(Richard) Griffin is the Toronto chapter president of the BBWAA. In that role he chooses the eight local baseball writers who will vote on this year’s awards. He was on the road with the Jays this week and I wasn’t able to talk to him.
I did discuss this with sports editor Jon Filson and columnist Cathal Kelly. Both defended the tradition, making the strong case that the voting process is transparent — players, other journalists and readers can learn who each journalist voted for following the vote.
“There is no one who doesn’t take this seriously. Your professional reputation is on the line. If you gave your MVP vote to someone who didn’t deserve it, you would be considered a buffoon,” said Kelly, who is not voting this year.
Both made clear their view that having a vote doesn’t change a journalist’s relationship to players or sports clubs. Nor, stressed Filson, does the process have any impact on the Star’s coverage.
“It doesn’t change what we do journalistically,” he said. “We would do the story on who is the most valuable player whether we have a vote or not.”
In this debate, I’m with those who believe it is the journalist’s job to cover the game from the sidelines, not be part of the game’s glorious traditions. I can’t think of any other area of coverage where such a practice would be okay.