Jan 3, 2011, 1:57 PM EDT
Jon Heyman wrote one of those New Year’s Resolutions-style columns, in which he put voice to what he wishes 50 baseball figures would think heading into 2011. Here’s his entry for Bert Blyleven:
I will consider myself fortunate when I am voted into the Hall of Fame, and understand that while I had a great career, I am not Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton but rather Don Sutton and Phil Niekro, near-great pitchers who were borderline candidates that gained enshrinement, and I will thank the small coterie of Internet zealots who kept calling attention to the value of strikeouts, shutouts, complete games, longevity and durability and helped me rise from 14 percent of the votes in my second year of eligibility to more than 75 percent and act gracefully upon hearing the expected good news.
Yes. Blyleven should act gracefully. Mercy.
UPDATE: Heyman has been defending the above passage over at his Twitter feed. His claim: he was merely comparing Blyleven to Sutton and Neikro and, my word, how can that be a slam, because those guys were great? In this he’s missing the point entirely. We see this by merely changing what he wrote from the first person of Blyleven to a third person account reflecting what are obviously Heyman’s own feelings. Ask yourself: what would you think if Heyman had written this:
Memo to Blyleven: consider yourself fortunate that you’re getting voted into the Hall of Fame, and understand that while you had a great career, you are not Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton but rather Don Sutton and Phil Niekro. You — like them — were a near-great pitcher who was a borderline candidate that gained enshrinement. You should thank the small coterie of Internet zealots who kept calling attention to the value of strikeouts, shutouts, complete games, longevity and durability and helped you rise from 14 percent of the vote in your second year of eligibility to more than 75 percent. And you should act gracefully upon hearing the expected good news.
That’s nothing short of obnoxious. And it’s nothing different than what he wrote in the first place.
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