With the Hall of Fame announcement set for January 8, many writers have been going public with their votes in recent days. And that means we are getting a slew of nonsensical arguments against the candidacy of Mets favorite son, Mike Piazza.
Of course, this is due to the unsubstantiated whispers that Piazza used PEDs. There has never been any evidence that he was a juicer. The only circumstantial evidence is that he had back acne, a known side effect from steroids, that allegedly mysteriously cleared up when baseball started drug testing. This is not enough to prove PED use, and Piazza addresses it in his book; he said the problem began when he was a teenager from carrying his golf bag and continued throughout his life.
Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy writes of his nay votes for Piazza and Jeff Bagwell:
Piazza and Bagwell have Hall of Fame numbers and never tested positive for PEDs. But they look dirty. Something doesn’t make sense.
So that is Shaughnessy’s rationale — they “look dirty.” Talk about using arbitrary judgment. Shaughnessy admits that he uses body type to help him determine who might have used PEDs. He says Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, for whom he voted, were never accused of steroids because of their “nothing out of the ordinary” bodies. But then he says Frank Thomas, who also got Shaughnessy’s vote, had a “Popeye body.” Using Shaughnessy’s thinking, shouldn’t he have withheld his vote for Thomas because of his body?
Which brings us to the crankiest man in America, Murray Chass. You remember old Murray — he is the former writer for The New York Times who despises bloggers and now has his own baseball website. He admits he does not get paid for it. So that makes him — wait for it — a blogger.
The ancient Chass is on the back acne bandwagon in denying his vote for Mike Piazza. He also bases his decision on scrub Reggie Jefferson’s insistence that Piazza was a PED user. That’s some fine investigation, Murray.
Speaking of investigating, Chass chastises his fellow bloggers on the subject, writing:
That’s one of the problems I have with bloggers. They don’t seem to want to do their own work. All the better and easier if they can get it elsewhere.
Yet Chass does the same thing, relying on other’s reporting to make his decisions. A hypocrite and a bitter old crank.
Chass also will not vote for Craig Biggio because writer Jeff Pearlman (once again Chass is using someone else’s work) said Biggio used PEDs. Chass also claims “more than half a dozen players, teammates and opponents, say he used.” This is the same man who writes that the denials from guys like Piazza and Biggio should be discounted because “denials are meaningless.” Yet the accusations from unnamed players who might have an ax to grind should be treated as gospel?
Like all of us, these writers are entitled to their opinions. But for something that is as important as the Hall of Fame, the suspicion that someone is “dirty” without any evidence or the appearance of back acne should not be enough to keep a worthy player out. Until the Hall sets down guidelines, players like Mike Piazza will continue to be victimized by the likes of lightweights Dan Shaughnessy and Murray Chass.