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.