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Jay Mariotti wants to get kicked out of the BBWAA. Hey BBWAA: please do it

Jan 6, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT

Jay Mariotti didn’t vote for anyone for the Hall of Fame. Not a single person. He gave his rationale on his ESPN podcast (transcript via Baseball Ink):

I didn’t vote for anybody in the baseball hall of fame this year. Ya know why?  To me…the first ballot is sacred. I think Roberto Alomar is an eventual Hall of Famer, not the first time. Edgar Martinez, designated hitter, eventually, but not the first time. Same goes for maybe Fred McGriff. As far as Blyleven and Dawson…if they haven’t gotten in for years and years I cannot vote them in now. Ripken, Rickey Henderson and Gwynn. They are true first ballot Hall of Famers, but I didn’t vote for anybody, throw me out of the Baseball Writers. I don’t care.

Mariotti isn’t the only voter who imposes the erroneous “first ballots are sacred” rule, but he is its loudest, most self-centered and most obnoxious practitioner.  His other exclusions are even more ridiculous, seeing as though he has previously voted for Blyleven and Dawson.

I suppose I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said before when I call Mariotti an immature and obnoxious attention whore, but I wish he’d limit his self-aggrandizing shtick to his columns rather than allow it to infect Hall of Fame voting which, no matter what Mariotti thinks of it, is still taken pretty seriously by most of us.

Mariotti ends his rant by saying that he wants to get kicked out of the Baseball Writers Association of America.  By all means writers, give the man what he wants.

In other news, if you just can’t get enough of terrible sports writers and their terrible Hall of Fame ballots, today Patrick Sullivan of Baseball Analysts has a FJM-style takedown of Dan Shaugnessy’s “I know a Hall of Famer when I see it” column from the other day. Good stuff.

  1. Greg McFarlane - Jan 7, 2010 at 2:27 AM

    Kevin Appier got a vote too, from a baseball writer who presumably knows the game. This happens every year, presumably because a player helped a scribe make a deadline back in the day and now the ink-stained wretch can pay him back with an empty reward that doesn’t cost any money.
    If there were ever an argument for universal Hall of Fame suffrage, this is it. Could the fans really do a worse job than the BBWAA hacks? Sure, a few hundred would vote for Appier, but he wouldn’t get anywhere near 75% of the vote.
    This ridiculousness is nothing new, either. Case in point: there’s never been a unanimous pick. Hank freaking Aaron was left off 5 ballots, presumably because 755 home runs weren’t enough. (One of the 1981 voters, Joe Marcin, made the same argument Mariotti makes.)
    There are no degrees of Hall of Fame induction: you’re either in, or you’re out. The ballot asks if each player should be in, or out. Not “how in should he be?”
    The 5-year waiting period is stupid, too. What is the point of making Greg Maddux wait another 4 years?

  2. Rusty - Jan 7, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    Mariotti is right about the first ballot thing — whether you like it or not the “voted in on the first ballot” has become a recognized badge of honor for a player. Waiting on Frank Thomas…

  3. nick - Jan 8, 2010 at 7:04 AM

    The 5-year waiting period is stupid, too. What is the point of making Greg Maddux wait another 4 years?

    I am not sure, but I remember asking this question a long time ago and someone responding to me that there were some concerns about people retiring, being voted in, and then un-retiring.
    If this is the rationale, maybe players could sign some sort of contract for inclusion on the ballot that would prevent them from coming back once their name is included? {although this might have meant that Rickey Henderson never got in because he would never have signed such a waiver.}
    Also, I think there should be some way to throw out voters. Anyone who didn’t vote for Rickey Henderson should be ineligible to vote. I think there were some people who did not vote for TEd Williams, or Babe Ruth, or Willie Mays on their first ballots, too. These actions should completely disqualify you from ever voting again – you have obviously not got the temperament to put aside your petty, sniveling grievances in order to objectively judge someone’s accomplishment at sport.
    I think, to this date, Tom Seaver has the record for the highest voting percentage on his first ballot. Seaver was an all time wonder, to be sure. But anyone who thinks that he was somehow “more deserving” than Mays, or Ruth, or Williams, or Aaron, needs to have their head checked. It’s like that idiot George King who didn’t include Pedro Martinez on his MVP ballot in 1999 because pitchers were not all-around players – a year after he had included two pitchers on his MVP ballot. Using votes like this to shore up petty grievances …
    {catching myself ranting, stopping now…}
    Very well played with the tag, by the way.
    Good luck, Bert!

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