Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Baseball Hall of Fame, the UN and the Nobel Prize

I'm happy for Bruce Sutter. Really I am.

But I've about had it with the Baseball Writers of America.

Yesterday's Hall of Fame voting was probably the last straw. Yes I'm ticked that Jim Rice did not get voted in the Hall of Fame but I'm more disillusioned with the process than anything. No more do I want to hear a member of the BWAA smugly say that "its the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of the very good or the Hall of Longevity." No more do I want to hear that lame argument from baseball writers who get to vote just because they showed up for 10 years.

Jim Rice got 337 votes (or 64.8%) but needed 390 for enshrinement. Meanwhile five of these nattering nabobs of knownothingness found it in their "expert" analysis to waste five votes on Hal Morris and another 5 votes on Ozzie Guillen. That's right 5 jackasses voted for Hal Morris and another 5 voted for Ozzie Guillen. I won't even bring up the fact that Greg Jefferies got 2 votes.

Truth is - if Jim Rice just smiled at these morons with typewriters then he'd have been in the Hall of Fame with the likes of Smiling Kirby Puckett and Smiling Tony Perez long ago. Jim Rice didn't kiss their ass though - so he still finds himself on the outside looking in.

When I found out that Rice didn't make it my first reaction was to think about starting a petition for John Henry to retire Rice's number anyway (one of the conditions of getting a Red Sox number retired is election to the Hall of Fame). Carlton Fisk's number is retired by the Red Sox but compared to Rice - Fisk is not close to being a Red Sox all-time leader. Rice has more than double the home runs in a Red Sox uniform (382 to 162) and the difference in RBI is even more pronounced (1451 to 568). Yet Fisk has his Red Sox number retired and Rice does not.

This is a bad idea at this time though. If the Red Sox did the right thing and retired Rice's number anyway then some of the writers who are on the fence for Rice will not vote for him thinking that Rice has already been rewarded. Rice has three more years on the ballot and Red Sox ownership should continue to push for him getting voted in.

Where does the United Nations come into my rant? Let me explain.

The United Nations started off with the best of intentions but many of the same causes that has degenerated the UN into a den of thieves have also contributed to the BWAA degenerating into a den of morons. Each member nation of the UN gets a vote. So the vote of Belize is equal to the vote of the United States in General Assembly matters. This has become a real problem for the UN and it is also a big problem with the BWAA. The well qualified Peter Gammons gets a vote but so does the completely unqualified Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram. Ballou sent in a blank ballot this year just so he could write a self-righteous column about how none of the players were worthy of induction. This is the same Bill Ballou who refused to vote for Hideki Matsui for Rookie of the Year because he didn't think Japanese players should qualify for that award (he also got a self-righteous column out of that vote too). Trust me - I've been subjected to Bill Ballou for much of my life. He's a moron. If he was a UN nation - he'd be Haiti.

The other similar problem to the UN is secrecy.

The financial books of the UN are kept secret and thus scandals like the oil for food scandal are bred. The BWAA votes for the Hall of Fame are secret and thus we get two votes for Greg Jefferies.

I say make the votes public and make the writers defend their votes. If a writer voted for say Jefferies, Morris and Guillen - then there should be a vote of BWAA leaders to pull that voter's demented idea of voting. The BWAA should be proactive in getting rid of the deadwood otherwise we get more Hal Morris votes or writers jumping on a Poker Reese bandwagon in the future.

It used to be that getting elected to the Hall of Fame meant something but the bastardization of the process has watered down the award. What does enshrinement really mean when Kirby Puckett and Tony Perez are inside and Jim Rice who was twice the player is outside the walls? It reminds me of the Nobel Prize which used to be the most prestigious award in the world. Then the Bill Ballou's of the world started taking over the voting and we ended up with people like Arafat and Jimmy Carter making speeches in Stockholm.

To many people like me the Nobel Prize has become a joke. The Baseball Hall of Fame seems to be taking the same path.

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