Posts Tagged ‘voting’

2013 MLB Hall of Fame Vote Headlines

January 13, 2013

Okay, besides the obvious: “HALL OF FAME SUCKS AND SHUTS OUT A MILLION DESERVING CANDIDATES!”

Now that we’ve rushed to conclusions, let’s take a step back. I believe there is a flaw in the voting system for the Hall of Fame. I thought that before this vote took place, and find myself thinking about it more often now that the shutout occurred.

I’m not sure I could ever articulate my suggestions in a fashion that exceeds this fantastic piece by Jeff Passan, so I’ll leave you with that. And this one from Jayson Stark.

Please come back and finish reading my blog before you get carried away with those incredibly well-written works of art. Thanks.

And as much as I’d like to just dive right in and go to town on those dirty rotten voters, we do have to give them a break. Not only are they tasked with an insanely difficult job, but they then have to deal with nuisances like myself immediately after.

To avoid becoming a talking head on this topic and running with the same exact story lines, here are some other things I was processing while sobbing in the shower after seeing nobody reach the 75 percent threshold:

1) The outside influence on and internal struggle of a voter is fascinating.

If you truly think ballots aren’t influenced by voters’ peers in most cases, you’re as blind as a bat. A baseball bat. It happens in all types of social situations, because the desire to fit in is stronger than the desire to do what’s right. I’m not saying that’s why some votes went down as they did, but it certainly played a role. If every ESPN voter except one had openly proclaimed in the office they were voting for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, steroids be damned, chances are the outcast would also vote for Bonds and Clemens. It’s a social science.

Even more intriguing to me is the struggle all baseball fans face with morality. Yours truly is still undecided whether or not, given a hypothetical Hall of Fame vote, I’d vote for someone who was busted for PED’s. On the one hand, they are legends in their own right and earned their numbers, even if slightly inflated because of a little pill. On the other, their crimes are far more offensive to me than anything Pete Rose did, and he is banned from the game forever.

2) I thought all ballots should be released…then reconsidered.

What would it accomplish? Sure, we want to know who cast a vote for Shawn Green, or which nimrods thought it okay to exclude a surefire in Craig Biggio. But all it would lead to is a collective, big boy temper tantrum that only gets us in a meaningless, heated Twitter argument with each other. There are plenty of voters who shouldn’t be voting, but they have the right to conceal their choices for whatever reason they want…and I’m fine with that. Besides, who’s to say all the hidden ballots weren’t perfectly reasonable?

3) That being said…

…why isn’t Orel Hershiser or Gil Hodges in the Hall of Fame yet? And why did it take voters so long to induct Hank Greenberg? That’s literally all I had for this one. Awkward. Moving on.

4) Kenny Lofton and Bernie Williams gone forever.http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/images/photos/000/973/485/98433807_crop_650x440.jpg?1276726536

My heart breaks just writing those words. Two of my all-time favorite players and idols growing up did not receive the required five percent to stay on the ballot for 2014. Both players had very borderline cases as it was, but now their only hope is to be inducted by the Veteran’s Committee. That’s about as likely as Juan Uribe hitting a curveball, unfortunately. It’s too bad – who’s with me here: Creating a Hall of Fave in which fans get to choose non-Hall of Famers to grace the halls of a hallowed ground dedicated to the most popular players who ever played. This year, Kenny and Bernie would easily be in. Next year, we would welcome Sean Casey with open arms!

5) The PED users all get another shot.

Oh, stop. I’m allowed to group them together like that. Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro all survived the cut and will be on the ballot in 2014. In my humble opinion, Big Mac, Bonds and The Rocket will eventually hang a plaque in Cooperstown. In my humbler opinion, only Bonds and Clemens have the all-around numbers to be there. In my humblest opinion, those inevitable plaques should have a daftly-carved asterisk in each. The official prediction for me is that both Bonds and Clemens are in by 2018. McGwire? More like 2021.

6) Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker, ladies and gentleman!

This is similar to the Lofton-Williams scenario. Except that Martinez and Walker both have very good cases for Hall of Fame induction. Martinez is the DH. He deserves a spot in Cooperstown, and there’s nothing you can say that will make me budge from that position. As for Walker, is there any better five-year span out of the non-PED users than his .353/30/98/1.172 OPS line from 1997 (his MVP season, in which he also stole 33 bases) to 2002? He’s got the most anonymous Hall of Fame resumes in baseball, and the worst part of it all is Walker might get snubbed completely.

7) Biggio? More like Biggi-NO.

Goodness, that’s a money headline! How I don’t get paid to write those is beyond me. In all seriousness, since we are on the subject of snubs, why is Craig  Biggio not preparing a teary-eyed, soulful speech right now? I understand the aura (both negative and positive) around this year’s class, but the fact that 34 percent of voters found a reason to exclude a 3,000-hit club member who was an All-Star at two different positions and defined the word “grit,” while never raising questions about PED’s in an era where that was considered normal…is, honestly, blasphemous.

8) Is Aaron Sele going to change the course of baseball history?

And isn’t that what any aspiring ball player dreams of doing? I’m sure Sele didn’t expect it to happen this way, but that one, perplexing vote that was cast for him means a couple of things: First, there’s a voter out there who needs serious help right away. And secondly, he could be the trigger for a potential process-changing policy shift. Whether it be a limit to the character-scrubbing clause, or an increase in votes allowed per BBWAA member, or the amendment to require all ballots to go public, Aaron Bleepin’ Sele might go down in history as the man who changed it all. Sort of.

9) Finally, the class of 2014. Ohhhhhhh, the class of 2014. Yikes.

You thought this year’s class was loaded. Scratch Dale Murphy (another deserving candidate…he was on my ballot!) off the 2012 list, and add Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas, and Jeff Kent. Good luck. There are three no-doubters in that new group alone for me, so choosing a class of ten Hall of Famers this time next year will be a tall task. Because I value baseball more than my personal health (it’s currently 2:18 a.m., and I have a demanding work day ahead of me starting around 7:30), I’ve taken a shot at cracking this conundrum.

So if you’re so inclined, take a peek at my video revealing the 10 guys I would vote for in next year’s Hall of Fame election:

Thanks for reading, and feel free to subscribe to my YouTube page, or to visit my other blogs at jamblinman2.wordpress.com, or 3u3d.mlblogs.com. Until next time, vote with caution.

Jeremy is an unpaid intern/unpaid sports writer/unpaid blogger combination who does this stuff because he absolutely loves it. Follow him on Twitter @Jamblinman, and LIKE his 2013 MLB Fan Cave campaign page on Facebook!

There’s So Much Wrong with the MLB All-Star Game

July 1, 2012

20120702-121714.jpgI hate the All-Star Game. I really do. It’s stupid and contradictory and responsible for one of the worst moments in recent baseball history. The new format demands that the best respective rosters from each league be assembled, so as to assure a fair fight in the battle for home field advantage in the World Series.

Yet, as if these grown men need coddling that a Little League parent would be proud of, each team better have one representative, or the Padres might cry! Puh-lease.

Further, let’s make this game about the fans and allow them to vote in the starters even though a large majority of fans doesn’t actually know anything about the sport and spend hours voting for each player at each position on their favorite team (I’m looking at you, Giants fans…this is how Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford end up in the top five at their positions).

I have no beef with putting home field advantage on the line. It gives exponentially more meaning and intensity to the contest. And it keeps the baseball version of All-Star festivities much more entertaining than the NFL’s Pro Bowl, albeit more boring than the NBA’s.

But you damn well better let the players and coaches, who actually know what they are doing, determine the All-Star rosters in this case. And require that players who were voted in by trigger happy, stat-ignorant fans who probably won’t even WATCH the game, yet enjoy being part of the process…actually play. No “fatigue,” Derek Jeter. Come on.

Now I make very public my devotion to the Dodgers. So 99 percent of people who read this will probably brush off the rest of this blog as a biased, spiteful rant. But just because the Giants will be the subject of my fury for the next few paragraphs, I promise it has nothing to do with rivalry.

How can I prove it? Simple. When it comes to the All-Star Game, now that home field advantage IS on the line, the National League needs to act as one cohesive unit. Trust me, I love nothing more than to hate the Giants. But I will root for any players in a Giants hat in Kansas City, as long as he helps get my LEAGUE a win.

And it baffles me that Giants fans don’t feel the same way – well, no it doesn’t. I know a lot of awesome, smart Giants fans. But the ridiculous voting campaign I saw put on at AT&T Park last week was overstepping the boundaries. And now that the results are in, I’m convinced that if the PR Department for the Giants told its fans to swim to Alcatraz and back naked, they would oblige.

There is no other reasonable explanation for Freddy Sanchez (he of ZERO games played this season) earning 2.2 million votes. No other fan bases voted for him. That shows me that Giants fans were instructed to find anyone with “San Francisco Giants” under their names on the ballot at each position, and vote for them no matter what.

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People. We were 300,000 votes away from Brandon Crawford starting for the National League at shortstop. And if you don’t understand why that’s a big deal, my point has been proven. Because nobody cares to know who Crawford, the .220-hitting, probably-worst-player-on-the-team even is.

It’s all fine and good to vote for your players. Do it 25 times. That’s the maximum. But when I go to a game in the city, and I see a reporter on the Jumbotron in front of a room in some top-secret part of the ball park where fans are being given free food to sit in there and vote for Giants players all day…I’m going to be upset about it.

This has nothing to do with fairness and equality. There were three Dodgers worthy of All-Star consideration. Two of them made it, one won’t play because he’s injured. That’s great. I don’t mind. There were six Giants who deserved to make it. Four did, including Pablo Sandoval.

Kung-Fu Panda earned a spot, despite being injured for part of the season. But getting over 1 million votes the day before the results are announced to unseat David Wright, far and away the best third baseman in baseball, as the starter? That’s not even annoying, it’s just irresponsible.

And Giants fans, you have to not be sheep just following what the voice on the screen says. If you truly love baseball – hell, if you truly love your TEAM, you’d vote for the guys that deserve it. We know you love your team. Passion is excellent. But you’ll be kicking yourselves if Sandoval goes 0-2 in the All-Star Game and fails to get runners in a scoring situation. That could have been David Wright, a much better hitter, up in that spot.

And what if the National League goes on to lose? What if that happens and then the Giants make a run to the World Series? Are you going to enjoy playing IN Arlington? IN Los Angeles? IN New York? When all that needed to happen is filling in a little circle next to your guys the allotted 25 times: Sandoval, 3B. Posey, C. Cabrera, OF.

Obviously that’s an extreme situation, but part of me wishes Crawford had been voted in. Because I really think that would have made for an all-out remodeling of the process.

Anyway, let me re-state again. I’m not picking on Giants fans because I hate their team. I’m picking on Giants fans because they were the worst (by a mile) offenders of borderline illegal ballot stuffing for this thing. You can argue with me and say the Rangers have too many players in, and I’d probably agree. But Rangers fans didn’t get anyone who didn’t deserve consideration within striking distance of a starting spot. Just remember that.

Brandon Belt may some day be an All-Star. Freddy Sanchez will return to stardom if he gets healthy. And even Crawford may visit the Midsummer Classic some year. You never know.

But no matter how much you love them and the jerseys on their back, there is much more at stake than bragging rights for which team sends the most All-Stars to K.C.

There is the matter of the National League having to join forces, fans and all, to put the best possible team out on the field. Then once home field advantage has been earned, you can go back to quarreling intra-division and fighting for the right to actually use that home field advantage in October.

Obviously, many changes need to be made to the All-Star Game. Fans can’t be voting with so much at stake, and the stakes shouldn’t even be so high. I can understand where MLB is coming from, but when your slogan is “This One Counts,” fans have to be encouraged to remember that.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game…but if Buster Posey or Pablo Sandoval are responsible for a National League loss in the All-Star Game, feel free to tell your nearest Giants fan to change his or her evil ways.

Whew. Okay. I feel better. Now don’t even get me started on snubs like Josh Reddick…

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