We got The Great Hall of Fame Shutout of 2013, a no-vote by the Baseball Writers Association of America that ensured induction weekend will be free of living beings for the first time in 50-plus years. Players accused (Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa) or known to have used performance-enhancing drugs whether through failed tests or admissions (Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro) predictably got much less support than their raw stats would have suggested.
Meanwhile, some more interesting and subtle stories were unfolding with several of the other players who fell short of the 75 percent vote mark needed for induction, starting with the one player who got the biggest screw job of all.
In case you were out doing some very last-minute ballot-box stuffing for the People's Choice Awards, here's what you missed in sports on Wednesday.
Kansas avoided an upset in their Big-12 opener beating Iowa State, 97-89, in overtime, as freshman sensation Ben McLemore banked in a game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation. "When it left my hand, I actually kind of called 'bank,'" said McLemore in his postgame interview, using the same rhetorical technique he did in ninth grade when he failed to convince his friends that he "actually kind of got to second base" with his sleepaway camp girlfriend, Mindy Williams.
New Mexico edged out UNLV, 65-60, at home in a matchup of ranked Mountain West foes. "I heard that the Pit was a tough place to play, but, man, I don't see how they can get away with that," complained UNLV freshman Anthony Bennett. "That court was just concrete, and like 30 feet deep, and there were no fans or hoops or anything. It was just, like, a bunch of snakes. I don't know how they came up with that final score, but I'm surprised we kept it that close. I'm terrified of snakes. Unless, maybe my terror scored points? The game we were playing certainly wasn't basketball. All I'm saying is that this better not affect our seeding come tournament time."
The voters have spoken: No living soul will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.
The announcement that no players from this year's Hall of Fame ballot netted the 75 percent vote needed to gain enshrinement has triggered outrage in baseball circles, and will surely bring more of the same for the Hall and the people of Cooperstown. With the Pre-Integration Committee inducting three people into the Hall who've been dead for decades, upstate New York can look forward to something it hasn't seen in half a century: a Hall of Fame induction with no living inductees to honor. That's scary news for an institution that lost more than $2 million in 2011 and has posted losses in eight of the past 10 years.
The voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America's inability to elect even one player into the Hall has raised one big question: Should the BBWAA be stripped of its voting power? Go through the long list of flaws in the process, and you start to wonder.
Here's a column I wrote about the Baseball Hall of Fame in January 2007 for ESPN The Magazine, back when I still cared who made it. Six years later, I find myself saying, "I don't even care anymore, the place has been ruined." Alas.
Normally, I enjoy the week the Baseball Hall of Fame inductees are announced. Not this year. With Mark McGwire's inclusion on the 2007 ballot, we have officially entered the Let's Blackball the Potential-Steroids-Guy Era.
Some writers won't vote for McGwire because he probably used steroids — keep in mind there's never been proof that he did, other than a visible bottle of andro and those 135 pounds of muscle he added from 1990 to 2002 — which would be fine if they weren't so pious about it. Not content with simply dismissing McGwire's candidacy and moving on, they need to climb on their high horses and rip the guy to shreds. Of course, many of them would appear on any radio or TV show for 50 bucks and a free sandwich. We're supposed to believe they would refuse the chance to take a drug that would enable them to do their job twice as well and make 10 times as much money? Yeah, right.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports over the weekend.
Adam Scott bogeyed the last four holes in an epic major collapse, and Ernie Els sunk a birdie putt on 18 to win the British Open by a single stroke. "Looks like I've got a new friend," said a smiling Jean Van de Velde, who then struggled furiously to get out of the straitjacket he's been wearing for over a decade, screaming "friend!" in a terrifying, high-pitched voice, as orderlies rushed in to shut off the television.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Monday.
Philip Rivers threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns as the Chargers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 38-14 win over the Jaguars. "It's disappointing not to make it to seven," said Chargers coach Norv Turner, "but wait, is this the playoffs?"