briefly, hall of fail: 2014 edition

Ah, yes, it’s that wonderful time of year when the Base-Ball Writers Association of America, the BBWAA–them of the so sanctimonious, they still hyphenate ‘base-ball’ set–reveals the results of their months-long self-congratulation and announces the results of their voting for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Last year, they managed to vote no one in, an accomplishment which pleased no one but themselves. This year, they sort of got it right: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas will be inducted at Cooperstown in July. On the other hand, Craig Biggio missed the 75% threshold by two votes. Jack Morris, in his final year of writers’ ballot eligibility, got the Ron Santo treatment instead of the Jim Rice one. Tim Raines remains atrociously undervalued. The evil, nasty steroid suspects all got buried underneath the weight of BBWAA’s self-righteousness.

Now that doomsday has come for the BBWAA and they did nothing of substance to reform a problem of their own making, namely, the arbitrary ten-vote limit–in essence, standing in a railroad tunnel and running toward the bright, growing light and sounding horn–and we get treated to a bunch of writers’ columns whining about what a travesty and a sham the process is. I’ve appreciated Jayson Stark’s January work in the past, but not so much now. If so many voter-gatekeepers were disenfranchised with the process, why wasn’t anything done last year???

Hey gang, IT WAS A TRAVESTY AND A SHAM ALL ALONG. And now, no one in that most exclusive and hallowed club of smug chumpi is exempt from scrutiny.

Really simple: anyone with a vote who either fails to return a ballot or sends back an empty one loses their voting rights. Period. (Looking at you, TJ Quinn. If you have any integrity at all, and think the criteria for voting privileges so minimal, why have you not yet resigned from the organization??)

Also, the writers need a check and balance: their votes should be combined with the up-or-down vote for each nominee from the living HOFers for the 75% threshold. The Hall of Fame isn’t for writers, it’s for the players and fans. The BBWAA has shown, through commission and omission, they are no longer suited to carry their responsibility any longer. The main HOF voting constituency is compromised not of cheaters, users and abusers, all of the likes of whom are already there, but by writers who sullied the very process they created and sustained…and never fielded a single ground ball that mattered in their adult lives.

Also, this entire process should be open to the public. You think that wouldn’t draw an audience?

So, well done once again, BBWAA. You never cease to amaze. You’ve managed to take a flawed process and completely rip it apart.


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