Fast forward a year and a day . . .
Once again, the Baseball Writers Association Of America, those guardians of the game none of them actually work for, have shamed themselves, mocking the Hall of Fame, disgracing the nation and shaming its children.
This time, by electing 17 people to the Hall of Fame.
Since the limit is typically 10 per ballot, this seems like a mathematical anomaly, though fraud is considered less likely that the fact that the person counting the votes was drunker than usual and stopped caring about a third of the way into the process.
But approval for Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Edgar Martinez, Jack Morris, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Tim Raines, Jeff Kent, Mike Mussina, Larry Walker, Fred McGriff and Don Mattingly produced as much of a surprise as voting nobody in the year before did.
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Hall of Fame head Jeff Idelson issued a statement after the voting which read, “You bastards! You rotten, capricious hyenas! We don’t have the space for all these guys! We don’t have hotel rooms for the ceremony. Cooperstown is going to look like the third day at Woodstock, and who do you think is going to catch the crap for that? I hate all of you, I hate baseball, and I hate me.”
BBWAA president Susan Slusser, a second-termer forced to keep the job when nobody else wanted it, said, “You have reached the telephone of Susan Slusser. Please leave your name, number and the time you called. If you are calling about the Hall of Fame, set yourself on fire after the beep. Thank you.”
Part of the sea change in the voting was caused by the Hall itself, when in response to the Great White-Out of 2013, it replaced the phrase “Integrity, sportsmanship and character” in the voting instructions with a GIF of Leo Durocher kicking an umpire and then being suspended for a year for consorting with gamblers.
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That opened the gates for Bonds and Clemens, but not some other members of the so-called “steroid class.” One voter, asking to remain anonymous but whose actual name is Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post, said, “I really had a skull full of the PED argument last year, so now I’m voting for anyone except players I know beyond a shadow of a doubt were clean and honorable. I wanted a larger field to choose from. Plus, anyone can hit, throw or run – I want to see some real felonious initiative here.”
Toward that end, his ballot was particularly instructive, as he sent in Pages 179 through 648 of the Baseball Encyclopedia and wrote in North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on the basis that, “If he had played baseball, he would have hit .995 in utero, and would have never failed to hit a home run after the age of seven. Very impressive metrics.”
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Several Hall of Famers said they plan never to attend another ceremony, though this was found after investigation by Baseball Prospectus to be caused less by the inclusion of suspected PED users and more by the introduction of a cash bar.
Some voters, particularly the less whimsical wing of the sabermetrics community, tried to bring some sense of mathematical order to the process, but were shouted down by persistent cries of “Shut up about Jack Morris already!” and “No, we don’t want to see any color-coded spread sheets on Jose Vidro!”
But the most persistent lobbying group was comprised of those folks who are not in the BBWAA and therefore do not have a Hall of Fame vote. They issued a position paper claiming that they were smarter, more diligent and loved baseball more completely than any old writer.
Though subsequent research showed that they in fact had exactly the same percentage of careful thinkers and dull-witted sloths as any other large group of people, they continued to agitate for their position until even their friends and lovers abandoned them, to the great relief of the entire nation. “To think that they might have already made children scares us all out of our skins,” said everyone who has ever met any of them.
The final word, though, came from Idelson himself, who said on MLB Network, “If you guys do any more of those endless round table discussions about the Hall of Fame, I will hunt you down and brain each of you with Lou Gehrig’s bat. This was way more interesting when it wasn’t a daily marathon of the same people saying the same things about the same players. This cannot possibly be that interesting a subject. It can’t. I’m here every day, and I don’t talk about it that much. You and all your friends, the voters and the non-voters, have sucked all the fun out of this. I just got a phone call from Piers Morgan’s people. Piers Morgan, for God’s sake! Why don’t you just kill me and get it over with?”
The induction ceremony will be held in shifts throughout the month of August.