It's a Hall of Fame day

Now, they just get swallowed up by all those bigger, more complicated, more controversial names. Names that never get elected. Names that never go away. Names that dominate the conversation and trample everyone else in their path.

And, most importantly, names that take up just enough space on a 10-line ballot that Those Other Guys are now losing votes, losing momentum, at a time when some of them need to be gaining steam if they're ever going to get elected.

Don't believe that? It's right there in the hard numbers.

Smith has gone from 290 votes to 161 in just two years.

Trammell has careened from 211 to 119 in those same two years.

And men like McGriff (11.7 percent) and Walker (down to just 10.2 percent) are now in danger of dropping off this ballot completely next year, as Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Gary Sheffield and Nomar Garciaparra parachute into this conversation.

Uh-oh.

So yessirree, it sure was a beautiful day for Cooperstown on Wednesday, as Maddux, Glavine and Thomas smiled for the cameras and started working on their induction speeches. And July 27, Induction Day on the shores of Lake Otesaga, will be more beautiful still.

But that doesn't mean the clouds won't still be hovering over this picturesque scene. This sport may be trying its best to lock all those Hall of Fame unpleasantries in a dark closet. But then, every winter, the ballot arrives -- and here they come again.

The only way we can ever solve this mess is by talking about it. Honestly. Openly. And immediately. I'm ready. Is anyone else out there?

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