Curt Schilling and I do not agree on much.
Schilling, for instance, posted on Twitter in November that it's "awesome" when someone pulls on a T-shirt that reads: Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED.
As a journalist, I was not amused at his attempt at humor. I'm fond of my neck. In fact, I've been attached to it my entire life.
This comes up now because the results from the Hall of Fame voting are going to be released Wednesday and Schilling believes he will be kept out for a fifth straight year because of his right-wing political views and vocal support of President-elect Donald Trump.
Earlier this month, the former Phillies pitcher with three World Series rings and one of the most impeccable postseason resumés in the game's history took aim at baseball's Hall of Fame voters.
"[Voters are] not hiding the fact they stopped voting for me because of the things I've said on social media," Schilling told TMZ sports. "That's their prerogative as voters. . . . They're not going to vote for me because of the character clause. There are some of the worst human beings I've ever known voting. There are scumbags."
I know many of the voters, all of whom have been longtime baseball writers, and the vast majority are not scumbags.
Full disclosure: I used to be a Hall of Fame voter, but I am not one anymore. I stopped voting a few years ago because I did not think voters should have to deal with something as vague as the character clause that Schilling now believes is being used against him.
That clause is listed as No. 5 on the BBWAA rules for election and here is what it says: Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
Long before Trump was elected president and Schilling started tweeting his own political views, I used the character clause to show why some people might vote against a guy who clearly belongs in the Hall of Fame. Schilling had a lot of teammates who did not like him when he was with the Phillies. They thought he was a me-first guy. But they also understood the extent of his brilliance when he took the mound.
That is really all that should matter in Schilling's case.
I strongly disagree with any voters who have decided to drop Schilling from their ballots because of the pitcher's political views.
It is interesting, however, that Schilling is on the record as being one of the more outspoken former players who has railed against the guys who used performance-enhancing substances. His viewpoints are often contradicting, however. For instance, he said on Dan Patrick's radio show a few years ago that Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame, but Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez should not. How he could differentiate Bonds from Clemens and A-Rod is beyond me.
My contention when I voted was always that guys who used performance-enhancing drugs did not belong because they blatantly violated the character clause. My complaint was that the Hall of Fame executives should either remove or more coherently explain the intent of the character clause.
When they did not want gamblers like Pete Rose or Shoeless Joe Jackson getting their day in Cooperstown, the Hall of Fame committee was quick to make sure they never appeared on the ballot.
The PED issue only became more convoluted last month after the results of a new collection of voters called the Today's Game Era Committee were released at the winter meetings. That committee should be renamed Today's Error Committee for electing former commissioner Bud Selig, the man who oversaw the PED era and the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. When you elect the guy who was in charge when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa fraudulently waged home-run wars, you send the message that it was all OK.
That same committee, which consists of baseball executives, media members and Hall of Fame players, denied the election of McGwire, an admitted steroid user who otherwise had a career worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Sorry, folks, you can't have Selig without McGwire.
Anyway, here's what a guy who no longer votes for the Hall of Fame thinks: Schilling belongs and the character clause should have been removed the moment that Selig got in.