Remember: What actually happened, didn't happen, because we say it didn't happen. Ignorance is strength.
Any chance we could do this chat without discussing the Hall of Fame?
Honestly -- I mean no snark here. Isnt the HOF really just a museum about the best players in baseball? Forget about everything else. Wasn't Bonds, Clemons, Piazza (and a few others - Not Jack Morris) among the greatest players on the field? Put the references to PEDs on their shrines - but how can we pretend they werent the best on the field? Truthfully -- if you are listing the best players -- then list the best players. Put in any other information -- but enough with the morality police. A museum is meant to preserve and explain history -- not only judge it.
How in the world can Craig Biggio not be voted in? he was never even mentioned in the same sentence as PEDs, i can't believe people wouldn't vote for him
This to me is the biggest reason why blank ballots bother me. If you wanted to avoid voting for anyone with any plausible connection to steroids, you had several undoubtedly clean and overqualified candidates on the ballot, led by Raines and Biggio ... and neither got in. There's no good, fact-based argument against either guy. Put them in for now and sort out the PED guys later if you must.
Brett Anderson (DOB: 2/1/88) went from #17 last year, to completely off the list. injury concern the biggest factor?
I was much harder on injured/recently-injured guys this year, including Anderson and Feliz. If Anderson has a full, healthy season in 2013, my omission of him won't look very smart, and I'm okay with that.
Honestly, I get the difference between "first" and "second" ballot hall of famers and how special it is to get in on the first ballot. But why would a voter change his mind on a hall of fame vote 5 or 6 years after their eligibility????? It makes no sense.
There is no difference. It's a binary thing: You're in or you're out. Voters who play "first ballot" games are doing just that - playing games and failing to take their responsibilities seriously.
Does Tom Koehler have a chance to be a good MLB pitcher in any capacity?
Could be an above replacement-level guy, not a whole lot more than that.
Danny Espinosa is 25 yrs old exactly... was he in consideration for your list?
I think a deal centered around Garrett Jones for JJ Hardy makes sense. Anything else the Pirates need to add?
A decent player.
What do you think Chris Archer can do for the Rays this season?
I think he can push them into the Danger Zone.
But should we reward these players who ruined a part of baseball. Don't get me wrong it's still a great game, but we will never see a magical player in this game again. Prior to this era, and through it, we were able to get excited for spectacular feat's, however now when I see a player like Braun, Trout, Cabrera, etc... I automatically assume that I am seeing something artificial. They provided a ton of magic through a short period of time, and removed all the magic going forward.
Who ruined anything? Revenues were up, attendance was up, everybody had a real good time.
Talk about negationism - if you didn't like the high-offense era at the time, that's fine, but don't pretend that it was anything less than popular.
You've been a strong advocate of Raines (I agree). Lofton's offensive numbers aren't far off from Raines', and he probably he more defensive value. Do you think he should be in? I thought it a shame he didn't even crack 5%.
I think Lofton at least had a good case and the deep ballot hurt him. I do think he just got Whitakered.
How ridiculous and hypocritical is it that the same baseball writers that voted for Bonds to win all those MVP's when he was breaking records at age 40, now feel it is their moral obligation to keep these players out of the Hall of Fame? What a joke.
They're not necessarily the same writers - there's some overlap, but probably not as much as your statement implies.
How do you feel knowing you are always on the outside looking in??? Voting for Trout over Cabrera? Being one of the few who is offended by names like Indians and Braves? And being one of the few who openly supports steroid users?
I really feel fine, thanks.
What would you call this brand of 'inside baseball navel gazing' over the HOF vote? 'Deep inside baseball'? 'Ultimate umbilicus gazing'?
The navel wasn't the orifice that came to mind.
Is the HoF quickly becoming irrelevant with all these egregious omissions?
It's not just writers voting for the HOF, don't forget the political cartoonists.
And the golf writers. And the sports editors. The lifetime ballot thing may not be such a hot idea any more.
What do you think Pete Rose's chances are of ever getting in?
Why did you change the age requirements and length of list for your under 25 stars column?
I did not. My editors did. I had no objection.
How can you blame Bruce Bochy for messing up Brandon Belt's swing. Isn't it just time to give up on him already?
I don't know who's to blame specifically, but I have seen Belt's swing degrade over the last two years, from his hips to his hands. There's no reason he can't restore his old mechanics, probably with some help. And even with the bad mechanics he was actually somewhat valuable last year.
Lost in this HOF mess is its potentially disastrous affect on the Cooperstown economy. I spoke with a shop keeper during my visit last year, and she wasn't sure she could even survive until the next induction weekend - which, we learned yesterday, will be without player inductees. Just a joyless, disappointing result all around.
Eric and I discuss this on today's podcast (to be posted around 5 pm ET). It's a big deal.
Any thoughts on the Jonathan Singleton 50 game suspension? How much does that hurt his development?
Doesn't affect his development other than the lost at bats, which they could mitigate by putting him on the 40-man immediately. I really could not care less about a player using pot and I don't think MiLB players should be tested for it.
What do you think of Bob Costas' idea of going forward making it clear to the players that if you ever get suspended for PEDs you lose your HOF eligibility? Would that be an effective deterrent?
So a 19-year-old Dominican kid gets suspended once for using HGH, then goes on to a long, clean career in the majors where he hits 500 homers with a high OBP and a bunch of All-Star appearances, and is ineligible? No thanks.
You didn't think Piazza or Trammel was worthy?
I would have voted for Bonds, Bagwell, Biggio, Clemens, Piazza, Raines, Trammell, Edgar, McGwire, and Schilling.
Are you in favor of making HOF votes public?
Yes. This would be the first change I'd make to the voting system.
How long till Ronald Guzman makes a Profar type of impact? And how did the Rangers get such a deep farm system?? amazing!
Who has the higher ceiling in the Dodgers' system between Puig, Seager and Pederson?
Seager is the top guy. Pederson third of the three.
Do you think there is any chance Schilling gets in eventually? It's ridiculous that I have to listen to writers go bonkers over how "clutch" Morris was when there's a more deserving candidate with even better postseason numbers out there getting less than 40% of the vote.
I think so. Morris leaving the ballot one way or the other after next year will actually help. He's the poster child for the reactionary voters who want to pretend that advanced statistical analysis hasn't revolutionized how teams are built, games are played, and the sport is covered.
Who do you have winning the super bowl?
Hey, I'm just glad the Washington Racist Nicknames are out of it.
I need a new watch. Any good watch brand recommendations?
Mine is a Galaxy Nexus.
Klaw! Know anything about Gerardo Concepcion, the Cubs lefty Cuban? From what I've read he's appearing to be a $6 mil waste of money. Do you see any chance for him?
I would agree with your characterization.
Keith, my understanding of your opinions of steroids is that since MLB didn't really care, then the players shouldn't be held accountable. Is your opinion different of recent PED users since there is now a testing system and penalties?
Not really. The science behind HGH says it probably doesn't enhance performance. The effects of steroids are just unknown (which is not to say they're zero, just that we have no idea what they do). I'm really not comfortable stepping into the abyss of my own ignorance and deciding how much to deduct from players' performances because they used stuff.
Oscar thoughts coming?
Taveras? He's good.
Seriously, I've only seen two of the nine Best Picture nominees, although I'm seeing Django tonight. I was surprised Kathryn Bigelow didn't get a Director nod, since ZD30 seems like the BP favorite, and I was glad to see all four principals in Silver Linings Playbook get noms. Also thought Looper might get a screenplay nom and maybe even BP.
As an Arizona resident and parent, what is your opinion on the proposal of having armed guards in elementary schools?
Just to let you know, last night on MLBN Mitch Williams asked when ERA became more important than wins. He answered himself by saying, "When these Harvard and Yale types took over front offices with their ERA and sabermetrics." Considering this sounds like he thinks ERA is a sabermetric stat, could any "analyst" out there say something dumber?
I'd like know when being a "Harvard and Yale type" became a bad thing. Should I be ashamed that I went to one of those colleges?
As a NH Fishercat fan, wondering if you think Marcus Stroman will play here in AA when he gets back from suspension
I do. I'd start him there if they want him to relieve.
Best Director is the actual Best Picture. By not nominating Bigelow for Best Director, the Academy is saying that "Zero Dark Thirty" is actually not a worthy Best Picture film. (And I'm not passing judgment on whether they are right.)
That's my interpretation. If so, what's the Best Picture favorite?
Even though steroids might not have had any effect on performance, does the fact that players tried to cheat matter to you?
Keith, Lincoln is a virtual lock.
@Roger: Of the seven nominees I haven't seen, that's the one that least interests me. I'll probably see them all, though.
Oh, I also figured one of Judi Dench or Maggie Smith would get a nom for Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
I think comparing PED users to Rose is totally unfair to the PED guys. They were trying to enhance their performance (get better) and help their teams while ROse hurt his team for financial gain.
And Rose broke the game's cardinal rule.
Any problem with an executive order banning guns?
I believe the second amendment would stand in the way of that.
Who has the better shot to still make something of their career, Brandon Belt or Justin Smoak?
I know Goldschmidt is ineligible for your "25 under 25," but just curious how you'd compare him to Rizzo going forward.
I still see Goldschmidt as a platoon guy. He's done an amazing job of improving his defense, though.
The Orioles do realize that it's highly unlikely they will repeat their one-run success they enjoyed last year, right?
I think so, but how can they proceed? They can't appear to punt on the 2013 season.
how does jon denney compare with other catchers in this year's draft?
I think he's the top guy.
Any chance you make it to Charlottesville this year? If so, you have to go by the Rock Barn, about 30 minutes south. Ben Thompson (of per se and French Laundry) runs the shop. Unbelievable offerings.
That's quite a recommendation, and I love Charlottesville, but I don't think I'll be there in 2013.
Regarding your skepticism as to whether Steroids enhance performance, as a former college player in the Midwest where use was rampant, I can assure you that they do. We had guys going from 4th OF to 15 HR in a year.
The problem I have with this is that it's not really evidence. It's entirely anecdotal - and in this case unverifiable.
Argo - start to finish. It says a lot when a film can hold your attention the entire time when you already know the outcome. I realize this applies to Lincoln and ZD30, but Argo had me on the enge of my seast the whole film.
Saw Argo and loved it - but Affleck didn't get a nom either.
Could you rank these 3 Atlanta pitchers on future value? Assuming good health for all. Beachy, Medlin and Minor?
Medlen, Beachy, Minor, assuming Beachy comes back healthy.
Was I in consideration for the 25/25 list, or not enough value in the bat?
Not enough bat.
I understand the no love for houston, but seriouslly no altuve for the top 25 under 25.
Seriously. Wasn't a strong consideration.
So Eddie Murray gets convicted of insider trading, and Orlando Cepeda actually serves time for drug running, and yet we will not revoke or bar them from the Hall, but Jeff Bagwell was big so he's clearly not up to our standards of personal excellence. Got it.
I'm glad you're clear on this.
Thoughts on M.Olt for this year? How much playing time do you think he gets? More importantly, do you think you (or someone) could convince him to do an 'Arrested Development' inspired celebration every time he gets a hit: throw his fists in the air and yell "Mike OLT!" Thanks very much.
That needs to happen. But I do think there's a good chance, maybe 50% or so, that he starts 2013 an ex-Ranger.
What are the chances Clint Coulter, C, MIL can stick behind the plate?
I don't understand why what Rose did is worse than steroids. Didn't he bet on his own team to win?
The "to win" part is a red herring. He bet on games in which he was involved as a player and as a manager. Those bets would, assuming he's human, affect his decision-making in those games - and in games on which he didn't bet as well. It was also explicitly forbidden at the time Rose did it, which was not true for many of the alleged PED users in the 1990s.
Was Wilin Rosario considered for your list? His defense is pretty bad, but his bat is equally as good.
He had a .312 OBP playing half his games in Coors. That's not good.
When are you doing a top 100 prospect list again?
Right after the Super Bowl.
Keith, 50% is the biggest cop out percentage ever. You're essentially saying either it happens, or it doesn't.
Brandon Belt = Shelley Duncan....Stats look pretty close so far, don't you think?
Shelley Duncan debuted at age 27. Belt doesn't turn 25 until April. So, no.
Have you read Life of Pi? Is it good?
Yes, it's excellent.
So anything that goes against your views is "anecdotal". I don't see how Bonds, Sosa, McGwire hitting 70 HRs while on steroids can be anecdotal evidence. Do you honestly think they do it if they were clean? Of course we'll never know b/c they cheated. Which is okay by you.... there is a moral decay in this country and your nonchalant attitude feeds right into it.
Ooh, a "moral decay" reference. At least this handbasket has padded seats!
Anecdotal evidence is a real thing, not a word requiring scare quotes. Citing three players in a league of hundreds isn't data we can use even to draw rough conclusions, because of how much is excluded - like which other players were using and what benefits they did or did not get from that usage. It also ignores the general spike in offensive levels league-wide from 1993-2008, so your baselines are all higher. I want real evidence here, not "look at how big his head is!"
From 1992-2002, Craig Biggio led all second baseman in WAR and still some people don't think he deserves a HOF vote. Can you make a better case for him?
Arbitrary endpoints? But I do agree that he should be in - he was one of the top 2-3 players in the league from '94-97 or so, the best player in the NL in '97, and remained a valuable player into his mid-30s. He has peak and longevity. I'm not sure what the counterargument is.
Isn't interesting that certain candidates have been turned into referendums on traditional vs. sabermetric analysis, when these candidates don't even meet the traditional benchmarks? Not to mention that at least some (Murphy, Morris) were rejected by the voters even before statistical analysis was popularized.
Agreed - and that's why I believe strongly that Morris in particular is the anti-stats proxy candidate.
Stats-oriented folks say: These eight players get in because of facts X, Y, and Z. Yesterday, the BBWAA said: No one gets in because screw you.
What if you knew with 100% certainty that steroids affected these guys' performances? Would that change your mind on how you'd vote for their HoF candidacies?
The short answer is yes. If I knew how to handle PED usage in a rational, defensible manner, I would absolutely consider it.
I think most of us agree there needs to be some adjustments made to the Hall of Fame voting process, we could spend this entire chat discussing that, but how do you feel about this potential rule:"If you vote for a player for the Hall of Fame... and you are the ONLY person who votes for that player... then you need to justify that vote before a panel with the possible forfeiture of your right to vote at stake."I'm sorry, Aaron Sele got a vote? For the HALL OF FAME???
I think every voter should have to publish his/her ballot. If you're not willing to defend it publicly, then you shouldn't be able to hide your vote behind the cloak of anonymity.
Isn't media coverage of players in the new age of technology starting to affect HoF voting? Players in smaller markets will get less hype than players in bigger markets, and the "best of his era" justifications are going to start becoming warped because of this.
Players in smaller markets get LESS hype? I think new media has flattened coverage, not exacerbated the pro-large-market bias. MLB.TV and Extra Innings have helped this in particular.
Please rank your top three changes you would make to the HOF voting system, and their chance of actually being implemented.
Ballots are public. Players only spend five years on the ballot. Voting based on personal agendas leads to suspension or forfeiture of the ballot.
Did you ever see Russell Wilson play baseball?
No. He barely played in college and wasn't a good enough prospect for me to go see him in his one year in the pros. He's quite an athlete - you know that by now, of course - but his baseball skills weren't there.
Dude. You got a man crush on me, or what?
Giraffes are hot.
It seems to me that the Milwaukee Brewers are becoming prisoners of Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo's primes the way that the Houston Astros were prisoners of Berkman and Oswalt a few years ago. This seems like a pretty dangerous spot for a franchise to be in, doesn't it?
Yes, when the farm system is weak, which theirs is right now.
You said in an earlier chat you have never had venison. If you are ever in eastern PA, I've got plenty for you to try. My dad and I hunt and butcher our own venison product. You would love it.
Thank you, I'd love to try venison but almost never see it on menus. You'd think out here in pry-it-from-my-cold-dead-hands country that I'd see more wild game at local restaurants, but I've never seen venison or elk, to pick two I'd expect to find.
Forget about the Top 25 under 25. How about the Top 5 places where I should get something to eat for my first trip to NYC?
Sorry, was offline for a second. I'm kind of light on NYC recs because I haven't spent much time there in the last few years, but I will say you've got to hit a Shake Shack and I was a big fan of Sophie's for Cuban food. My high-end experiences in NYC have been good but not great - Mesa Grill, Bar Americain, Lupa, all solid but I bet a NYC resident could give you better recs.
Have you ever thought about trying to learn more about anabolic steroids? There are many scientific journals that have articles about the steroids, and their effects. Or you could talk to an expert like William Llewellyn.
I have done that, actually, but I appreciate your assumption that I offered these opinions without doing any research.
Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said that the organization would consider a change in their voting process if they had another shutout. Will the Hall ever change the way it votes for players?
To me, that's sort of the wrong reason to look to change the process. The shutout itself isn't the problem; the problem is that voters have turned the process into something it was never intended to be.
RE Lisa (Dallas) I'm sure Keith will say it but any good Pizza dive in NYC is a must.
Agreed - but I'm not sure of any specific ones to recommend.
Tell Lisa in Dallas that Shopsin's should be a must. It's not the best, but it's one of the most interesting dining experiences you can have.
Is he the one in Calvin Trillin's book(s)? Would love to try that place. Seems insane, in a great way.
For evidence about what PEDs do for you, look to the cycling world. That sport has shown how you can benefit from PEDs. Better endurance and better recovery time both of which are very important over the course of a 162 game baseball season.
I don't think those two things are anywhere near as important as baseball-specific skills like the ability to square up a pitch or to command a fastball or get consistent tilt on a slider.
A related question: Has there ever been an accusation of blood doping in baseball, or even a credible rumor? Would there be a benefit to, say, a little EPO before a big start?
You brought up your overall opinion of the Black Keys in your top songs of 2012 post. I certainly see where you would arrive at those opinions based on their most recent singles, and El Camino as a whole. My question is how far back have you listened? I think they've somewhat evolved (devolved?) from their earlier days, and think that many of the accolades you've given Jack White would be similarly fitting of their first 3-4 albums. Also when you composed your list, how much weight did you give the individual songs, and how much did you give to the artists larger body of work?
I don't think I go back that far with the Black Keys - I'm familiar with their work since they started to get more mainstream attention 4-5 years ago. That ranking was based just on those specific songs.
Also, one song I would add to the list if I redid it now - Animal Kingdom's "Strange Attractor."
I did a pizza tour or Brooklyn with a bunch of my NY friends last summer. DiFara makes maybe the best pizza I've ever had, but it's in the middle of nowhere and you'll have to wait a while. Best overall experience was Totonno's in Coney Island, which I would HIGHLY recommend.
The fact that you did a pizza tour is strong evidence that we can be friends.
Keith, have you listened to Grimes? Her album is excellent.
I can't stand the way she sings.
In a recent interview, Dan Duquette says that the O's are in favor of letting SP prospects begin their mlb career in the bullpen. You've talked about this forever. Are you surprised it's actually happening?
That's fantastic news. I hope the O's succeed with it and it spreads. I suspect it's a small key to keeping young pitchers healthy.
I get what you're saying, I couldn't hit a baseball in high school and no amount of PEDs would change that today. However, if I could and the PEDs allowed me to make more plate appearances in my best possible physical condition isn't that an advantgae. Or maybe that's the best reason to not ban them. Let everyone play at their best as often as possible. Long term health risks at one's own risk.
The long-term risks of steroid use are enormous, and the NFL isn't exactly looking too hot right now for ignoring long-term consequences of players' health issues during their careers. HGH, on the other hand, may have value in restoring players' health without the long-term negative effects, and if that's true, why not permit it when used under a doctor's care?
Do you catch a lot of live shows? If so, what's a recent concert you attended that you liked?
Only recently - anxiety issues kept me from live concerts for about a decade. Of Monsters & Men was the best live show I saw in 2012, with alt-J a little behind.
Do you think Maddux gets 90% next year?
Yeah, even with protest ballots and such, I think there will be a groundswell of support for him as a presumed-clean guy with unimpeachable credentials.
Keith, have you heard the new David Bowie song, "Where are We Now?" Great ballad and even better to have Bowie back.
I'm still waiting for the Tin Machine reunion.
How much did injuries factor into your omission of Neftali Feliz from your top 25? Or is it that you project him as a reliever?
Uncertainty about his future role, given his injuries and the fact that he wasn't established in a starting role before he got hurt. You could argue I was far more unfair to Anderson, who has shown he has the stuff and command to start when he's healthy.
Was Addison Reed anywhere near consideration for top 25? And does Matt Moore being ranked towards bottom suggest you're not as high on him as once were? Thanks KLaw.
No on Reed - only pure reliever on the list was Kimbrel. I don't think I downgraded Moore at all. He had a solid season and I favored position players over pitchers in general because they are less likely to suffer major injuries.
I'm surprised you had Tillman on your top 25 (albeit at 25). Were you surprised by his willingness to throw offspeed stuff when behind in the count? That's a bigger deal than the velocity IMO.
Well, the velocity was necessary but not sufficient. Everything looked better to me at the end of the year. I saw him in AA for Bowie years ago and thought he'd be a clear #2 starter. This is the first stretch since then when he's looked like that guy again.
hi keith - enjoyed the top 25 under 25 this morning. quick question for you - do you view these guys all as clear cut all stars in the future? just trying to gauge the overall talent of these youngsters that you listed.
Most of those guys will make a few All-Star teams. Perennial All-Star/HoF types? Fewer than ten.
Keith, now that you attend shows, you should think about going to Coachella. Fantastic weekend and one stop shopping for great bands.
That's a big step up for me from going to a single, short concert. Baby steps.
Was Dan Straily considered for your list?
No, more of a back-end starter.
Thanks for all the questions, folks. Those of you who asked about last night's Top Chef should check my recap and can ask questions there: http://klaw.me/11jK7GP (I was just trying to avoid spoiling stuff here). Also, check out the Baseball Today podcast we're posting later today, where Eric and I talk Hall of Fame and I chat with old friend Nate Silver. See you next week.