There's a problem with the debate surrounding the Baseball Hall of Fame. As Zach informed you this morning, David Ortiz was selected to the Hall of Fame on his first try, while Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds missed out on their final chance in the traditional voting setup. Bonds and Clemens are typically knocked for their suspected steroid use, while Ortiz -- who tested positive for PEDs in 2003 -- got in because he wasn't a jerk to the people who voted him in.
The debate over who deserves it and who doesn't immediately turns to steroids, but the problem with this debate is you aren't going to change anybody's mind. Like so many things, people are dug in on the topic and will not budge. But the honest debate should center on the hypocrisy of the voters, not just because they voted in a confirmed PED user while omitting those long suspected, but because they're betraying the foundation of their careers.
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The people who vote for the Hall of Fame are the Baseball Writers Association of America members. They have made careers chronicling the sport of baseball. Yet some have decided they don't want to chronicle one specific era of the game. Essentially, they're trying to re-write history. Some are doing it because they're trying to maintain the game's imaginary "purity." Others do it to settle personal scores.
Whatever the motive, players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez deserve to be in the Hall of Fame because they're some of the greatest to ever play the sport. And they also deserve to have their stories told in full. Barry Bonds should be in the Hall, and there should be a part of Cooperstown dedicated to the steroid era and its controversies.
Any voter who considers themselves a journalist while omitting such significant parts of the game's story should probably consider finding a new job title.
- The Minnesota Vikings have found their new GM.
- The Eagles are losing a foundational piece of their offensive line.
- Who will be the next starting pitcher to reach Cooperstown on the first ballot?
- Welcome to the world of NIL Super PACs.
All right, now let's pump our wallets full of steroids.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
The Pick: Xavier -8 (-110): I see this as a buy-low opportunity on Xavier as the Musketeers are coming off a 75-64 loss to Marquette. It was only Xavier's fourth loss of the season, and there are a couple of themes to Xavier's losses worth paying attention to. The first is that all its losses have come against good teams. There was the November loss to Iowa State (No. 31 on KenPom), two losses to Villanova (No. 5) and the Marquette (No. 37) loss I just mentioned.
The other important note is that only one of those four losses came at the Cintas Center (one of the Villanova losses). Three of Xavier's four losses have come on the road or at a neutral site.
Now, let's look at Providence. The Friars are 16-2, but while their losses have come on the road or at a neutral site, it doesn't mean the Friars are bad on the road. They've also picked up wins over Wisconsin and UConn (DePaul, too) away from home. But they haven't been on the road a lot, and tonight will be their first road game since Jan. 4 and their third game in seven days.
As for the matchup, it tilts in Xavier's favor. All of Providence's strengths are things Xavier can and has dealt with. Meanwhile, Xavier's biggest weakness offensively (aside from not being a great three-point shooting team) is its propensity to turn the ball over. Providence's defensive turnover rate of 16.6% ranks 295th nationally, so it's not a team that can take advantage of that. Furthermore, Xavier is the better rebounding team overall and has a size advantage there. While Providence's Nate Watson is a big body, he's more of a rim protector than a defensive rebounder, and he'll have his hands full with Xavier's Jack Nunge.
Key Trend: Xavier is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 home games.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: Don't just take my word for it, find out what the SportsLine Projection Model thinks about tonight's game.
Bucks at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass
The Pick: Bucks -4 (-110) -- Are the Cavaliers good, or are they just playing better than anybody expected, so we're overselling how good they truly are? I lean toward the latter. I think the Cavs are fine, but there's nothing about them that makes me think they're capable of doing anything but winning a game or two in a first-round playoff series before bowing out. My biggest concern with this team is that, while it's been terrific defensively (third in the league in defensive rating), you have to score in this league to beat the elite teams.
Cleveland cannot score consistently. The Cavs rank 16th in the NBA in offensive rating. No other NBA team with a winning percentage of 60% or better ranks lower than 12th, and that team is Golden State, so I'm not worried about its offensive potential. Also, the market is starting to catch up to Cleveland. The Cavs are 29-16-3 ATS on the season, which is the second-best mark in the NBA behind Oklahoma City, but they've failed to cover in 11 of their last 15 games. I expect it to become 12 in 16 tonight.
Key Trend: After starting the season 25-5-3 ATS, the Cavs are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games.
🏀 College Basketball
The Pick: North Carolina -13.5 (-110) -- We bought low on North Carolina Monday night, and it paid off, and, by golly, we're going to do it again tonight. As I went over Monday, North Carolina has been a much better team at home than outside Chapel Hill, but the market doesn't treat it any differently based on this. Or, at least, not different enough. For those who need a quick recap, North Carolina is 10-0 at home and winning by an average of 16.2 points. It's 3-6 on the road or at neutral sites. Tonight it's at home against a Boston College team struggling on the road itself.
The Eagles are 8-10 on the season, with seven of those 10 losses coming outside away from home, including five losses to teams ranked outside the KenPom top 100. They're not a particularly good team anywhere and markedly worse on the road. They just don't defend well enough to anticipate being able to stay within range of the Tar Heels for a full 40 minutes. It might be close in the first half, but the Heels' overall talent advantage should show itself in the second half.
Key Trend: North Carolina is 5-0 ATS in its last five home games while Boston College is 2-7-1 ATS in its last 10 road games.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The SportsLine Projection Model's favorite play of the night in any sport is on the spread between Creighton and Butler.
⛳ Farmers Insurance Open Top 10s
We're betting on each of the following golfers to finish in the top 10 this weekend.
- Talor Gooch (+450)
- Cameron Tringale (+700)
- Luke List (+700)
- Jhonattan Vegas (+750)
- Mito Pereira (+900)