Brown not worth all the drama

PITTSBURGH — It was another mildly interesting week in the mysterious life of Antonio Brown.

Several teammates chimed in to say they would be willing to welcome Brown back to the Steelers.

If Brown has any interest in that scenario, it’s not evident. Posting a photo of himself in a San Francisco 49ers uniform would seem to suggest he has a different agenda, but who knows?

Brown’s past behavior could be forgiven, but that doesn’t matter. His past behavior is important because it offers a window to his possible future deportment.

What have we seen in the past year? Accusations that Brown flung furniture off the balcony of a Miami high rise, unexcused absences from practices and his one-man Grand Prix down McKnight Road in the middle of the day.

Do the Steelers want to risk more of that? What happens when someone signs a marginally better contract and Brown feels slighted? Could another practice field argument lead to another snit that causes him to abandon the team?

The risk isn’t worth it. Move on.

Open Hall

The Baseball Hall of Fame will open its doors widely to induct six new members this summer.

Mariano Rivera was automatic and was, in fact, the first unanimous choice ever. The latter distinction speaks not only to Rivera’s talent but also to the clean-up job the Hall has done on the voter rolls over the past several years.

There was a time when any 10-year member of the Baseball Writers Association got a Hall ballot. Some of the voters hadn’t covered baseball in half a century, and some of them had never covered the game at all.

Back when New York City had seven daily papers, it was customary for a sports editor to pay for Writers Association membership for his entire staff. It was a nice inexpensive perk that got each member free admission to any ballpark.

A lot of those people never covered a game, yet they got a Hall of Fame ballot annually for life.

There has been a major effort to purge fossils, and it’s showing up. That helps explain why Edgar Martinez was inducted in his 10th try. His career stats didn’t change in retirement, but the make-up of the electorate did.

The standards are looser than they have been. Get used to that. That’s what MLB and the Hall want.

They don’t want a repeat of 2013, when the three inductees were 19th century player Deacon White, Yankees executive Jacob Ruppert and umpire Hank O’Day, none of whom lived past 1959. Deacon White t-shirts were not a hot item at the merchandise stands, and nobody lined up for a selfie with Hank O’Day’s great nephew.

So now there’s a chance for former Pirates Al Oliver and Dave Parker via the appeal process, and might as well include Bill Madlock in that group, too.

Oliver and Parker were very good, but when Harold Baines gets in, very good might be good enough.

There will be a full podium this summer, and that’s what those in charge would like see every year going forward.

Who’s next?

The next Pirates Hall of Famer could be Steve Blass — not as a player, but as a broadcaster. This season will be his 34th of calling games, which will put him ahead of Lanny Frattare on the seniority list. The Hall’s broadcast award has always valued longevity, especially when the tenure comes with one team.

This much is certain: No one would treasure recognition from the Hall of Fame more than Blass.

Another one

Sad to note the passing of another stalwart from the “Studio Wrestling” days when promoter Gene Dargan regularly brought shows to town.

High-flying Bobby “Hurricane” Hunt died in late December at 85. Tom Leturgey, ring announcer for the regional Keystone State Wrestling Alliance, attended Hunt’s memorial and called it one of the most moving services he’s ever witnessed.

John Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com


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