No it’s not the most wonderful time of the year.
No, it’s not “He’s in the best shape of his life” time, though I’m really excited for that.
Now, it’s “Let’s moralize about the Hall of Fame” time! Or, more specifically, it’s the “I have no evidence of his PED use but I’m not voting for Jeff Bagwell” time of year, everyone’s favorite!
This, baseball writers, this is why we can’t have nice things.
If you read my article on the Hall of Fame from two weeks ago, you’ll know that I don’t care about PED use and that if I had a vote, I’d vote for anyone, so long as his numbers presented a strong case for induction (again, someone please urge me to vote yes on Alan Trammel. I really want to.). But, I realize that I’m likely in the minority on that decision and that definitely goes for the BBWAA. I guess I can see that side of it, but this sort of garbage–the Jeff Bagwell suspicion–is what drives me nuts. Writers who don’t vote for Bagwell on a statistical basis are nuts because his numbers merit induction. Writer who don’t vote for Bagwell based on this ridiculous steroid theory are embarrassing.
This sort of thinking has bled over into the Ryan Braun issue and whether or not his MVP award should be stripped. Buster Olney said that the sentiment he was getting from voters was something along the lines of “This isn’t a court of law; do the right thing.” That is…a scary thought. The sad thing is, that there are enough people who agree with that in a baseball context. Let’s apply that notion to somewhere else. Hopefully soon, I get a full time teaching job. Imagine you’re the principal of my building and I tell you that since my classroom isn’t a “court of law” I’ just going to “do the right thing” when it comes to grading and evaluating. How fast would you fire me? This ridiculous line of thinking reminds me of what I talked about in my piece about Justin Verlander winning the MVP and how the voters don’t like to define valuable. Moshe discussed it in his piece about Joe Girardi and the Manager of the Year award. The writers are beyond reluctant to define anything about anything and since they do that, they’re able to dictate what’s good and bad on a case by case basis. Sure, there’s a good side to not living in absolutes, the lack of accountability on the writers’ part is beyond infuriating.
Yesterday morning, Olney and Ken Rosenthal were exchanging tweets about the morality issue in MVP and HOF voting. Though I follow both of them, neither can see my tweets since my account is locked (I work with middle and high school kids, so you can guess why I have my account locked). Anyway, what they were saying got me a bit worked up and I got angry. I’d link to the tweet, but this is a family blog. I’ll clean it up and expand: Baseball writers have one job to do when they vote for awards and the Hall of Fame. That job does not include being moral arbiters and deciding what is right and wrong both socially and within the game. The job of the baseball writers when voting for awards and inducting players into the HOF is simple: Give those honors to the players who are best at throwing, hitting, and catching baseballs. That’s it.
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