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Friday, December 07, 2007

The Baseball Analysts: Lederer: BBWAA Opens Up Its Membership to Web-Based Writers

The Baseball Writers Association of America voted yesterday to open up its membership for the first time to web-based baseball writers. Qualified candidates were required to be “full-time baseball writers who work for websites that are credentialed by MLB for post-season coverage.”

Sixteen of the 18 nominations were recommended for approval: Scott Miller from CBS Sportsline; Jim Caple, Jerry Crasnick, Peter Gammons, Tim Kurkjian, Amy Nelson, Buster Olney, and Jayson Stark from ESPN; Ken Rosenthal from FoxSports; John Donovan, Jon Heyman, and Tom Verducci from SI; and Tim Brown, Steve Henson, Jeff Passan, and Dan Wetzel from Yahoo.

After combing through the list, my first reaction was “what about Rob Neyer?” Well, as it turns out, Rob’s nomination was one of two that were turned down. How can that be? Isn’t Rob full time? Is he not a baseball writer? Is ESPN not “credentialed” for the post-season? I don’t get it.

While I’m happy for the 16 web-based writers who were approved (many of whom had previously been members for years, if not decades), it doesn’t make sense to exclude one of the most thoughtful, knowledgeable, and level-headed writers in the business. Rob gets it. Unfortunately, the BBWAA didn’t get it quite right this time.

I commend the BBWAA for opening up its membership beyond the newspaper industry and am hopeful that the organization will see fit to approve Rob and many others inside and outside of ESPN, CBS, FoxSports, SI, and Yahoo in the future.

Thanks to Levski for the tip on this aboutime-halfhearted breakthrough.

Repoz Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:42 AM | 146 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcements, community, hall of fame, media, online

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   1. Paul D(uda) Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:01 AM (#2637661)
Wow, that seems strange. I hope there's some follow up as to why he was turned down.
   2. susan mullen Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:02 AM (#2637662)
Opened up? Haven't most of these names been credentialed voting members for years? Don't they retain their voting privileges indefinitely even if they move to a paperless medium? Scott Miller has even been an officer of at least one BBWAA chapter. Also, I just read an AP report that the BBWAA board reversed the ruling they made yesterday on awards incentives. The vote was 7-0. They used the word "tabled" in place of "reversed."
   3. Roy Hobbs of WIFFLE Ball Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:02 AM (#2637664)
Well, Rob is no Amy Nelson.
   4. sunnyday2 Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:03 AM (#2637665)
Didn't get it quite right? You want to commend the BBWAA? C'mon, this is every bit as stupid and mean-spirited and self-centered as keeping Marvin Miller out of Cooperstown. The ML baseball "establishment" is just plain corrupt wherever you happen to want to slice it. And when you slice it, guess what? No blood comes out.
   5. Honkie Kong Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:06 AM (#2637666)
Who was the other nominee turned down?
How does Neyer not have more baseball writing experience than Buster Olney or whoever?!
How about Posnanski?

None of the BPro writers got in too, I see
   6. Repoz Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:10 AM (#2637668)
Who was the other nominee turned down?

Keith Law.
   7. McCoy Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:21 AM (#2637671)
I don't recognize all the names on the list that got in but it looks like the people that got in were one time paper journalists who moved on to other things. So this was simply the BBWAA welcoming back people they have already let in once. While Keith and Rob were the real litmus test for the new generation of journalists. As you can see the BBWAA failed that test.
   8. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:24 AM (#2637672)
Keith Law and Rob Neyer were turned down??

Wow, just wow.

Also who is Amy Nelson? Is it a bad thing that I have not heard of her??

I would have liked to have seen Joe Sheehan in there as well.
   9. Chris Needham Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:26 AM (#2637674)
How does Neyer not have more baseball writing experience than Buster Olney or whoever?!

I love Neyer, and the guy deserves it, but I'd look at Olney's background a bit before saying things like this. He was one of the best beat writers in the business, and his book is terrific. Olney writes circles around Rob.

Now he may have sold out for the big sack 'o mouse cash, and he may push stupid crap like productive outs and has turned into a mediocre analyst, but his reporting is and has always been excellent, and that, really when you get to the heart of it, is what the BBWAA is about.
   10. Repoz Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:29 AM (#2637675)
Also who is Amy Nelson?

Nelson writes for ESPN...I'm not sure where she was before that.
   11. robneyer Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:32 AM (#2637676)
I don't know exactly what went down and probably never will. According to BBWAA president Bob Dutton, my membership was rejected because I don't go to the ballpark often enough (not that anybody really knows how often I'm at ballpark). I believe -- based on some scraps of information I've got -- that was merely a convenient pretext for blackballing me, and today I would be a member if I'd been a bit more circumspect with my opinions over the years.

But where's the fun in that?

I'm happy for Amy Nelson, and I hope the BBWAA finds room next year for not only Keith Law, but also Joe Sheehan and a bunch of other guys who are doing good work. Me? I'll wear my rejection proudly. Getting turned down for a date by Shelly Blumel in the sixth grade hurt a lot more than this.
   12. Repoz Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:35 AM (#2637679)
Keith Law and Rob Neyer were turned down??

If you ever saw the complete list of BBWAA voters it would make your spin head. I mean who the fluck is Gorgo Stewedtub of The Coyoteville Daily and why does he have a vote?
   13. robneyer Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:44 AM (#2637688)
I've got it on pretty good authority that the BBWAA's ranks include a fair number of people who aren't even "writers", including editors and assistant editors who virtually never are at the ballpark in any official capacity. As I said, that was just a convenient pretext.

But you know, it's their club. They can do what they want with it.
   14. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:46 AM (#2637691)
Wow. Nothing to say here that hasn't been said by others. I'm not even the world's biggest fan of Keith (really just because he seems to have it in for the Nationals), but it's absolutely silly to deny JUST Law and Neyer admission. That message is pretty ####### hard to misinterpret.
   15. Guts Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:47 AM (#2637693)
Rob - this is ridiculous, and should not stand if there is any justice in the world. It's safe to say you're a first ballot BBTF HoFer.

Getting turned down for a date by Shelly Blumel in the sixth grade hurt a lot more than this.


She was probably (hopefully?) much cuter than the BBWAA.
   16. robneyer Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:49 AM (#2637696)
Well, she was definitely my type. And it's just now occurred to me that I had a type all the way back in the sixth grade. Scary stuff.
   17. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:51 AM (#2637701)
I was disappointed this year when Martin Scorsese won an Oscar, not because he doesn't deserve one, but because he was awarded it years too late for a film that was far from his best after being ignored for years. After decades of insults, he's well past the point in his career when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has the ability to honor him; his presence lends them credibility, not vice versa.

That's how I feel about Rob Neyer and the BBWAA.
   18. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:58 AM (#2637707)
And it's just now occurred to me that I had a type all the way back in the sixth grade.

I did too. My type was female.
   19. GregD Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:01 AM (#2637709)
Rob,
I'd put this up on the wall, next to your other awards. You're good enough that you've earned some serious envy. If you weren't a threat, they wouldn't have bothered to blackball you. What kind of bozo club is this, anyway? You've had a more-interesting career than 75% of the members, at least. They're hurting themselves, not you, with this kind of buffoonery.
   20. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:01 AM (#2637710)
These guys are such a bunch of dildos. I'm so happy to have at my disposal the analysis offered by Neyer and Co. on the web. Him and his ilk are what allowed baseball to emerge as unquestionably my favorite sport. If it wasn't for them, I would have cared about the damn Redskins and Bears tonight. Hopefully they get enough satisfaction at being appreciated by other rational people to far outweigh a slap from such turd burgers as the membership of the BBWAA.
   21. robneyer Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:04 AM (#2637713)
While I have often questioned the judgment of BBWAA members, both individually and as a group, in my experience most of them are nice guys, and I suspect that those who are petty, vindictive jerks constitute a distinct minority.

That said, one BBWAA member told me last summer, "I know a lot of people in the press box who would literally like to choke you."

So who knows...
   22. Repoz Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:08 AM (#2637718)
my membership was rejected because I don't go to the ballpark often enough

Rob, when we hooked up in NY you had just come from Yankee Stadium and still had your press credentials on. My advice...wear the credentials at all times and just say that you are either going or coming from a ML game.
   23. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:12 AM (#2637721)
Sadly, Shelly no longer exists

"I know a lot of people in the press box who would literally like to choke you."


Umm, based on what? I only read your stuff occasionally for a couple years before it went Insider...have you written gangs of articles pondering the smell of beat writers' burning flesh?
   24. J. Cross Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:22 AM (#2637728)
According to BBWAA president Bob Dutton, my membership was rejected because I don't go to the ballpark often enough (not that anybody really knows how often I'm at ballpark).

If only you'd written a book describing a year in which you went to 114 Red Sox games.

Sorry Rob, they're idiots. Nothing you can do. You and Keith Law are two out of only a handful of writers whose articles I always make a point to read so this is really inexplicable to me.
   25. Zac Schmitt Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:29 AM (#2637734)
Umm, based on what? I only read your stuff occasionally for a couple years before it went Insider...have you written gangs of articles pondering the smell of beat writers' burning flesh?


i used to read rob nearly every day, and i can honestly say that he introduced me (as i imagine he did for several others) to the idea, which eventually became a habit, of questioning common knowledge and long held bits of wisdom - the one i remember really making me open my eyes and saying "wow" was his refutation of rbi as an all encompassing statistic. rob was one of the few guys i ever remember coming across who was willing to openly refute and directly attack the silly, fogeyistic ideas that some really mainstream analysists had come to hold as sacred.

i know bill james and others did this long before the late 90's and early 2000's, but, for some, just as the internet was becoming the infinitely expanding source of knowledge and understanding it is today, rob was the one who suggested visiting sites like baseball prospectus and baseball primer, and insisted that his readers never take anything for granted or to just accept whatever the "wise men" said, even if it was coming from him.
   26. Scott Lange Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:30 AM (#2637735)
Rob will just have to settle for being more widely read, more influential, more knowledgeable, and more relevant than all or nearly all the members of the club that blackballed him. Could be worse.
   27. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:35 AM (#2637741)
Re: 25

Agreed 100%. No person has influenced my passion for baseball more than Rob Neyer. It was because of him that I found this site and BPro.
   28. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:54 AM (#2637756)
Appalling.

Not in a "OMG we're so much smarter than those Neanderthals!" way. Appalling because Rob and Keith Law's work has been more influential and gets more national attention than the vast majority of local writers. Is Rob more qualified than Buster Olney: of course, no. But just like you don't need to be Mickey Mantle to be in the Hall of Fame, Rob's work easily surmounts the bar for any association of baseball writers.

Until a few months ago, I had a job that required a daily commute. I'd listen to Mike and the Mad Dog on my way home from work, and Rob's work came up many times-maybe it was a rant dismissing Rob's claim that Jeter was a terrible defensive SS, but at least he was talked about. Are there really that many baseball writers with a national audience, promoting debate among fans of all types?

In sum, this is some petty bullshit.
   29. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: December 07, 2007 at 08:06 AM (#2637758)
I've heard that Neyer introduced a lot of readers to sabermetrics, but did he ever do so in a way that attacked "typical" baseball writers as idiots and neanderthals? I never noticed it. That's why I don't understand why they'd literally want to choke him. I thought he just did his thing without setting himself up as a holy man opposed to the infidels. But I missed the cult of Neyer, so what do I know.
   30. McCoy Posted: December 07, 2007 at 08:13 AM (#2637761)
I do recall a bit of me against these fools type writing but I was okay with that because I agreed with it. I also recall some I don't like to sit in the press box type articles and I don't want to be you guys (baseball writers) with the inside access I want to be the guy on the outside telling it like it is instead of the schill that you guys are. Not to mention he was railing against stats and the foolishness of using those stats at a time when those stats were a reporters bread and butter stats.
   31. Gambling Rent Czar Posted: December 07, 2007 at 08:27 AM (#2637770)
You know what is shocking to me. That some of you give money to ESPN.
Either that or you get that crappy magazine, "Whos Now" or what ever it is ..
I bet you even got the cellphone too ..

seriously.

You guys all pay for ESPN insider?

wow.
   32. cardsfanboy Posted: December 07, 2007 at 08:28 AM (#2637771)
buster olney, the single most stupidest human being on the planet when it comes to baseball is allowed into the bbwaa, yet rob neyer, quite possibly the best baseball writer isn't??? seriously buster olney....I mean has anyone ever looked at that guy and not said "freaking retard"....I mean even keith law has a higher iq(not by much, but yes he has a higher Iq, i'm sure keiths in the 70's)
   33. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:00 AM (#2637780)
Well, Rob is no Amy Nelson.

She should try the flannel.

That said, one BBWAA member told me last summer, "I know a lot of people in the press box who would literally like to choke you."

Wow, foreplay.
   34. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:06 AM (#2637782)
Ok, serious questioni:

Will they ever let International Writers into the BBWAA? Like the guy sent by Yomiuri or the China Times or whatever writer that is sent from the Dominican... wiill they ever be let into the BBWAA?

I'm not saying Asian newspaper employ anybody intelligent. They don't, but I'm sure other countries who cover MLB have plenty to offer as writers.
   35. Guts Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:08 AM (#2637783)
Will they ever let International Writers into the BBWAA?

The last A stands for America. Derive what meaning you will from that.
   36. 1k5v3L Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:15 AM (#2637786)
Ah, Repoz, so you did find an actual link that provided the details. I heard that about a dozen writers were recommended for approval (turns out the number was 18) and that Neyer and Law were the only two writers not recommended. I already voiced my opinion in the other thread last night, when I wrote about this, but as Rob points out, it appears that this is a case of some guys on the inside having a thing for Rob and Keith, and using this opportunity to act out on their hatred... well, the word "hatred" may be a bit strong, but then again, it may not be. Such a shame.

I think that one fact most people don't appreciate enough is the huge divide between "old school" and "new school" among the BBWAA membership. It probably is a lot more extreme that the scouts vs. stats divide in MLB front offices, which really isn't as deep or dramatic as most people think it is, simply because GMs need both scouts and stat guys to do their job. Old farts with ink pens don't need VORP and MORP and OPS+ to string along one sentence paragraphs. It's already bad enough these guys have to have a computer, it's even worse they have to turn it on.

The excuse that Rob mentions (that Rob and Law don't attend enough baseball games) is a joke. I understand that beat writers are extremely valuable, if only because someone somewhere has to be in the same room with a naked Joe Torre, but like Rob says, there are plenty of BBWAA members who don't even don't go to games or even to the baseball stadium. Plus, even if Neyer indeed failed the "Number of games attended per cowboy hat worn" test that the BBWAA prez uses, my understanding is Keith Law sees plenty of games, both at the major league and minor league level, for his ESPN job.

Anyhow, I suspect the real reason is that the guy with the above-mentioned cowboy hat stood up and threatened that he'd stop wearing his hat, or any other article of clothing, to any of the BBWAA potluck gatherings if Law and Neyer made it as members. Bouton may have believed that Joe Torre's image dissolves camera lenses; this guy's hatless/clotheless image would etch asphalt.
   37. 1k5v3L Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:20 AM (#2637787)
And Rob, of course you don't remember it, but you autographed your "Lineups" book for me a few years back in Portland. I still thumb through it on occasion. In my book, you'll always be a cool cat. And I'm sure both you and Keith are smart enough to just laugh off this BBWAA fiasco...
   38. robneyer Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:26 AM (#2637791)
Sure we are. I was lukewarm about the whole thing in the first place, and my name was submitted without me knowing about it beforehand. It might have been fun to have that membership card, and get a Hall of Fame ballot in 10 years (which seems like a long time to me, but then I never thought I'd be with ESPN for 12 years). It's not like my life really would have any better with a membership, though.

But Keith Law really could use a membership, and he deserves one. Now that I'm over the official pain of being rejected -- that lasted for about three hours -- I just hope they eventually wise up and do the right thing for Keith and the others. I don't know that I'd want to belong to a club that would have me as a member anyway.
   39. Squash Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:30 AM (#2637792)
This goes down as one of those "Oh yeah, people are scum" reminders for me. Rob has to go down as one of the most important baseball writers of his/our generation because his column was more or less the beginning of the saber generation in the wider sense. Sure, he stepped on a lot of toes in the early days (I think part of this was an effort to be noticed against the monolithic BA-HR-RBI block that is baseball writing - the other part being that there were a lot of toes that should have been stepped on), but there was a great deal more venom spewed in the opposite direction. And sure, if it wasn't him it might have been someone else, but it was him and for that he deserves tremendous credit.

It's often a compliment to be really, truly blackballed - I'd take this as one.
   40. Corey Hart Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:40 AM (#2637798)
I'd personally be more interested in seeing Rob's personal HOF than the actual HOF. I don't understand why he would be excluded from the voting, but it is a far greater indictment upon the HOF than it is to Rob.

At this point in my life, I think that I'm able to discern who should be a HOFer and who shouldn't be, but this vote further distances myself from the naive reverence that I once had held for the HOF. If Rob isn't qualified to ascertain who should be a HOFer, then who is?
   41. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:41 AM (#2637799)
Congrats, Rob. I'm not exaggerating one bit when I say that you and Barry Bonds rekindled my passion for the sport of baseball and brought me out of my "no time in the day for sports--it's just a waste of time" foolish phase. I doubt I'm alone. Like all great journalists, you not only inform, but you introduce people to new ways to think about and experience your topic.


The last A stands for America. Derive what meaning you will from that.


Isn't the Dominican part of America?

I love Neyer, and the guy deserves it, but I'd look at Olney's background a bit before saying things like this. He was one of the best beat writers in the business, and his book is terrific. Olney writes circles around Rob.

Wrong Hole, Buster!
   42. 1k5v3L Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:42 AM (#2637800)

Keith Law, though, really could use a membership, and he deserves one.


I don't know what BBWAA membership entitles you to these days, but if it is actually the case that it has benefits worth having, then it's a real shame that you and Keith didn't get approved for membership. I do wonder what kind of an excuse they must've given to Keith for not approving his candidacy; they certainly couldn't have recycled the "you don't go to the stadium enough" excuse.

My guess is that some old school baseball writers don't like him because he worked for a baseball team, and even worse, because he worked for one of the Moneyball guys up in Toronto. Maybe Law has the street cred in BBWAA circle of having contributed a chapter to Billy Beane's book... they burn people for that. Regardless, this is just a sad indictment for a large number of baseball writers.
   43. robneyer Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:44 AM (#2637801)
By the way, I appreciate all the kind words. I do think some of you have greatly overstated my impact on the discussion, but then of course that's not really for me to judge, as there's nobody in the world less able to judge my impact than me. I'm just thrilled that somebody's been there over the years, reading. And I hope you like my next book.
   44. Bob T Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:45 AM (#2637804)
The most important thing is BBWAA members get is access to every MLB press box automatically. If you're not a member, you have to ask the team's PR department for a credential.

Also BBWAA members are reserved the best seats in the press box.
   45. 1k5v3L Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:47 AM (#2637805)
And I hope you like my next book.


The title, to borrow from Slavenka Drakuli?, should be "How We Survived the BBWAA Fiasco and Even Laughed".
   46. 1k5v3L Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:49 AM (#2637806)

Also BBWAA members are reserved the best seats in the press box.


Yeah, but Keith's too short to see the game over Tracy's cowboy hat.
   47. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:50 AM (#2637807)
I'll add my voice to those here who are absolutely flabbergasted by this. It's like having an association for WW2 fighter planes, and rejecting the Spitfire's application...

And it's just now occurred to me that I had a type all the way back in the sixth grade.


Oh, certainly. It just sometimes takes half a lifetime to realise it. My first crush, back in sixth grade, was on smart, pretty girl named Kimi Aoyama. Now here we are forty years later, and it occurs to me that the vast majority of women whom I find attractive happen to be Asian. Co-incidence?
   48. 1k5v3L Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:51 AM (#2637809)
it occurs to me that the vast majority of women whom I find attractive happen to be Asian. Co-incidence?


Do you live in Tokyo?
   49. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:55 AM (#2637812)
Do you live in Tokyo?


No, but I live in a West Coast city with a very large Asian population.
   50. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: December 07, 2007 at 10:38 AM (#2637818)
We need writers at every game, otherwise Magglio would never have gotten those amazing two first place votes over A Rod.
   51. Halofan Posted: December 07, 2007 at 10:44 AM (#2637819)
Neyer and Flaw are biased and, when convinced of something, obtusely uncurious about alternate theories or measurements.

That being said, they are light years ahead of 70-80% of the fossilized BBWAA.
   52. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 07, 2007 at 10:53 AM (#2637820)
Now here we are forty years later, and it occurs to me that the vast majority of women whom I find attractive happen to be Asian. Co-incidence?

Not going there.

Do you live in Tokyo?

I watch a lot of Japanese TV. And whenever they do interviews with people on the street, there are a lot of Japanese girls that are "almost hot". Like all of them are really good lookin', but there's something wrong about them that I can't pick out.
   53. Repoz Posted: December 07, 2007 at 11:05 AM (#2637822)
Ah, Repoz, so you did find an actual link that provided the details

I talked to Lederer about it last night as he was piecing the story together from BBWAA sources.
   54. JC in DC Posted: December 07, 2007 at 11:08 AM (#2637823)
First of all, that Rob was turned down by a classmate with a gender unspecific name should do nothing to squelch the nasty rumors about his sexual orientation some of you have been spreading.

Second, Rob's description of things is really not surprising, even if unfortunate. Too many professions succomb to that kind of silliness. Our job is obvious: to read people like Neyer and Law and all the other authentic baseball writers who happen to write in the most accessible current medium and to voice our displeasure at such pettiness.

(I hope it's obvious I was joking, btw)
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 07, 2007 at 01:01 PM (#2637834)
Glad you got the Groucho line in, Rob. Obviously this reflects on them, and not you.

Now here we are forty years later, and it occurs to me that the vast majority of women whom I find attractive happen to be Asian. Co-incidence?

That's a bit much, but it is true that about 90% of them are either Italian, Thai or Ethiopian. But maybe it's just that the Ethopian restaurants stage beauty contests to fill their waitress positions.
   56. OsunaSakata Posted: December 07, 2007 at 01:15 PM (#2637837)
The Nationals media guide lists Tony Kornheiser as a BBWAA member. So they'll take Kornheiser and not Rob Neyer?
   57. bob gee Posted: December 07, 2007 at 01:47 PM (#2637847)
i can understand some writers' dislike (and yes, hatred) of rob. he doesn't play the standard safe lines of derek jeter is god, paul loduca is a wonderful clutch leader, beat up a-rod every moment, etc. he's therefore a threat to their job stability...because the issues that they focus on, which aren't important, get exposed as unimportant.

it's stupid, it's moronic, but it goes on in every profession. there were people in the financial industry years ago (i can use this example, since it's so 'obvious' now) who wouldn't get promoted because they wanted to make their clients money, rather than keep churning their account. yes, it still happens, but it's much MUCH rarer now.

just glad i never pushed further with my sportswriting; it's times like these i'm glad my job success has NOTHING to do with any political crap.

btw, the best things neyer does is
> research a topic (both statistical and not-stat) before writing about it

and

>write in a way that anyone can understand and learn from it.


maybe next time you'll get in, now that some more friendly writers are in the crew.
   58. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: December 07, 2007 at 01:53 PM (#2637849)
I'll add my voice to those here who are absolutely flabbergasted by this. It's like having an association for WW2 fighter planes, and rejecting the Spitfire's application...


Actually, Rob and Keith would be more like the Me 262.

"Look son, you got to have propellers for that thing to fly. Don't you know anything about aircraft propulsion?"
   59. Valentine Posted: December 07, 2007 at 02:40 PM (#2637860)
I do think some of you have greatly overstated my impact on the discussion

No way! Understated, if anything. Keep up the good work, and I'll keep on reading anything I can find of yours that isn't "Inside".
   60. Mister High Standards Posted: December 07, 2007 at 02:41 PM (#2637861)
I guess, once again I need to diverge from the pack. In my opinion the Hall of Fame is a worse place without Rob voting. And not to take anything away from Keith Law but he really hasn't been a full time writer long enough to get the privilege, IMHO.

Finally, instead of whining they didn't get things EXACTLY right, how about, saying well something is better than nothing.

Good job by the BWAA to get up to speed with the rest of civilization. IMHO, it's better that they left someone out due to a personal grudge than if they excluded an entire worthy constituency.
   61. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 07, 2007 at 02:49 PM (#2637867)
I don't know exactly what went down and probably never will. According to BBWAA president Bob Dutton, my membership was rejected because I don't go to the ballpark often enough

that's just the excuse they came up with--it was REALLY your flannel shirt, Rob
   62. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 07, 2007 at 02:57 PM (#2637874)
I guess, once again I need to diverge from the pack. In my opinion the Hall of Fame is a worse place without Rob voting. And not to take anything away from Keith Law but he really hasn't been a full time writer long enough to get the privilege, IMHO.

Finally, instead of whining they didn't get things EXACTLY right, how about, saying well something is better than nothing.

Good job by the BWAA to get up to speed with the rest of civilization. IMHO, it's better that they left someone out due to a personal grudge than if they excluded an entire worthy constituency.


I've got to disagree with this. At least the BBWAA was being consistent, though silly, in its old ruling. Now, the organization is acknowledging the impact of web-based writers, but deciding it can limit its membership on really nothing more than pettiness. I guess I could see making Law wait a while due to his short-time at ESPN (if it's consistent with the delay for print-based writers), but I have to think Rob has logged the necessary hours to be welcomed. The BBWAA looks, to me, much worse for this exclusion than they did before it, and as someone who spent more than a decade as a newspaper reporter and frequently defends print guys, I'm ashamed of my former colleagues.
   63. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: December 07, 2007 at 02:57 PM (#2637875)
I've got it on pretty good authority that the BBWAA's ranks include a fair number of people who aren't even "writers", including editors and assistant editors who virtually never are at the ballpark in any official capacity. As I said, that was just a convenient pretext.


The Chicago Tribune, for instance, has both BBWAA voters who are editors (e.g., Dan McGrath) as well as people who don't write about baseball (e.g., Phil Hersh). It's a complete joke.
   64. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:07 PM (#2637879)
Is there a limit on how many times you can apply for membership?
   65. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:16 PM (#2637887)
IMHO, it's better that they left someone out due to a personal grudge than if they excluded an entire worthy constituency.


Did the BBWAA actually add any new members as a result of this? The list in the quote above includes people like Peter Gammons and Jayson Stark and Ken Rosenthal. Weren't these guys already members of the BBWAA - I thought once you were in the BBWAA you got to stay even if you stopped writing for a paper. And the list of web sites they chose are still all mainstream - no Baseball Prospectus or Hardball Times. Of the 16 "new" members, how many are actually new?
   66. Red Menace Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:19 PM (#2637888)
No love for Ken Tremendous?
   67. G-String Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:20 PM (#2637890)
Count me in as someone who was introduced to sabrmetrics by reading Neyer and who considered his column a regular read when it was freely available. I had many friends who read and talked about Neyer too. I read Neyer before reading Bill James and lurking on these message boards.

It's nice that Rob is characteristically modest and downplays his influence, but he has introduced thousands of people to a new way of thinking about baseball, making their lives a little richer for it.

Rob is the marijuana of sabrmetrics. Most people try it. Many use it as a gateway drug to get to the crack that is Bill James. I know I did.
   68. Ron Johnson Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:25 PM (#2637899)
I've got it on pretty good authority that the BBWAA's ranks include a fair number of people who aren't even "writers", including editors and assistant editors who virtually never are at the ballpark in any official capacity.


Rob, I can name one.

The political cartoonist for the Montreal Gazette, Terry Mosher (Aislin)

Today's cartoon

Yes, I'm serious.
   69. Paul D(uda) Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:33 PM (#2637905)
And not to take anything away from Keith Law but he really hasn't been a full time writer long enough to get the privilege, IMHO.

Well, he'd have to be a member for 10 years before he got to vote on the Hall of Fame, so I don't see the problem with giving him a membership now.
   70. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:47 PM (#2637923)
Rob, I can name one.

The political cartoonist for the Montreal Gazette, Terry Mosher (Aislin)

Today's cartoon

Yes, I'm serious.


Yikes...he might be the worst political cartoonist of all time.
   71. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:47 PM (#2637925)
Looking at the headline, I just realized something: Aaron Gleeman has a pretty good shot to have a Hall of Fame vote someday.

The last A stands for America. Derive what meaning you will from that.

Ain't some Canadians in it?

I don't know what BBWAA membership entitles you to these days

- get to know the exact time/date the world ends
- in a super-secret ceremony, you get to see the face of the guy wearing the San Diego Chicken costume.
- and apparently, you get better seats than Bob T at the press box.
   72. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:55 PM (#2637936)
Was Roger Angell ever in the BBWAA? What about David Halberstam or John Thorn or Lawrence Ritter? That's not bad company.

Thorn and Neyer, huh? Maybe there's a Chris Jaffe effect.
   73. Chris Dial Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:56 PM (#2637938)
Looks to me like the people that got it were long-time print writers before. Rob and Keith are not. They seem to have just converted people who were print before.
   74. Dan The Mediocre Posted: December 07, 2007 at 03:58 PM (#2637941)
Looks to me like the people that got it were long-time print writers before. Rob and Keith are not. They seem to have just converted people who were print before.


Which means that the BBWAA has made a change without anything really being different.
   75. Chris Dial Posted: December 07, 2007 at 04:35 PM (#2637960)
So it would appear.
   76. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: December 07, 2007 at 04:47 PM (#2637970)
Sadly, Shelly no longer exists

Hmm, my Google skills must be better than yours.
   77. HowardMegdal Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:01 PM (#2637987)
My experiences with the BBWAA was as follows:

At a Yankee Stadium weekday game in June, with next to no actual reporters at the game, an unnamed reporter decided that he didn't like me sitting in the otherwise unmanned second row. He walked back and forth twice in front of me, loudly speaking about "people that didn't belong here" and brandishing his BBWAA card. Then he asked a Yankee media relations employee to move me. (Keep in mind I was credentialed, with press box access, at the time.) I could have fought it- but I had two stories to write and an end-of-game deadline to write them. He and his friend then went and sat down elsewhere in the otherwise unmanned second row of empty seats, while I took up residence in the auxillary press box... and continued working. Neither of them had a notebook or laptop out.

I look forward to the day, and it is coming, when Rob Neyer gets to be the one making a petty power play to move me to the auxillary press box. He deserves it.
   78. JPWF13 Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:05 PM (#2637995)
, and that, really when you get to the heart of it, is what the BBWAA is about.


Um no.

The BBWAA's main function at this point is providing electors for the Hall of Fame- which means that Neyer's ability to analyze should take precedence over Olney's ability to write a nice story.

Actually whoever runs the HOF should either take the vote away from these bozos or expand the voter pool themselves
   79. JPWF13 Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:26 PM (#2638026)
At a Yankee Stadium weekday game in June, with next to no actual reporters at the game, an unnamed reporter decided that he didn't like me sitting in the otherwise unmanned second row. He walked back and forth twice in front of me, loudly speaking about "people that didn't belong here" and brandishing his BBWAA card.


I thought it was hysterical how virtually every sports writer in NY freaked out 2 years ago when it turned out that some "imposter" had been sneaking into MSG press conferences for quite some time brandishing a microphone, and GASP! actually asking questions.

Can you at least give a hint as to the reporter's identity?
   80. HowardMegdal Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:28 PM (#2638031)
Can you at least give a hint as to the reporter's identity?

I wouldn't feel comfortable doing so. I was relieved, at least, that it wasn't like an idol of mine fell from his perch. If Roger Angell had done it, for instance, I'd have been sad for weeks.
   81. John DiFool2 Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:33 PM (#2638037)
I think that one fact most people don't appreciate enough is the huge divide between "old school" and "new school" among the BBWAA membership. It probably is a lot more extreme that the scouts vs. stats divide in MLB front offices, which really isn't as deep or dramatic as most people think it is, simply because GMs need both scouts and stat guys to do their job. Old farts with ink pens don't need VORP and MORP and OPS+ to string along one sentence paragraphs. It's already bad enough these guys have to have a computer, it's even worse they have to turn it on.


The BBWAA's paradigm will change (if it does) the same way that any other paradigm does; by having the old guard die out and the youngbloods take over.

Here's to you Rob-why get all worried about being rejected by a club which you would be embarrassed to be a member of?
   82. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:39 PM (#2638043)


Which means that the BBWAA has made a change without anything really being different.


They just wanted to say "We're modern!! WE have Net writers now!!!"

The folks they brought in were just "the token Internet writers". Now a guy like Gammons is pretty reputable, but they weren't doing this to change things. They only did this so they could SAY they were changing things.
   83. CraigK Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:40 PM (#2638047)
As far as I can tell, it kinda looks like the main reason that Rob and Keith weren't invited is because they dare to believe things like batting average and RBIs aren't the be-all and end-all to judging a player's worth and that Adam Dunn might possibly just be a good player despite the BA and strikeouts and David Eckstein isn't worth the GDP of a Western European country, things like that, and the old-school members don't like people like them for their revolutionary new ideas.

Am I getting somewhere?

Edit: whoops; that typos kinda changes the meaning of the sentence a bit.
   84. Jeff K. Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:46 PM (#2638055)
My bathroom books rotate between the NBJHBA, Lineups, Dynasties, and the Guide to Pitchers. I found Primer through Neyer. So Rob's good in my book, and obviously more than qualified.

However, I find it even more curious in some ways that they didn't credential Law. He's actually worked for a team. How many of them can say that?
   85. Jeff K. Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:49 PM (#2638057)
Hmm, my Google skills must be better than yours.

God damn you.
   86. PreservedFish Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:50 PM (#2638059)
dare to believe things like batting average and RBIs aren't the be-all and end-all

Is that really it? I'd guess that it has more to do with the mainstream media only trusting its own people on the web. Rob could write about proven veterans and productive outs every day - he'd still be an internet columnist with no newspaper experience.
   87. BDC Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:54 PM (#2638064)
I was an Internet baseball columnist for several years and always felt welcome in the Ballpark at Arlington press box. But that was also very early days (1998-2001), and I don't think very many of the people I met knew what Internet writing was; plus, the press box at the Ballpark was almost always deserted.

That said, I have to think that this exclusion of Rob Neyer from the ranks is a slap not only at sabermetrics but also at baseball historians. If one theme runs through all of Rob's work, it's a desire to inform himself and his readers as much as possible about baseball history -- I'm thinking in particular of his dynasties book, his Lineups book, and his unique book (with Bill James) on pitchers. An odd thing about the BBWAA, especially as it relates to Cooperstown, is that the voters are drawn for the most part from people with very little long view of the history of the game. You'd hope for a little more respect for writers with serious credentials as historians.
   88. Delorians Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:59 PM (#2638068)
I was having a good week so far, now this really p*sses me off.

Thank you Rob, for everything you've meant to my understanding of the game.

Rob, Is there anything that we, as your (and Keith's) 'fans' can do, (petition, protest, ?) that would have any meaningful impact on your acceptance the next time your BBWAA membership is considered (is it every year)?

And I agree with #78 - this is important because the BBWAA elects the Hall of Fame. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't care as much.
   89. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: December 07, 2007 at 05:59 PM (#2638069)
The BBWAA never even let TV or radio guys vote for anything. I can see not letting the local broadcasters who are employed at the discretion of the team, but Bob Costas can't vote. Neither can Tim McCarver or Joe Morgan (I'm not counting the VC here). Now some may view this as a good thing...
   90. Repoz Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:12 PM (#2638078)
I emailed BBWAA president Bob Dutton about the situation...and here is his response.

One of the requirements for membership in the BBWAA is the need to be at Major League ballparks. Several members questioned whether Rob and Keith meet that requirement.

Some board members informally contacted folks at ESPN with this question and were told neither Rob nor Keith regularly attend big-league games and do not need to do so in order to do their jobs.

I can guarantee you that if my supervisors reported that to the BBWAA about me, I wouldn't have a card.

Also, this is how the system works. Newspapers designate candidates for membership. Reporters don't apply on their own. We followed the same basic procedure in adding internet reporters.

One difference: Candidates have always been reviewed each year by a chapter chairman, but since the internet sites were applying through the national office, they were reviewed by the national board of directors.

I've been in contact with Keith and Rob since the vote. Keith said he does attend games on a regular basis and expects to increase his attendance in the coming year.

If that's true, and I have no reason to doubt Keith, I hope ESPN confirms this and resubmits his name next year for consideration. If so, I would expect him to be approved.

I haven't heard back from Rob at this point, but if the view on his need was similarly misrepresented, I hope ESPN also resubmits him as a candidate.

Bob Dutton
BBWAA president
   91. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:17 PM (#2638081)
That said, I have to think that this exclusion of Rob Neyer from the ranks is a slap not only at sabermetrics but also at baseball historians. If one theme runs through all of Rob's work, it's a desire to inform himself and his readers as much as possible about baseball history -- I'm thinking in particular of his dynasties book, his Lineups book, and his unique book (with Bill James) on pitchers. An odd thing about the BBWAA, especially as it relates to Cooperstown, is that the voters are drawn for the most part from people with very little long view of the history of the game.

That's a VERY good point. It is kind of ironic that when you think about it, few of the best books on baseball history have ever been written by beat writers or print columnists. Leonard Koppett's books are among the few exceptions to this, and most of his best work was done in semi-retirement. Fred Lieb wrote a gazillion fine books, but as good as they were, they were mostly just written off the top of his head.

I guess that this is the difference between having to write of the present, for the present, rather than having a longer range view of your job requirement. But it's nice to see those like Neyer who can manage to give running commentary on the current game and still find time to put out all those first rate books on baseball history.

But then in Neyer's case I shouldn't be surprised. Soon after I'd first heard of him he nearly bought my shop out of its entire run of old Spalding and Reach baseball guides. And what was perhaps even more gratifying was that he didn't try to nit me down on the prices, either. You may have to be a book dealer to fully appreciate that last comment, but it wasn't unnoticed by either me or my manager at the time, and it speaks to his overall character.
   92. Praise Jaha Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:20 PM (#2638083)
"[Rob Neyer] and Keith Law are two out of only a handful of writers whose articles I always make a point to read so this is really inexplicable to me."

That's me too, so in some weird way, I feel vindicated for my good taste.
   93. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:26 PM (#2638089)
Some board members informally contacted folks at ESPN with this question and were told neither Rob nor Keith regularly attend big-league games and do not need to do so in order to do their jobs.

I can guarantee you that if my supervisors reported that to the BBWAA about me, I wouldn't have a card.


Why are there non baseball writers who are BBWAA members?
   94. Backlasher Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:27 PM (#2638093)
I emailed BBWAA president Bob Dutton about the situation...and here is his response.


Repoz,

Thank you for including this information. It obviously is not stopping "BBWAA is teh suck" posts, but its nice to know it was the worldwide sportsleader that was the main reason for the lack of induction. And hats off to Keith Law for responding to Dutton and dealing with the situation.
   95. rr Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:28 PM (#2638094)
That said, one BBWAA member told me last summer, "I know a lot of people in the press box who would literally like to choke you."


I am surprised Latrell Sprewell is in the BBWAA.
   96. Backlasher Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:29 PM (#2638095)
Why are there non baseball writers who are BBWAA members?


I don't know the answer, but I presume from Dutton's email that there are probably two classes.

(1) They once were baseball writers; and
(2) They got pressed through the local chapter committee.
   97. robneyer Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:30 PM (#2638097)
Rob, Is there anything that we, as your (and Keith's) 'fans' can do, (petition, protest, ?) that would have any meaningful impact on your acceptance the next time your BBWAA membership is considered (is it every year)?

There are good people in the BBWAA who are fighting hard for the Web-based writers. Frankly, everyone's probably better off if my name's not even mentioned. I was kept out this time because some of the Association's most influential members don't like me, personally. I don't blame them; I've been intemperate over the years. Yes, membership is considered every year, but I'll ask my editor to withhold my name in the foreseeable future. I had my shot already, and I don't want to gum up the works for anybody else.
   98. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:32 PM (#2638098)
Why are there non baseball writers who are BBWAA members?


It looks like that provision only applies on the front end. Once you're in, you keep the vote as long as you remain employed in the newspaper industry. (BTW, this is similar to Heisman Trophy voting, at least during the time I had a vote. In that case, the veteran on the copy desk could have covered his last CF game 30 years earlier, but if he's still at the paper, the Downtown Athletic Club will keep sending him his ballot.)
   99. Backlasher Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:34 PM (#2638100)
While the snubbings of Rob Neyer and Keith Law are certainly galling, what bothers me most is that Will Carroll wasn't even nominated!!!!!!!!


I think one thing that was missing in many of the doom and gloom posts earlier is that the primary reason that none of the Prospectus (or Hardhat, etc.) people are not in IS BECAUSE NOBODY NOMINATED THEM.

You have several primates that work at papers; if they want these people in, they should be getting their paper to nominate them.
   100. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:47 PM (#2638114)
Very classy response from Bob Dutton.

Maybe Rob and Keith can make it after all at some time!
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