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Wednesday a.m. stuff

Richard Durrett says that the Rangers expect to hear something from Mark Mulder today or tomorrow.

There is a similar item in the St. Louis paper today.

The Cards finally bit the bullet and guaranteed the second year, as Cleveland and Texas were doing, meaning that all three contract offers are about the same.

So I expect we'll hear tonight that Mulder is going to St. Louis.

Mike Berardino has some baseball notes, although nothing real exciting...

Buster Olney writes on the new MLB McCarthyism:

So if you're one of the serious future Hall of Fame candidates -- in alphabetical order, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Tom Glavine, Juan Gonzalez, Trevor Hoffman, Derek Jeter, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Fred McGriff, Mike Mussina, Mike Piazza, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Mariano Rivera, Alex Rodriguez, Ivan Rodriguez, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, John Smoltz, Sammy Sosa or Frank Thomas, and others -- you'd better hope that your name doesn't show up in Canseco's next book. You'd better hope that somebody's best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from a guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw you pull a bottle full of steroids from FedEx package at 31 Flavors, because that might be enough to keep you from getting a lot of Hall of Fame votes.

Some of the voters will switch their vote from no to yes on McGwire next year, viewing this year's ballot as a one-time penalty for his brutal performance in front of Congress on March 17, 2005. But it's evident that unless something changes dramatically, a large core of writers has determined that they will never vote for someone around whom the steroid controversy swirls. And in future years, there will be a guessing game.

For some of the names listed above, there are not steroid whispers in baseball circles as much as steroid screams. Their peers -- players, executives -- assume that some of those players took steroids, tell stories of expanding forearms and foreheads and back acne and acutely improved performance. And in almost all cases, there is no hard evidence of steroid use -- no failed steroid tests, no federal documents, nothing besides speculation.

So let the guessing game begin, as the justice against alleged cheaters is doled out. Bonds and Sheffield might as well assume they will never get in, based on their testimony in the BALCO case. Sosa got a congressional subpoena and looked silly enough on Capitol Hill to earn a Saturday Night Live skit, so he almost certainly has no shot.

The writers are obligated to ask themselves this question: If I've decided to never vote for McGwire, Bonds, Sheffield and Sosa, well, how in the world can I vote, in good conscience, for (insert name), when everybody in the game assumes (insert same name) used performance-enhancing drugs? What about (insert name)? Or (insert name), or (insert name), or (insert name) or (insert name) or (insert name) or (insert name)?

What a mess.