Rockin' (and rollin') the Hall vote

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When will the voters get it through their thick, impenetrable skulls that they need to finally elect all the deserving candidates into the Hall of Fame rather than those who simply meet their own very personal, arbitrary and inconsistent standards?

No, I'm not complaining that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Jack Morris will probably fall short of baseball's Hall of Fame again this week.

I'm wondering why Jimmy Buffett isn't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The 2014 induction ceremony is on April 10; and once again, Buffett isn't being enshrined.

Granted, Buffett's music can hardly be described as classic rock. But I wouldn't classify the music of Donna Summer as classic rock, either, and she was inducted into the Hall last year.

For that matter, why isn't Chicago in the Hall? Or The Guess Who? Or Bon Jovi? Or Dire Straits, Pat Benatar, Cheap Trick or the Smiths? And why is Donna Summer in it?

Which just goes to show you that the baseball and rock halls share the same eternal and frustrating debate over who belongs and who doesn't belong.

There is one critical difference between the two, though. There appears to be no concern whatsoever in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame about drug use. I mean, if some baseball writers aren't voting for Bagwell simply because they think that maybe he might possibly have taken something though there is no evidence he did, how would they treat Keith Richards?

Then again, the question is whether you consider marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, etc. to be (a) performance-enhancing drugs; (b) concert tour enablers; or (c) career destroyers.

"It's unknown what performance enhancers really do. The results are so varied," Jeff Katz says. "Acid enhanced the Beatles' performance -- they said as much. On acid, they created 'Sgt. Pepper,' perhaps the greatest album of all time. The Stones also took acid and created 'Satanic Majesties,' perhaps their worst album.

"By the same token, Barry Bonds is implicated in PEDs and so are many others. But the others didn't perform like Bonds. He's one of a kind."

Katz is the mayor of Cooperstown, N.Y., a SABR member and the author of the upcoming book "Split-Season" about the 1981 strike year. He also wrote the rock history blog "Maybe Baby," so he has some interesting insight into the two halls. Like me, he sees many similarities in how players and performers are elected to the two halls.

Both votes are generational and personal. (Rock is very personal.) We tend to treat the players and performers we grew up with as special and better than those who came along later. If you came of age in the 1950s or '60s, no one is ever going to be as good as Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle. Nor is any band going to compare to the Beatles or the Stones. Those of us who came of age in later decades will have similar opinions about George Brett, Ken Griffey Jr. and Derek Jeter, or Springsteen, U2 and Nirvana.

Voting, therefore, is always going to be subjective and often inexplicable. If you're wondering why the BBWAA voters didn't consider Jim Rice a Hall of Famer until his 15th year on the ballot, consider that the Rock Hall didn't vote Paul McCartney in until five years after John Lennon was inducted.

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