Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Greatest Hall of Fame Class That Might Never Be

During last night's Dodgers-Reds game, the text-in question of the game was "When do you think Ken Griffey Jr. will make the Hall of Fame: 1st Ballot, Later than that, or Never." 7% of Dodger fans apparently think he will never be elected. I don't think you can chalk this up to stupidity because even Dodger fans are not that dumb. Maybe it is that the only people who respond to these text-in questions are that dumb.

This, and Mike Piazza's retirement got me thinking about the Hall of Fame. This year's "graduating" class includes such once-sure things as Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds (if he is officially retired) and Piazza. The fact that Mark McGuire didn't get voted in, and may never be makes raises interesting questions:

Does Sosa get in? If Mac didn't there is no way Sosa does. Sosa was caught cheating (cork) and has been tied to steroids/HGH. McGuire just used a supplement that wasn't illegal yet (andro) and possibly more but nothing was ever proven. Plus, Mac was better. Sosa is out.

What about Bonds? His numbers make him perhaps the greatest of all time, but there is no one left on the planet outside of the San Francisco peninsula that doesn't think he was juiced the whole time. So how much weight do voters place on steroid allegations? If this Federal case against him proves he lied about juicing, does that knock him out of the Hall? What does it do to his records? I can't stand him but I don't know if I could not vote for him unless the Hall makes an official stance against documented cheaters and Bonds is officially proven. For now, Bonds is in.

Clemens' situation is very similar to Bonds. I don't think anyone thinks he was clean. However, unlike Bonds, he has no fans and no city loyal to him because he was never loyal to them (not that fan support affects Hall of Fame voting). It has not been proven, but allegedly he was doped up as much as Big Brown is right now. If it is somehow proven, does the best pitcher of his generation and one of the best 3-4 of all time get denied? He should, but will he? If it goes unproven, I think like Bonds, you have to let him in. And no, the fact that he allegedly had a whole bullpen of mistresses including one who wasn't old enough to spell mistress does not play a role in HOF voting.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Piazza was voted in (and he will, of course) and these stiffs were not? Particularly Clemens. If you remember, Piazza and the Mets used to hit the hell out of Clemens. In 2000, Clemens beaned Piazza in the head (second time) and then did the same to Jay Payton. Then in the World Series Game 2, there was the famous 'roid rage...oops, I mean the famous bat-throwing incident. Well the Mets never got a modicum of payback after those incidents. Wouldn't it be great if the payback they (and we fans) finally got was this?

On to other things - what a second half by Kobe Bryant! Not only did he score 25 points and lead the comeback, but it was mostly on good shots and wise decisions (10 for 16). I didn't know he had it in him!

So what happens now? The Lakers must be feeling a little bit bulletproof. Will their inexperience make them lax in Game 2 or will they come out and make the Spurs pay for not closing it out? Will the Spurs be despondent and feel they blew it or will they be really, really pissed off and come out and hold the Lakers to 11 points in Game 2? I expect the Lakers to come out with all guns blazing, but the Spurs will hang around. In the second, the Spurs will get a lead. In the third Kobe will try to Kobe-fy them and the Spurs will wind up winning by double digits. Spurs in 6.

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