January 9th, 2013


midweek music: "Hold On, I'm Comin'"

One of my favorite songs, with an iconic horn bit, and one that never fails to put me in a good mood, "Hold On, I'm Comin'" by Samuel David Moore and Dave Prater or, as they were officially known, Sam & Dave.

  • Current Music
    "Hold On, I'm Comin'" by Sam & Dave
NYY, melky

the BBWAA proves to be made up primarily of morons

The Baseball Writers Association of America has elected no one into the Baseball Hall of Fame, in a year in which the ballot included Barry Bonds (one of the greatest hitters of all time), Roger Clemens (one of the greatest pitchers of all time), Mike Piazza (one of the greatest catchers of all time), and many more worthy candidates (Tim Raines, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Alan Trammell). The main reason is due to suspicions regarding steroids (though the crowded ballot doesn't help). None of the candidates failed a drug test, most of the candidates' careers took place prior to MLB even having such a drug policy, and it all boils down to suspicion and speculation based on no evidence -- particularly damning given that the voting is being done by people whose job title is supposed to be "journalist." Oh, and the Mitchell Report, which was highly speculative. Not to mention the fact that most people who actually have tested positive for steroids have seen no appreciable performance enhancement from their taking of "performance-enchancing" drugs.

Yes, there was a spike in home runs hit between 1993 and 2003. There are a lot of reasons for that -- an increasing number of new hitter-friendly ballparks, expansion diluting the pitching talent (this also was one of the reasons for the spike in home runs in 1961, leading to the Maris-Mantle chase of Ruth's record), a change in the way the baseball was made -- and it was also all across baseball. Yes, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire hit ridiculous numbers of home runs, but so did a lot of other people. It isn't even unprecedented in MLB history, the most notable being the much-more-significant sea change that happened in the 1920s.

As for the so-called "character clause," the Hall of Fame is already well populated by amphetamine users, cocaine and marijuana users, spitballers, and avowed racists. Mickey Mantle -- an alcoholic womanizer who took amphetamines -- is Mr. All American Boy, but Barry Bonds is TEH EBIL. Gaylord Perry was suspended for cheating by throwing a spitball and gets into the Hall of Fame; Roger Clemens is accused by the world's least convincing witness of getting injections in his ass with no corroborating evidence and he doesn't; Ty Cobb assaulted a fan in the stands, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis and John McGraw fought hard to keep black people from playing major-league baseball and are in the Hall, but Sammy Sosa doesn't have sufficient character to join them. Right.

Ballplayers have always looked for some kind of advantage, whether real or perceived. We still don't know if steroids actually do enhance performance. Hell, Joe DiMaggio smoked cigarettes because he thought it would enhance his performance. (Seriously. It was the 1940s, whaddaya want?)

Of course, a good percentage of the HOF voters are people who don't even cover baseball anymore, and a huge percentage of people who do cover baseball aren't allowed in the club. It's a deeply flawed system, and this year's voting has shone a very large light on those flaws. But ultimately? If you think that Clemens, Bonds, and Piazza aren't Hall of Famers you have no business having any impact on any decision related to baseball ever.
  • Current Music
    "Evangeline" by Levon Helm & Cheryl Crow
the wire

thoughts on watching old Dragnet episodes

Antenna TV, one of the itty bitty cable stations, does a two-hour block of Jack Webb every day: two episodes of Adam-12 and two episodes of the late-1960s iteration of Dragnet. Our roommate Dale has been watching them, and I catch an episode here and there.

One of the things that strikes me watching the latter in particular is that it's no bloody wonder the crime rate has gone down the past twenty years -- Sergeant Friday and Officer Gannon jump to go through all sorts of hoops to find out information that now takes two keystrokes. Technology has streamlined so much of the information-gathering that detectives have to do....

(Of course, the show also editorializes against things like the *gasp* acceptance of homosexuality, reminding you that -- just as Rod Serling had a very specific liberal agenda -- Jack Webb had a pretty definite conservative one.)
  • Current Music
    "Anna Lee" by Levon Helm