It’s the Best Day of the Year

January 9, 2013 at 6:37 am | Posted in Hall of Fame | Leave a comment

…because after the Hall of Fame ballot is announced today, we’re the longest possible time away from having to deal with this nonsense again next year. It’s like going to the dentist. When you walk out that door, you’re just thrilled to know it’s not coming up again soon.

Honestly, I’m not sure that the BBWAA runs any more smoothly than Congress does, and our elected leaders are an outright mess, no matter which political viewpoint you support. Between narratives about Jack Morris and wins, arguments over who used PEDs and who didn’t, who may have even been in the same zip code as someone who did, and older writers who haven’t watched a game in years still being able to cast their votes, we’re left with gridlock that is more than likely going to leave us without a single inductee for the first time since 1996, despite a ballot that arguably has 10-12 deserving names.

They’ve really taken what should be a fun process contributing to the game’s history and made it a horrid, annoying process. So, thanks for that, BBWAA. Oh, and it’s only going to get more fun over the next few years as guys like Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, and others add to an already-overstuffed ballot.

For the record, my ballot would have included these ten names:

Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, Alan Trammell, Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Kenny LoftonLarry Walker, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens

Yes, Bonds & Clemens. Yes, I think they used. No, I don’t think that’s what made them so great. And to be honest, we have no idea who did or didn’t use, no matter how squeaky-clean you may think a player was. Unless you ignore 25 years of baseball, which is insane, I can’t see leaving off two of the greatest players in history.

I think the only controversial choice among people with my viewpoint would be leaving off Edgar Martinez in favor of Lofton, who has a quietly strong case. That’s not because Martinez was a designated hitter — if we’re electing closers, we can’t very well eliminate a specialist position that has been around even longer — but because he’s a good-yet-not-slam-dunk candidate in my eyes and I worry that the ballot is so stuffed that Lofton won’t even get the 5% needed to keep him around another year.

You can of course quibble with some of those names, and if you feel strongly about excluding Bonds & Clemens, I don’t agree, but I can respect the case. Really, for me it comes down to this: there’s no rational argument you can make to not vote for Piazza, Bagwell, or Raines (who was probably more valuable than Tony Gwynn), and there’s no convincing argument you can make for Morris or Dale Murphy.

Obviously, many voters don’t agree, and it goes beyond a simple difference of opinion; their votes, especially the ones cast by the older generation, are based on flawed reasoning or personal motives. But hey, if that’s not what makes America America, I guess I don’t know what does.

Either way, we’ll know in a few hours, and then we can table this for another year. Can’t wait.

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