Greg Maddux

...lunkhead to ruin it for everybody.

So as I and many others guessed a few weeks back, there was going to be somebody that was going to throw all semblance of logic and reason out the window and not vote for Greg Maddux. And while there may be others, Ken Gurnick was the first vote identified as leaving Maddux off their ballot. In and of itself, this is hardly a big deal, I mean there are plenty of worthy Hall of Famers on this year's ballot and while I may question your sanity and lucidness for putting others ahead of Greg Maddux, with a limit of just 10 choices, maybe, just maybe you just ran out of room and figured Maddux will have 14 more years to get in.

Nah, Ken Gurnick isn't voting for Greg Maddux because, "those who played during the period of PED use, I won't vote for any of them."

He only put one name on his ballot and that's Jack Morris.

/Facepalm.

There are plenty of more talented writers that have already dissected Gurnick's one paragraph explanation of his vote. And the one major flaw in Gurnick's "reasoning" is that he has apparently cracked the code of exactly when the PED era began and ended and whatever that code is, it means despite the careers of Maddux and Morris overlapping over 9 seasons, one is clean and one is tainted.

By what I've gathered on Twitter so far, Gurnick seems like a good enough guy from other reporters that know him and in the end, Maddux will still get in this year and possibly still have the highest vote total of all-time. Unfortunately Gurnick will still get to vote next year and while there's an argument to be made that it's just one man's opinion, an opinion on the Hall of Fame with the gift of an actual ballot should be based on some facts, and it's hard to see which ones he used in this case.

The BBWAA released the Hall of Fame ballot today and I count 6 players that you can reasonably associate with the Cubs: Rafael Palmeiro, Jacque Jones, Sammy Sosa, Lee Smith, Moises Alou and Greg Maddux. Of course, all but Sammy and maybe Lee Smith are more closesly associated with other organziations. Sammy won't be getting in and neither will Lee Smith with Maddux and Frank Thomas on this ballot, not to mention more interesting carryovers like Craig Biggio, Jack Morris, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell to name a few.

That being said, I think we all as Cubs fan consider Greg Maddux one of our own and we'll just have to share him with the Atlanta Braves in a joiny custody battle. He'll certainly be fitted with the Braves cap on his plaque, but we can just contine to blame Larry Himes for that historical atrocity.

To the point, if I even have one, is that if there's anything interesting about this ballot, it's whether Greg Maddux will be the first player to be voted in unanimously. There's no reasonable case against him, he checks off every box of a Hall a Fame pitcher. Cy Youngs...check, 4 straight. Exceptional Peak Years...check, see 1992-1998. 300 wins...check. 3000 strikeouts...check. Steroid rumors...nope. Postseason success...okay, I mean it's not Mariano Rivera good, but 11-14 with a 3.27 ERA and a World Series title isn't a reason to not vote for him considering his in-season resume. So the case is airtight and he'll of course get in on the first ballot, but he frankly deserves more. But we all know that one attention-starved voter will make this vote about him and deny Maddux the honor. Tom Seaver stills holds the record at 98.4% of the vote (425 out of 430 ballots) and well, there's no way you can't say Maddux was the better pitcher. But that won't matter when the votes are tallied. All that will matter is if some holier-than-thou, sanctimonious piece of excrement decides that he's the one that will take the burden of being the Hall of Fame bouncer this year. And when and if that happens, it'll just be another check on the list of the "Hall of Fame is Becoming More Irrelevant Each and Every Year."

Now that the trade deadline is behind us, what are Cub fans supposed to pay attention to? The games?! I tried that earlier tonight, and I'm sorry I did.

— I heard a recorded interview with Derrek Lee on WGN Radio early this evening in the run-up to the Cubs/Rockies game. David Kaplan asked Lee about Ryan Theriot, and Lee described him as "a grinder." In that moment, I came up with my own definition of a grinder. It's a guy who plays hard enough to occasionally make you forget that he's not very good.

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