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. Cubs designate Darwin Barney for assignment, activate Emilio Bonifacio from disabled list

    Jul 22, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Darwin Barney Getty Getty Images

    Darwin Barney logged 500-plus plate appearances for the Cubs each season from 2011-2013 and was the Opening Day second baseman this year, but today he was designated for assignment to make roster room for Emilio Bonifacio’s return from the disabled list.

  2. Justin Masterson wants to rejoin the Indians, but he’ll make at least one more rehab start

    Jul 22, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    masterson getty Getty Images

    Justin Masterson tossed five innings in a minor-league rehab start Sunday, but rather than welcoming him back from the disabled list the Indians will have the right-hander make another rehab start.

  3. Roy Halladay really loves Chase Utley

    Jul 22, 2014, 2:05 PM EDT

    roy halladay long getty Getty Images

    The softer side of Roy Halladay.

  4. Yankees acquire Chase Headley from Padres

    Jul 22, 2014, 1:22 PM EDT

    Chase Headley Chase Headley

    Two seasons ago Headley smacked 31 homers, led the league in RBIs, and finished fifth in the MVP balloting, but his production plummeted last season and this year he’s been mostly injured and ineffective.

  5. Michael Cuddyer still 3-4 weeks from returning to Rockies

    Jul 22, 2014, 12:46 PM EDT

    cuddyer getty Getty Images

    Cuddyer, who won the batting title last season by hitting .331 with a .919 OPS in 130 games, hit .317 with five homers and an .866 OPS in 31 games before the injury this year.

  6. Changes to official scorers rulings have tripled in recent years

    Jul 22, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    World Series - Boston Red Sox v St Louis Cardinals - Game Four Getty Images

    Murray Chass — yes, Murray Chass — has an excellent article about this today.

  7. No one is sure when Matt Cain will pitch for the Giants again

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

    Matt Cain AP

    After letting Matt Cain pitch (poorly) through a “cranky” elbow since spring training the Giants finally shut him down yesterday, placing him on the disabled list with elbow inflammation.

  8. The guy with the curly-W beard is . . . awesome?

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Nationals cap logo

    That’s some real Nattitude right there.

  9. Dustin Ackley robbed Travis d’Arnaud of a home run

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Dustin Ackley Reuters

    Last night Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud hit a home run to left-center field, except Mariners left fielder Dustin Ackley jumped up, reached over the fence, and brought the ball back with a spectacular catch.

  10. Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow has a degenerative muscle disease

    Jul 22, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Krukow and Kuiper

    Non-fatal, but serious enough to where, after eight years, he is going public.

  11. Tommy Milone declines to comment on report he requested a trade from A’s

    Jul 22, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

    Tommy Milone Getty Getty Images

    Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported yesterday that A’s left-hander Tommy Milone has requested a trade after being demoted to Triple-A despite plenty of success in the big leagues.

  12. Blue Jays call up pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez

    Jul 22, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

    Aaron Sanchez AP AP

    Sanchez’s numbers this season haven’t been particularly impressive, including an underwhelming 4.19 ERA and 27/17 K/BB ratio in 34 innings at Triple-A, but he was a first-round draft pick in 2010 and ranked as a consensus top-50 prospect coming into this season.

  13. Roenis Elias leaves game with arm issues

    Jul 22, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT

    Roenis Elias AP

    He’s not at the top of the M’s rotation, but no contender wants to lose a pitcher.

  14. The Phillies are telling teams Cole Hamels is not available

    Jul 22, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT

    cole hamels getty Getty Images

    A big lefty on the market would bring a nice return. But the Phillies aren’t putting their big lefty on the market.

  15. And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

    Jul 22, 2014, 6:33 AM EDT

    Adam Jones AP

    Adam Jones smacked two homers. So did David Ortiz. Oh, and Lisa needs braces (dental plan), Lisa needs braces (dental plan).

  16. Shin-Soo Choo regrets playing through ankle injury

    Jul 21, 2014, 11:15 PM EDT

    Shin-Soo Choo AP AP

    The Rangers had high hopes when they signed outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to a seven-year, $130 million contract over the winter, but a lingering injury to his left ankle is a major reason why his first season with Texas has been a bust.

  17. Cliff Lee struggles in first start back from disabled list

    Jul 21, 2014, 10:29 PM EDT

    Cliff Lee AP AP

    Plenty of scouts were in attendance tonight for Cliff Lee’s first start in the majors in over two months. They likely didn’t come away impressed.

Featured video

Colby-on-Colby crime in Toronto
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Street (3535)
  2. C. Lee (2760)
  3. H. Ramirez (2399)
  4. M. Trout (2349)
  5. Y. Puig (2115)
  1. D. Price (2092)
  2. T. Tulowitzki (2061)
  3. B. Belt (2053)
  4. J. Segura (2042)
  5. J. Papelbon (2006)