Skip to content

Leitch on the Hall of Fame arguments: “it’s like watching politicians”

Dec 31, 2012, 4:02 PM EST

argument

Will Leitch of Sports On Earth loves the Hall of Fame, but fears that the nature of the Hall of Fame debate — which, given how intractable everyone is being is less of a debate than a shout-fest — has ruined the whole thing:

This is the Hall of Fame. This is the ultimate sports debate. This is how we’ve always classified guys, how we’ve organized the world of baseball for years … It was supposed to be fun. But not now. The discussions about the Hall of Fame, and the actual ballots, are turning into the fiscal cliff debate, with people operating in bad faith, abusing their power, making decisions for reasons that have nothing to do with how good of a baseball player a certain guy was. It’s like watching politicians. And sports should never, ever be like watching politicians.

He’s got a point. And even though I get a more or less approving mention at the outset of the piece, I realize that I’m part of the problem too.

In my defense, I care far less about any one voter’s choice and I complain far less about this guy or that guy getting in than I used to. Same goes for whether someone uses old school or new school analysis. I don’t think I’ve cited WAR with any bit of seriousness or conviction in my life, for example, and I’ve mentioned several times that I won’t lose much sleep if Jack Morris gets in or Barry Bonds is left out or whatever. I have my opinions on those matters and others have different ones and if all we have when it comes to Hall of Fame talk is a difference of opinions in that regard, fine. Let’s shout about it some and then have beers later.

What does bother me, however, is inconsistent and dishonest reasoning employed by those who are supposed to be the foremost experts and authorities we have. The double standards, the intellectual laziness, the personal vendettas and the grandstanding that passes for baseball analysis and, ultimately, historical judgment.  You want Jack Morris and Dale Murphy in and Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds out? Fine. Say you think the former were better (or at least more worthy) baseball players than the latter, cast your vote and stand by your judgment.  But don’t ignore or invent history to do so and don’t pretend history and evil-doers are forcing you to vote in such a way and that you feel powerless and depressed about it.

That’s the hill I’ll die on. Not the “this guy should be in or that guy should be out and you’re a moron for thinking otherwise” hill. The “think rationally, be honest and take responsibility for your actions, even if they’re unpopular” hill. It’s a concept that is always worth fighting for, be it in baseball arguments or in stuff that actually matters in the real world.

Latest Posts
  1. Red Sox sign Craig Breslow to $2 million deal

    Dec 19, 2014, 9:20 PM EST

    Craig Breslow Getty Getty Images

    The Red Sox have brought back lefty Craig Breslow on a one-year deal for $2 million.

  2. Wil Myers could play center field for the Padres

    Dec 19, 2014, 8:15 PM EST

    wil myers getty Getty Images

    The Padres’ outfield should hit a lot of homers in 2015, but they may give back a lot of those runs on defense.

  3. Orioles hire hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh

    Dec 19, 2014, 7:10 PM EST

    orioles logo

    The Orioles have settled on a new hitting coach: Scott Coolbaugh.

  4. Giants acquire Casey McGehee from the Marlins

    Dec 19, 2014, 6:05 PM EST

    casey mcgehee getty Getty Images

    The Giants are looking to solve their third base dilemma with Casey McGehee.

  5. Report: David Ross to sign with the Cubs

    Dec 19, 2014, 5:18 PM EST

    David Ross Getty Images

    Jon Lester now has a personal catcher.

  6. More from the underbelly of the A-Rod Conspiracy Industrial Complex

    Dec 19, 2014, 4:47 PM EST

    Alex Rodriguez Getty Getty Images

    All baseball moves the Yankees make must be construed as pro-A-Rod or anti-A-Rod. There are literally no other reasons the Yankees make baseball moves.

  7. Baseball will lobby to have Congress exempt minor leaguers from the Fair Labor Standards Act

    Dec 19, 2014, 3:25 PM EST

    Minor League baseball

    Minor League Baseball’s top lobbyist wants minor leaguers classified as if they were babysitters and seasonal farm workers.

  8. A’s release Nick Punto, eat $2.75 million

    Dec 19, 2014, 3:10 PM EST

    Nick Punto AP

    He’s owed $2.75 million for 2015.

  9. If you ever wanted to make “Darryl Strawberry money” now you can. Quite literally.

    Dec 19, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    New York Mets Getty Images

    It’s complicated. But you can bid on his deferred compensation, payable by the Mets.

  10. Pirates sign Corey Hart

    Dec 19, 2014, 2:14 PM EST

    Corey Hart Getty Getty Images

    Hart was one of the best right-handed power hitters in baseball for the Brewers from 2010-2012.

  11. The Padres have given their fans something to talk about. Which is badly needed in San Diego.

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:30 PM EST

    A.J. Preller AP

    The Padres have made a flurry of moves in the past few days. It may help them win some more baseball games. But it will undeniably fire up a fan base that has had nothing to get excited about for years.

  12. Phillies “kicking the tires” on Rafael Furcal

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:13 PM EST

    Rafael Furcal Rafael Furcal

    Furcal is actually a year older than Jimmy Rollins at 37 and hasn’t been healthy since 2012

  13. Bud Selig to be named “Commissioner Emeritus”

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Bud Selig AP

    Bud is still going to be CCd on all the imporant emails, it seems.

  14. Done deal: Phillies trade Jimmy Rollins to Dodgers

    Dec 19, 2014, 12:12 PM EST

    Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

    Rollins waived his no-trade rights to facilitate a move after 15 seasons in Philadelphia.

  15. So, Cole Hamels is next for the Padres, right?

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:31 AM EST

    Cole+Hamels+Atlanta+Braves+v+Philadelphia+64GYsPWwfRzl Getty Images

    File this under “wild speculation” but it makes all kinds of sense.

  16. Rocco Baldelli is the Rays’ new first base coach

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:14 AM EST

    Rocco Baldelli AP

    Baldelli, who’s still just 33 years old, joins 37-year-old rookie manager Kevin Cash’s coaching staff.

  17. The Padres aren’t done! They’re trading Ryan Hanigan to the Red Sox for Will Middlebrooks

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    Will Middlebrooks Will Middlebrooks

    A third base hole filled in San Diego, a good defensive catcher goes to Boston.

Featured video

Cubs shore up rotation with Jon Lester
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. W. Myers (4314)
  2. M. Kemp (3775)
  3. M. Cabrera (3424)
  4. M. Morse (2627)
  5. J. Upton (2549)
  1. J. Kang (2401)
  2. J. Lester (2362)
  3. C. Headley (2258)
  4. A. Rios (2066)
  5. M. Scherzer (1944)