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Another blank ballot from a Hall of Fame voter

Jan 4, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

I know nothing

This one, from Jorge Ebro of el Nuevo Herald, is explained in Spanish. The translation, courtesy of JRVC of the Baseball Think Factory community:

“This year is my first one as a member of the BBWAA in which I can vote for the HoF. I turned in a blank ballot. This is all very confusing to me, and I think that MLB has weighted down the press with a very large responsibility.  It’s MLB who should determine the historical fate of this generation, regarding which there is so much suspicion. Not reporters. When I first started out (AS A MEMBER) of the BBWAA, I dreamed of someday voting for the HoF. Today, I can’t help but feel somewhat discouraged.  Maybe for 2014 I will have changed my mind and position. Today, I simply left my ballot blank.  I first I considered voting for Craig Biggio, but now I a unsure about everybody. I know that this whole HoF thing can stir passions, but I am trying to be honest with myself.”

Too bad he doesn’t realize that by submitting a blank ballot he is, in fact, rendering a judgment, as that will count as vote against everyone.  If he truly thought voting for the Hall of Fame was too great a responsibility and if he truly wanted to abstain from the process he should have, you know, abstained.

I’m starting to think that, as opposed to 10 years BBWAA membership, Hall of Fame votes should be given to people who have spent ten minutes understanding the simple logic of their actions.

  1. darthicarus - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    So he’s always dreamed of being able to vote for the HoF and now that he can he’s suddenly confused by it? Does he fear being labeled “the guy” who voted for Player X? Will other sportswriters giggle when he comes in the room because he voted for someone who they didn’t feel deserved a spot? Does he not have enough testicular fortitude to vote based on what he thinks is right or he feels deserves a spot?

    What a spineless twit. He should be Pete Rose’d from HoF voting.

    • skids003 - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      Yeah, how “confusing” can it be?

      • kirkvanhouten - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:03 PM

        Pretty confusing. The HOF list every players name in anagrams in an effort to keep the writer’s brain sharp. To vote for Craig Biggio, the voter must choose “I RIG A BIG COG”. Barry Bonds is “DRY SOB BARN”.

        I assume this confusion over the balloting process is how Bruce “BUTT RESCUER” Sutter found his way into Cooperstown.

      • weaselpuppy - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:03 PM

        How fitting it is that the guy that is maligned for being an unworthy choice this year, his anagram is JAM CORK, SIR. :)

        whose MORE worthy yet not voted in teammates, OUTLAW HE IRK and ALARM TALL MEN, tell the BBWAA to do the same as their “pitch to the score” buddy.

  2. alexo0 - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Except it doesn’t seem like understanding logic is a requisite for becoming a sports writer.

  3. cardsfanindelaware - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    The HoF voting should be based on a baseline of sabermetrics as a whole because there is entirely too many biased dumbasses out there anymore. Period. If their numbers support a great HoF worthy career then open the doors.

    Too be hypocritical against PEDs and what people “think” is truly hypocritical anymore. The greatest to have ever played the game from the late 1800s to the present have illegal / immoral issues in their own right and time, from Ruth to Cobb to Mays to todays group of PED suspects.

    Journalistic integrity is a lost form and a dying idea. There are not enough Peter Gammons anymore to give the BWWAA it’s integrity back. To allow writers to submit empty ballots or to be given such honor to vote when the last they watched of baseball is when Charlie Hustle was still in his hayday is a complete farce.

  4. icanspeel - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    The more HOF voters I hear about the more of a joke the HOF voting procedure seems to be. I wonder if it has always been this bad or is the new generation of voters that much worse?

    • 18thstreet - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      I would guess prior generations were just as bad. The newer writers have more angst, so they reveal their stupidity.

  5. natslady - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    I think he raises a legitimate point, which was mentioned a few posts ago. He asks, why are writers the guardians of the HoF, instead of MLB? Someone (I think it was a HBT writer) complained that writers think too much of themselves as guardians of the HoF. Now, here comes a writer who says–in all humility!!!–I dreamed of this, but when I got the vote, it overwhelmed me with its implications due to the steroids, etc. So, you complain if the writers are arrogant, and you complain if the writers are humble and worried. OK, then.

    • DJ MC - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      MLB isn’t the guardian of the Hall of Fame because it isn’t their Hall of Fame. It is an independent organization, and that organization chose the BBWAA to be the group to choose the players receiving the honor.

      • natslady - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        @DJMC. Agree, I understand. Still, they could change that decision if the writers are not the right group to select players.

        Personally, I didn’t think it was so laughable that a writer thought of himself as guarding who went in or out–I rather thought he was taking his job seriously and I didn’t realize I was supposed to ridicule him until I read the comments. If people didn’t talk so much about HoF votes then maybe writers wouldn’t feel they are in the spotlight for them. But they do, and they are.

      • alang3131982 - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        No, MLB cant change the group who selects players. The HoF is in charge. The election to the HoF has very little to with “MLB.” For a writer and 10 year member of the BBWAA not to know the Hall and MLB are separate is ridiculous and shows a lack of understanding of even the basic fundamentals of voting and membership in the BBWAA.

        Writers should be in the spotlight for them, their entire vocation is in the spotlight…

      • natslady - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        @alang, yes, I understand that part. But if the HoF, which is an independent organization, decided that the baseball writers, as a group, were the best “deciders” of who goes in and who stays out, then the HoF could, if they wanted, rethink that decision. I’m not saying they SHOULD rethink it, because I’m not sure who you would choose if you didn’t choose the writers. But it’s a legit question.

      • alang3131982 - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        Yeah, the HoF probably should reconsider it. But, the writer did not raise a legitimate point. He didnt even know who assigns the BBWAA to vote on the HoF. This leads me to believe he doesnt understand the process, history or procedures. I’m complaining about a 10-year veteran of the BBWAA not understanding the rules or procedures of the organization he’s a member of. I dont think it is too much to ask for a writer to know the difference between the HoF and MLB. It might mean something if this reporter wrote that the HoF is beholden to give guidance on the PED issue, but he didnt. He wrote nonsense and for that I’m calling him a lazy moron.

    • albertmn - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      It’s fine that he thinks he isn’t qualified. The problem is that the writer obviously didn’t understand that a blank ballot is a no vote for everyone. If he said what he said, and then didn’t send in his ballot, thereby not hurting anyone’s chances, his position would have been perfectly justified.

      • alang3131982 - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:44 PM

        He also didnt know that MLB has nothing (really) to do with the HoF. I’m not a member of the BBWAA, but I know that the HoF is a seperate entity from MLB and the HoF has chosen (and i’m sure the BBWAA is flattered) the BBWAA to be the electorate for the majority of Hall cases. He should know this. To vote for the Hall of Fame you should understand the rules. It’s not hard. If you love baseball and you write about it full time, you have to be an imbecile not to know this. I know this and i’m not a member of the BBWAA. The organization is a joke and the HoF is in tough waters as they have entrusted a weak willed organization as gatekeepers.

    • paperlions - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      This writer isn’t being humble, he’s being intellectually lazy.

      Voters are supposed to determine who was a good enough baseball player to be in the HOF, that’s it….and it is really a pretty simple directive. Particular writers have decided to make it more complicated than it needs to be and are using moral grounds. Morality has nothing to do with being in the baseball HOF, it never has. Most of the writers that wring their hands of the effects of steroids (but, generally, not any other PED or form of cheating) haven’t even bothered to educate themselves about steroids (or any other PED) so that they can understand what effects they may have and what effects they do not have….nor have they even attempted to understand how those effects translate to performance. All they did was make a bunch of assumptions while having very little information at their disposal (otherwise, they couldn’t have arrived at the conclusions they arrived at). Again, in general, the voting body has been intellectually lazy.

      To me, taking the job seriously means to learn as much as you can about the issues…not to blather on year after year while hypocritically moralizing in ignorant bliss.

  6. ireportyoudecide - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    The Hall has become meaningless.

    • natslady - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      Agree! I didn’t care much before, and I care less now. I feel sorry for players who do seem to care.

    • 4d3fect - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      I don’t think the Hall ever possessed meaning. At least not for me. Just could never make sense out of it, the arbitrary selection process, lack of objective qualifications, blah blah blah.

  7. nolanwiffle - Jan 4, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    E-E-E-bro, I vant to see you in my office!

  8. bennoj - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Send in a blank ballot, all the other kids are doing it!

  9. cur68 - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    I wonder how much meaning has been lost in translation. I’m going to give this guy the benefit of the doubt for now and say he meant something more, something accurate, and there are explanations that are context specific to the language he writes in which is missed in translation. I certainly hope so. Because if FC gets on here and says “yup, that’s what he meant, right there in English” I am going to blow a gasket.

    PS: I love the Schultz pic. Perfect.

    • indaburg - Jan 4, 2013 at 8:41 PM

      I also wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. He communicated this message via a series of tweets on Twitter rather than writing an actual article. I checked his Twitter feed, and sadly, the English translation is right on.

      • cur68 - Jan 4, 2013 at 9:43 PM

        You and I ‘burg, and 9\10s of the people on here, including dirtyharry, know more about HoF voting than this guy. Jeez.

  10. dawgpoundmember - Jan 4, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Craig, are you a member of the BBWAA? And if not, would you join to make a difference?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 4, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      He isn’t because he [probably] hasn’t been writing about baseball for long enough. It took guys like Dave Cameron, Keith Law, and Rob Neyer years of writing for major organizations to finally get inducted into the BBWAA.

    • joerevs300 - Jan 5, 2013 at 4:12 PM

      Yeah, sure he is. Because apparently he knows the most about how to make sense about who to vote for in the Steroids Era, who did what, how much, and to what effect?

      I’ve got not problem with people doing blank ballots. It’s better to simply not vote then vote with all the unknowns that exist.

      • dontfeedgigantor - Jan 6, 2013 at 6:30 PM

        Apparently you haven’t read any of the recent articles or any of the comments under them explaining the criteria for HoF voting and why submitting a blank ballot is NOT the same as not voting. Which is kind of the entire point of the article here.

  11. philliesblow - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    Theme song for all these writers turning in blank ballots:

  12. simon94022 - Jan 4, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    The folks in Cooperstown need to overhaul this process radically – now. For their own sake.

    The biggest loser in this comic opera has been the Hall of Fame’s credibility.

  13. braddavery - Jan 4, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    What is wrong with all these people??? Can’t anyone just be happy to chosen to be a part of something special? If these idiots don’t want the job of voting for the HOF, then quit and give it to someone who does. They are so ungrateful. Being allowed to vote for the HOF is a privilege.

  14. wpjohnson - Jan 4, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Good for him. Keep the blank ballots flowing. Better nothing than mediocrity. Biggio deserves election but not on the first ballot.

  15. onbucky96 - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:52 AM

    What a tool. I vote him…douchebag.

  16. hisgirlgotburrelled - Jan 5, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    I think he doesn’t realize that a blank ballot is a “no” vote for everyone (right?), thinking it’s simply not voting. Another example of how many irresponsible voters there are for the HOF…

    Pitchers and Catchers: 40 days

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