The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 12, 2014

Schremmer: BBWAA voters fail again

A quick rant through the week in sports:

• The vote for the 2014 class of baseball’s Hall of Fame was announced this week. Of course, the announcement was surrounded by controversy after the likes of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire were once again kept out of Cooperstown because of their link to performance enhancing drugs.

• I have made it known that I don’t think we should honor players who we know or strongly suspect to have taken steroids.

• However, I can understand the arguments from the people on the other side of the fence. Unless the player admits it, how do we really know who used and who didn’t? Partially because of ignorance and partially because many chose to look the other way, an environment was created where a large percentage of players were using performance enhancers. Sure, McGwire was on steroids when he hit that home run, but so was the pitcher who threw him the heater.

• So while I don’t think we need to put Bonds, Clemens and McGwire in the Hall, I can understand the reasoning by those who do.

• What I don’t understand is how people can defend the likes of Bonds, Clemens and McGwire — grown-ups who knowingly did something wrong — so much that they take away from the accomplishments of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas — three athletes who by all accounts achieved their success the right way.

• Instead of putting so much energy into defending ultra-rich former athletes who used illegal drugs, why are we not more upset that Craig Biggio — a poster-boy for doing things the right way — was kept out? Why aren’t we more upset about the absence of Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza, who are being left out despite little to no evidence they used steroids? And why aren’t we more upset about the Triple-A player in the 1990s who never made the big leagues because he didn’t want to risk his health by using a dangerous drug?

• There are so many reasons I love sports, but a biggie is that they allow those participating to feel like they are 9 years old again. Before San Diego’s playoff game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, a TV camera zoomed in on a Chargers player giving teammates a pregame pep talk. At the end of the speech, the Chargers player asked his teammates, “How does the train go?” They all responded, “Woo-woo.”

• Think about that for a second. Where else other than the world of sports would it be socially acceptable for a group of grown men to do that? You can’t really open a business meeting like that.

• Overrated: Slot receivers who catch the ball five yards down field with no one around them. Underrated: Offensive coordinators who design plays that allow the slot receiver to get that open.

• The annual Neosho Holiday Classic receives a lot of attention for bringing in an abundance of high-quality talent — and deservedly so. Future NCAA Division I athletes compete in the Neosho basketball tournament each year.

• Joplin’s Kaminsky Classic also is a showcase of future D-I talent. This past weekend’s basketball tournament at Missouri Southern included numerous athletes who will be competing at a high collegiate level. Joplin’s Charlie Brown, Jefferson City’s O.G. Anunoby, Webster Groves’ Alex Floresca and Word of Life’s Luka Radofevic all are receiving interest for D-I college basketball. Francis Howell center Nic Perkins has already committed to play baseball at Ole Miss and is expected to be selected in this summer’s MLB draft.

• Congratulations to Pittsburg High School’s Ethan Paul-Davis and all the other players from southeast Kansas who were selected to play in this summer’s Kansas Shrine Bowl. Paul-Davis earned the unique opportunity to represent the Purple Dragons one last time in front of his hometown fans. The all-star football game will be July 26 at Pittsburg State’s Carnie Smith Stadium.

• The NBA is having some games where all of the players’ jerseys have nicknames on the back instead of their last name. There are several reasons I don’t like this idea, but a big one is that not everyone can have a good nickname. Kevin “Big Ticket” Garnett is OK, but do we really need to force a nickname on the 12th man for the Atlanta Hawks?

• Back in the day, ESPN’s Chris Berman used to come up with creative nicknames for players. Some of my favorites: Alexander “If Loving You is Wrong, Then I Don’t Want To Be” Wright and Bert “Be Home” Blyleven.

• When I played high school football, we tried to come up Berman-style nicknames for every player on the team. There was only one worth remembering: John Paul “Leave Me Alone While I Watch” Mattivi.

• I know, I’m basically a 9-year-old. How does the train go, again?

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