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The BBWAA grants FanGraphs accreditation, denies SB Nation

Dec 6, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT


The Baseball Writers Association of America just had their annual meeting. At that meeting they consider new applications for membership and reconsider old ones. They just did it with Fangraphs and SB Nation: accreditation granted to the former, denied to the latter.

Great news for FanGraphs. They do amazing work, of course, and I guarantee you that every single thinking BBWAA member relies on their analysis heavily as they do their jobs. Well-deserved.

I’m not at all pleased with SB Nation not making it. If for no other reason than this means that Rob Neyer and Amy K. Nelson, who have been BBWAA members for several years by virtue of their ESPN affiliation, are now officially on a one-year at-large membership. If SB Nation is not reconsidered next year, they presumably lose their ticket.

Rob’s tweet about this a few minutes ago suggested that the reasoning given for it not being accredited was that SB Nation is “too new” and that someone said that they’d only been around since July. This makes very little sense because while, yes, SB Nation has amped-up its national coverage in the past year or so with notable new hires like Nelson and Neyer, it has existed as an entity for several years.  And it’s not like Fangraphs has been around since the Carter administration itself.

That aside, if “too new” was the real reason, I think it marks the third different rationale for keeping people out of the BBWAA I’ve heard in the past five years. Earlier it was about how many games people cover. Last year people said it was about whether the writer in question gets, like, health benefits from their employer. It seems like a moving target to me.  But whatever. It’s their organization. They can do what they want with it.

I just think they’ve made a pretty big mistake here. SB Nation is doing fantastic work and has a tremendous reach. As are many other online outlets.  Any organization needs to evolve to survive. I’ve never been particularly impressed at the speed with which the BBWAA has evolved.

  1. dlevalley - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    “I’ve never been particularly impressed at the speed with which the BBWAA has evolved.”

    Molasses flows uphill faster…

  2. killeglandfc - Dec 6, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    I totally agree you’re dead right in what you say

  3. killeglandfc - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Brendan Murray

    I totally agree and you’re dead right in what you say

  4. 78mu - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    How come I get the feeling some of the old guard at the BBWAA have a little trouble understanding what this “intertubes” thing is. They still long for the days when they subscribed to home delivery of the New York Herald Tribune even though it quit publishing in 1966.

  5. Jonny 5 - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Very good news on Fangraphs. The old guard is relenting on letting in these “Saber mathematician wizards of confusion”. At least they are slowly coming around….

  6. jwbiii - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    I had no idea Amy K. Nelson was with SB Nation. She wrote wonderful long-form articles when she was with ESPN.

  7. rambodiaz - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    Congrats to Fangraphs, and that’s a shame about SB Nation.

    Between here and SB Nation, BBRef, and Fangraphs, I have no idea how I get any work done in the day.

    • cur68 - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      Morning Rambo. Try Steal of Home, if you get bored. Some pretty good stuff there, too. For current free agents there’s a pretty good article up on projected WAR adjusted for declining stats as they age. Gives you a good idea of who’s going to do what in the coming years. Hope the Beaver Men & The Pirates take a look at it before they get all carried away throwing around cash…

      • rambodiaz - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:17 PM

        Hey, thanks cur. That’s an awesome site of which I wasn’t aware. Good article, too.

        It makes Jeff Francis not look as horrifically terrible as I was afraid that he’d look. Maybe.

  8. CJ - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    Be careful Craig, they might pull this article out when HBT’s application is considered.

  9. sdelmonte - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    Neyer deserves better. Though I feel his stuff for SB Nation isn’t as good as his ESPN work.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 6, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      Incoming 1001 downvotes, but I honestly haven’t liked most of Rob’s stuff for the last few years. I wouldn’t say he was mailing it in, but he almost became contrarian to a fault at ESPN or was just a professional troll. He had the occasional insight like the column I linked a few days back about the future backlog of HoF candidates*, but far more people are doing better work than he. Even one of his first columns at sbnation had blatant errors in it**



      • Kyle - Dec 6, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        Lord help me, I can dig it.

      • mrfloydpink - Dec 6, 2011 at 1:47 PM

        I agree with both of you about Neyer. I mean, I’m a fan, have all the books, but his last year or two at ESPN was of very shaky quality. And I barely check in at SB Nation–I just don’t like the site, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s the layout (cluttered with a lot of crap I don’t care about, like eBay item of the day), or maybe it’s the coverage (focused more on personnel/game wraps, less on historical stuff/big picture debates), or maybe it’s something else. Whatever it is, it just doesn’t click for me.

  10. Kyle - Dec 6, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    I wonder how much of this also has to do with SB Nation being such a huge SEO troll? Eh, probably not much. Too bad either way because Sullivan and Brisbee are awesome.

  11. Panda Claus - Dec 6, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    After careful consideration, I’m pretty sure only the BBWAA could make the current college football BCS voting worse. You only need refer to the mockery of the regular (not Old-timer) HOF voting that takes place every year to get my point.

  12. nothimagain - Dec 6, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    At least the writers who refuse to ever vote for someone on the first ballot have accreditation.
    It’d be a shame for them or the ones who make up their own rules by refusing to acknowledge the DH to ever lose their voting rights.

  13. jwbiii - Dec 6, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Looking at the BBWAA badge list, I notice there are no beat writers on it.
    Presumably they go to lots games and are offered health insurance by their employer. Many of their writers seem as on top of things as anybody. Rotoworld references them regularly in their prodigious stream of player news. I think Brittany Ghiroli is a much better source for Orioles news than Peter Schmuck (I don’t mean to single Peter Schmuck out, I just like typing ‘Peter Schmuck’).Odd.

  14. clydeserra - Dec 6, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    I am not too concerned for SBNation in general, but the moving of the goal posts smacks of elitism. note to BBWA, the internet is here and will completely replace daily papers soon.

    As for the specific case for SB nation, well, they pay only a handful of their contributors, it seems like a scam to me. There are some good writers there (Grant and Jeff and John Sickles come to mind).

    Its good for fan blogs, but I can’t get behind their use of free labor.

  15. ta192 - Dec 6, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Don’t follow many sites other than this one, but one I do is SB Nation…or at least, during college football, I do. Go over every week to read “This Week in Schadenfreude”, which might be the funniest peek into the heads of football fans anyone could possibly hope for…

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