The Baseball Hall of Fame executive board’s decision to trim maximum eligibility for induction to 10 years was designed in part to block players who used performance-enhancing drugs. It was a clear message to players such as Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens that they’ll never be given the game’s highest honor.
For years, the Hall gave players 15 years eligibility because it wanted to make sure careers stood the test of time. It allowed voters to determine how statistics held up through the next generation. The new ruling is coming from the opposite angle.
With only 10 years, the board wanted to make sure voters remembered the impact of the steroid era. Opinions tend to soften as time passes, which is one reason some certain voters would change their positions on Pete Rose if he were eligible.
Ten years is too long in my book. It has always befuddled me how voters would go one way for 14 years and another in the 15th season. You’re either worthy for the Hall of Fame or you’re not. The decision should be obvious in almost every case, not a cause to deliberate for a decade or more.
At most, they should be eligible for three years.
Then again, we’re talking about board overseeing a collection of voters that never unanimously voted a player into the Hall of Fame – and that includes Babe Ruth. The Bambino earned 95.13 percent of the vote, which is 11th-highest all-time and six spots behind George Brett.
Yes, I know, there are certain writers who refuse to vote for players in their first year of eligibility. But anyone who doesn’t think Derek Jeter belongs in the Hall of Fame doesn’t deserve to vote in the first place.
• The Seahawks would be wise to stick to their position no matter how long Marshawn Lynch holds out in a contract dispute. He’s pouting two years into a four-year contract. His current deal takes him past his 30th birthday, when running backs are often in decline. The value of the running back position has lost value in recent years as passing has increased. Apparently, he hasn’t realized that he easily could be replaced.
• The Cavaliers need to wait to trade Andrew Wiggins for 30 days after he signed his rookie deal, but they would be wise to keep the first pick overall even if it means not acquiring Kevin Love. The Cavs covet Love, and rightfully so, but they should find another way to get him. For now, there isn’t enough pressure on Minnesota to trade him for anything but maximum value. The Cavs need to use their imagination to gain more leverage before making a deal. A lineup with LeBron James, Wiggins and Love is frightening, but the Cavs should be able to build a championship team around LeBron, Wiggins and Kyrie Irving.
• Yankees fans shouldn’t get too excited over making up two games on the Orioles and climbing into second place since the All-Star break. While the Yanks enjoyed a 10-game homestand the O’s had been on the road since the break against the top three teams in the AL West, which collectively were 50 games over .500. Baltimore is playing 12 of its next 16 games at home, ending with a three-game set with the Yanks. Get back to me at the end of August after the Yanks play seven straight on the road.
• It was fun watching other people have fun during the World Cup, but I’ve concluded that I will never embrace soccer. I understand that it’s the most popular game in the world. I can see it growing exponentially in the United States in recent years. It’s simply not for me. Honestly, I’ve already forgotten who won the World Cup and don’t really care.
• Let’s skip the voting process and hand the NL Cy Young to Clayton Kershaw right now. The Dodgers lefty has a 2.00 ERA. Wait, that’s counting the three games since he pitched 41 consecutive scoreless innings. He’s 12-2 with a 1.76 ERA this season. Opposing hitters are batting .186 with a .217 on-base percentage. End of story.