Why the Baseball Hall of Fame voting process could use some tweaks but doesn’t need a major overhaul


One week ago, longtime Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the eligible BBWAA voters. A controversial foursome of players saw their 10th chance on the ballot come and go. Most notably, Roger Clemens (seven Cy Youngs and an MVP) and Barry Bonds (seven MVPs) saw their connections to PEDs cost them enshrinement. 

There was a loud contingent on social media calling the process a joke, chock full of attacks on “so-called writers” and “the media.” Some current players, who obviously grew up watching Clemens and Bonds play, also weighed in with hopes that maybe the process should change. 

This logic is totally flawed. 

Look, if players are integrated into the voting, I have absolutely no issue with it — unless they didn’t do their homework. And if we’re doing the process correctly, it does require homework. I spend hours and hours researching everything I can about the Hall of Fame and then applying it to individual players every winter and I still don’t even have a vote yet. 

Are the players going to put in that kind of time? I’m dubious. 

Further, this “never played the game” nonsense that continues to permeate the mindset of professional athletes is outrageous. By this logic, you can’t complain about a restaurant if you’ve never been a chef. You can’t say a movie is bad unless you’ve directed a good one before. You can’t decide which car you’d rather drive if you haven’t manufactured one. You can’t pick your doctor unless you’ve ever practiced medicine. Shall I keep going? People who didn’t get to the professional level are still allowed to judge players. 

There are a ton of people who know an awful lot about baseball who never played at a high level. Many of them are front office executives who have put together championship teams. 

Another issue I’ve noticed here that is flawed is so many people seem to believe everyone agrees with them. The insinuation from all the people who want to change the system is that if there was change, the players they wanted in the Hall of Fame would have gotten in. And those damn writers are all jerks for not voting for him. And vice versa (if you don’t want a player in and he made it; again, the process has to change!). 

Only lots of writers did vote for Bonds and Clemens. Just about 2/3 of them. Others who don’t yet have a vote (I’m raising my hand) would have voted for them. 

On the MLB Network show right before they revealed the voting results, Bob Costas (who “never played the game”) said he would vote for Bonds and Clemens. Harold Reynolds, a two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glover, said he would not have voted for them. A few years ago, Joe Morgan wrote a letter to all voters essentially begging them to keep Bonds and Clemens out and said he wasn’t alone among current Hall of Famers. Doug Glanville, whose nine-year career overlapped with Bonds and Clemens, wrote an incredibly compelling column on ESPN.com that might have convinced me to rethink everything. He said he was happy they didn’t get in and that they don’t deserve it. 

Weird, huh? He actually played the game but has a differing viewpoint. 

This isn’t to single out players and former players. Fans and fellow media members aren’t very different. We all deep down think we have the correct opinions. 

And yet, the Hall of Fame standard is really high. Imagine trying to get 75 percent of people from anywhere to agree on just about anything? That’s a high bar, right? 

All this is to say, no, I don’t believe the BBWAA has collectively failed here. It’s just awfully difficult to get 75 percent of hundreds of different people to agree. 

If there is anything that needs to be changed, I’d say it’s the cap on how many players can be voted for. The BBWAA asked the Hall of Fame to allow up to 12 from the current maximum of 10 and the Hall said no. 

The best idea I’ve seen came from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a few years back and that is a binary ballot. That is to say, there would now be two boxes next to every single player. Just yes and no. A voter is forced to make a decision on each player and if said voter really thinks there are 17 players worthy of a “yes” vote, so be it. 

I do not think this would drastically alter how many players got into the Hall of Fame. I do think we’d end up with fewer one-and-dones who deserved longer looks like Kenny Lofton and Johan Santana. I also think we’d get less drastic year-to-year movement in the vote percentages. Yes, people can change their minds after years of research — I’ve done it before with Larry Walker and Scott Rolen — but seeing a player go from something like seven percent of the vote in his first try to induction less than 10 years later doesn’t seem like it should be possible. Either he’s a Hall of Famer or he’s not. Removing the maximum and forcing everyone to pick yes or no would alleviate some of the most extreme movement. 

Beyond that, no, I don’t think the process is broken. People just disagree. You can’t fix disagreement by saying the voting process needs a complete overhaul. And, no, I don’t think the players would do a better job. They have better things to do in the offseason than read hundreds of pages on Hall of Fame history. Leave the nerd work to those of us who weren’t talented enough to make the pros. 



[ad_2]

Source link

Read more about NBA MLB, NFL

Follow by Email
Instagram