Outrage at HOF voting baseless
Hmm. OK. Good headline. Let’s see what you have to say.
From the overheated outrage expressed by baseball fans, the blogosphere and, most embarrassingly, the ostensibly objective journalists over the fact that Andre Dawson was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame in 2010, it seemed as though voters who didn’t choose Roberto Alomar had reduced the sum total of his spectacular accomplishments to being on par with the feats of, say, Marty Barrett, and that Barry Larkin’s wonderful career was just slightly better than Gene Larkin’s.
Well, something that was overlooked by and large, even by myself, is that a very large majority voted for both Blyleven and Alomar and less than 5% more than that voted for Andre Dawson. That just turned out to be the difference between enshrinement and waiting another year. It’s a good point, but the outrage expressed was directed more at the hypocrisy of voting and the problem of having a bloated, sometimes under-educated voting masses who get lifetime passes to vote, even if they don’t keep up with the sport.
Two pivotal, fundamental changes in baseball culture have surrounded and smothered the process, however, and the result this year was faux anger that suggested a great injustice had been done to Alomar, when in fact voters behaved in a manner consistent with that of their predecessors.
Hmm yes all voters should vote similarly to their predecessors, where a candidate stands on wage slavery in turn-of-the-century Chicago is important to me. You can tell already there’s going to be a strong “f**k progress” tone in this piece.
The piece kinda meanders and spreads itself thin, but eventually …
[…]The second change is that the voting process has been hijacked by technology, with greater statistical analysis as well as the preponderance of opinions available on the Internet.
I wouldn’t say the voting process has been hijacked. I mean, favorites of the stats community are still being avoided, including Tim Raines and Alan Trammell. But yes, statistical analysis is a big change in baseball today–a progressive change, I feel, and a change made to help us better understand the game we love.
The messengers, once less partisan, now are activists. The blogosphere, almost by definition, is not objective but rather reactive, comprised of Web sites whose origins are rooted in recognizing the mainstream media as the enemy, incompetent or both. The mainstream media — which still includes many of the Hall of Fame’s voters, often in need of a group hug or weary from constant abuse — panders in turn.
Perhaps it is the reacted who has become … the reactor?
Statistical analysis is cyclical,
Sigourney Weaver: On a warm spring day, when the sun rises and the flowers bloom, stastical analysis peaks its head of its hybernation hole for the first time in four months, with its two bear cubs in tow. Emaciated, the statistical analysis is hungry and must find its first meal before she starves.
and thus players who produce certain figures — the great OPS-ing of the Hall of Fame ballot — get greater consideration, lest voters incur the wrath of the numbers people.
I think the point our friend here Howard is missing is that even something as simple as on-base percentage isn’t about stats. It’s about the advancement for understanding the game. Where should value be placed in the sport? And for years, the standard for batting and pitching evaluation–batting average and wins–turned out to be the wrong focus.
Imagine that for nearly 70 years, the standard evaluation for kickers in the NFL is their number of field goals made, regardless of their number of misses and how many yards they were out. And if the team won the game, the kicker received a point and those total points amassed were used as analysis. That’s what baseball had for many, many years, only even worse.
Along with hundreds of blogs, Major League Baseball’s content — broadcast by its own network — produces a tsunami of thought that at worst can intimidate and at the very least can influence voters.
Moments after typing this, Howard’s sister-in-law had Howard committed, claiming the numbers people were coming to get him.
Yes, Edgar Martinez joins Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Stan Musial as the only players to have a .300 batting average, 500 doubles and a .400 on-base percentage, but would anyone in his or her right mind actually choose to start a team with Martinez over any of those players?
Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Maybe the funniest part of this all is that our friend here, Howard K. Bryant, did vote for Jim Rice last year. So I guess Martinez wasn’t good enough for the Hall because he couldn’t play with Ruth or Gehrig, but Rice was?
Milestones that never before provided a free pass — Harmon Killebrew hit 573 home runs and Early Wynn won 300 games, but both were inducted on their fourth tries — now are viewed as cause for automatic election.
Just a little side note, Early Wynn is, like, one of three Hall of Fame pitchers that even big Hall guys should agree doesn’t belong in there.
Howard does make a good point eventually that the Hall rarely inducts anybody on the first ballot and that Bob Feller in 1962 was the first first-ballot Hall of Famer after the 1936 group (though he doesn’t mention that the Hall of Fame was backlogged for years because of all of the possible inductees) and that it’s never been an act of disrespect, but rather a late understanding of the players.
Well, it kind of is disrespect if you’re not informing yourself on who to vote for before you vote–and then later allow yourself to be swayed by immaterial appeals. I believe voters should know immediately who they should vote for and have reasoning to go with it. No aura. No “I saw him play and he looked like a Hall of Famer.” No “he’s not a first-ballot guy.” The only voters worse than that are the voters who change their mind because of public opinion. If you think the guy should be in the Hall, you put him on the ballot. Enough with superlatives that boost a potential Hall of Famer’s candidacy without the information to back it up. Enough with the passive aggressive power mongering.