“They Make a Desert…

Cooperstown's number one attraction

Cooperstown’s number one attraction

…and call it peace.”–Tacitus

This marks the first year since 1996 that the writers elected no one to the Hall of Fame. No one, not one single person. I’ve said before it’s time for a change before the desert the writers made broadens.

I’ve had enough of writers sending in blank ballots and of not returning ballots at all. I’ve had it with writers who haven’t covered the game in years getting to decide who makes it to Cooperstown and who doesn’t. I read a rather prominent writer who said he wasn’t going to turn in a ballot this year because he just couldn’t vote for the steroid guys but didn’t know how to deal with it. In the same article he acknowledged having voted for some players remaining from the 2012 ballot, but this year he didn’t feel like sending in a ballot. So tell me, Oh, Great Sage, how the hell did the guys you voted for last year suddenly get bad enough you couldn’t vote for them this year? What number exactly was it that changed? What character flaw did you suddenly notice?

Another writer says he sent in a blank ballot to show is disgust. Again, he admits to voting for people last year who didn’t get in and who were still on the list. Same questions to this idiot. Exactly how could you vote for someone and then not do it again the next year? Were you just a fool last year? If so, why the heck did you accept a  ballot this year?

Another writer explained his ballot by saying he hadn’t covered the sport in years, but still got a vote and intended to use it. Him I’m a little less upset with. My question is why does the Hall of Fame send a ballot to someone who admits he doesnt’ cover the sport anymore? Habit? Negligence, maybe?

I want peace in the Hall of Fame voting, but I’m afraid the writers have already created too much of a desert for them to continue making this choice alone. I’ve seen a number of different proposals for change. One suggests letting the writers vote for whoever they want on the ballot (no 10 vote minimum), then take the 10 players with the most votes and have a specially selected panel of experts (Expert–a combination of “ex” meaning  a has been and “spurt” a drip under pressure”) vote for the 10 candidates surviving the writers vote. At least one player (and ties) must be chosen. Not a bad idea, but it has a number of flaws. First, a lot of writers are simply going to vote for the steroid guys whatever they really think and just pass the mess along to the expert panel. Second, who determines who the damned experts are?  And just what exactly makes an expert? Me? Hell, yes, I’m an expert; just ask me. The fact that no one else seems to notice is their fault, not mine.  Finally, although the idea of chosing no one is what set off this post, I do recognize the requirement to pick someone can lead to some silly choices (this year would not have been one of those times). But I also understand that the Hall makes a lot of money on “Hall of Fame Weekend.” I’m glad Deacon White’s great grandchildren will get to see his plaque added to the pantheon, but I have a feeling that few others are going to show up to commemorate the Deacon. And all that means a lack of funding coming in to buy more memorabilia and add to the exhibits.

Other proposals leave out the writers step and go directly to the panel. Still others propose culling the writers to those who actually cover the game. And yet more suggest expanding the voters to include other media types like broadcasters, sports reporters who work on TV, bloggers (Hey, there’s me again).

I don’t know that any of these is exactly right, but I do know that we have a desert out there. Somebody’s got to fix this mess or there will be no peace. Not a lick.

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4 Responses to ““They Make a Desert…”

  1. W.k. kortas Says:

    I’m not particularly upset about the notion of a year with no inductees per se; golf’s Hall of Fame is inducting Colin Montgomerie, which is a pretty fair example of inducting someone so there’s a body at the induction ceremony. Cooperstown could feature a half-dozen or more inductees next year, and this election will be forgotten. That said, you’re certainly right about the writers who dither about PED users, and decide to make the bold statement of pocketing their ballots. Being a Hall of Fame voter is a privilege, and with that privilege comes responsibility. If a writer decides to eschew that by grabbing his nuts and not voting, that ballot should go to someone who gives enough of a damn to take a stand one way or the other.

  2. Kevin Graham Says:

    Uh Oh, somebody’s got a picture on their header.

    V, I agree with everything you’ve written. Something’s got to change. I read the HOF ran up a $2.5 million loss in 2012. Induction weekend will probably see a 25% drop in attendance. That’s a lot of money lost to the Hall, and the local economy. It’s a real shame.

    Kevin G

  3. William Miller Says:

    Completely agree with you. I don’t pretend to have the answer to this dilemma, but it’s pretty clear that the present system is a mess, and will only get worse next year when even more highly qualified players enter the ballot.

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