Thursday, January 7, 2010

Some Final Thoughts on the Hall of Fame

Alright , now that I’ve had a day to collect my thoughts on today’s Hall of Fame announcement I must admit I’m still a little baffled by the results. I’ve made my arguments for who I thought should have gotten in this year so I won’t go over it again. Needless to say the voters disagreed with my views.

I am glad that Andre Dawson made it in, kind of in the same way that I’m glad Jim Rice was voted in last year. At least now we don’t have to read the yearly “Hawk should be in the Hall” articles. Of course it means at least 50 writers have to come up with some new material for next year, but that’s their problem, not mine.

My biggest beef this year centers around Roberto Alomar not getting elected on the first ballot. The argument has been made that he’s a really good player, but not a “great” player. How someone who has 10 Gold Gloves (most of any second baseman) and led the major leagues in hits for a decade can’t be considered “great” I don’t know, but part of the fun of sports is debating levels of greatness.

I’ve always considered myself a bit of an optimist when it comes to sports. I like believing that sports writers are objective when it comes to their jobs and can put their personal feelings aside when they are tasked with the responsibility of voting on someone’s professional legacy.

After this year I must say that I’ve lost some of that positive karma. There are writers out there that let their personal beliefs cloud their professional judgment. For some players this is a benefit, for others a hindrance. It’s not fair, but it is better than the alternative. A BCS-esque computer process that completely removes human emotion from the equation and elects based solely on a player’s statistical resume.

Let’s take Alomar as an example. For most people the memory associated immediately with him is the spitting incident involving umpire John Hirschbeck. If he never spits on the umpire how does that change the way people view him as a player?

Do voters use that as an excuse to not vote for him? The stereotype of the bitter, overweight sports writer is as tired as the one about bloggers living in their mother’s basement, but could there be a little bit of a truth in the stale saying?

Did he lose votes because he wasn’t the most outgoing of players? If he had been good with a quote like Rickey Henderson would he have gotten more votes? It’s hard to say because the voters get to hide behind the anonymity of the voting process. The voters are writers, right? Why not have them have to write a paragraph or two on the ballots on why they voted in or left off a particular player?

I have a feeling that would eliminate the blank ballots and old guard who don’t believe that any players deserve 100% of the vote. Having to justify their votes might also have them take it a little more seriously. If they can justify not voting for a person with a reasoned argument then more power to them.

Or why not blow up the whole system and convert to a system similar to the NFL’s? After the five year waiting period have someone nominate an eligible player and present an argument to a group of Hall of Fame Members. I might tweak to make the panel consist of members, some press and select fans (but no owners, owners are evil!). Make it like a jury trial.

Of course they could not make any changes so that there is a lively discussion about it every year, and with the steroid-era players becoming eligible the discussion will indeed be lively. I just hope that if there is no change then at least the voters take their responsibility seriously. That means no more casting votes for David Segui,

No comments: