OK, I've been building a grudge with TV sportswriters like Bayless, Woody Paige, Kornheiser, Wilbon, etc. for, well, I guess about two-three years now. I am sick of every pompous, stupid hair, bad suit, makeup-drenched, eyebrow-waxed, bad acting with outraaaaageous facial expressions and reactions to every craaaazy suggestion, with their reasoning for just about every single thing not being as good as others think it could be, because, you know, "I don't know that guy." "I've never heard of that guy." "I don't care about that."
The basic idea here is that Skip Bayless doesn't watch baseball. Neither does Kornheiser, neither does Wilbon, neither does Woody Paige, neither does Jay Mariotti (easily the worst of the bunch) - almost none of them do, apparently. Almost none of them watch any sports, but they have unique and shouted opinions on them anyway. The ESPN sportswriter is a sad attempt at the offbeat, conspiracy theorist movie character, the one with all these opinions, and in the end, none of them amount to anything because they've spent more time watching Little Rascals reruns than they have the subject they're actually talking about.
Bayless' argument that Palmeiro or Murray are not Hall-worthy is as routine and ridiculous as it gets. "It's the Hall of Fame! Only great players are in the Hall of Fame! This isn't the Hall of Good! Or Very Good!"
One of Bayless' questions: "But, what's your gut feeling: Is Rafael Palmeiro one of the dominant players of his era?"
And his answer? "No!"
Sorry, Skip, he actually is. Because you didn't notice doesn't make it less true. If you can find more than a few better players in Palmeiro's era, then congratulations, put them in your personalized Hall of Fame where only Ruth, Williams, Aaron, Mays, Mantle, DiMaggio and maybe a select few others may roam.
The point is, the true elite players, maybe ten or twelve hitters and however many pitchers, are not the standard for the Hall of Fame. Nor are some of the more dubious Hall of Fame selections.
Bayless also complains that voters give too much weight to milestones, but there's a problem there, too: Only great players reach these milestones, really. Dave Kingman crapped out before he could reach 500 homers. So did Jose Canseco and Fred McGriff. Lots of people did not and will not reach 3,000 hits.
Bayless' tired, look-at-me! argument eventually centers on the fact that Palmeiro has never won an MVP or played in the World Series, two more things players should not be held entirely accountable for, because writers determine the MVP (and are often quite wrong), and teams make and win the World Series, not players. Is Jeff Kent better than Palmeiro? He's been to a World Series and won an MVP. Is Joe Carter better than Palmeiro? He's a World Series hero. Kirk Gibson?
Even if Palmeiro had been a Yankee, this would not be a question to a sportswriter. And I'm not playing the poor media victim here; Palmeiro could've been a career Angel and this article would've been stupid to me. But where is Bayless to question the power numbers of some of the lefties who played at Yankee Stadium? Camden Yards and Arlington are certainly friendly to a lefty hitter, but this is not a new or unique situation in baseball.
Mize, Morgan, Musial, Ott, Paige, Palmer, Reese, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jackie Robinson, Ruth, Nolan Ryan, Schmidt, Seaver, Sisler, Ozzie Smith, Snider, Spahn, Speaker, Stargell, Honus Wagner, Ted Williams, Yastrzemski, Cy Young and Robin Yount.
What he's really saying is, "Give me names from the days of yore, many of whom may have not been quite as good as their reputation, but years have passed and flaws have been forgiven or entirely forgotten." I don't want this to turn into a Raffy v. X series of arguments, but there are a few players in Bayless' list (all of whom were damn good players at the least) that Palmeiro is better than.
And I'd honestly love to hear Bayless' reasoning for how Lou Brock gets in if it isn't because of a record he once held. Brock never won an MVP, never won a Gold Glove (he wasn't a very good fielder, period), was a mere six-time All-Star in 19 seasons, struck out a lot (one of Skip's arguments against Sosa, too); outside of the steals, what's there to compare Brock to Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb? What's there to compare Brock to Palmeiro?
And George Sisler? Come on. Apparently to be larger than life to Skip Bayless, all you need is a whole lot of years where you've been overrated for one or two things, and Skip is on your side. Palmeiro was a better player than Sisler years ago, this isn't something new because of milestones. I'm sure that - unlike Palmeiro, whom you never dropped what you were doing to watch hit - newspaper boys across the nation were swamped on street corners with the news of George Sisler's latest adventures. Robin Yount? What is Yount in for if not 3,000 hits?
If you're a good ol' days player, you're probably safe, because Bayless and others who continually argue these stupid ideas didn't see you play.
And Palmeiro's not a good ol' days player. He's modern. And it is completely necessary to be a contrarian. Don't be happy that you saw Palmeiro play - although you may not have because he never commanded great attention from anyone until now - just question his legitimacy. How could a player from recent times be as good as one from way back when?
Fine, Bayless will not vote for Palmeiro in his Hall of Skip's Heroes; fortunately, that's not what the Hall of Fame is.