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Stark View

Choosing up sides for the Hallof Fame is not an exact science. It can be especially difficult if you're ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.

It took him four weeks to fill out the ballot after, according to Stark, the piece of paper had cast "its annual hypnotic spell." Oou-ee-ouhh. And he needed 2000 words to explain the thing. Watch closely Jason, as the fingers never leave the hands, I can do it in 500, tops.

Stark says "Trust me. It isn't as easy as it looks." Actually, it is. Send me your ballot next year. You'll have it back in three days, and I'll even spring for the stamp. It's not brain surgery. You don't have to lose sleep over it. Just watch baseball and agree with everything I say and you'll be fine. Or like I said, send me the damn thing.

First things first. Gary Carter is not a Hall of Famer, so don't feel bad. Jim Rice is, so please, feel bad. Or as you say, "heartburn." Rolaids spells relief they tell me. You're right when you say Rice's "11 years of offensive terror ('75-85) rival anyone's of that era." But this "no points for speed, defense or off-the-field contributions" BS is total crap.

Fine, speed. But isn't baserunning more important than speed? Also, you can't measure defense by Gold Gloves. You just can't. And fielding percentage is overrated. You have to actually watch guys play, and if you were really paying attention, you could see that Jim Rice was a solid left fielder, a good defensive player, not a Greg Luzinski, not a liability.

As for the "off-the-field" argument, it's not a good one. Jim Rice was not a big mouth or a bad guy in the clubhouse or anywhere else. "Sullen" was the word pinned on Eddie Murray for so long, and I guess you're making a comparison. Again, a bad one. Jim Rice played in Boston. If you want to make comparisons, try Bill Russell. In fact, can you imagine what Russell would have gone through with a Red Sox-like post-season record?

I'd have voted for Ozzie too. Like duh. Next.

The "if only Andre Dawson's 'knee cartilage hadn't turned to linguini' line doesn't hold clam sauce either. Linguini is linguini, anyway you strain it. Hawk must wait.

Jack Morris, Bruce Sutter, Dale Murphy, Rich Gossage and Alan Trammell, in that order, are all interesting candidates, and worth talking about again next year. I have no problem with Jason Stark agonizing for weeks over those guys. I'd gladly take the tummy ache for a chance to vote.

Also, you're way Off Base on Bert Blyleven, my friend. Out to dry. Absolutely, Blyleven should be in. And Steve Garvey, in.

There, Jason. I did it in 470 words...

My brother says I'm caustic. I've been called worse things. I can live with caustic. In fact, I like it. And remember fans, the column's called Off Base. Throw over anytime...

Mother always told me "If you can't say anything nice about someone, don't say anything at all." There was also some stuff in there about the Golden Rule and about hate and guilt being wasted emotions. Sorry Ma, but Bud Selig makes it so hard to live up to those virtues. It's like, every time I get within miles of forgiving this guy for 1994, he does something else just as unforgivable, just as selfish, just as evil as the canceling of the World Series.

It's just impossible to cut Selig any slack at all. I can't do it. I don't want to do it. I just plain hate the guy. He should never be forgiven for 1994. Never, ever, period, exclamation point. Whatever else he does this off-season and whatever else comes out about improper loans, collusion or corruption, that's all just proof for the Jell-O, or something. Bud Selig is a miserable, sniveling, conniving, small, impotent man, who should never have advanced to the position in life he now holds, and shouldn't stay there a single second more than is absolutely necessary.

It's disappointing to see Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) back off his call for the commissioner to resign. You had the right idea Rep. There are people out there who appreciate your attention on this one, so please follow through...

Get your tickets now Dodger fans. The Braves hit Los Angeles August 23 for a weekend series. Playoff atmosphere. Prediction: the booing directed at Gary Sheffield during that series will be the loudest ever experienced at Chavez Ravine. Enjoy...

Calls for Houston to rename Enron Field before the season start now. Aside from the guys still playing, there's really no one all-time Astro great, and no, not Dennis Menke. I think Nolan Ryan Field or Joe Morgan Park would be nice...

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Remember, glove conquers all....


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