Picked-up pieces while wondering if the Red Sox will use the millionaires tax as their new excuse to not sign free agents . . .
▪ Roger Clemens in the Hall of Fame next summer?
It could happen. These three failed to gain admission in 10 tries on the writers ballot, but any of them could be announced as a Hall of Famer Dec. 4 when a committee of 16 baseball folk (usually eight Hall of Fame players plus some veteran executives and media members) votes on an eight-man ballot at the annual winter meetings in San Diego.
In addition to Clemens, Bonds, and Schilling, the committee will consider Fred McGriff, Rafael Palmeiro, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, and Albert Belle — five more players who were repeatedly passed over by the writers and moved to this Contemporary Baseball Era Committee.
It could be a wild night if any of the steroid guys are admitted. Clemens and Bonds were the greatest pitcher and hitter of their time. If they don’t pass muster with this committee, they go away for another three years before their names can come up again.
Since the annual writers ballot (announced Jan. 25) is likely to produce a shutout, new electees announced in December could represent the entire Hall class for July 2023.
The betting here is that McGriff will be elected. He hit 493 homers, was never suspected of being dirty, and is regarded as a player overlooked by writers, who never gave him more than 39 percent of the vote. Candidates on the writers ballot need 75 percent to gain admission.
The math makes it similarly tough for Contemporary Era candidates to get elected; a candidate needs 12 of the 16 votes, and committee members can vote for no more than three players. We won’t know the names of the 16 voters until Nov. 28, and those names might give us a hint on Clemens and Bonds.
The late Frank Robinson and Bob Feller were vehemently opposed to the inclusion of suspected (or proven) juicers. Modern players seem to have made their peace with it, and the induction of popular David Ortiz (who failed a drug test in 2003) by the writers last year could pave the way for more who were suspected of using.
Some Hall of Famers have softened on the issue.
“We know we’ve already got at least four guys in who were using,” a Hall of Famer who played before and during drug testing told me. “I used to get more upset about it, but I’d vote for Barry and Roger now if I ended up on that committee.”
▪ Quiz: Name the four NFL players, post-1970, who managed to rush for a touchdown, throw a touchdown pass, and catch a TD pass all in the same game (answer below).
▪ Sorry, Jaylen Brown. If you are going to be a thoughtful, smart social warrior, you cannot be selective with your anti-hate message.
In the interest of protecting his friends, Brown in recent weeks twice whiffed at opportunities to denounce antisemitism.
He was a day late when first asked about dumping Kanye West’s Donda Sports agency in the wake of West’s blatant antisemitism. Brown initially told the Globe’s Gary Washburn that he planned to stay with the agency because West (now known as Ye) “is someone who’s obviously dealing with a lot of adversity,” and “sometimes people need unconditional love.” It was only after Adidas dropped Ye that Brown cut ties with the agency.
Now we have Brown in his role as vice president of the Players Association stepping up to protect Kyrie Irving, claiming Irving has been over-punished and telling us, “I don’t believe Kyrie Irving is antisemitic . . . He made a mistake.”
No. Irving rejected multiple opportunities to tell us he is not antisemitic. He would not do it.
Brown’s Kyrie-love and tone-deaf messaging in these two instances make it hard to take the rest of his cause-driven deeds seriously.
▪ The Nets passing on Ime Udoka hurts the Celtics (New York Daily News sub-headline: “Nets take interim tag off Vaughn instead of adding another off-court mess in Udoka”). The Celtics want to cut ties with their former coach, and Brooklyn’s non-move will make it more difficult.
Fair or unfair, how can any team hire Udoka when Brooklyn wouldn’t? What’s the pitch to your fans: We have even lower standards than the Brooklyn Nets?
What happens next October when Udoka’s one-year suspension is up? Do the Celtics then fire him — which perhaps they should have done in the first place?
▪ Chaim Bloom gave James Paxton $6 million to not throw a pitch for the Red Sox this past season. Now we’re supposed to celebrate because Paxton will be back next year on a (you’ll never guess) ONE-YEAR contract worth $4 million?
This man has pitched 21⅔ innings over the last three seasons. But he’s a swell low-cost option for Boston’s Dollar Store rotation.
▪ Why was Kyle Schwarber bunting with a two-strike count in the ninth inning of the final game of the World Series?
▪ At 73, Dusty Baker is the oldest manager/coach to win a championship in any of the four major sports.
▪ Houston’s Cristian Javier was lifted from his no-hitter after six innings and 97 pitches. Don Larsen threw 97 pitches in his World Series perfect game in 1956.
▪ There would be some irony in John Henry owning the Washington Commanders. Larry Lucchino, the former Henry operative who was booted to the curb by the Sox in 2015, first came into professional sports as consigliere for then-Redskins owner Edward Bennett Williams. Lucchino has a 1983 Super Bowl ring from his days with Washington.
▪ Colts coach Frank Reich lost his job after the abomination we witnessed in Foxborough last weekend. It truly was a game only the Channel 4 suckups could love. How many of you remember that Reich was the holder when Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal attempt — a potential game-winner — sailed wide right in Super Bowl XXV?
▪ I want somebody to love me the way Tony Romo loves Tom Brady.
▪ The final count is not in, but it looks as if Los Angeles fanboy police sheriff Alex Villanueva — the man who broomed Tiger Woods’s traffic violations when Woods was not charged after endangering others while behind the wheel in 2021 — will be voted out of office.
▪ Florida Republican Mike Greenwell won a commission seat in Lee County’s District 5, getting 68 percent of the vote. Greenie should take this opportunity to get a redo of the 1988 American League MVP vote, in which he finished second to Oakland’s Jose Canseco. That election truly was rigged because Canseco later admitted he was cheating.
▪ Memo to Doug Flutie: We can forgive you for the nonstop Nugenix commercials, but campaigning for Herschel Walker is a bridge too far.
▪ Nobody’s actions scream “Look at me!!” like Patriots defensive back Jalen Mills any time he makes a routine play.
▪ Playing without all-world guard Paige Bueckers (torn ACL), the UConn women’s basketball team launched its annual drive to the Final Four (14 straight and counting) with a 98-39 victory over Northeastern Thursday. Geno “No Victory Margin Is Big Enough” Auriemma is at 1,150 career wins, just seven behind women’s record-holder Tara VanDerveer.
▪ Bryant men’s basketball coach Jared Grasso must have studied at the altar of Geno. Bryant beat Division 3 Thomas College, 147-39, Monday. “I’m never going to tell my guys to stop playing hard,” said Grasso.
▪ Congrats to Globe All-Scholastic Jacob Cookinham of Bishop Stang, one of the nation’s top high school shot putters, who Thursday declared his intent to attend the University of Kansas.
▪ Quiz answer: Walter Payton (Bears), David Patten (Patriots), LaDainian Tomlinson (Chargers), Christian McCaffrey (49ers).