By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) “Preserving History. Honoring Excellence. Connecting Generations.” That’s the motto of the Baseball Hall of Fame, per its website at least.
The first part? Yeah, okay, fine.
The third part? Whatever. Most of today’s players don’t know who Honus Wagner, John McGraw, or Cool Papa Bell were. It pretends to sound nice, I guess.
The middle part? A hot sack of garbage. “Honoring preferential treatment,” maybe. “Honoring bias,” surely. I would even buy “Honoring guys worthy of joining a snooty country club of no substantive importance.”
Voting for the Hall of Fame is controversial every year, and every year we reach the crossroads of who should be in and who should not be, and rarely do two people ever agree on an exact list, past, present, or future. Should Barry Larkin be in? Probably, I guess. I don’t really care, and I will no longer care who gets in ever again.
And that is because of who does the voting.
It used to be some sort of self-affirmation to see a guy you used to root for get voted in or to have what seemed like a prestigious organization agree with your assessment of which athletes were gods and which were merely demigods. “Hey, those smart people with votes agree with me!” Not much different than the reason sort of intelligent, soft-egoed people like me watch Jeopardy! We like it when our own intelligence or opinion is (sort of) given credence, even if it produces nothing of value (note: I will “Before and After” the hell out of you come 3:30 each weekday).
I have realized of late that I don’t really care if those smart people—the Baseball Writers Association of America in particular—agree with me anymore, mostly because I’ve realized those people aren’t all that smart to begin with. They tend to be pompous sadists who get aroused with the power of affecting the emotions and lives of others. They find themselves largely infallible, and how dare you question the judgment of people who spend most of their lives eating fast food in hotel rooms and smelling Derek Jeter’s hair when he’s not looking.
Recently the BBWAA’s credibility for determining who is worthy and who is not was shot to all hell when it refused to take back the J.G. Taylor Spink Award that was given to Bill Conlin whose relatives have come out and said he molested them as children (and while Conlin has not yet been found guilty of any accusations, this seems to be a pretty open and shut case). “Bill Conlin has been a member in good standing of the BBWAA since 1966,” said the BBWAA. “The allegations have no bearing on his winning the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which was in recognition of his notable career as a baseball writer.” Excellence honored.
So the BBWAA’s motto is “Commit Sex Crimes Against Children, Just Be Sure To Write Well.” Sad as it is, I expected such a group to protect one of its own. Again, they don’t admit mistakes. I wonder if the Veterans Committee vote Conlin gets now can be cast from a rape corner in a prison.
Then came time for members of the BBWAA to cast their votes for 2012 enshrinement. Sunday night I stumbled across a tweet from a friend saying that ESPN’s Pedro Gomez had cast a vote for Bill Mueller. “I voted for who I believe should be in,” Gomez tweeted Sunday night, presumably after getting feedback on his ballot.
Gomez believes .291, 85 homers, and 493 RBI should be in the Hall of Fame. Swirl that around your palate for a minute.
Or does he? He also tweeted regarding the Mueller vote, “Explanation: It’s a ‘favored son’ vote, given to player who will not make it to Year 2 as an honor to what he represented. No harm.” So Gomez does not believe Mueller is Hall of Fame worthy but worthy of a pity vote that could have gone to a more deserving player?
I really hope that brought a tear to Mueller’s eye, San Pedro, because it certainly brought a kick to the junk of those who believe those votes represent the best in the game and not just the good guys who played it. A wasted vote, no? “Doubt Mueller feels that way,” Gomez tweeted. “I don’t.” Edgar Martinez and Tim Raines must have really hurt Gomez’s feelings at some point. Excellence honored.
I give Gomez credit at least for engaging me in debate, which he did not have to do, and I’m sure many of his peers wouldn’t. He did mock me (I think) in tweeting me, “Then you shouldn’t use your vote the way I do” and “You d [sic] with your ballot what you want. I’ll do with mine what I want.” At least I certainly hope he doesn’t think I have a Hall of Fame vote. But still, debate is healthy, and I thank him for it.
I thank him even more for solidifying my theory that his organization is a farce, as is its mean, drunk uncle, The Veterans Committee, even with its makeover. Thanks to the three others who voted for Mueller, the six who dry humped for Vinny Castilla, and one of Eric Young’s relatives. Excellent favored sons honored.
What the writers think means nothing, and they’ve proven that bit by bit over the years with inclusions and exclusions that make one scratch his or her head and that I won’t debate here because I just no longer care. The saddest part is that they do have an effect on former players’ lives emotionally and financially. I was turned off on Ron Santo’s personality long ago, but it was a travesty what they did to that man year in and year out. There will be more Santos to play ant to the BBWAA and Veterans Committee’s magnifying glass in the sun, and that sucks. Dead excellence honored.
At least now I know that just like other bullies and cliquey holier-than-thous that thrive off hiding behind excellence and honor while defecating on others, there is nothing excellent or honorable about them.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget , but please don’t follow him in real life. He grew up in Chicago’s Beverly To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.