The Problem with the BBWAA

The problem with the BBWAA isn’t that they failed to elect anyone to the Hall of Fame, but the reason why.

Not the plethora of reasonable sounding reasons that they no doubt gave us in their columns but the underlying worldview that makes those excuses as relevant as they are.

The writers of the BBWAA view themselves as the defenders of the realm, a puerile hubris that blinds them to their real function in the Hall of Fame selection process. Their job is to decide who is good enough, not who is pure enough, and their obsession with the latter overwhelms their incompetence at the former.

Like their medieval predecessors, these Knights of the Keyboard have taken the ideal of serving justice and turned it into a crusade to inflict their own view of morality upon people who neither need nor want it.

The quest for purity from PEDs has extended itself to the ridiculous extreme. It is not enough to exclude from the Hall those who have been proven to have used. It is not enough to exclude from the Hall those who have been accused of using. Now it extends to excluding from the Hall those who look like they may have used. Are we supposed to believe that there is a different–legitimate–reason for not voting in Jeff Bagwell whose 76.7 career WAR (bbref version) is eclipsed on this ballot only by two men, one of whom is a candidate to be considered the best hitter of all time, and the other of whom is a candidate to be the best pitcher of all time?

And both of whom undoubtedly enhanced their performance with drugs barred by Major League Baseball.

Jeff Bagwell has, to the best of my knowledge, never been so much as accused of taking performance enhancing drugs but he was big and strong and really good for a long time so of course he was juicing.

We don’t need writers so obsessed with purity that they would rather deny an innocent man the induction he deserves in an attempt to deny those malfeasant miscreants an honor they did not deserve.

We don’t need writers who think Jack Morris is more deserving of induction than Curt Schilling.

We don’t need writers who cast what I can only hope were joke votes for Sandy Alomar, Aaron Sele, Julio Franco, and Shawn Green.

We don’t need writers telling us who is and isn’t a First Ballot Hall of Famer ™ because the notion that there’s a difference between a first ballot hall of famer and a second ballot hall of famer is infantile. A player is either worthy enough for the Hall or he isn’t and that worthiness doesn’t change between their first year on the ballot and their second.

It’s supposed to be about the baseball, and rewarding those who, among all their peers, outperformed damn near everybody. It’s supposed to be about recognizing achievement. It’s supposed to be about celebrating the game. It’s supposed to be about the visceral pleasure of a good sports argument. It’s supposed to be about joy.

It’s not supposed to be about the writers.

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