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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Is the Hall of Fame in trouble? Nahhhhh.

Does “true” mean that every voter’s ballot is public? That has never happened, either (although, to the BBWAA’s credit, the organization now encourages voters to publish their ballots)....  My membership expired last week. Which is neither here nor there, but it just occurred to me.

Edit: I’ve changed the original submitted title as it is misleading.In the article, Rob Neyer mentions that he BBWAA membership has expired. The submitter of the post took that to mean Neyer had his membership taken away. That’s not my read of the situation. Jim

Neyer confirms in the comments that it stems from the BBWAA’s animus against SB Nation.  Really seems like a step backwards after the BBWAA opened membership to Fangraphs, Prospectus, and of course Neyer and Law to begin with.

Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:09 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bbwaa, hall of fame, media

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   1. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 08, 2013 at 07:37 AM (#4341777)
Quality effort from Mr. Neyer, which is a lot more than we can say for a lot of his (apparently former) BBWAA colleagues when it comes to the Hall of Fame.

A lot of the HOF ballots and explanatory columns have been so bad, they have me wishing the BBWAA would grab that old "Don't ask, don't tell" policy from the military's trash bin.
   2. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 08, 2013 at 08:47 AM (#4341786)
I may have misread due to the late hour I submitted, but in the comments Neyer makes it sound like his membership was taken away because of his role at SBN.

And one of these days, I'll figure out how to block quote.
   3. morineko Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4341931)
Really seems like a step backwards after the BBWAA opened membership to Fangraphs, Prospectus, and of course Neyer and Law to begin with.


Not really, although with the new SBNation Longform, things may be changing. The ESPN folks like Law and the people at FanGraphs and Prospectus do original historical articles, reporting, and analysis on a daily basis. Neyer just apparently compiles links and complains in tiny columns. I am sure there are probably SBN writers, even on the team-specific blogs, who do similar reporting to the other baseball websites (note, not "blogs", websites; that's probably the BBWAA's objection about SBN)...just not Neyer, not anymore.
   4. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4341933)
Neyer seems to indicate that his membership was not extended due to his affiliation with SBN in the comments thread. To wit:

But progress really is being made. Yes, the BBWAA seems to have something against SB Nation. But what are you gonna do?

by Rob Neyer on Jan 7, 2013 10:05 PM EST up reply


This is a direct reply to a commenter who offered condolences that the BBWAA refused his membership due to his affiliation with SBN
   5. JJ1986 Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4341937)
Rob should probably be a different case from most of their writers, but SBNation really shouldn't qualify someone for BBWAA membership.
   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 08, 2013 at 12:03 PM (#4341944)
Rob should probably be a different case from most of their writers, but SBNation really shouldn't qualify someone for BBWAA membership.


It depends on the writer, I think. Some are better than others.
   7. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: January 08, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4341950)
SBNation really shouldn't qualify someone for BBWAA membership.


In this day and age I think it's somewhat silly to have the organization one is affiliated with be a meaningful factor about whether one qualifies as a baseball writer. Neyer has been at this for 15 years now and I imagine gets read by as many eyeballs as any mainstream outlet writer gets.

I suspect that the BBWAA would refute my argument by noting that they do more than just vote on awards but that gets back to the issue of the voting body. It's pretty ridiculous that Neyer doesn't warrant a vote.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: January 08, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4341961)
I suspect that the BBWAA would refute my argument by noting that they do more than just vote on awards but that gets back to the issue of the voting body. It's pretty ridiculous that Neyer doesn't warrant a vote.


Realistically, Neyer should never have been granted membership in the first place. The BBWAA's purpose for existing is to improve/maintain working conditions for writers at the ballpark, something that has never been part of Rob's job (to the best of my knowledge). Despite the fact that we only care about the BBWAA as an organization because of the awards/HoF, voting is just a perk of membership, not its purpose.

Now, you can argue that the BBWAA should recognize the changing media and baseball writing landscape and fundamentally change its membership requirements and mission (which, to an extent is happening, if slowly), in order to remain viable as an organization. But I don't think whether an individual has a vote in its silly awards should ever be a consideration.
   9. McCoy Posted: January 08, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4341979)
SoSH beat me to it. The BBWAA is not a club, it is a working organization with very specific goals.
   10. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4342002)
Essentially, the problem isn't the BBWAA itself, but is instead the fact that MLB and the HoF both give it near-exclusive influence over matters about which baseball fans are passionate.

One could argue that Neyer should have awards/HoF voting privileges, but not be a member of the BBWAA.
   11. Adam S Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4342017)
SoSH is technically correct, but the BBWAA has enough editors, cartoonists etc that never had reason to need to get to the ballpark in it that it can't claim much consistency on only admitting members that need access to ballparks. And if they are so concerned about that objective, why allow folks like Murray Chass and the western golfers to maintain their memberships. If this is what they have done, throwing Neyer out when he is fundamentally doing the same sort of writing he has always done is a petty and inconsistent act.
   12. morineko Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4342019)
The BBWAA's purpose for existing is to improve/maintain working conditions for writers at the ballpark, something that has never been part of Rob's job (to the best of my knowledge).


There are some SBN writers with press credentials. Most of them I know of have it for a minor league team.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4342023)
Essentially, the problem isn't the BBWAA itself, but is instead the fact that MLB and the HoF both give it near-exclusive influence over matters about which baseball fans are passionate.

One could argue that Neyer should have awards/HoF voting privileges, but not be a member of the BBWAA.


That's a more reasonable argument, petitioning the Hall/MLB to change who is eligible/responsible for awards voting (except the MVP), rather than demanding a professional trade group change its membership/mission to meet our desires.

SoSH is technically correct, but the BBWAA has enough editors, cartoonists etc that never had reason to need to get to the ballpark in it that it can't claim much consistency on only admitting members that need access to ballparks.


The existence of flawed practices in the past aren't a terribly good argument for further flawed practices, any more than Rube Marquard is a good argument for Jack Morris. Individual chapters have had standards that are far too loose, and the BBWAA should make efforts to tighten those. It doesn't justify just letting someone into the organization because we want them to have a perk of membership.

I think the BBWAA is wise to reinvent itself in recognition of the changing landscape. I think admitting Neyer and Law and co. is a smart move on its part, even if those guys don't meet the traditional entrance requirements. But it's the BBWAA's call.
   14. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 08, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4342033)
The Hall of Fame isn't "in trouble" in the sense that it's still a great honor to be elected, just as it's a great honor to win an Oscar. It just doesn't mean much if you're asking who are the best players...unlike the HOM which asks and tries to answer the right questions. As Three Finger Delclino says, all the HOF has to do is to change who gets to vote, and it might become more relevant with respect to the "best players" question.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: January 08, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4342374)
In this day and age I think it's somewhat silly to have the organization one is affiliated with be a meaningful factor about whether one qualifies as a baseball writer. Neyer has been at this for 15 years now and I imagine gets read by as many eyeballs as any mainstream outlet writer gets.


Does Neyer still write? I haven't seen anything of his in the past 2 years that could be characterized as writing. Heck Walt consistently and daily puts out more readable "articles" in these threads than anything Neyer has done in two years.
   16. robneyer Posted: January 08, 2013 at 07:37 PM (#4342424)
As for whether I still "write" ... that's up to the readers to decide. Depends on your definition, I guess. I do a lot of typing, that's for sure.

Just to clear up another misconception, above ... I have spent a lot more time in press boxes, over the last two seasons, than a significant percentage of BBWAA members, let alone Hall of Fame voters. For whatever that's worth.

Thanks for thinking of me.
   17. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: January 08, 2013 at 08:14 PM (#4342440)
The existence of flawed practices in the past aren't a terribly good argument for further flawed practices, any more than Rube Marquard is a good argument for Jack Morris.

Well, that's the argument for keeping steroid suspects out of the HoF, too, in a nutshell.
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: January 08, 2013 at 08:36 PM (#4342459)
As for whether I still "write" ... that's up to the readers to decide. Depends on your definition, I guess. I do a lot of typing, that's for sure.


You used to write what I considered to be the best and most readable articles anywhere with a stat bent. It may not have been as hard core math as BB-pro or Tango and others have done, but it was relatable, more than 500 words, and had it's own unique viewpoint. Even when you did the read another person's article and critique it, you always brought a central point into the discussion. Nowadays I can't seem to find anything you write that is nearly as engaging or unique as you did in the past. Many of your posts are just pointing out "Someone wrote this, I agree/disagree...end of discussion."

Just to clear up another misconception, above ... I have spent a lot more time in press boxes, over the last two seasons, than a significant percentage of BBWAA members, let alone Hall of Fame voters. For whatever that's worth.


Which is why it was stupid for them to revoke/expire your membership.


Well, that's the argument for keeping steroid suspects out of the HoF, too, in a nutshell.


Find me one person who is not voting for Bonds, and thinks that Mantle should be removed for his PED usage..
   19. robneyer Posted: January 08, 2013 at 08:49 PM (#4342468)
I write many pieces every week that are longer than 500 words. I'm sure there are any number of valid criticisms of my work, but I'm not sure writing oodles of 500-word columns is one of them. You might want to check the archives.
   20. Don Malcolm Posted: January 08, 2013 at 09:10 PM (#4342480)
Does Neyer still write? I haven't seen anything of his in the past 2 years that could be characterized as writing. Heck Walt consistently and daily puts out more readable "articles" in these threads than anything Neyer has done in two years.

Yes, but Walt has six, maybe seven split personalities--all of whom using his username--that agglomerate him into a mutant, superhuman poster. :-)

I think the BBWAA is wise to reinvent itself in recognition of the changing landscape. I think admitting Neyer and Law and co. is a smart move on its part, even if those guys don't meet the traditional entrance requirements. But it's the BBWAA's call.

The BBWAA will have to reinvent itself in spite of itself, unless the old guard digs in further and requires a Draconian, old school entrance exam. (Oops, shouldn't have mentioned that.) The landscape wlll change--eventually. It's the speed of change that's contributed to the escalating pace of hostilties.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: January 08, 2013 at 09:11 PM (#4342483)
Heck Walt consistently and daily puts out more readable "articles" in these threads than anything Neyer has done in two years.

Show me the money!

Thanks for the compliment. I'm not so sure how readable I am but I definitely got the "throw enough against the wall and some of it will stick" routine going for me.
   22. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: January 08, 2013 at 09:26 PM (#4342488)
Well, that's the argument for keeping steroid suspects out of the HoF, too, in a nutshell.

Find me one person who is not voting for Bonds, and thinks that Mantle should be removed for his PED usage..


?

Either you missed my point or I don't understand what you're getting at.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: January 08, 2013 at 09:50 PM (#4342504)
Either you missed my point or I don't understand what you're getting at.


Probably missed your point.

The existence of flawed practices in the past aren't a terribly good argument for further flawed practices, any more than Rube Marquard is a good argument for Jack Morris.


was what you quoted.

You replied with
Well, that's the argument for keeping steroid suspects out of the HoF, too, in a nutshell.


My thinking was that you were saying just because they allowed cheaters in the hof in the past(ped users like Mantle or other types of cheating) that it wasn't acceptable to just accept that a ped user is in with other votes, doesn't mean you automatically accept them on future votes. Flaws in the voting in the past is not a defense for continued flaw voting.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: January 08, 2013 at 09:54 PM (#4342507)
I write many pieces every week that are longer than 500 words. I'm sure there are any number of valid criticisms of my work, but I'm not sure writing oodles of 500-word columns is one of them. You might want to check the archives.


I'm doing that now(I always enjoy your hof articles)

Thanks for the compliment. I'm not so sure how readable I am but I definitely got the "throw enough against the wall and some of it will stick" routine going for me.


Which is what I like. I want to read people's thought process's as they work on ideas, even if it isn't fully formed yet, and you frequently will post something similar "I haven't done all the work, but here is what I'm thinking...." type of comments. Those start conversations(usually).

   25. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: January 08, 2013 at 09:58 PM (#4342508)
Yeah. That's as good a summation of the anti-Bonds contingent as any, isn't it? Perry/Mantle/scores of amps users are in the HoF already, but who cares, steroids are bad, right? Hence why nobody who didn't vote for Bonds is also calling for Mantle's head, as you asked.

I just found it interesting that the argument is so obviously wrong when it comes to the HoF but seems to make sense when SOSH phrases it in terms of BBWAA admission practices. Different institutions I guess.
   26. ptodd Posted: January 09, 2013 at 01:33 AM (#4342594)
The HOF is in trouble in terms of relevance if they are going to leave out players like Rose, Clemens, Bonds, McGuire. Manny Ramirez, etc.


Yeah, I included Rose. Leaving out the MLB leader in hits is foolish.

Put an asterisk next to their name, or set up a HOF category called bad boys, but these players were all among the most famous of their time, they have to be included in some fashion for the HOF to be relevant going forward.
   27. Adam S Posted: January 09, 2013 at 02:41 AM (#4342622)
The existence of flawed practices in the past aren't a terribly good argument for further flawed practices, any more than Rube Marquard is a good argument for Jack Morris. Individual chapters have had standards that are far too loose, and the BBWAA should make efforts to tighten those. It doesn't justify just letting someone into the organization because we want them to have a perk of membership.


Yes, but you're not taking account of the fact that Neyer was already in. Throwing him out, but not the Golfers West guys or the cartoonists or the Chass now-bloggers is clearly vindictive rather than a genuine attempt to restrict voters to the core mission (especially if he HAS been spending more time in press boxes, as he says and we have no reason to disbelieve). If he has been kicked out, this is an agenda rather than a genuine effort to focus on the stated mission.
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: January 09, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4342735)
Yes, but you're not taking account of the fact that Neyer was already in. Throwing him out, but not the Golfers West guys or the cartoonists or the Chass now-bloggers is clearly vindictive rather than a genuine attempt to restrict voters to the core mission (especially if he HAS been spending more time in press boxes, as he says and we have no reason to disbelieve). If he has been kicked out, this is an agenda rather than a genuine effort to focus on the stated mission.


I was in no way defending the decision to kick out Rob. As long as he's still writing about baseball, regardless whether he's in the press boxes more than he was previously, there's absolutely no justification for removing him.
   29. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 09, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4342788)
Realistically, Neyer should never have been granted membership in the first place. The BBWAA's purpose for existing is to improve/maintain working conditions for writers at the ballpark, something that has never been part of Rob's job (to the best of my knowledge).


I'm pretty sure you're wrong about Neyer not being at the park, SoSH.
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: January 09, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4342821)
I'm pretty sure you're wrong about Neyer not being at the park, SoSH.


Well, he says he's in press boxes now. My understanding was that he wasn't using press passes/clubhouse access at the time he was invited to join the BBWAA, but since I'm not privy to all of the details of Rob's professional life, he's welcome to correct that impression if it's indeed incorrect (and which is why I said, to the best of my knowledge).

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