Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wind Beneath My Wings

I hate to fly. Not just a little bit. I mean, I absolutely hate flying. Not as much as I hate boats, but I really don't like to be off solid ground. John Madden had a point with the bus thing. Yesterday was one of those days which encapsulates everything I hate about air travel.

We'll pick up the story in Philly. I don't really want to get into why I was in the Philly airport, but I would like to point out that flying from Baltimore to Philly is one of the all-time colossal wastes of time. At most, its a 30 minute flight. They never even turned off the light saying it was okay to use electronic devices. You don't even finish the ascent before its time to descend. But there I was, flying to Philadelphia against my will and better judgment.*

There was a "weather event" in Dallas yesterday. Or, as I like to call them, tornadoes. I didn't know that as I loaded onto the plane at 2:00 EST. Anyway, we sat on the plane for a half an hour before the captain told everybody that there were storms in Dallas, no one was landing, so we'd take off in an hour. So just sit tight, kids. We'll be in the air in an hour. So we sat on a plane for an hour, and true to his word, we took off at about 3:30 EST.

At 7:00 CST, we landed in Shreveport.

There's not a whole lot of flightplans I disapprove of more than "Philly to Shreveport," so I was a little miffed. I'd also been sitting in this plane for six hours now, and I was kind of getting sick of it. I don't like being trapped in a small metal tube any longer than I have to be. Apparently, the storms hadn't stopped and traffic was being rerouted to other airports. OK, fine. But I was flying US Air, and US Air does not fly to Shreveport. So the good people at the Shreveport airport wouldn't let us deplane. So I was stuck on the airplane until we got clearance and of course, fuel.

At this point, I should point out that I was sitting next to a deaf-mute. Ordinarily, this is the greatest person in the world to sit next to you because I don't have to talk to them, but breaking the bad news to her over a series of scribbled notes was not my idea of a good time.

"Where are we?"
"Tornadoes in Dallas."
"When do we get to Dallas?"
"After we get fuel"
"When is that?"

The correct answer turned out to be 9:30 CST. Of course, they forgot the paperwork. And by this point, the storm had moved past Dallas and settled into -- you guessed it -- Shreveport. I called my buddy Bruce for a weather update:

"You know how rain is usually green on the map?"
"It's red"
"That's not good."
"You ain't taking off."
"Sure we are, the airline wouldn't lie."
"Well, put your arms above your head."
"Because its gonna be a better ride than anything in DisneyWorld."

We took off. To call that "turbulence" is like calling a torando "breezy".

I was sitting over the wing, so I looked out my window and realized it was so cloudy I couldn't see the wingtip. I half expected to see the gremlin from the Twilight Zone. Every so often the sky would light up with a flash of lightning which would helpfully illuminate the entire cabin. I took that opportunity to look around the cabin to make sure we weren't all dead.

It was at about this point the lady behind me asked if I was using my air sickness bag. I had never actually seen a barf bag used on a flight, and really, I think I could have gone my whole life without that experience.

We landed in Dallas a little after midnight. At that point, I had been sitting in the same metal tube for 11 hours. That little bag of pretzels also wasn't doing the best of job of nipping that hunger in the bud.

And then I left the airport and got to drive home to Waco. So, how was your vacation?

*Note from Management -- I think we've established beyond any reasonable doubt at this point that my "better judgment" is rather less than the average person's. Let's just move on.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Schadenfreude and Britney Spears

By request, I will write about the Pride of Southern Louisiana, Britney Spears.

Unable to say something funny on my own, I will point you to Pug Bus, and the truly brilliant fake news story, Britney Spears’ donation of panties rejected by Christie’s.

"I was quite stunned by Ms. Spear's gesture," reported Christie's consignment specialist, Adrienne Hines, who heads the Los Angeles division of the auction house. "While we were ever so grateful to receive Princess Di's formal gowns, we were taken aback with Ms. Spears' request that we auction off her undergarments."

Which would explain why Britney’s had such a real problem finding underwear recently. In non-fake news, Spears did nab the coveted Worst Dressed Award from Us Weekly. I’m not sure how the lack of clothes constitutes worst dressed, but there you go. We're all very proud of her for trying to stay in the news.

She also was caught throwing up in the bathroom of hip club Les Deux (like I would know what was hip). Even better, she spent the evening requesting her own songs from the DJ. Someone has to, right? How’s the inevitable slide into irrelevance treating ya, babe?

Ford Dies. Steve Makes Fun of Dead Presidents (Not Ford)

Gerald Ford died yesterday. I always like Ford, mainly because I was born during the Ford presidency and there's not a whole lot of us who can say that. But have you ever heard anyone say anything bad about Gerald Ford? He may not have been the greatest president, but he was one of the greatest people to be president. Hell, the biggest satire of his presidency was him falling down the stairs of Air Force One.

I'll leave it to his friend, fellow President Jimmy Carter to eulogize him:

Rosalynn and I join the nation in mourning the loss of President Gerald Ford. President Ford is one of the most admirable public servants and human beings I have ever known. A man of highest integrity, his life-long dedication to helping others touched the lives of countless people. An outstanding statesman, he wisely chose the path of healing during a deeply divisive time in our nation's history. He frequently rose above politics by emphasizing the need for bipartisanship and seeking common ground on issues critical to our nation. I will always cherish the personal friendship we shared. Rosalynn and I extend our heartfelt sympathy to Betty and the entire Ford family during this time of grief.

I also am sort of fascinated by the Accidental Presidents who never would win a presidential election. Just a quick run through history because I think it's kind of fun:

John Tyler became president when William Henry Harrison (the Tippecanoe of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" fame) became perhaps the first person to ever die from being a pompous windbag. Seriously, he got pneumonia for talking too long during his inauguration. Tyler annexed Texas, no small feat. Just ask any Texan, they'll be happy to tell you.

Millard Fillmore became president when Zachary Taylor died from heat exhaustion laying the cornerstone for the Washington Monument. Which is a pretty monument, so thanks, Zach. Fillmore didn't too much and now he has a comic strip written by a drunk named after him.

Andrew Johnson succeeded Lincoln after his assassination. The Republicans promptly impeached him. He accomplished almost nothing and died a pretty angry and bitter man.

Chet Arthur became president after a disgruntled office seeker shot James Garfield. In order to not meet the same fate, Arthur invented the Civil Service, dismantling the patronage system.

And of course, Gerald Ford. Nixon resigned because of a second rate burglary and that whole subverting the Constitution thing. Ford would take the first step in healing the nation by pardoning Nixon, a move which may have cost him re-election. I've always respected that decision, and he won a Profile in Courage Award for it.

Rest In Peace, President Ford.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Here's hoping your sugarplums were dancing in your head, your Lords were a-leaping, and you wassailed until you couldn't wassail anymore.

Merry Christmas!

The real question for me now is this: what the hell am I going to do with all of this coal?

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Last Gutpak

Vitek's is closing. Actually, today is the very last day it will be open, so we took this occasion to have one last Gutpak. I could wax nostalgic about Vitek's, but I've only been here for a year and don't have too many memories. but the food was good and it was my favorite BBQ place in Waco.

Now, I'm a pork barbeque guy. I feel that Memphis BBQ is far superior to Texas BBQ, but I was willing to make an exception for Vitek's. However, with their closing, I must categorically state that Memphis BBQ is superior. Nothing better than some smoked pork with some dry rub.

Still, I'll miss the Gutpak.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

You Cannot Stop Me, You Can Only Hope To Contain Me

Woo hoo!

Check your inbox, BLS. The powers-that-be have added the B+ and the C+ to the grading scale starting next winter. They have also change the value of grades as follows:

A = 4.0
A- = 3.67
B+ = 3.33
B = 3.00
B- = 2.67
C+ = 2.33
C = 2.00
D = 1.00
F = 0

Now, we can pretend they made this change due to the concerns of the student body or maybe the result of an investigative committee report. But that would be wishful thinking. We all know the real reason is that the B+ has long been a personal campaign here at Poseur HQ. This is just the administration being unable to resist the persuasive powers of a Guy With A Blog. Bow down before the power of the internets, baby!

You can all thank me tommorrow via gifts and large cash payments. You are all very welcome. I rule.

Do They Know It's Christmas?

It's 58 degrees according to my car, and since my car has never lied to me, I'm taking its word on it. So, it's 58 degrees, and I'm wearing a jacket. Because I'm cold. I am so screwed when I go back to the east coast for the holdiays.

Two days until Christmas break! And you know what everyone on my list is getting? That's right, Baylor Law schwag! (Actually, not entirely true, but it does fill in the gaps on the old Christmas list). In response, my family is undoubtedly getting me coal. I look forward to the awkward smiles as people pretend to like their gift. Hey, that's payback for the fruitcake.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cartoon Hero Dies

Joe Barbera, the second half of Hanna-Barbera, died yesterday. His first cartoons, Tom and Jerry, won Academy Awards. And the last project he worked on was the Powerpuff Girls. That’s a pretty amazing run, particularly when you consider in between he either wrote or produced such cartoons as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Scooby Doo, Captain Caveman, the Smufs (and their bastard cousins the Snorks), and a goodly portion of adult swim (Space Ghost).

It’s an impressive career. But most importantly, Hanna-Barbara made perhaps the second weirdest children show in TV history, the Banana Splits (number one is clearly HR Pufnstuf). The late 1960s and early 1970s was a glorious time for children’s programming, as networks decided to let obviously drug-addled crazy people simply animate their acid trips.* I think it was perhaps the world’s most effective antidrug campaigns. I’m never doing drugs on the off chance I end up getting attacked by the Banana Splits. Though the theme song was super catchy.

Who thought this was a good idea? What TV exec thought, “hey, the drug culture is really hip right now. Let’s expose it to six-year-olds!” I mean, the drug references in Scooby Doo were downright subtle in comparison. It’s really a shame these things aren’t on DVD. Or maybe it is a good thing.

But I’ll remember Jon Barbara by seeking out old Laff-A-Lympic episodes. I got my money on Grape Ape.

* Incidentally, this lead to one of my favorite comedy sketches of all time: “Drugachusettes” by Mr. Show with Bob and David. It really can’t be described, but it’s a brilliant parody of this era of truly insane TV shows. Especially when one of the characters has an overdose.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pop Culture Law School Dorks

OK, our team application is in for the new season of the World Series of Pop Culture. We go down for a tryout in Austin this February if we get the call. Our team is appropriately law dorky, JARED, due to both my love of Subway sandwiches and my familiarity with the concept of a Just And Right Equitable Division.

It's time to start studying the gossip pages to bone up on my celebrity couples.

Mascots Gone Wild!

Adrian McPherson is suing the Tennessee Titans because he was run over by their mascot. Now, I am happy someone else recognizes that mascots are evil, but I think McPherson’s going a little too far in his complaint. He’s trying to collect $15 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitives. Once again, this is for getting hit by a golf cart driven by a mascot. A golf cart.

McPherson suffered injuries severe enough to force the Saints to put him on the injured reserve (apparently, one cannot be placed on the IR for “having a case of the sucks”). McPherson makes about $350,000 a year for playing quarterback and, according to his complaint, “play in other significant capacities” which we can assume means holding the clipboard and planning the after parties. A player in the NFL still gets paid when he is on the IR, so I’m not sure how he’s claiming lost income, but let’s say the injury is costing him next year’s salary in reduced earning capacity (really, are you going to hire a quarterback unable to dodge a golf cart?)

We’re left with a claimed $14,650,000 in medical bills and mental anguish. While I find mascots to be creepy, I don’t think I’m getting a check anytime in the near future. I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that McPherson does not have several million dollars in medical bills. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m on the mascot’s side in this one. Maybe its because I think former Florida State football players should be assaulted by guys in raccoon costumes.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Miss USA Is Just Like Us... Only Prettier and Drunker

Miss USA looks like she's going to be stripped of her tiara for inappropriate behavior. She's already tested positive for cocaine, and she's been spotted in NYC bars boozing it up with her comrade-in-arms, Miss Teen USA. Neither are of legal drinking age (and there is no legal cocaine snorting age).

I'm always a big fan of people who get lectures on morality from Donald Trump. It's irony on a base level, but still pretty funny when you stop to think about it. Donald Trump, Defender of Morality. Also, Miss USA is going to lose her spokeswoman status for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Hey, at least she didn't drive.

And if you don't think I didn't bring this up just to show pictures of Miss USA, you obviously don't know me very well.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Worst. Surprise. Party. Ever.

Hey, kids. Quick tip.

When you are trying to throw a surpirse birthday party for someone, you probably shouldn't park all of the cars out in front of the house. Particularly when every other car has a Baylor Law sticker on it. And there's also this neat invention called a cell phone. The person responsible for bringing the surprisee to the party could have probably called ahead so when they arrived we weren't all in the backyard, making an obscene amount of noise.

The only surprise was how bad law students are at the simple execution of a surprise party. We tried. But the party was a lot of fun. And there was cake. And we all know how I feel about cake.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Election Party In the Dean's Office!

I’m not sure if its official, but Chris’ campaign for Commencement Speaker looks to have been a rousing success. Hell, it would have been a success had he lost just because it was pretty damn funny (while the sign on the bear was great, Osler’s negative campaigning was simply inspired). Now Chris has his Robert Redford moment similar to the end of The Candidate: “well, now what?”*

But, if his filing is any indication, Chris will make a terrific speaker who will make the festivities, well, festive. Even when he’s having his rare serious moment, he was interesting. I think the students will have made a wise choice of Chris wins, and maybe choosing a Guy With A Blog is a good idea for future graduations. We just have to wait for there to be another funny, smart, and interesting Baylor blogger to come along. Good luck with that. For right now, you suckers are stuck with me, Swanburg, a girl who rips off The Family Circus, and about a million 1Ls**. I don’t foresee anyone being dumb enough to give any of us a microphone. I certainly wouldn’t unless karaoke was involved.

Congrats to Chris. And a great job by the administration to go along with the joke while at the same time insuring that graduation maintains its dignity. That’s a fairly difficult balancing act. People grouse about the powers that be quite a bit, but they were pretty cool about this one. See, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

*Does anyone know what I’m talking about? I sometimes go too obscure on references thinking people will actually know what I’m talking about. I know you know Robert Redford. Have you seen The Candidate? It’s a great movie. Go rent it, you won’t be sorry. Really. Even if I have given away the ending. Oh, and Rosebud is a sled and the chick in The Crying Game is a dude.

**And we all get upstaged by a professor. Seriously, we suck. Osler stole my joke this week, told everyone he was stealing my joke, and was still funnier than me. I can accept the profs are smarter and more talented than me, but also funnier? It’s not right.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pfc. Claus Is Wrapping the Presents

The Marines came by to pick up the Toys for Tots donations today. We packed the vehicle full in some sort of bizarro martial variation of Santa's sleigh. We were kind of curious why they were wearing flak jackets to pick up donations? Has the Grinch stepped up his campaign against Christmas to include amushes on toy caravans? Or have scientists accidently created the real life Santa Bot, who reigns violence every holiday season on Futurama?

Or maybe they just wore the vests to ward off the amorous advances of the female law students who are, frankly, pretty sick and tired of the lame girly-men who wander around these halls. Swanburg excepted, of course.

I like the Santa Bot theory better.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Immunity Toys

Immunity Day is tonight! Throw on a horrible Christmas sweater, come on out, and let’s go bowling! And then don’t get called on tomorrow! A pretty good deal all the way around.

And while I am reluctant to use this space as a place to hype up SBA events (not for ethical reasons or anything, but because 1) its not funny and 2) I want cash payment for advertising), this has been a really successful Toys for Tots donation drive. Thanks to every single person who bought immunity or brought in a toy (or toys). I had a blast working the table to see the toys people brought in, and you guys really came through with some cool toys for the kids. The SBA office has so many toys in it, we could hardly get the door closed. You guys rule.

Especially to whoever brought in the bike. I mean, that is even cooler than the Lego helicopter, which was the early front-runner for best gift.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Burning Email

From today's email:

"I just wanted to let everyone know that at Noon today the alarm system will be going off and the doors will lock."

Isn't it nice to know that the alarm will go off and then the doors will lock? So in case of fire, we will be alerted to the fact we are locked inside the building and are going to burn to death. I would prefer a system in which the alarm goes off and there is a way out of the building. I'd rather not be a burn victim. Though we know I'd be able to get a lot of damages in a successful suit against the school. Though they might get mad at me and not let me graduate in retaliation. So perhaps the lawsuit is a bad idea. Particularly the burning part.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm Not a Mushroom, I'm a Fungi

I was in Houston this weekend to visit an old friend who has just earned his PhD in molecular bology. He coded the genetic sequence of some bacteria or virus. I get confused. I know its not a fungus. His department does not deal in fungi. Anyway, I don't understand it. And there's a 200 page book he wrote about this thing I don't understand and now I have to call him "doctor".

Scientists can really drink. They can also have some mind-numbingly boring coversations. Did you know there are several different ways to code DNA? Neither did I, but I as trapped in a converstaion anout it (the people next to me were talking about the herpes virus). I now know what its like for a non-law student to hang out with law students.

It sucks. Until the beer gets flowing, then its ok. Then I'm an expert on fungi.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fourscore and Seven Years Ago...

Chris Farfenblogger has thrown his hat into the ring and is running for Commencement Speaker '07. I wasn't aware this was an elected position, but for too long students have been subjected to interesting people of wisdom and accomplishment. What we really want is a guy with a blog. Accomplishments are optional. And dude, he was in a band!

Really, who has had more of an impact on the graduating class than the author of the world famous* SoTheBearSays? No one. He's taught us to open our hearts, and isn't that more important than the law?**

VOTE CHRIS! Even if you can't actually vote. Maybe you should just send some sternly worded missives to the administration. Show off those persuasive skills you've learned over the past three years. If you can get Chris to be Commencement Speaker, there really might be nothing you can't accomplish.

*Not actually world famous.

**According to the hiring partners of law firms, no.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Guns Don't Kill People, Comedy Does

Let me explain comedy to people. I wouldn’t think I would need to do this, but sometimes we need a refresher. Borat’s anti-semitism is funny not because he’s anti-semitic, but because Sasha Cohen is an Orthodox Jew and he’s using the fake anti-Semitism of his fictional character to expose the very real anti-Semitism of those around him. He’s using comedy to make social commentary.

This is not “only Jews can make fun of the Jews,” this is simply understanding why the joke is funny in the first place. Because it puts society up to the funhouse mirror. So, when you do a Borat parody at a Baptist school, its not funny. Why? Because it’s just racist.

Racist? Not funny. See the difference between parodying racists and actually being a racist? It’s the difference between Dave Chappelle’s Ku Klux Klan bit and Michael “Kramer” Richards actually acting like a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

And don’t give us the lame, “I expressly disavow anything offensive.” That’s a cop out. To quote They Might Be Giants, “you can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding.” The whole thing was offensive.

Comedy is dangerous. I’m not good with guns, so I do my best not to shoot one or else I might hurt someone unintentionally. Perhaps you should take the same precautions with comedy. If you’re just not very good at it, you're going to hurt people unintentionally.

*Ed Note – I am not going to reproduce the email. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you don’t. It was an attempt at humor, and it failed. Giving it a wider release would be wrong, but so would letting it go without comment.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas Season!

Miracle On 34th Street is on AMC right now. Outside of It's A Wonderful Life, it is my very favorite Christmas movie and it always puts me in a good mood. Especially when Natalie Wood sends Kris Kringle that letter saying she believes in him.

OK, it doesn't always put me in a good mood. that's because Ted Turner colorized the movie, which is a total and complete abomination. They were playing the color version earlier today and I couldn't even bring myself to watch a scene. But the good ol black and white version is on right now. Really, if you don't like this movie, your soul is a barren place. Or you root for the Yankees.


I suck at beer pong. Though I think the Ringels should go pro.

For details on the beer pong smackdown, go to Swanburg's. And yes, that is a picture of me touching Chicago's nipple. No, I was no drunk. Yes, I am happy that no audio was included.

I had a good time, but my representation of my quarter was shameful. Next time, we're going to the heavy hitters to represent Fall 2005 starters.

And you have to admit, Swanburg did a great job seeding the tournament. Good job by the committee. Maybe we should put him in charge of the BCS.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Why I Don't Have A Girlfriend

The Hall of Fame ballots were released this week. I’m a huge baseball dork, so this is like Christmas for me. Excuse the extreme dorkiness as I breakdown the ballot. As always when I do something like this, I provide something fun for the rest of you:

Spear tossing! I can’t crack 500. Give it a try.

First time guys are marked with an asterisk.

*Harold Baines

First time on the ballot, its also the first time a career DH is on the ballot. Consider this the test case for the Edgar Martinez candidacy. In 1987 at the age of 28, Baines became primarily a DH due to some bad knees and some fairly bad fielding numbers, though not horrific. He played until age 42, logging 1644 games at DH, 1061 as an OF. He was a six time All-Star, and over his career posted a 120 OPS+ (20% better than league average, adjusted for park effects). He hit 289 on his career with 384 HRs. Nice numbers, but he fell short of the magic 3000 hits, “only” getting 2866. That gives people a good excuse to keep him out.

There’s a bias against DH’s, whether its deserved or not. The thing is, with his numbers, Baines wouldn’t get in as a right fielder. He has nice numbers, but not terrific. He was top ten in the MVP only once. He never won the World Series. He never led the league in a major offensive category. If someone is going to break the DH barrier, it won’t be Baines, which is a shame, as he was always one of my favorite players and known as a really nice guy.

Bert Blyleven

Seriously. It’s bordering on criminal. 287 wins (26th all-time). 3701 strikeouts (5th all-time). 60 shutouts (9th all-time). He won two World Series, with a career WS line of 2.35 and a 2-1 record in three starts. Oh, and he is generally considered to have the greatest curveball in the history of baseball. I don’t understand any rational argument for keeping him out other than he played for a lot of teams because he liked getting paid. He’s being kept out because he didn’t hit this arbitrary number of 300 wins and that’s just stupid. He was a great pitcher.

Dave Concepcion
Alan Trammell

Before Ripken, their numbers were just fine, even stellar for a shortstop in Trammell’s case. Then Ripken changed our expectations on what a shortstop should do at the plate and its killing Trammell. Concepcion was a nice player, but he’s only still on the ballot due to some heavy lobbying from his Big Red Machine teammates. He’s not Joe Morgan. Trammell was a four-time Gold Glover and three-time Silver Slugger, a tough trick when you’re competing against the second coming of Honus Wagner. Trammell put up good hitting numbers at a position not known for hitters. Until now. Trammell is being kept out due to our changed expectations of his position. In fact, his closest hitting comps are second basemen, which means there wasn’t a shortstop that really compared except maybe Barry Larkin. But Trammell compares favorably to the shortstops already enshrined like Pee Wee Reese, Lou Boudreau, Luis Aparacio, and he blows the doors of Phil Rizzuto. He’s borderline, but I’d vote for him, if only because he was part of perhaps the best double play combo since Tinkers and Evers.

Steve Garvey
Don Mattingly

Nice players. Good numbers. Nothing that blows your doors off. Both get continued support because of their outsized personalities (Mattingly was 0% bullshit, Garvey was about 100% bullshit, so it evened out). First basemen have to get in based on hitting, and there numbers just pale in comparison to the first basemen already enshrined.

*Tony Gwynn
*Cal Ripken Jr.

Failing to vote for either of these two guys should get your voting privileges revoked. OK, I can see a case against Gwynn, who couldn’t run, field, or hit for power. But God, was he the almost perfect contact hitter.

Ripken is either the greatest or second greatest shortstop of all-time, depending on how you rank Honus Wagner. The Streak. Two MVPs. Rookie of the Year. 3184 hits. 431 HRs. 19-time All-Star. Still the record holder for Greatest Defensive Season ever, in which he made three errors and had a record .996 fielding percentage for a shortstop. Actually, his defense wasn’t appreciated until late in his career, as Ozzie Guillen won the Gold Glove that year. A guy so goody-goody, his endorsement deal was for milk. Heroes always let you down, except Cal. I was a lucky kid to have him as a hero.

Albert Belle
Andre Dawson
Dale Murphy
Dave Parker
Jim Rice

Let’s play “guess that statline” as we put these guys head to head. All won an MVP award, though Murphy won two.

#1 298/352/502 382 HR 1451 RBI 2452 H 58 SB below average defense
#2 295.369/564 381 HR 1239 RBI 1726 H 9 SB below average defense
#3 279/323/482 438 HR 1591 RBI 2774 H 314 SB above average defense
#4 290/339/471 339 HR 1493 RBI 2712 H 154 SB average defense
#5 265/346/469 398 HR 1266 RBI 2111 H 161 SB very good defense

OK, who jumps out? No one, really. Player #2 has awesome rate stats, but has terrible counting stats because of a career cut short by injury. If you vote solely on peak, he’s the obvious guy. Player #3 has the best counting stats, but his rate stats are a little behind the others. Though he was the only one who was huge base stealing threat. Player #1 is a slightly better version of Player #4 minus the speed and a slightly shorter career. I honestly think Player #5 looks like the most rounded despite the low batting average and low RBIs (due to playing on some lousy teams).

Take your pick, I’d be content if none of these guys made it, nor would I be outraged if all of them found their way into the Hall. It’s just five very borderline candidates. My picks would be Players #3 and #5. The key:

Player #1 = Jim Rice
Player #2 = Albert Belle (who should get a deduction for being Albert Belle)
Player #3 = Andre Dawson
Player #4 = Dave Parker
Player #5 = Dale Murphy

Rich "Goose" Gossage
Lee Smith
Orel Hershiser
Tommy John
Jack Morris
*Bret Saberhagen

I hate relievers and think they are the most coddled professional athlete on the planet. The way most people feel about DH’s is how I feel about closers. I’d keep them all out. Except Goose Gossage. For two reasons: 1) The Hall needs more guys named Goose (bonus point to anyone who knows who the enshrined Goose’s last name) and 2) He pitched before the era of the one-inning bases-empty save. His 310 saves actually meant something.

The other pitchers are an assortment of flawed but interesting pitchers. Hersheiser has the consecutive scoreless innings streak, but really he was great for six years and then his career hit a wall. Tommy John has borderline numbers and the surgery named after him, but its not like he actually invented the surgery so he can’t get in on Contributions to the Game. Saberhagen was on his way to a Hall of Fame career before injuries absolutely wrecked his career. Hell, at age 30, he seemed like a shoo-in. Little did anyone know, he’d pitch only 488 more innings (which is about two full seasons). And they weren’t a good 488 innings.

If my life were on the line and I could have any one pitcher at his prime to pitch that one game, Morris would be my #2 choice behind Bob Gibson. He was The Big Game pitcher of my lifetime. Unfortunately, during all those other games he was merely good. His terrible 1992 postseason drags down the numbers (when he was clearly done as an effective pitcher), but check out the numbers in 1984 and 1991:

1984: 3 GS, 3-0, 25 IP, 1.80 ERA, 17 K, 4 BB, 18 H
1991: 5 GS, 4-0, 36.1 IP, 2.23 ERA, 22 K, 10 BB, 35 H

And that includes perhaps the greatest postseason game ever pitched, the 10-inning 1-0 victory in Game 7 of the 1991 Series. Morris was a total badass in the postseason.

*Ken Caminiti,
*Jose Canseco,
*Mark McGwire,

Caminiti and Canseco wouldn’t get in even without the steroid problems. Which leaves us with McGwire, who would be clearly in if there was no taint of steroids. I haven’t clarified my thinking on this, but here’s my gut reaction: he should be in. Here’s why

1) People knew back in 1998. And that was the time to call him out on it. To bash him now seems rather hypocritical. He had andro in his locker, in view of the media.
2) Steroids are immoral, but their use wasn’t against the rules of baseball like they are now. Baseball dragged its feet on the issue and this is what they get.
3) Willie Mays has admitted to using speed. And we’re pretty sure half of the Hall of Fame inducted after 1950 has as well. We’ve got coke addicts and drunks in the Hall. Singling McGwire out seems grossly unfair.
4) It’s never been proven. OK, he probably did it, but we don’t know. And there’s a LOT of guys who probably did steroids in the 1990s. If Alex Sanchez got busted, it means anyone could be doing it, because he was a speedy, no-power slap hitter.
5) The Hall of Fame is full of rotten people. Ted Williams was a jerk. Ty Cobb was a racist. Rogers Hornsby was arguably the worst person to ever play a professional sport. Steroids is different because it affects the game itself, but I don’t buy the morality argument.

*Dante Bichette,
*Bobby Bonilla,
*Scott Brosius,
*Jay Buhner,
*Eric Davis,
*Tony Fernandez,
*Wally Joyner,
*Paul O'Neill,
*Devon White,
*Bobby Witt.

I always love the list of first time guys who won’t garner enough votes to stay on the ballot. One or two of these guys might reach that 5% mark, but Jay Buhner’s fame is probably more tied to a Seinfeld episode. And there is a special place in hell for Tony F’n Fernandez was that home run he hit off Benitez in the 1997 ALCS. Not that I’m bitter. Oh, and Bobby Witt is one of my all-time favorite players. To say he had control problems is like saying OJ has publicity problems. He somehow got a World Series ring by sticking around long enough to end up in the D-Backs pen in 2001. I like big fat guys who play pro sports.

The Final Vote if I had a ballot: