I Dig 432: The 6:05 Superpodcast: Opening Day Star Wars 2020

Taken from Arcadian Vanguard’s YouTube description: It’s Opening Day of the 2020 baseball season, normally a day of optimism and hope, but this year a day that is totally bizarre, so that means it’s time for another 6:05 Superpodcast Star Wars special!

Retro Relapse: Baseball Needs to Grow the Fuck Up

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2016.

Warning: I’d call this a rant.

Baseball is the greatest thing in the world. It is more than a game. It is tradition, it is history, it is Americana at its most pure and it is what nearly every boy wanted to do before the NFL wrestled the ownership of Sundays away from Jesus.

The problem with this old sport is that it is a very large part of America’s unique history. While that isn’t bad in and of itself, it is ruined by those who must keep certain traditions alive despite the always changing and expanding world. Every other sport adapts with the times, sometimes a bit late, but they all adapt. Baseball has a really hard time with this and it is what is killing the game.

No one really gives a shit whether or not NFL quarterback Peyton Manning took HGH except for a few sports writers trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill and grind an ax. However, if a baseball player is even mentioned around steroids, the witch-hunt begins and the stake is already burning. Peyton Manning, after his recent Superbowl win is an American hero but Alex Rodriguez is still an unwelcome demon spawn. But I already talked about the PED issue. I’m just bringing it up because it is part of the bigger picture I am discussing in this piece. I also already talked about umpires being pussies and players as well. But all of this is relevant to my point.

Everyone in baseball is a fucking pussy. And not just those in baseball but those around it and the millions that watch it. Okay, not everyone but certainly most people.

This is why I am glad that a young player, Bryce Harper, is being pretty vocal about the sport having to adapt to the times. Last season, he put sensitive umpires on blast. Most recently, he’s been talking about players needing to man up and get over other players celebrating or showing excitement when they do something great on the field. He’s right. Despite other players telling him to shut the fuck up, he’s goddamn right.

Personally, I’m tired of professional athletes complaining about bat flips, victory dances and displays of emotion. The players claim that it is disrespectful to the player on the losing end. Jesus fucking Christ, man the fuck up and grow a set of fucking balls, pussies!

If a player is tired of a showboat, become a better player. If they can’t become a better player and beat their celebrating rival, they should learn how to grow thicker skin and deal with it. It’s childish bullshit. What’s next, participation trophies for all the professional athletes every year?

And really, did none of these players ever play ball as kids? Kids are brutal as hell and talk more shit and celebrate more than any professional athlete.

I sucked at baseball, even though I loved it. I got called all kinds of names. Yeah, it pissed me off and it made me want to knock the next pitch out of the park but I got over it and always came back the next day. And I was in middle school, certainly much younger than these crybabies. I also wasn’t making millions to play the game. I played it because despite the name calling, it was still fun.

Usually a player that celebrates too much is beaned with a baseball. There are other forms of retaliation but regardless, retaliation is a bitch move in that situation.

Sure, I get the old code. I understand that when one of your players gets beaned, you bean one of theirs: eye for an eye and all that jazz. It’s one thing if a bean is intentional, it’s an entirely different thing if it is an accidental wild pitch – that shit happens. But to bean a guy for celebrating a game-clinching multi-run homer, shows that the team on the losing end is a bunch of temper tantrum toddlers. Boo fucking hoo, you lost! Well, it’s a competition, someone has to lose.

The NFL penalizes football teams for a player showboating. I don’t agree with it but they’re pussies too. But no one is as big of a pussy about it as MLB players. And the fans are even bigger pussies than that. But luckily fans aren’t in the game to bean chronic offenders in the head.

The problem with baseball is that everyone, from top to bottom, is just a sensitive bitch. To see grown ass men act like pissed off toddlers in a sandbox rumble is deplorable. And if you call them out on it, they reference “the code” or talk about the “culture” of the game that us outsiders will never understand.

Well, if I go to a rival company and throw a ball at the head of an employee, I can’t turn to the media and talk about “the code” and the “culture” of the industry I work in. I’d be laughed at and probably be called “a baby” or a “psycho”. I’d also be in jail.

For guys that have a job that makes them a public figure, they can’t handle the scrutiny that comes along with their stupid childish behavior. But again, they’re fucking pussies.

The game needs to adapt in a lot of ways. It needs to change and grow up. The biggest change needs to come with the behavior and the ego of these prima donnas.

Baseball also needs to get over its shit with Pete Rose and deal with PEDs in a better fashion. But if you don’t see things through the MLB’s antique pair of glasses, you don’t know about the game and the tradition and the blah, blah, blegh!

There are a lot of old men in the baseball world that just need to die off. The sport may be be doing well enough but it can never be America’s pastime again if it doesn’t grow and change with America. Compared to baseball, I think football mostly sucks but that certainly isn’t majority opinion. It also won’t be majority opinion until baseball can kill off the zombies roaming around the grounds. They’re slow, they smell and they won’t stop until everything else is a wobbly mass of decaying shit and all the brains are devoured.

I just hope more young players are influenced by Bryce Harper. I hope more players become vocal if they share the same sentiment. I want to see the sport survive. Fuck that, I want to see it thrive. I want it to thrive like it did in the old days when it was the coolest thing in America.

In 1943, a team of women were told, “There’s no crying in baseball!” In 2016, a league of men don’t do much but cry.

Retro Relapse: Pete Rose: A God Amongst Old Men

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

Pete Rose is one of the greatest players to ever play the game of baseball. He is the all-time hits leader with 4,256, as well as games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053) and singles (3,215). He also has 1,314 RBIs and a career batting average of .303 over 23 seasons in the majors. Then there are also his three World Series rings with the infamous “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati team of the 1970s. He also has three batting titles, one MVP, two Gold Gloves, was the Rookie of the Year and also made 17 All-Star appearances playing five different positions (2B, LF, RF, 3B, and 1B).

The word “legend” is almost too small for Pete Rose.

The problem is that he’s banned from the sport of baseball because he bet on games during his time as a player and a manager with the Reds. Due to being banned, he cannot go into the Hall of Fame and cannot participate in any Major League Baseball activities. He’s been exiled from the sport for decades and the league has been pretty adamant about their decision.

Rose’s situation has been pretty controversial since this all went down in 1989.

Back then, he was questioned by MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Rose denied the allegations and it was dropped. Ueberroth’s successor, Bart Giamatti decided that the matter needed to be investigated further. As the facts came out, Rose continued to deny the allegations. Eventually, it was proven that he had gambled but he still refused to admit to the crime. Although in August of 1989, he voluntarily accepted a permanent place on the MLB’s ineligible list because he really didn’t have much of a choice.

For some time, the debate as to whether or not he ever bet for or against the Reds went unresolved. In the end, it was discovered that he did but it wasn’t until years later that he finally admitted to it. Long-standing MLB commissioner Bud Selig often times entertained the possibility of Rose’s reinstatement but nothing ever happened during his tenure.

Now, with a new commissioner in power, Pete Rose has applied for reinstatement.

Will he get reinstated? I doubt it. And frankly, that is a shame.

What Pete Rose did was wrong, as it went against the rules of the game. Regardless of that, there probably aren’t many players in the entire history of the sport who haven’t broken a few rules. That’s not to excuse what he did but to bring to light the harshness of the punishment and ridicule he has had to endure for decades.

Worst-case scenario, Rose directly had a negative impact on the integrity of baseball – something the purists and old school nerds hold as ultimately sacred. However, there has never been any proof that Rose deliberately sabotaged games as a player or manager in an effort to make personal profit. People can speculate on that and they have for years but Pete Rose lives in a land of innocent until proven guilty and correlation isn’t causation.

How many baseball players have gambled throughout history? That’s impossible to answer but one doesn’t have to go far to make a comparison.

Babe Ruth, considered to be the greatest baseball player of all-time by most, gambled a lot. Did he bet on baseball? And furthermore, did he bet for or against his team? No one knows for sure. But considering his questionable moral character, it does raise speculation. But as I said before, correlation isn’t causation. And the difference here, is that Rose got caught: Ruth didn’t. Or at least, people were willing to turn a blind eye to Ruth’s antics in his day. The same way they turned a blind eye to racism, drinking on the job and douchebags like Ty Cobb who would maim opposing players deliberately.

Looking at the Hall of Fame, I already wrote extensively about the lack of character many of its inductees have displayed in my monster article about PEDs (see here). I’m not going to rehash all of that but feel free to read it. The point is that there are many players who are honored and held in high regard but their highly questionable antics are worse than Pete Rose having an addiction to gambling. If anything, Rose needed help.

I get it though, it is about the integrity. But it is hard to preach integrity when most of those doing the preaching are guilty of something.

New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, when asked about Rose’s recent request to be reinstated, said, “I think the gambling rule is so fundamental to the integrity of the game that it should always stay where it is.” He also said that PED offenses were treated too harshly and that gambling was a bigger offense (article here). Manfred sounds like he’s a member of the old guard and not very progressive in regards to the changing times and evolution of the sport and the world in general. Somewhat hypocritically, when asked about the MLB’s partnership with DraftKings.com, a sports gambling site, Manfred said that fantasy sports are not the same as gambling, even if there is money involved. Yeah, okay, bro.

So why is this so important now?

Well, as stated earlier, Rose requested his reinstatement once again. Considering that there is a new commissioner of baseball, it is now the decision of that new head honcho. Additionally, this year’s All-Star Game is being hosted by the Cincinnati Reds. So what better venue and place is there to finally bring Pete Rose back into the Major League Baseball fold? And think about the press and attention it would bring to that event. People may actually take baseball a bit more seriously and respect how the sport is ran if Rob Manfred can show that it isn’t some archaic bureaucratic shit show anymore.

But more importantly than all of that, Pete Rose deserves recognition. He deserves to stand among his peers, many of whom he is better than. Considering his crime in comparison to the crimes of many of his peers, he has served his time and his debt to the sport has been paid ten fold.

If the answer is “no”, then Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball are just being uptight jackasses. And ultimately, they are denying fans what they want, denying Pete Rose what he deserves and proving that they are cherry-picking hypocrites.

Documentary Review: Jack of All Trades (2018)

Release Date: March 3rd, 2018 (Cinequest Festival)
Directed by: Harvey Glazer, Stuart Stone
Written by: Stuart Stone
Music by: John Stuart Newman, Jamie Rise, Stuart Stone
Cast: Stuart Stone, Harvey Glazer, Adam Rodness, Jose Canseco, Karie Stone

5’7 Films, R2-G2, 85 Minutes

Review:

I have loved collecting since I was a little kid in the ’80s buying up sports cards, comics and all sorts of other things. So this documentary about the baseball card hobby was something I wanted to check out.

This is more than that though, as it follows a guy whose love of baseball collecting came from his father. As the story picks up, it has been over twenty-five years since the guy’s father walked out on his family.

Initially, this is about examining the once massive baseball card industry and how all the cards ’80s and ’90s kids saved are pretty much worthless. But by the end, it is about a guy confronting his father and trying to find peace.

Overall, this is a good, engaging documentary. It really delves into baseball card collecting and also has some interviews with people from Topps and Upper Deck, as well as Jose Canseco and a guy with more baseball cards than anyone else in existence.

However, the very human story between the son and his father takes over. But that’s actually what is unique and cool about this film.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other documentaries about collecting, hobbies or nerdom.

Retro Relapse: Let’s Talk About PEDs and Character

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

*Be forewarned, this is going to be a long one. So grab a bottle of Lagavulin and a couple porterhouses. This is something I’ve wanted to write for a long time but put off because I knew it would be massive.

1. Introduction:

I’ve never been one to shy away from controversy. Hell, I wrote a highly successful blog for several years about politics and economics where I shared views that pissed off both sides of the spectrum. I’m not a stranger to speaking my mind, even if it challenges the system in power and the indoctrinated bullshit that warps the masses’ minds: detaching them from logic and reason. That being said, I am sure that this will probably be the most polarizing thing that I’ve published on this website.

To start, I am talking about the use of PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) in baseball. My feelings and opinions carry over into other sports too but this is focused specifically on baseball, as it is the sport where the use of PEDs is the most demonized.

In fact, even if a player’s name is simply mentioned in the same sentence as PEDs or steroids, regardless of proof or evidence, that player is stuck with a very negative stigma for the rest of their life. In many cases, they are looked at like they’re Satan and regardless of whether there was proof to any accusations, the chances are pretty high that they will never get enough votes to get into the Hall of Fame. The reason given, by the sports writers who are the ones who vote on the Hall of Fame, is that these players have no integrity, character or morals and they are cheaters. And again, it doesn’t seem to matter if anything was even proven. Innocent until proven guilty? Not in baseball.

But why are PEDs the ultimate evil in baseball? Why are the athletes who have taken them or just been accused of taking them treated like they are Nazi war criminals?

2. Who Votes and the Process:

Well, the BBWAA (the Baseball Writers’ Association of America) along with the Veterans Committee are the groups that vote on the players who get put into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It is a complicated and confusing process like many things related to baseball but ultimately, the power of who gets into Cooperstown is held by the elite baseball writers. In case you didn’t know, Cooperstown is often used as the nickname of the Hall of Fame, as it the location of the Hall itself (in New York state) and it is where baseball is said to have begun.

As stated above, the writers have a lot of reasons for not voting these players in. Usually they cite cheating and lack of character. The reason they cite these things, is that they can, as there is a clause in the voting guidelines that states that “character” is one of the many factors to consider when voting a player into the Hall of Fame. I get where that is important but the fact of the matter is, what one considers to be “character” is subjective and if you are going to treat the use of PEDs as the ultimate evil and a complete destruction of one’s character, then you had better find a way to justify why some other really shitty people have made it into Cooperstown.

3. Contents of Character:

3A. Bigotry:

To start, let’s talk about Cap Anson, who was considered at one point to be the greatest first baseman of all-time. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in its first year in 1939. He is a legend and was a god to many. Looking at what he did for the game, while on the field, is worthy of the Hall. But what about his character?

Well, Anson was a racist piece of shit. He refused to take the field against black players in exhibition games in the 1880s. He even went as far as to use his star power and influence to strengthen the color barrier that existed in baseball until 1947. Sure, you could be an asshole and say something like, “Well, those were the times.” Well, fuck that, I could point to the ’90s and in regards to steroids say, “Well, those were the times.” It is a weak bullshit argument and anyone with a bit of sense knows that. Yeah, slavery was just “the times” too.

Speaking of racist pieces of shit, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis had a cool name but he was also a bigoted shithead. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1944. He is also the man who wrote the Hall’s clause about “character”. Kind of hypocritical as his character is polluted by the fact that he was another man instrumental in upholding the color barrier. What power did he have? Well, he was just the first Commissioner of Baseball from 1920-1944.

Another Hall of Famer, former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey (inducted in 1980), was the last team owner to integrate. He didn’t do so until 1959, 12 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. Yawkey passed on signing Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays even though his scouts overwhelmingly urged him to. He also hired managers Pinky Higgins and Joe Cronin, both of whom were known for being overtly racist.

To you Yankees fans sneering at your rival Red Sox and their lack of integration, you may want to hold back on your criticisms. Hall of Fame (inducted in 1971) and beloved general manager George Weiss also held off on integration for a long time. He didn’t integrate until 1955, being the 13th out of the 16 MLB teams to do so. In fact, in 1952, Weiss said that he would never allow a black man to wear a Yankees uniform. He went on to say, “We don’t want that sort of crowd. It would offend boxholders from Westchester to have to sit with niggers.”

Legends Tris Speaker (inducted in 1937) and Rogers Hornsby (inducted in 1942) were both card carrying members of the Ku Klux Klan. Speaking of the KKK, one of the greatest players of all-time, Ty Cobb (inducted in 1936), was also alleged to have been a member. Now alleged doesn’t mean that he was but since the PED witch-hunt doesn’t seem to understand the difference between alleged and proof, lets just say he was because that’s fair, right?

That’s not the only thing that makes Ty Cobb a giant piece of shit though. Out of the things we can prove, there was that time that he climbed up into the stands to assault a heckler that just so happened to be handicapped. Then there were multiple times where he deliberately drove his shoe’s spikes into the shins and knees of opposing players while sliding into base. I guess maiming your opponent is a good example of “character” and not “cheating”.

Smithsonian Magazine once pointed out that “Violent confrontations were a recurring theme in Cobb’s life,” and “stories of Cobb’s racial intolerance were well-documented.” Man, he sounds like a swell guy with impeccable character!

3B. Drunkards and Prohibition:

Let me stop using racism as an example, as I think I’ve beat that point pretty hard here. Let’s look at the guy who many, if not most, consider to be the greatest baseball player in history, Babe Ruth. Now sure, I may get some shit for tarnishing the Babe’s legacy but all I am doing here is pointing out the facts. Facts that were well known about the guy when he was inducted in 1936.

Babe Ruth was an alcoholic, overeating, womanizing machine. He also had a shitty attitude most of the time and was so high on his own ego that he had no idea how to treat those in his life. He cheated on his first wife, repeatedly. He left her for one of his mistresses. He probably cheated on her. Hell, he probably cheated on those he was cheating with. He was a big alpha dog and he had to do what big alpha dogs do.

He also drank himself into a stupor repeatedly and was often times shit-hammered when he was on the field. Could you imagine the uproar if a player constantly showed up drunk for games in today’s world? He wouldn’t be allowed to play, let alone have the opportunity to even attempt to have a Hall of Fame worthy career. How many times did Ruth put himself and others at risk in a game, just because he liked to play three sheets to the wind?

Also, look at the era when Babe Ruth was doing this. It was during Prohibition, when alcohol was outlawed. Just as PEDs and steroids are outlawed now, alcohol was a big no-no in that time. The thing is, everyone knew Ruth was a drunkard but no one cared. The sports writers may have criticized it here and there but ultimately his legacy on the field is what was most remembered.

Then there were Hall of Famers Hack Wilson (inducted in 1979) and Grover Cleveland Alexander (inducted in 1938) who were both known drunkards. Wilson broke the law during Prohibition and even passed out on the field and in the dugout during games. Alexander was believed to have been inebriated when he closed out Game 7 of the 1926 World Series. Being a big drinker myself, I lift my glass to that. Being a responsible adult and a lifelong baseball fan, I shake my head and again, like with Ruth, think about how horrible that would go over in today’s world and how both guys would be out of the MLB and forced into substance abuse programs. And with it being the Prohibition Era in both cases and Ruth’s, it puts their “character” violations on par with the PED users of the last two decades.

3C. Drugs:

Moving on past alcohol, let’s look at other drug issues in relation to Hall of Famers.

There was Dennis Eckersley (inducted in 2004), who battled alcoholism and was identified by a convicted drug dealer as a regular customer of his that bought cocaine. Of course, a blind eye was turned, he was inducted into Cooperstown and has been a baseball analyst for quite some time.

Brewers great Paul Molitor (also inducted in 2004) was known to be a cocaine and marijuana user early on in his career. He was also big on the party scene and at one point, got so coked up that police were called out to his home to see if he was even alive. Pretty hypocritically, Molitor opposes Alex Rodriguez being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I guess cocaine is okay but PEDs are the devil.

One of my favorite pitchers of all-time, Ferguson Jenkins (inducted in 1991), a Chicago Cubs great, was arrested in 1980 for 3.0 grams of cocaine, 2.2 grams of hashish and 1.75 grams of marijuana found in his suitcase by customs agents. Jenkins was immediately suspended but that suspension only lasted two weeks. He was not punished further by the MLB and he went into Cooperstown, although it is believed that the drug issue delayed his induction. Regardless, he still made it.

In 1976, Orlando Cepeda (inducted in 1999) was arrested for drug smuggling. He attempted to bring 150 lbs. of marijuana into Puerto Rico. His punishment was ten months in a Florida prison. However, he was also arrested a second time for allegedly pulling a gun on a man. Once he got out of prison, he was instructed not to return to Puerto Rico, as the mafia would kill him.

Before moving on from drugs, let me just throw out some names of Hall of Famers who illegally used amphetamines at some point during their careers: Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and several others. Are we prepared to kick these legends out to make an example to the PED and steroid users out there?

3D. Cheaters:

Other than substance abuse issues, there were also cheaters who made the Hall of Fame. Why is this important? Well because most of the people with the voting power consider PEDs and steroids to be cheating. Well, let’s look at some cheaters who made it to Cooperstown.

First there is Gaylord Perry (inducted in 1991) who confessed to cheating. In his autobiography Me and the Splitter, he admitted to using saliva, sweat, mud, Vaseline and KY jelly to doctor the baseballs that he pitched. Did he really earn those two Cy Young Awards and five All-Star appearances? Did he cheat his way to that no hitter? We may never know for sure.

Then there was pitcher Don Sutton (inducted in 1998) who was often times called “Black and Decker” because he was infamous for defacing baseballs with sandpaper and other objects. He’s gone on to making a nice broadcasting career for himself after his baseball career that saw him become a four-time All-Star and an All-Star MVP.

Whitey Ford (inducted in 1974), regarded by many as one of the best pitchers of all-time, defaced baseballs by using his wedding ring. He also planted mud pies on the mound that he used to alter the ball. He was also known to use something he called “gunk”, which was said to be a mixture of baby oil, turpentine and resin. Ten All-Star games, six World Series championships, a World Series MVP, a Cy Young Award and a retired number later, no one seems to care about this guy’s penchant for winning by any means necessary – even if that means to win by cheating.

Then there is famous and beloved manager Leo Durocher (inducted in 1994). He managed the 1951 Giants who pulled off an amazing comeback at the end of the season. How did they do it? They mastered the art of sign-stealing. It wasn’t just any sort of sign-stealing though. You see, they developed a pretty elaborate system of illegal sign-stealing. What made it illegal? The tactics used in accordance to what baseball deems as okay and not okay. There is a thin line there but regardless of how you feel about sign-stealing and how far one can go with it, by most of those with the power of the pen, what Durocher and the 1951 Giants did was cheating. Cheating for him and legend Willie Mays, in this case, was good enough to get both of them into Cooperstown without mountains of disdain.

3E. General Pieces of Crap:

Other than racists, drunks, drug users and cheaters, there are also Hall of Famers who are just pieces of crap as people. The two that stick out the most in modern times are Roberto Alomar (inducted in 2011) and the late Kirby Puckett (inducted in 2001).

Roberto Alomar was accused of domestic violence by his wife, Puerto Rican model Maripily Rivera. She alleged that she was the victim of spousal assault three times. She told the tale of Alomar threatening her and pulling a knife on her. She also claimed that Alomar gave her HIV, as did a former ex-girlfriend. All of this was out in the open before Alomar was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Now while none of it was proven, in regards to PEDs, proof doesn’t really matter.

The late Kirby Puckett, who died in 2006 from a stroke, was deemed a model citizen for the majority of his career and won the Branch Rickey Award in 1993 for his lifetime of community service work. However, even seemingly good people have flaws.

After his retirement, a lot of strange things came to the forefront. To start, Puckett was accused of multiple incidents of violence against women. In 2002, a woman alleged that his wife threatened to kill her over an affair she had had with Puckett. That same month, another woman claimed that Puckett had shoved her around in her condominium on multiple occasions during their 18 year secret relationship. A few months later, Puckett was accused of groping a woman in restaurant bathroom. He was charged with false imprisonment, fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, and fifth-degree assault. He was found not guilty of all accounts but had to relinquish his role as Minnesota Twins executive vice president. Additionally, Puckett’s wife told Sports Illustrated that he held a gun to her head and once tried to strangle her with an electrical cord. Dude sounds like a real fucking winner and Hall of Fame worthy in that character department.

4. The Hypocrisy:

Not all of these players that I’ve discussed have been voted in by the BBWAA and not all of the character flaws I’ve described were public knowledge at the time of their induction. However, does that mean that they should stay?

If a big part of what makes a player Hall of Fame worthy is “character”, should not all of these names come under serious scrutiny? Should there not be a system in place that allows those with the power of voting to go back and examine a Hall of Famer’s character and their inclusion in Cooperstown if some big character flaw comes to light after the fact? Because what are the rules telling us now? That you can be a big shithead and as long as you get away with it before the voting process or you are lucky enough for them to turn a bling eye, you’re considered an okay person worthy of universal admiration? It’s bullshit.

You can’t hold the players of this era to a standard that was never upheld before steroids and PEDs came into the mix. You can’t all of a sudden go “yeah okay, this issue right here, this is the big one, this is totally evil” when you’ve turned a blind eye to every major character flaw some legend before this issue committed. I mean, how much of a piece of garbage was Ty Cobb? Yet you’re going to shit on Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire because they “cheated” and have questionable “character”?

The biggest hypocrisy of all, is it is these baseball writers that stir the fucking pot and get the people fired up over this issue. They’re the ones serving the hate-flavored Kool-Aid and hammering this anger into the minds of Americans too daft to put down the newspaper or turn off the Internet, television and radio. And why is this the biggest hypocrisy?

Well because when this shit was really going on, steroids and PEDs I mean, many of these reporters and sportswriters were aware but said nothing. These passionate and boisterous voices who want to burn Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun at the stake, were exposed to the truth before the truth came out into the light. Now I am not accusing all sportswriters, as most probably didn’t know but there are many who did and said nothing about it. Why are they so passionate now? Well because that’s the trend and if they yell and point the finger, they absolve themselves of the guilt and the blame. Besides, most of them don’t have the balls to say what’s real. It’s easier to join the crowd and follow the trend, as opposed to going against it and being honest.

At least Buster Olney took some responsibility for what he felt was his part in it. In a 2006 New York Times op-ed piece, he wrote:

I could have done a better job of reporting how people in baseball thought the game was being changed by performance-enhancing drugs . . . I had a role in baseball’s institutional failure during what will be forever known as the Steroid Era. But I was only part of the problem, because just about everyone in baseball is to blame.

These arguments about “cheating” and “advantages” can’t be taken seriously unless both sides realize that people in baseball always cheat and each generation has an advantage over the previous one.

I’ve written in previous posts about the secret code and hidden language within baseball. Everyone in some way cheats, the thing is, there are ways to cheat and ways not to cheat but it has always been a sport where cheating is at the forefront. And that’s any sport really. Every time a manager comes out to bitch about a bad call that he knows was a good call, that is a form of cheating. Every time a pitcher sneaks some substance onto a ball, that is cheating. Every time a player knows he was out but argues with the umpire that he was safe, that’s cheating. You take what you can get and that is all a part of the game. To bitch about cheating as some ultimate evil, means that you have to demonize just about everything in baseball. These people cry about the integrity and the soul of the sport but apparently have no idea what that is.

As far as PEDs and steroids giving these modern players advantages, let’s talk about that.

5. Now and the Future:

Do PEDs and steroids give the players an advantage? Signs certainly point to yes.

However, playing in the modern era in general is advantageous over playing in previous eras. Why? Modern medicine, other supplements that aren’t illegal and general knowledge on health, diet and training. PEDs or not, we have never had better athletes than what we have right now and for the most part, this is due to their training regimen, their strict diets and the amazing doctors and trainers that every major league team staffs.

Tommy John surgery has come along and extended the careers of many pitchers, does this mean that they have inflated career stats because their career’s would have ended sooner in the 1920s? I think it is a ridiculous proposal but one could theoretically make that argument.

When it comes to PEDs, why are they bad? The main reason is because they are illegal. But going back a few sections in this article, so was cocaine, marijuana, hashish and alcohol during Prohibition but the legends who partook in those vices have a place in Cooperstown.

There are plenty of legal supplements, when compared to PEDs, should probably be illegal as well. At some point, they probably will be but that doesn’t matter all that match because science is always making new miracles and baseball players who want that extra boost will cut corners and do what they feel they need to do. I’m not saying that any of this is right on their part, I’m just saying that it is reality. In fact, I don’t know why more of them don’t seek out the still legal versions of performance-enhancers instead of taking the risk of getting caught with something outlawed by their sport.

And moving forward, the future is always bright and new medicine and new medical techniques will be implemented as time goes on. In a few years, athletes may be using nano-machines and other things that seem like science fiction to repair their bodies and heal them faster. Hell, we could be on the cusp of an era where medical science allows players to play well into their forties or even longer. What then? With a long enough career, we may get a guy that hits 1000 career home runs. I guess we’ll be able to stop worrying about Barry Bonds and the proverbial asterisk. Or will we stop worrying? This brings up a whole other argument now.

The point is, the world changes and baseball, whether it wants to or not, has to adapt to these changes. It doesn’t mean it tarnishes records of old, it just means that we, as human beings, will always enhance ourselves and our society. We will always find better ways to do things and to improve. Baseball can’t escape this truth.

Going forward, players are going to look for things that enhance them. Hopefully science provides us with things that won’t harm their bodies long-term and lead to illness and premature death.

6. Conclusion:

I’m not calling for Babe Ruth to be kicked out of the Hall of Fame. Hell, Ty Cobb can stay for all I care. Frankly, the Hall of Fame has become more of a political shit show than a true place to honor the game’s greats. Besides, if a guy like Pete Rose isn’t in there because he gambled a little, I can’t take this whole thing seriously anyway.

I’m not saying that, shit show aside, it isn’t an honor to go into the Hall of Fame but if they are going to be managed like a fascist dictatorship by hypocritical sportswriters calling way too many shots, I really don’t care who is in there and who isn’t. Because frankly, there are a lot of deserving players that have missed entry and a lot who probably don’t need to be there. I’m not going to get into specifics on that because there are a few pieces I plan to write about that in the future.

The thing is, the people voting have tremendously huge bugs up their asses about the Steroid Era, something they helped perpetuate until the cat was out of the bag and they had to flip the script, absolving themselves of their responsibility and trashing the sport in order to save their own hides like a bunch of weasels. I’m not trying to generalize and blame all baseball writers but there are a lot of them that fit the bill and they know who they are. I guess they can seemingly live with themselves but ultimately, they are bigger pieces of shit than the PED users they are trying to trash and demonize, in my honest opinion anyway.

You want to call them addicts? Well, fine. But then you have to call Babe Ruth and Paul Molitor addicts. You want to call them cheaters? Also fine. But then you have to call Whitey Ford and Gaylord Perry cheaters. You want to attack their character? Fine as well. But then you should also attack everyone else that I have mentioned in section three of this article. You can’t just pick and choose who you think is a shithead and you certainly shouldn’t ostracize someone who has either done nothing wrong or that you don’t have any proof of wrongdoing. Many of these writers with the right to vote have refused to fill out ballots because they claim that they don’t know who is clean. Well, if you don’t know, vote as if they didn’t do anything. In America, one is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Besides, look at all the people with poor character who got in and I don’t see any baseball writers crying over the fact that they voted in Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb or Kirby Puckett.

And even if a player is guilty, they are being held to a standard of persecution that baseball has never really exercised before. Going beyond just the Hall of Fame, guys like Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are booed out of stadiums by angry fans and that is their right, as we have freedom of speech and expression in this country, but that hatred is pretty unfounded if you ask me and these people are surrendering to emotion and indoctrination and not employing logic and reason. I get that people are upset about this but throwing an object at a player’s head on the field is inexcusable.

Besides, professional athletes are just people. That may irk some people to read but it is true. I’m sorry that you angry entitled crybabies don’t have millions like A-Rod but you also probably can’t play baseball for shit. Anyway, athletes like all human beings, make human mistakes. How many knuckleheads in an uproar in the stands have never done drugs or smoked weed? Fuck that, how many baseball writers have lived sober lives? People make mistakes, does that mean it is worth condemning them for life? Absolutely not. Sure, some people don’t learn from their mistakes. Others do however and frankly, a lot of these guys being condemned have never been proven to have made any mistakes.

What’s the solution?

Stop being crybaby pussies and move forward. Does Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Mike Piazza and Alex Rodriguez deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? You bet your ass they do. If you disagree, you apparently didn’t watch them play or you’re prepared to kick out all the Hall of Famers who have exhibited bad character, which is probably most of them.

Documentary Review: Ferrell Takes the Field (2015)

Release Date: September 12th, 2015
Directed by: Brian McGinn
Music by: John Jennings Boyd, Brian Langsbard
Cast: Will Ferrell

Funny or Die, Gary Sanchez Productions, Major League Baseball, HBO, 49 Minutes

Review:

This is a documentary of something real but being that this is focused on Will Ferrell, he plays it up almost as if it’s a mockumentary. I get that he feels the need to be funny but I think this would have been cooler had it actually documented this event with a more realistic approach.

Still, this is fairly entertaining.

I’m pretty sure that HBO wanted to make this into more of a spectacle for ratings purposes and I guess it works for Ferrell fans.

This short film follows Will Ferrell as he plays ten different positions for ten different Major League Baseball teams over five Spring Training games in the Cactus League. The purpose behind the stunt is so that he can raise money for cancer charities.

For fans of baseball, especially Spring Training, this is pretty cool to watch, as you see Ferrell travel Arizona and visit different ballparks. Being a Floridian, I would have rather he done this in the Grapefruit League but Arizona is cool too.

It’s fun seeing Ferrell interact with real MLB players and managers but as a documentary, this doesn’t do much to make me care about his charitable work and the true meaning behind this publicity stunt. I’m glad that Ferrell and company looked to be enjoying themselves but something more organic and natural probably would have benefited the film’s audience and the charitable work more.

I get that Will Ferrell is a funny guy but he didn’t need to be “in character” from start to finish. Show your human side, man. Be natural for once and show the world why this actually means so much to you. We can still laugh along the way because the humor still would have surfaced.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: Will Ferrell’s sports comedies.