Let's start with the Hall, because this would be an excellent year for the BBWAA to come to its collective senses and get out of the voting business. An avalanche of steroid-bloated monsters - including Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens - are going to become eligible next year. The writers already have helped create an impossible and unsupportable mess due to their biases and contradictory rationales. Many have left Jeff Bagwell off their ballots, for example, because he fits the profile of a steroid-era cheater. Some of them will inevitably vote for Bonds under the logic that he was on a Hall of Fame career path before he bulked up and shredded the record books.
It is insanity, all of it.
The best argument the BBWAA lifers can muster goes something like this: If we don't handle this, who will? That shouldn't matter. Reporters cover the games and the athletes and the teams. We are not caretakers of the sport. And if we are, then we should have been taking better care of it when the cartoon characters started jacking homers in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Frankly, I have no idea how Hall of Famers are chosen in basketball and hockey. There are committees that meet and announce the inductees. It works just fine, and we never have to read a single explanation for why a voter left Candidate X off the ballot last year but voted for him this year.
It must be decided whether steroid-tainted players are eligible for enshrinement. That decision should not be made by reporters. Since it is impossible to know for sure which players cheated, and since there almost certainly are steroid users already in the Hall, the cleanest solution is to go by on-field performance alone. If a player was linked to steroids or other PEDs, that should be noted on his plaque in Cooperstown.
Here's a thought. On SI.com, columnist Joe Posnanski did an interesting experiment while filling out his ballot. He created a formula to analyze and rank all of the players already in the Hall. Why not take a similar formula and use it to determine who goes in and who doesn't? Advanced statistics are used in every other facet of baseball analysis. Create one template for hitters, one for starting pitchers and another for relievers. Better still, it could be used annually to choose the award winners that the BBWAA also should not be involved with selecting.
Could a computer model be perfect? Maybe not, but it can't be much less perfect than the system we have now, and the computer would never make us read a long-winded explanation of its ballot.
If computers could be the solution in baseball, they are at the heart of the problem in college football. It is one thing to replace BBWAA voters with computers. It is something else entirely to replace actual competition with computers.
Look at the NFL weekend that preceded the MFSDY. There would have been no Denver Broncos upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers if the NFL did business the way the BCS does it. The game wouldn't have happened at all, or it would have been a meaningless exhibition sponsored by Tostitos.
Using computers and polls and loaded dice, the BCS types would have decided that Green Bay and New England should meet in the Super Bowl. That's the perfect match-up. Why bother with actual games that might introduce drama, upsets and unpredictability into the mix? That sounds way too much like sports.
Ultimately, both of these travesties will continue on into the future. The perpetrators - the pressed suits of the BCS and the nearly clean polo shirts of the BBWAA - have no real incentive to give up their control. They are unembarrassable, and no one is in position to force change.
All the rest of us can do is point out the absurdities and move on. But at least we should get a national holiday and a three-day weekend out of it.
Contact Phil Sheridan at 215-854-2844, email@example.com, or @Sheridanscribe on Twitter. Read his blog, "Philabuster," at www.philly.com/philabuster. Read his columns at www.philly.com/philsheridan