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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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   101. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:48 PM (#2638116)
Posnanski has a vote right? That's our guy on the inside.
   102. J.C. Bradbury Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:51 PM (#2638120)
The BBWAA's website design speaks volumes about their interest in the online community. They appear to have fonts, paragraph breaks, centering, and unordered lists under control. They might want to rethink the background.
   103. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:54 PM (#2638124)
But throwing their book across the room? That's where you crossed the line, IMO.

If throwing the book made Rob "Cross the line", I would have taken a dump on the book in front of them, and THEN threw the book.

Lines aren't meant to be crossed; they're meant to be obliterated.

Edit: lines are also meant to be snorted.
   104. Jimmy P Posted: December 07, 2007 at 06:57 PM (#2638127)
The BBWAA's website design speaks volumes about their interest in the online community. They appear to have fonts, paragraph breaks, centering, and unordered lists under control. They might want to rethink the background.

Wow. That's mid 90's web design at its best. They need some goofy flash animations with synth music to finish it off!
   105. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:01 PM (#2638133)
Wow. That's mid 90's web design at its best. They need some goofy flash animations with synth music to finish it off!

Perhaps a dancing baby or twelve. Everyone loves that dancing baby!
   106. _ Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:03 PM (#2638135)
Yes, I always judge a man not by the color of his flannel but by how much money he's willing to give me for used merchandise. By that standard, Rob Neyer is a prince among men. Once I saw some little girls with a lukewarm lemonade stand. Here comes Rob strolling by, and would you believe he bought them out of their entire stock? And he wasn't even thirsty. Without a word he peeled off two twenties, slapped them onto the cardboard box and proceeded to chug the 14 little dixie cups before sauntering off. This other time he bought my '71 Pontiac Grand Prix for the full asking price and never once mentioned any problem with the brakes. And people ask whether he deserves to be in the BBWAA?
   107. DL from MN Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:09 PM (#2638146)
"Now a guy like Gammons is pretty reputable"

Yeah, he's only a Spink award winner, must have been a tough choice to let him keep his BBWAA card after he made the Hall of Fame as a sportswriter.

Actually, the one thing the BBWAA has to offer besides award voting is automatic access to a press box. I don't think they want to give that out to anyone who didn't have to grind out game stories on a deadline for years. I like Neyer, but he's not that kind of writer. He's an op ed guy and the BBWAA are the guys who write the obituaries or cover county board meetings.

Why would a non-baseball writer get membership? I dunno, fun to drink with at the games?
   108. The Artist Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:09 PM (#2638147)
I expect the BBWAA to discover Peanut Butter Jelly Time and Geocities soon.
   109. The Artist Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:12 PM (#2638149)
Dola,
not surprised - there are clearly a lot of vindictive old farts (and many who are not - Dutton did come across as fairly classy). I think its hilarious that the cartoonist at a newspaper is apparently qualified to write about baseball, while Rob is not.
   110. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:12 PM (#2638150)
Yeah, he's only a Spink award winner, must have been a tough choice to let him keep his BBWAA card after he made the Hall of Fame as a sportswriter.

This is the part where I say something horrible about his cerebral vascular surgery, but I won't.
   111. _ Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:16 PM (#2638153)
Peter Gammons wasn't already in the BBWAA?

The real issue is that there's a belief among the oldtimers that people like Rob came in through the back door and didn't "pay their dues" as print reporters, yet they enjoy much wider audiences than many of them who did.

Edit: OK, DL in MN already said that.
   112. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:17 PM (#2638154)
I expect the BBWAA to discover Peanut Butter Jelly Time and Geocities soon.


I bet they get a lower rate for their CompuServe account than the rest of us do.
   113. Boriole Forester Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:21 PM (#2638158)
What? Mr. Neyer makes a greater contribution to the sport than half of the people on that list, easily, and arguably as much as the top handful.
   114. Lassus Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:27 PM (#2638164)
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.


Rob - I'm wondering - for our sake - how committed you are to the "If nominated, I will not run, if elected, I will not serve" philosophy. Some of us would REALLY like you helping to decide on the Hall that as much as we complain about, we kind of love anyhow. Like, a lot. Just curious.

Repoz - that reply was nice to get, however, the fact that they made a decision based on "WELL, OMG, SOMEBODY SAID THEY DON'T GO TO GAMES, you know, so, after geometry we had a meeting with everyone in the library, well, you know, me and my friend anyhow, and totally decided that even if Bethany's sister kissed Shelly's boyfriend, you know, and she was drunk anyhow, Bethany is kind of a BlTCH, and really doesn't belong on Yearbook, so we just decided right then. After all, someone told us something," really makes him sound like a huge tool.
   115. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:28 PM (#2638165)
I hope that Mr. Dutton's reply is indeed an honest indication of why they were denied admission, and that, accordingly, they are admitted next year.

I'd certainly be disappointed if, say, they were refused again next year on some technicality or other.
   116. _ Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:29 PM (#2638167)
Jah, I'm laffing at those girly-men with their Tandy computahs and their Prodigy internet! Maybe they can go look something up on Encarta!
   117. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:30 PM (#2638171)
That fluorescent green from the BBWAA site burnt out my rods and cones.
   118. Repoz Posted: December 07, 2007 at 07:39 PM (#2638183)
That fluorescent green from the BBWAA site burnt out my rods and cones

I've had that site on my faves for years and it hasn't really changed.

And when my cat acts up (you know, like when those gray swirly things fall out of their mouth and onto your pizza)...I shove her in front of the BBWAA site to cool her inner-gizzerds.

Works wonders.
   119. Mark Armour Posted: December 07, 2007 at 08:18 PM (#2638235)
Having read through this thread, the BBWAA stance makes sense. The organization does not exist to vote on the HOF (though that is what everyone sees). They exist to allow people access at ballparks.

It would be great if Rob and Keith could vote on the HOF. The way to accomplish that is not to wedge them into an organization who do different things than they do, it is to change the way HOF votes are conducted. In 1936, the BBWAA really were the only sensible people to vote for the HOF. Today there are a lot of people who are qualified, the BBWAA containing many, but not all, of them.

And finally, it is not the writer's fault that they run the HOF vote. The HOF gave them this power, and can take it away. It is to the HOF that your outrage should be directed.

For what its worth, I think I am as qualifed to vote for the HOF as Rob or Keith. But I don't belong in the BBWAA either.
   120. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 07, 2007 at 08:41 PM (#2638258)
Having read through this thread, the BBWAA stance makes sense. The organization does not exist to vote on the HOF (though that is what everyone sees). They exist to allow people access at ballparks.

ESPN said they don't NEED to go to the ballpark to do their job, not that they DON'T go. Also, I think all of us in our heart of hearts think we're qualified to vote for the HOF. Rob Neyer, though, actually writes professionally about baseball which makes him distinctly qualified to be a member of a professional association whose sole focus is, well, writing about baseball.
   121. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 07, 2007 at 08:49 PM (#2638272)
Having read through this thread, the BBWAA stance makes sense. The organization does not exist to vote on the HOF (though that is what everyone sees). They exist to allow people access at ballparks.


The real question is why they have the sole power to vote for HOF candidates in the first place anymore. I have no doubt that there are plenty of non-BBWAA historians and writers besides Rob who are more knowledgeable and connected with the game than some beat writers. Heck, how can you deny baseball announcers from voting while you're at it?
   122. Backlasher Posted: December 07, 2007 at 08:49 PM (#2638274)
<i> ESPN said they don't NEED to go to the ballpark to do their job, not that they DON'T go. </i.

Shooty, I think the tarp fumes are getting to you.

According to Dutton, ESPN did say that Law and Neyer did not regularly go to games. In fact, (according to Dutton) Law wrote Dutton and told them he did go to games alot.
   123. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 07, 2007 at 08:56 PM (#2638281)
Shooty, I think the tarp fumes are getting to you.

According to Dutton, ESPN did say that Law and Neyer did not regularly go to games. In fact, (according to Dutton) Law wrote Dutton and told them he did go to games alot.


Those aren't tarp fumes getting to me...

So, it's really somebody at ESPN that hates Rob and Keith. I bet it's Mike Tirico.
   124. robneyer Posted: December 07, 2007 at 08:59 PM (#2638288)
By the way, not to pick on anybody in particular and I'm sure he's a wonderful guy, but I looked up Terry Mosher, the editorial cartoonist in Montreal.

http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0011504

I've found no evidence that he's actually written about baseball at any point. But he's a BBWAA member in good standing and a Hall of Fame voter, apparently due to his status as a "baseball enthusiast".

Hell, nobody's more enthusiastic than me. (Well, maybe Kurkjian.)
   125. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:06 PM (#2638297)
I've found no evidence that he's actually written about baseball at any point. But he's a BBWAA member in good standing and a Hall of Fame voter, apparently due to his status as a "baseball enthusiast".

Hell, nobody's more enthusiastic than me. (Well, maybe Kurkjian.)


But I bet he didn't miss a single Expos game the last couple of years.
   126. Randy Jones Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:07 PM (#2638298)
from an ESPN chat earlier today:
Matt (Cohasset): What is your opinion on the BBWAA's decision to turn down Neyer and Law? Petty grudges? While I do not wish to disparage the incoming group, N&L;are clearly competent....

SportsNation Jerry Crasnick: Matt,

I think it was unfortunate that Rob and Keith were singled out that way. They're both terrific writers, even if they come at it from a different orientation than us old newspaper beat types. For what it's worth, the BBWAA is traditionally very slow to embrace change. The baseball writers have been debating this whole Internet thing for about eight years now. And I don't think it's wrong to say there's a lot of politics involved in the process.


To me, that reads that Crasnick thinks it was more politics that kept them out and not whether or not they attend enough games.
   127. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:08 PM (#2638300)
So, it's really somebody at ESPN that hates Rob and Keith. I bet it's Mike Tirico.

Rob Neyer should never have written that book.
   128. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:12 PM (#2638303)
edit: dupe.
   129. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:17 PM (#2638311)
Actually, Rob and Keith would be more like the Me 262.


Rob and Keith need to have their engines overhauled every 20 hours?
   130. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:39 PM (#2638331)
Heck, how can you deny baseball announcers from voting while you're at it?


I can see a case for some, such as ESPN guys or (shudder) Fox. But announcers employed by the teams should not be voting on the HOF, regardless how long they've been watching baseball or how knowledgable they may be.
   131. Richard Gadsden Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:40 PM (#2638333)
Rob and Keith need to have their engines overhauled every 20 hours?

IHNTS, IJLTQOOC
   132. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:43 PM (#2638336)
But announcers employed by the teams should not be voting on the HOF, regardless how long they've been watching baseball or how knowledgable they may be.


Those are the guys I was thinking of.
   133. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 07, 2007 at 09:48 PM (#2638340)
I think this is a huge step forward.

Let's understand that there are private organizations all over the US that exclude others for reasons much less reasonable than attending a baseball game.

Folks here need to recognize PROGRESS and celebrate it. The wall may not have fallen but it's developing cracks.

And I credit Rob for recognizing that be BEING an outsider and every so often spreading some acid (some needed, some not) that this may have impacted his inclusion.

Patience and PERSISTENCE are a powerful combination.

Bomb throwing is fun but mostly it creates a mess. Better to just keep working and forcing others to recognized that excluding consistent excellence is pretty stupid.

Keep on keeping on.

This is a good day.
   134. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: December 07, 2007 at 10:00 PM (#2638349)
Was this post invisible?

89. Gary Geiger Counter Posted: December 07, 2007 at 11:59 AM (#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...
   135. Jimmy P Posted: December 07, 2007 at 10:14 PM (#2638367)
The baseball writers have been debating this whole Internet thing for about eight years now.

That means they started this "Internet thing" debate in 1999. Wow, way to embrace technology.

I wonder what kind of 8-track they want for Christmas?
   136. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: December 07, 2007 at 11:19 PM (#2638434)
To be fair, 1999 was around the time when big national media outlets really started focusing on internet content. (For instance, Gammo didn't go exclusively over to ESPN until '98 or '99, IIRC.)

What kind of online stuff was the BBWAA supposed to debate prior to then? Extending membership to Roger Maynard or King Toot?
   137. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: December 08, 2007 at 12:05 AM (#2638462)
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.


And don't think that little tidbit won't leave a mark. Good taste is not an excuse!

Literate [female canine, Hillary Clinton]!!!!

Best Regards

John
   138. _ Posted: December 08, 2007 at 12:54 AM (#2638495)
I agree with Badger T1000.
   139. bartap74 Posted: December 08, 2007 at 03:44 AM (#2638547)
I used to read Rob Neyer every day and I found him to be one of, if not the, best baseball analysts in the business. I learned a lot from that column. Then ESPN pushed him behind the pay wall and I reluctantly stopped being a reader. Damn shame, that, but since baseball is the only sport I follow, and Rob is the only column I really missed, there was no way I was paying the exorbitant fee. Now if I could subscribe just to Neyer ($1/month sound fair?), I'd do it in a heartbeat.
   140. Lassus Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:15 AM (#2638558)
For all of our whining, present company included, I'd like to point out that Harvey is the rightest of us all here.
   141. Craig Calcaterra Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:38 AM (#2638564)
Keith speaks.

Apologies if someone already posted it. I haven't read all 143 posts.
   142. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:58 AM (#2638614)
By the way, not to pick on anybody in particular and I'm sure he's a wonderful guy, but I looked up Terry Mosher, the editorial cartoonist in Montreal...(snip)...he's a BBWAA member in good standing and a Hall of Fame voter, apparently due to his status as a "baseball enthusiast".


Not to pile on...ok, to pile on: it must be hard for Mr. Mosher to get to many games, considering Montreal doesn't even have an MLB team anymore.

Hmmmm. Curious stuff, indeed.
   143. Ron Johnson Posted: December 08, 2007 at 07:30 AM (#2638699)
Rob,

Aislin has done a number of baseball cartoons.

One of which is a guy sitting next to an obvious stathead. Caption is "I have no idea what this clown is talking about" (Easy for me to remember this one -- I've been on the receiving end of the look more than once)

And I'm pretty sure he's done a few baseball related columns over the years. Not sure that they ran in the sports section though.
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