Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Hall of Fame voting results are disappointing

The Hall of Fame ballot was stuffed with at least sixteen candidates worthy of HOF honors. Three got in. And while I have no qualms with the three players elected and should at least be happy that the HOF party in July will celebrate something more than dead people like last year, the lack of inclusion of so many others is vastly disappointing.

It is also disappointing that the vote has dredged up even more vitriol between the older writers and the "sabermetric crowd." Don't believe me? How about Jon Heyman saying twice on the MLB Network reveal show his disappointment that the said "sabermetric crowd" cost Jack Morris his election after fifteen tries? How about a Seattle-based beat writer defending his stupid observation with the typical "I get paid to do this" snarky answers? How about others who during their HOF vote columns mention that it is not a Hall of WAR?

It is disappointing that the PED issue is still the white elephant in the room. Without direction from the Hall of Fame itself, the writers become judge and jury over an entire era. And they are not alone as opinion polls of casual fans would not elect the PED-suspected writers either. See Deadspin's post on the ballot they purchased from a writer to see that the fans would not have elected Bonds and Clemens either. So the writers cannot be fully blamed here. There is enough blame all around including those that ingested or injected to get us in this mess in the first place.

And so an entire era is condemned to not include the best players of that era. Well, yeah, three players from that era were elected today, but only because the writers deemed them clean, as if we can really ever say that with certainty. And no matter what they did or did not do, Bonds and Clemens were two of the best players in the history of the game. What the heck is a Hall of Fame without those two and Pete Rose?

It is disappointing that Biggio--a worthy candidate--is deemed vote-worthy and just missed by two votes when his clearly better teammate, Jeff Bagwell, missed my dozens of votes.

It is disappointing when voters still say things like, "I don't care what the numbers say, you had to be there and see them in action." Seriously?

It is disappointing when so many voters when faced with sixteen great options only voted for one to three players on their ballots. Seriously?

It is disappointing when Tom Glavine gets more than 90% of the vote because writers wanted him and Greg Maddux to go in together and then say that their vote is emotion-free. Emotion-free is the exact opposite of such pairings voting. And who said that being a journalist meant a lack of emotional investment? Was Walter Cronkite not a journalist when JFK was killed and when men landed on the moon and Cronkite truly displayed emotions at both instances? It's a stupid argument.

It is disappointing when voters continue to state that a player's first ballot should be only considered when they were the best of the best. A Hall of Fame player is a Hall of Fame player. Ballot manipulation does not make any such sense. Either a player is or he is not. If he is, what difference does it make if you vote for him the first time?

It is disappointing when statistical arguments for players like Mike Mussina and Tim Raines are rejected by half the voters or more because they are statistical arguments.

I agree completely with Mike Bates when he said that he has tried not to care about the Hall of Fame but cannot help but be passionate about what happens. How can you not be passionate about a sport that is in our blood to the point where we write about it every day? We have these arguments and we have Deadspin doing what they did because we feel powerless and held hostage by 571 keepers of the flame.

By the way, I applaud Dan Labatard or whatever his name is. That took guts and, yes, passion!

Another year of Hall of Fame results are in. I am glad for Glavine, Maddux and Frank Thomas. They deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. It is truly frustrating and emasculating that so many other deserving players will not be standing next to them in Cooperstown in July.

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