Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Year Of No Fame

Actually, Neither
A relatively brief word on the actions of the Baseball Writers of America today, who decided that no one was worthy of inclusion to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

It's their right.

But it also doesn't solve anything.

And, well, the institution will not crumble without a first-ballot nomination for probably deserving players like Craig Biggo and Mike Piazza. Nor was anyone likely to get behind the wildly flawed candidacy of Barry Bonds (who, let's face it, was probably never going to get in as a first ballot year due to how many sportswriter he peed on in his life) or even Roger Clemens (who, well, is a probable psychopath).

I'm also going to shed no tears for Jack Morris or Dale Murphy, who aren't really serious candidates for anyone beyond Tiger or Brave Fan. I've got a soft spot for Tim Raines and have no issues with Jeff Bagwell; the rest of the candidates on the list don't really fire the imagination. But none of that is what people want to discuss. And it's also not mine.

You see, there's a cost to *not* electing anyone to the Hall (and it won't happen again next year, if only for the reason that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina and Frank Thomas all have solid cases and clean urine). When no one gets in, fewer people come to the museum. And that process is going to repeat itself, assuming the writers hold to their no drug cheater stance for the long haul...

And, well, they are going to do just that, since the writers don't really care about the financial health of the Hall, or whether MLB sells more merch.

Perhaps all of that's for the good. The Hall has 50 years of declining standards; if there's a decade of only a handful of admittees, maybe the thing regains a little bit more of that special feeling. But unless they yank a few dozen plaques out of the place, this working girl isn't going back to virginal, no matter how many roiders they keep out.

So we're left with at Square One. The Hall, charged with presenting the history. The writers, charged with upholding a previously violated standard. The public, who, as time goes by, cares less and less about the cheating, but also the candidates.

And the town, wondering if its livelihood is going to go away in the crossfire.

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