‘Weak-ass bulls–t’: Fight escalates over Harold Baines’ Hall selection

Tony La Russa continued his “get off my lawn” defense of Harold Baines’ election over the weekend into the Hall of Fame, calling the advanced metrics that don’t support Baines’ candidacy “weak-ass superficial bulls–t.”

The Hall of Fame manager, who managed Baines in the minors with the White Sox organization and then again later in his career with the A’s, was part of the committee that voted Baines — along with Lee Smith — into the Hall.

A day after he initially explained the reasoning behind the vote, La Russa was on MLB Network with Chris Russo and went even further with his arguments.

“I would love to get into a legitimate confrontation [and] debate where you pull all the stuff that we looked at and you tell me that weak-ass superficial bulls–t that you look at, I guarantee you Harold [should be in],” La Russa said. “Harold Baines is a Hall of Famer, and it’s a shame that now he’s being looked at as not right.”

The voting writers of the BBWAA, in the five years Baines was on the ballot from 2007-11, strongly disagreed, as Baines never got more than 6.1 percent of the vote, and 75 percent is needed for induction.

But this year’s 16-member Today’s Game Committee gave Baines the 12 votes needed to get in.

As he did in earlier interviews, La Russa again pointed to the fact Baines finished his 22-year career with nearly 3,000 hits (2,866), but then pointed to arcane stats like game-winning RBIs.

Baines also received MVP votes just four times in his career, proving to many he was never a dominant player, despite a productive and lengthy career.

La Russa also dismissed the notion that Baines benefited from “cronyism,” calling it “disrespectful to my integrity.”

Baines, though, had several connections to people on the committee.

In addition to La Russa, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Pat Gillick — the general manager in Baltimore when Baines played for the Orioles — and Roberto Alomar — a teammate of Baines’ in Baltimore — were all on the committee.

“Do you think people that know him better than the average expert, fan or even other baseball executives, that have actually been teammates with him, when they speak with more knowledge about the type of player he was, [a] productive player, I think that speaks more to his credit, not less,’’ La Russa said.

La Russa, now a special assistant to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, also lamented the loss of value for “old-school” elements of the game.

“Here’s one of the biggest issues around: There’s a certain strong disrespect for traditional and old-school — whether it’s scouts, whether it’s player development, whether it’s the value of coaching, whether it’s the value of in-game decision-making,” La Russa said. “You have metrics, which is a really valuable tool. I’m a big fan of information, that’s how I survived. But they have a place in the game, and what you need to do is you need to respect each other.”

And he’s disappointed Baines’ career is now under the microscope.

“Harold didn’t ask for this,” La Russa said.

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