THE PALLILOG

Here's why Hall of Fame voting results could come down to the wire

This is the last shot for Roger Clemens. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images.

This coming Tuesday the main ballot Baseball Hall of Fame voting results are announced. Last year no one was elected. This is the 10th and final chance on the main ballot for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (for Curt Schilling too but he has no chance and is not arguably the greatest hitter or pitcher of all-time). Last year Bonds and Clemens each drew under 62 percent “in” votes, it takes 75 percent of the vote for election. It’s going to be close. On the foremost tracking site of Hall voting, with about 45 percent of ballots accounted for, Bonds has over 77 percent of ballots in his favor, Clemens over 76 percent.

While not the way I view it, I have always understood a voter position against any player who failed a PED test or never failed a test but who definitely used (Mark McGwire). Not all things are black or white. The argument in favor of guys who used while there was no testing is dubious. It was still against the rules, unless choosing to ignore that steroid use for athletic enhancement has been against the law since 1990. Baseball rules or non-rules don’t supersede laws of the country. That baseball didn’t test for steroids until 2004 didn’t make using them okay before then, baseball just lacked the ability to catch cheaters. Bonds used but has always claimed he did so unknowingly. Clemens has always maintained innocence. If we could be guaranteed absolute truth, my bet would be that they both willfully used, like hundreds of other players caught and uncaught in that era. Most people would bet the same way. What would I do with a ballot? Vote yes for both. Before the phases of their careers when Bonds and Clemens both defied the aging process and engaged/did not engage in whatever, they both had lock Hall credentials. Wonder what their induction speeches would include.

The one guy definitely getting named to the Hall Class of 2022 Tuesday is David Ortiz. Barring a huge surprise “Big Papi” will be voted in in his first year of eligibility. Alex Rodriguez meanwhile will come nowhere close. Ortiz never won a regular season Most Valuable Player Award, but five times finished in the top five. His postseason resume is fabulous, at the heart of three Red Sox World Series winning teams. If anyone other than Bonds or Clemens is to join Ortiz for enshrinement in Cooperstown this summer, it’s third baseman Scott Rolen though he’ll likely fall a bit short.

Billy Wagner again has no chance, though if the former Astros’ closer nudges over 50 percent of the vote it’s encouraging for his shot with three more years on the ballot. Three years ago “Wags” got just 16.7 percent, two years ago bumped up 31.7 percent, last year up to 46.4.

NFL Playoffs

Odds are that at least one road team wins in the NFL Playoffs this weekend. If exactly one is to win, who are you taking: Bengals at Titans, 49ers at Packers, Rams at Buccaneers, or Bills at Chiefs? Among the six games last weekend only the Cowboys chumped up at home, laughably leaving them one playoff victory behind the Texans (four to three) over the last quarter-century.

With general manager Nick Caserio having botched his first Texans head coach hire with David Culley, does he really have license to hire someone else with minimal to zero head coaching credentials? E.g. Hines Ward or Josh McCown. No harm in interviewing them.

College hoops

Despite losing leading scorer Marcus Sasser and fellow guard Tramon Mark to season ending injuries, the Houston Cougars remain really good. They re-entered the top 10 in the AP poll this week. It’s too bad the American Athletic Conference is so weak overall. To this point in the season at least, there is not another NCAA Tournament-worthy team in the league. It makes for very few UH games to be excited about, Saturday’s home date with East Carolina as the next for instance. That certainly won’t be the case when the Coogs move to the Big 12, ideally the season after next, at the latest 2024-25. If the COVID-canceled Cincinnati game isn’t made up, UH’s regular season will total 30 games. The Rockets’ season is 82 games. Should be down to the wire as to who wins more games.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. Is not infamy a branch or subset of fame? It’s one reason I’d vote for Pete Rose. Put on his plaque that he was a liar, bet on baseball, and got banned for life.

2. What happens first: the Texans win a playoff game or the Rockets win a playoff series? Before or after July 1 2025?

3. Best hot drinks: Bronze-green tea Silver-cider Gold-cocoa of course

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