Skip to content

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

Dec 31, 2012, 4:02 PM EDT

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. Rangers place Jim Adduci on DL; promote top prospect Luis Sardinas

    Apr 19, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Jim Adduci Jim Adduci

    The Rangers lost Jim Adduci with a broken finger, but have called up one of their top prospects.

  2. Gavin Floyd to make at least two more rehab starts

    Apr 19, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    Gavin Floyd Gavin Floyd

    The Braves could get Gavin Floyd back in early May after he makes at least two more rehab starts.

  3. Video: Camera guy falls following J.B. Shuck after he hit a lead-off homer

    Apr 19, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Detroit Tigers Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Detroit Tigers

    The camera guy made a faux pas during the first inning of Saturday’s Angels-Tigers game.

  4. Dontrelle Willis considering becoming a pitching coach

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT

    Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs

    With his playing career likely over, Dontrelle Willis is now considering becoming a pitching coach.

  5. Mike Trout did something for the first time on Saturday

    Apr 19, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Mike Trout Mike Trout

    Mike Trout attached his name to an ignominious feat on Saturday against the Tigers.

  6. Manny Machado plays in first extended spring training game, nears official rehab stint

    Apr 19, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Manny Machado AP AP

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado continues to make progress from knee surgery. He played five innings at third base and took four at-bats today in an extended spring training game.

  7. Bryce Harper pulled from Saturday’s game for not hustling

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper Getty Getty Images

    Nationals manager Matt Williams decided to pull Bryce Harper from today’s game after he didn’t hustle on a comebacker to the pitcher.

  8. Pirates designate Travis Ishikawa for assignment to make room for Ike Davis

    Apr 19, 2014, 4:28 PM EDT

    Travis Ishikawa Getty Getty Images

    Ike Davis will bat sixth in his Pirates debut this evening against the Brewers.

  9. David Robertson declares himself “ready to go” after extended spring training game

    Apr 19, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT

    David Robertson AP

    Yankees closer David Robertson is on track to be activated Tuesday.

  10. Cole Hamels to join Phillies’ rotation next Wednesday

    Apr 19, 2014, 2:29 PM EDT

    Cole Hamels AP AP

    Cole Hamels is on track to face the Dodgers next Wednesday in Los Angeles.

  11. Reds activate reliever Sean Marshall from the disabled list

    Apr 19, 2014, 1:16 PM EDT

    Sean Marshall Getty Getty Images

    The Reds are hoping that Sean Marshall’s shoulder issues are behind him.

  12. Denard Span activated from 7-day concussion disabled list

    Apr 19, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

    denard span getty Getty Images

    Denard Span had no issues during a brief minor league rehab assignment.

  13. Cesar Cabral designated for assignment by Yankees after rough night on the mound

    Apr 19, 2014, 11:01 AM EDT

    Cesar Cabral AP AP

    Cesar Cabral was ejected after hitting three batters Friday against the Rays. And then his night got worse.

  14. Report: MLB likely to adjust rules for plays at home and transfer catches

    Apr 19, 2014, 10:10 AM EDT

    transfer rule

    Adjustments to each rule could be made soon.

  15. VIDEO: Albert Pujols’ 497th career home run

    Apr 19, 2014, 9:21 AM EDT

    Albert Pujols AP AP

    Angels first baseman Albert Pujols is closing in on a milestone.

  16. Settling the Score: Friday’s results

    Apr 19, 2014, 8:58 AM EDT

    Aaron Hill AP AP

    They needed extra innings to do it, but the Diamondbacks snapped a six-game losing streak last night and finally got a win against the Dodgers.

  17. Unwritten rules lead to hard feelings in Astros-A’s game

    Apr 19, 2014, 3:24 AM EDT

    lowrie porter 2

    Can’t someone please write these things down so we can all keep track?

  18. Martin Maldonado literally hit the cover off of a baseball

    Apr 19, 2014, 12:10 AM EDT

    Martin Maldonado Martin Maldonado

    One of baseball’s older cliches came true on Friday night thanks to Martin Maldonado.

  19. Blue Jays activate Jose Reyes, place Adam Lind on the disabled list

    Apr 18, 2014, 11:55 PM EDT

    Jose Reyes Jose Reyes

    The Blue Jays get a shortstop back, but lose their designated hitter.

Featured video

This was 'the perfect baseball game'
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. S. Kazmir (5325)
  2. G. Springer (3858)
  3. K. Uehara (3506)
  4. M. Machado (3351)
  5. D. Pedroia (2949)
  1. J. Reyes (2933)
  2. J. Chavez (2817)
  3. H. Ramirez (2784)
  4. T. Walker (2709)
  5. B. Harper (2708)