STARTING POINTS: Hall of Fame; Lakers’ latest; Musburger’s gaffe

Another steroid-free edition of Starting Points where the only performance-enhancing drug is Diet Coke.

FIRST POINT: Getting the Hall call

At 11 a.m. this morning, the Major League muckety-mucks will announce that no one will join the elite brotherhood of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. That’s the feeling heading into today’s announcement. It is unlikely that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa or Mike Piazza will get the call because for every RBI, strikeout and homer there is a syringe or in Sosa’s case a syringe and a hollowed out bat full of bouncy balls. That leaves Craig Biggio of the Astros and those long-suffering holdouts like Jack Morris as the most likely people to get the call today. But most likely of all is that no one will get the nod. Which brings up a greater question: Is the whole notion of making the Hall of Fame in essence meaningless these days? If the 15 best players of the last 25 years can’t be in the Hall because of PEDs, and players 16-25 aren’t good enough to make the Hall, what’s the point? Anyway on that downer of a note, my column in today’s paper details how I would vote in Barry Bonds despite the fact that he did steroids. But not other guys who did it, because I think you can take each player on a case-by-case basis, and I believe Bonds had the most honorable reason to cheat, if there can be such a thing. I would vote in Bonds, Biggio and Morris if I had a vote today. Here’s a link to my column explaining why I would induct Bonds, but not Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, etc.

POINT TWO: Oh those Lakers

I can think of better times for the Lakers’ next two games to be nationally televised contests against the Spurs and Thunder. The reeling and now-shorthanded Lakers lost to Houston on Tuesday to fall to 15-19, and 15-21 certainly feels like three short days away with two road games against two of the league’s best on the immediate horizon. The phrase “This is going to get worse before it gets better” is flashing in neon lights around the Lakers right now.  Interesting side note: This would be hard to look up, but I wonder when was the last time the Lakers were a double-digit underdog (as they are tonight at San Antonio) on the same day the Clippers were a double-digit favorite (as they are tonight at home against Dallas)? My guess would be that it’s never happened in Kobe Bryant’s Lakers’ career. I’ll have to ask my Vegas guy RJ Bell about that.

POINT THREE:  Musburger with a side of overreaction

There was a bit of an uproar after Monday’s BCS championship game after announcer Brent Musburger fawned perhaps too much over Katerine Webb, the girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who was shown repeatedly in the stands. “You quarterbacks get all the good-looking women,” Musburger said to his booth-mate Kirk Herbstreit, an ex-Ohio State quarterback married to an ex-Ohio State cheerleader. Some thought Musburger went too far when he added that if you’re a young boy in Alabama you should get out in the back yard and start throwing the football around. The whole thing was way overblown. It was a completely innocent, off-the-cuff reaction to the image of Webb on the TV. ESPN went so far as to send out an apology Tuesday, but that was unnecessary. I mean, ESPN has tons to apologize for, but not what Musburger said. Take the level-headed words of Webb herself. “It was kind of nice,” Webb, a former Miss Alabama, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “I didn’t look at it as creepy at all. For a woman to be called beautiful, I don’t see how that’s an issue.” Well said Ms. Webb.

I want to hear from you. Should Bonds be in the Hall? If not him who should? Will the Lakers make the playoffs? Were you offended by Musburger’s remarks? Tell me what you think. Comment on this blog, e-mail me at or follow me on twitter at TDSshadpowers. Thanks.