Frank Robinson should not be in the Hall of Fame

I’m joking, of course. Robinson was a great player, and no matter how dumb a manager he was, his place in Cooperstown is deserved. But Robinson should really stop talking about Mark McGwire and steroids, lest people remember Robinson’s transgressions. Robinson says,

“Should I vote for Mark McGwire?” a visiting writer asked Robinson after the Moeller card show Friday night.
The 71-year-old Baseball Hall of Famer shook his head and firmly said, “No.”

Okay, so actually Robinson just said “no,” but I don’t get paid for this, so I’m not about to go change that lead-in to the quote now. Robinson goes on to point out that, “You don’t get better as you get older,” which is of course stupid — most players don’t, some do. As David Pinto points out, both Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron hit over a quarter of their home runs after turning 35.
And how about Robinson’s illegal drug use? I’m not talking about steroids or cocaine, but amphetamines, or greenies. We know that practically every ballplayer in the 70s used greenies, so should Robinson be kept out of the Hall as well? He did hit more home runs per batted ball in the month of September over his career than he did in May or June, which are both warmer and when Robinson should have been tired. Could that count as evidence that Robinson was using greenies?
It’s ridiculous, of course, to blame a player for using an illegal substance if it was so widespread when he was playing. The Hall of Fame is about being a great player, not about being a great man. I don’t like steroids, but I’m not willing to go on a witch hunt for it. I like Buster Olney’s take best:

But is my speculation and anger over the impact of steroids enough to effectively wipe out a player’s career with my ballot? Is it fair to ignore Sosa’s accomplishments because of a guesstimate? And where do I draw the line on the guesstimating? By judging body types of players? That’s a slippery slope, as we have learned from the likes of Alex Sanchez. Do I eliminate anybody who performed well after his 35th birthday? Do I eliminate players who came back from major injuries?
And the only real difference between McGwire and many of his baseball superstar peers is that it was McGwire who got the subpoena for the March 17, 2005 congressional hearing, and they didn’t. Imagine if Superstar X, or Superstar Y, or Superstar Z had gotten that subpoena, instead of McGwire. Those guys would have been hemming and hawing and giving the same non-answers that McGwire and Sosa did.

If you have Insider, it’s really a great entry to read.

The Hardball Times Annual 2006

Details here.
I’m biased, but I think it’s one of the most impressive baseball books ever put together.

It’s a Lock

The lead article on the ESPN football page is teased right now with the following paragraph:

Our experts don’t agree very often. They don’t even agree to disagree. So when they unanimously select five games on the Week 9 schedule, consider those picks as good as W’s.

Well, that sounded like bullsh-t to me, so I went back and looked at the first eight weeks of ESPN “expert” predictions. I counted 47 games on which the ESPN “experts” all agreed, or just under six per game, which means that five unanimous predictions are not at all unusually great, as the lead-in implies; in fact, they’re a bit less than usual.
I then counted how many times the experts got the games right, which turns out to be 33. That’s a 70% success rate, which means there is only a 17% chance that those games are “as good as W’s.” In fact, the “experts” are almost sure to be wrong on one or two of these games.
Just more proof that even “experts” can’t accurately predict the outcome of one game, even if it’s “a lock.”
Update: Experts went 2-3 that week.