It appears to me that the BBWAA is accelerating their irrelevance to the non-print-writer world. Within the span of a week they’ve (a) elected to reduce the relevance of their postseason awards by excluding any player who was willing to use those same awards as a standard of excellence; and (b) pointed out to the world that it doesn’t make much sense for the keys to the Hall of Fame to be solely in their hands for the first 20 years after retirement. Well played.
If that’s what they want to do, it’s fine by me. Let’s join them in championing their irrelevance. If the BBWAA awards aren’t getting the job done, let’s do it ourselves. I propose that, in the next few months, we should charter our own “official” annual awards - and I don’t mean the Primeys, though I’d welcome their return as well.
Were we to do this, I’d naturally have some questions:
1. Who gets to vote? If it’s “everyone”, I don’t see how this is any different from the IBA. We should also have some way of controlling for team bias and/or ballot-box-stuffing. It would seem reasonable to me to have a voting board - a panel of experts nominated and appointed by our site community with an attempt to balance viewpoints, backgrounds, and fandom. Everyone discusses the candidates (as with the Hall of Merit). Based on that discussion, the board votes and recommends a slate of awardees. Either that’s the set of winners, or we require a majority vote of the community to approve the slate before it can be made official.
If we take the board approach, I’d be interested in participation from media folks (local, national, and international; print and electronic), historians, SABR members, former players/coaches/managers/executives, etc. I’d think we should also include Jim, Repoz, Szym, Dimino, and other notables from this site. Heck, if Scott Boras called, I’d listen. And Mike Crudale.
Despite my lead-in, I’d also welcome BBWAA members participating. They’re not irrelevant individuals; my earlier point was that their Association is becoming less relevant to all but their members.
2. What categories? Off the top of my head I’d like to see:
- MVP. Just one; not separate by league.
- Most Valuable Hitter; separately for AL and NL.
- Most Valuable Pitcher; separately for AL and NL.
- Most Valuable Glove; separately by position, no distinction by league.
- Most Valuable Specialist. Someone who excels in a limited role. Separate for each league, no distinction by position.
- Rookie awards mirroring each of the above, except Glove (one award, maybe two to separate between infielder and outfielder) and Specialist (no award).
- Manager of the Year; separately for AL and NL.
- Umpires of the Year. Top 4 get an award, not separate by league. Should this be an annual award, or less frequent?
- Minor-league awards. What? How many? What levels? Beats me. But there’s no reason to ignore them.
- Organization of the Year. Majors to minors, on the field and off the field, who did the best?
I’m interested to hear what y’all think. Respond to the poll regarding whether it’s worth pursuing, and go with the comments to describe the best way to go about it.