Here I am sitting on my Delta flight that’s headed to Atlanta & then on to Florida wondering if I should jot down some thoughts. I did, after all, start the blog back up & it’s not going to write itself. So here goes…
Now that Christmas is in the rear-view mirror & New Year’s is just around the corner, it means we’re all just hanging out in baseball purgatory for the time being. Aside from the stray announcement, there’s a whole lot of nothing going on this time of year for baseball fans. Oh sure, maybe you’re pumped (or not, depending on what you’re team did/didn’t do) about your team & anxiously awaiting the beginning of what may actually be a promising season but that’s still a couple of months away.
The one thing we can all count on this time of year is the endless debate about who belongs in baseball’s Hall of Fame. It’s an interesting process to say the least & one we get to hear about through countless articles and/or posts via Twitter. I personally don’t have a vote. As a matter of fact, I may never have a vote. Only writers (members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America – BBWAA) with 10 or more consecutive years’ experience get the honor. Which begs the question (or two) – Why just writers’? Why aren’t broadcasters, who’ve covered the game just as meticulously as any writer may have, not allowed to vote? I know I know…it makes perfect sense but I’m getting off-topic now.
Back to this voting thing. I count 37 names on this year’s ballot & a writer can vote up to 10 players on his/her ballot. This year, because of the whole PED’s issue, it’s become a little more convoluted for those charged with casting a ballot. Look, I’m not going to get on a particular writer for their ballot…it’s their belief & it’s their ballot. Who am I to judge? Speaking of which, I recall having a discussion a couple of years ago with Jon Heyman at MLB Network about Bert Blyleven…I thought he belonged in the Hall of Fame & Jon didn’t. Do I think I was right because Bert was eventually elected? You’re damn right I do! Joking…I kid because I care. I may not necessarily agree with how Jon or any other writer votes but as long they’ve set their parameters & vote accordingly, I’m good with it…it’s really all I can ask for as a fan.
Ok, now I’m really going to get back to the ballot. I mentioned the 37 names on the ballot & that includes the 24, first-time eligible candidates (some of the biggest names in baseball history). How would I vote in this hypothetical world where a broadcaster’s “voice” is heard? I’m glad you asked…
That’s right, I could vote for up to 10 & I chose 5. I know I left off a couple of names that seem to be popular nowadays: Edgar Martinez, Jack Morris, Alan Trammell & Curt Schilling to name a few – they are ”bubble guys” for me.
Obvious omissions? Well, I’m not ready (or wouldn’t have been) to vote for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire or Rafael Palmeiro just yet. Do I think they’ll eventually get in? I’m not sure I can answer that with any degree of certainty (nor do I think anyone else can for that matter). Deep down I do believe they’ll eventually get in but we are human after all & with that comes emotion. You will continue to have writers that will vote based on the numbers & numbers alone, while others may never bring themselves to vote for those associated in any form with PED’s or the “steroid era.” Which is right? Which is wrong? It’s why these discussions persist.
Either way, if you’re anything like me (and for your sake, I hope you’re not), you’ll be tuned in to MLB Network on January 9th to hear the name(s) that’ll be enshrined in Cooperstown next summer & the debates will begin all over again…but we’ll also be that much closer to Spring Training.
Livin’ the dream…