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The Hall of Fame ballot is out

Tuesday morning’s Say Hey, Baseball includes this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, all angles of the James Paxton trade and a hot new minor-league team name.

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Divisional Round - Cleveland Indians v New York Yankees - Game Four Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Monday was a big day in the start of a weeks-long process that will threaten to kill us all. Okay, not really, but if you’ve been around the ol’ interwebs for any past Hall of Fame seasons you know the hyperbole isn’t that large. The in-fighting between baseball fans of all ages gets warmed up during award season, but the real battles are fought in December. Those battles started on Monday with the release of the ballot. As always, most of the arguments will come with the players carrying over from the ballot before, though there are some interesting newcomers joining the crowd this year. You can see the full ballot here.

As far as the newcomers go, there are probably four who have a legitimate chance of making the trip to Cooperstown at some point, two of which are near-locks to make it on the first ballot. Mariano Rivera is one of them, and as the greatest closer of all time it would be hard to see him not making it. There’s a chance he ends up with one of the highest voting percentages of all time. Roy Halladay should also make it in on the first ballot. Probably the greatest pitcher during his peak, Halladay of course tragically passed away last winter. Joining them on the ballot as intriguing names are Andy Pettitte and Todd Helton. Both certainly have cases to be in the Hall, but between the crowded ballot and the fact that voters deem the first ballo to be a higher bar, I’d be surprised if they made it this year.

Then, of course, it’s the real logjam of the returning names to hit the ballot. We’ve gotten very familiar with most of these names over the last few years. Last year’s top vote-getter to not make the cut was Edgar Martinez, arguably the best DH of all time. This is his final chance to make it in the traditional way, as he falls off the ballot completely if he doesn’t get the 75 percent of the vote. Mike Mussina was the second-highest vote getter. A bit behind them are the ever-controversial Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, about whom we’ll hear plenty of takes over the next few weeks. Even further down the ballot is Andruw Jones, who doesn’t get nearly enough credit and may be in danger of falling off the ballot by not receiving five percent of the vote one of these years. Whatever you think, Monday began your chance to yell at strangers on the internet about any disagreements. It’s a wonderful time of year.