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Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Dish: Keith Law Speaks

Yesterday’s BBWAA decision to allow internet-based writers membership represents progress.  That should be welcomed and celebrated. 

There’s still an underside.  That should not be ignored. 

Second, Bob Dutton, the president of the BBWAA, has said this:

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.

To the best of my knowledge, this isn’t accurate. Jack O’Connell, the secretary of the BBWAA, has my full contact info (including cell phone #), and he has the contact info for the ESPN.com baseball editor, who submitted the list of nine names. Neither Jack nor anyone else on the seven-member committee contacted me or the baseball editor to ask if I attended big-league games regularly. We were also both in Nashville in the hotel at the time of the meeting, but again, we weren’t contacted. In fact, we can’t figure out who the board members “informally contacted” at ESPN, because there was no one else with the authority to speak about Rob and myself.

Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 08, 2007 at 03:49 AM | 417 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. JimMusComp misses Jerry Dipoto... Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:26 AM (#2638590)
This is really lame - Rob said so much in another thread yesterday.

The BBWAA is comprised of some really great writers, but there must be some serious pricks in there with some serious inflated self-worth to think that Law and Neyer aren't qualified to be a member of that Cracker-Jack organization.

Credibility is not a strong suit for the BBWAA.
   2. Tracy Ringolsby Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:29 AM (#2638591)
There also is the possiblity that Keith Law is not being honest in his post. Having been there and witnessed the events, I can assure you that there are several issues which Law alleges that are flat out lies, but if he didn't use the lies he wouldn't be able to make his point.
   3. robneyer Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:33 AM (#2638592)
Gosh.

Seems like if you're going to call a guy a liar, you'd at least a) offer some examples, and b) reveal your identity. I mean, gosh.
   4. Banta Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:35 AM (#2638593)
This thread is off to a good start. Think I'm gonna make some popping corn and settle in.

I don't have cable anymore, in case anyone's wondering.
   5. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:35 AM (#2638594)
If they really wanted to an attendence check, all they'd have to do was call the PR departments of the Ballclubs to check the attedance records of their press boxes
   6. Plank Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:37 AM (#2638595)
I hope this gets awesome. My hope is this is the first step toward the abolition/marginalization of the BBWAA and in turn the abolition/marginalization of the Hall of Fame.
   7. Frisco Cali Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:38 AM (#2638596)
There also is the possiblity that Keith Law is not being honest in his post. Having been there and witnessed the events, I can assure you that there are several issues which Law alleges that are flat out lies, but if he didn't use the lies he wouldn't be able to make his point.

Huh? I wasn't there, and have no clue what you are talking about.
   8. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:39 AM (#2638597)
There also is the possiblity that Keith Law is not being honest in his post. Having been there and witnessed the events, I can assure you that there are several issues which Law alleges that are flat out lies, but if he didn't use the lies he wouldn't be able to make his point.


Man, what's with this site attracting trolls recently?
   9. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:39 AM (#2638598)
They should have just let Rob and Keith in. They would have been "token" guys with 2 votes anyway, and then they'd NEVER have to let anybody progressive in ever again.

"HEY, WE'RE PROGRESSIVE, WE HAVE ROB AND KEITH!!!"

(Kind of like how White Politicians have 2 Black friends)
   10. Plank Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:39 AM (#2638599)
As a side question: What is the exact relationship between MLB and the HOF? Does the HOF have an owner? Are there any checks and balances? Does the MLB have any say about what goes on at the hall?
   11. Banta Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:41 AM (#2638600)
I've marginalized the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA as much as possible in my life already. Their existence is irrelevant.
   12. JimMusComp misses Jerry Dipoto... Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:49 AM (#2638603)
Wow, pricks made it by CyberNanny...

Pricks, pricks, pricks!!!

Woo hoo!

Back to the regularly scheduled flaming of the BBWAA.
   13. The District Attorney Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:50 AM (#2638604)
ballfan knows, but he can't tell you.
   14. robneyer Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:50 AM (#2638605)
Without doing any research (so please correct me if I'm wrong) . . . The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum is completely, utterly privately owned, and theoretically the Hall can make whatever rules it likes. That said, I believe MLB offers some financial support, and we know MLB is cooperative when it comes to artifacts (Barry Bonds's protective cup, Lenny Dykstra's spit-stained jersey, etc). So it's safe to say the Hall does not want to get on MLB's bad side.
   15. Gaelan Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:53 AM (#2638606)
Ballfan's accusation goes well beyond the normal bounds of ad hominem attack on this site. Identify yourself or go away.
   16. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:53 AM (#2638607)
Oh, thanks to Craig Calcaterra for pointing this out in the original thread. I would edit that bit up top, but I'm afraid I'd botch up the thread.
   17. Plank Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:53 AM (#2638608)
RE: HOF and how it's run. I found this interesting

http://www.efqreview.com/NewFiles/v20n3/noisefromthedugout.html

EDIT: also this

http://www.buzzflash.com/analysis/03/04/16_baseball.html
   18. Lassus Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:54 AM (#2638609)
Think I'm gonna make some popping corn and settle in.


Some "popping corn"? Are you going to be taking breaks to retire to the water closet? :-)

I actually have great affection and respect for the Hall of Fame, despite their insane amount of mistakes and missteps. shrug
   19. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:54 AM (#2638610)
Hey Rob, how much impact do you think you and Keith could have made to the BBWAA had you actually made it/eventually make it?
   20. Frisco Cali Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:55 AM (#2638611)
I mean, gosh.

Are you sure you don't mean "geez" or "dadgum"?
   21. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 08, 2007 at 04:57 AM (#2638613)
Seems to be some tension between:
Some board members informally contacted folks at ESPN

and
we can’t figure out who the board members “informally contacted” at ESPN, because there was no one else with the authority to speak about Rob and myself.


I suspect the key is the "informally" aspect. And note that it was "folks" that were contacted, not necessarily anyone in a position to know. A casual bar room inquiry to a drunken Gammons would appear to meet the rigorous inquiry standard described by Dutton.
   22. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:01 AM (#2638618)
(nevermind)
   23. Repoz Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:03 AM (#2638619)
Tracy Ringolsby left this message on Keith's site, but it hasn't appeared yet. So, with Tracy's ok...I'll post it here.

Funny, Keith Law says no one contacted him about the issue. Well, Keith Law makes an assumption on how I voted and never asked me why I voted the way I did. He, however, wants to create a better picture of his self pity and thatwould not be the case if he spoke the truth.

He accuses me of being against internet membership in the BBWAA, showing his complete ignorance of the subject even though he has never once ever asked me about the subject nor has he done any research or he wouldn't have made such an ignorant comment.

Wouldn't it be nice if Keith Law was as dilligent in ascertaining facts ashe is in accusing others of not doing it.But then if he got his facts it would undermine his woe is me story.

Secondly, Keith Law is a liar when he says ESPN wasn't consulted about the need for membership. The ESPN person who submitted the names for membership was at the Winter Meetings for a day and did speak to members, although I wasn't one.

Thirdly, Keith Law has told me in several emails that he has trouble getting to ballparks becuase of family matters and that he spends a great deal of time at minor league parks. No writer who covers minor league baseball is in the BBWAA.

He says he couldn't write his previews without seeing teams, but yet he has admitted he has evaluated and done stories cirtiquing the Rockies without having ever see them play. I do believe they actually played Philadelphia inthe playoffs.

Those who want to point figures and make their accusations can go ahead anddo it because people llike Keith Law will try and find support forthemselves by making false accusations.
.
   24. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:05 AM (#2638620)
I've marginalized the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA as much as possible in my life already. Their existence is irrelevant.

We're all very proud of you.
   25. robneyer Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:07 AM (#2638621)
Boy, I sure wish this was a Tuesday morning rather than a Friday night. Could be tons of fun.
   26. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:10 AM (#2638623)
No writer who covers minor league baseball is in the BBWAA.
If this is true, it's ridiculous.
   27. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:10 AM (#2638624)
Bob Dutton explained to me that this was the obstacle, and he was one of those encouraging me to reapply.

So if Keith is such a liar, why is he being encouraged to reapply next year?
   28. Plank Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:12 AM (#2638625)
Hey Rob,

what's your take? Are you pissed? Do you think shenanigans were involved? I think you should raise a big stink.
   29. Shoeless Swedish Chef Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:13 AM (#2638627)
There also is the possiblity that Keith Law is not being honest in his post. Having been there and witnessed the events, I can assure you that there are several issues which Law alleges that are flat out lies, but if he didn't use the lies he wouldn't be able to make his point.


Been where and witnessed what events?
   30. Lassus Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:13 AM (#2638629)
Even before the, um, somewhat incendiary note above. for me it's a question of consistency. If you're going to use the "MUST ATTEND A LOT OF GAMES" cutoff, you better be well-aware of how many of your current members may not be doing this or come up with a better reason.
   31. JJ1986 Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:17 AM (#2638630)
He says he couldn't write his previews without seeing teams, but yet he has admitted he has evaluated and done stories cirtiquing the Rockies without having ever see them play. I do believe they actually played Philadelphia inthe playoffs.


Does this mean he didn't personally attend a Rockies game in 2007 or that he never even watched them on tv? Because I don't see why one would have to personally attend a game to write about a team.
   32. Plank Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:19 AM (#2638631)
He says he couldn't write his previews without seeing teams, but yet he has admitted he has evaluated and done stories cirtiquing the Rockies without having ever see them play.


Actually he wrote he wanted to go to 2 games before he wrote about them. That's a big difference.
   33. Roy Hobbs of WIFFLE Ball Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:22 AM (#2638635)
So if Keith is such a liar, why is he being encouraged to reapply next year?


Without touching this whole "he said, he said" standoff between Law and Ringolsby, people are encouraged to apply for things they have little or no realistic chance of getting every day. Maybe Dutton is just trying to be nice, maybe he's a non-confrontational guy, or maybe he thinks it the correct political move.
   34. Banta Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:22 AM (#2638636)
I thought the attendance thing was a not so subtle insult in the vein of getting your head out of the spreadsheets, quit playing with abacuses, etc.
Are you going to be taking breaks to retire to the water closet?

Is this some sort of come on?

I suggest you answer that question very carefully.
   35. salfino Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:23 AM (#2638638)
If you're not reporting on games but rather commenting on what takes place between the lines, why do you have to attend the games? How does that benefit the reader? To get a bunch of boilerplate quotes from players and managers? To see the press room?

This emphasis rather than one on the quality of the writing is a big reason why sports journalism is in such sad shape.
   36. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:24 AM (#2638639)
Does ballfan = Ringoslby?
   37. Shock Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:25 AM (#2638641)
So, uh, Ballfan = Tracy Ringolsby?

Edit: Ooops. Owe you a coke.
   38. JJ1986 Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:26 AM (#2638642)
Also, I haven't been following this closely so it may have been answered, but why is attending games a requirement anyway? Keith and Rob write about baseball professionally. They're also American.

Alos I'd rather not know if they attend games or not than have to feel bad for them because they are being forced to serve as glorified sideline reporters like Gammons and Rosenthal.
   39. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:26 AM (#2638643)
And much to my surprise, Shock = me.
   40. Lassus Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:27 AM (#2638644)
Is this some sort of come on?


I just thought "popping corn" was hilarious.
   41. robneyer Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:28 AM (#2638645)
Well, somebody's lying, right?

I didn't want to get into this, but since my colleague has gone through the process, and now he's been called a liar -- first by a troll, then by a Spink Award winner (unless they're the same person) -- I probably should weigh in here...

When I got the news about my application being rejected, I asked Bob Dutton for whatever he could tell me, in his official capacity as BBWAA president, about the process. We've already gone over much of that ground, but I think this, from his e-mail message to me, is worth noting:

Two were not recommended for approval: You and Keith Law from ESPN.

In both cases, concerns were raised prior to the meeting as to whether either of you required a BBWAA credential to do your job. That is a basic requirement for all members.

Toward this end, ESPN officials were contacted and asked to clarify that point. In each case, we were told that, no, you didn't require a credential to do your job. In your case, we were also told that you rarely appear at big-league ballparks.


The disputed point seems to be the identity of these "ESPN officials". I contacted ESPN.com's baseball editor, who was indeed at the winter meetings. He was surprised to hear from me that "ESPN officials" had been asked about Neyer and Law, and their attendance at big-league ballparks, and couldn't figure out who these "officials" might have been. This editor, by the way, is a straight shooter. I've worked with a lot of editors over the last dozen years, and some of them you just sort of crossed your fingers and hoped they were leveling with you. But I've never had any doubts about this editor's honesty.

Is it possible that some other editor in Nashville was asked about Keith and me, and just flat-out got it wrong about Keith? (I really don't get to all that many big-league games, maybe a dozen or so per season these last few years.)

Yeah, it's possible. My guess is there's been more misunderstanding than lying going on, these last 36 hours. But I don't know that we'll ever know for sure.
   42. Shibal Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:29 AM (#2638646)
Tracy is an ass. Or he is just acting like one in this case. Keith doesn't know for sure if anyone to anyone at ESPN; that's why "to the best of my knowledge" was in his statement. If they did talk to ESPN, then Keith is wrong. He's not a liar.

Big difference Tracy.
   43. Roy Hobbs of WIFFLE Ball Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:29 AM (#2638647)
If you're going to use the "MUST ATTEND A LOT OF GAMES" cutoff, you better be well-aware of how many of your current members may not be doing this or come up with a better reason.


The standard is apparently more like "Must be a writer that attends a lot of games, or a Canadian political cartoonist that really likes baseball."
   44. 1k5v3L Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:31 AM (#2638648)
The ESPN person who submitted the names for membership was at the Winter Meetings for a day and did speak to members, although I wasn't one.


So, basically it appears the person at ESPN who was "consulted" can't tell his elbow from his butt. Even though he was smart enough not to talk to Ringolsby.

No writer who covers minor league baseball is in the BBWAA.


I wonder why Baseball America continues to ask Ringolsby to write the review of the Rockies system. First, I've always found his player descriptions to be 90% homerism, 9% hearsay, and 1% analysis. In fact, every year, I skip the Rockies chapter in the BA book because I think it's a waste of my time to read it... and that's a shame as the Rockies have some nice prospects worth knowing about. Baseball America should just ask Keith Law to write the Rockies section next year; Law's recent write-up on Colorado's young pitchers on ESPN was excellent... and unlike Ringolsby, he'd actually go to the minor league ballparks to see those guys play.

It's a good thing the Denver Post has Troy Renck or otherwise their baseball coverage would be a bunch of nonsensical mumbo-jumbo and a string of name calling...
   45. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:31 AM (#2638649)
Ringolsby's reply doesn't seem to entirely mesh with what Law's post says, not just on a he said she said level, but on an addressing the same questions level.

For instance, Law says that nobody contacted either him, Rob, or the baseball editor; Ringolsby's response says this is untrue because "the ESPN person who submitted the names" did speak to the committee. These two statements are noncontradictory.

Law says he regularly attends games; Ringolsby says Law told him he had trouble getting to ballparks. These two statements are also noncontradictory (for instance, maybe the latter was in the context of West Coast teams; or maybe he just meant he had trouble getting to ballparks as often as he liked. Who doesn't?)

Law says he couldn't write previews without seeing teams play; Ringolsby says Law admitted to not having seen the Rockies. What about the other playoff teams? What about, as JJ1986 says, seeing the broadcast? These two statements, again, are noncontradictory.

Ringolsby comes across like someone who's very angry at a perceived slight and is lashing out at a convenient target for that anger. Well, sorry, guys, but you dug this grave yourselves: exactly what the #### did you think was going to happen when you admitted everybody but the two people who weren't members of the old boy network?
   46. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:32 AM (#2638650)
Also, I haven't been following this closely so it may have been answered, but why is attending games a requirement anyway? Keith and Rob write about baseball professionally. They're also American.


Though I'm not a member of the BBWAA, I would think it was a requisite of membership to determine those print writers who were committed to covering the games. By making regular attendance part of the requirement, the BBWAA could more easily distinguish between those who were actively involved in the covering of games and those who simply sat at their desks and wrote about it. Whether it has outlived its usefulness in an era of satellite packages and the internet is a separate matter.
   47. robneyer Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:33 AM (#2638652)
Or "a writer who did attend some games many years ago, and has remained friends with the president of a local chapter."

This is really what it comes down to. Because Keith and I are "national" writers, no one's got our backs. If you're blessed with a generous local chapter president, all these rules we've been learning about are irrelevant.

EDIT: Was responding to 43; they're coming in hot and heavy!
   48. Banta Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:34 AM (#2638653)
I just thought "popping corn" was hilarious.

...so am I getting a blowjob or what?

Gonna go ahead and reiterate I've got no cable. At all. Not even a hit.
   49. Plank Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:35 AM (#2638654)
Does Gammons really go to that many games?

Not saying he shouldn't be in. He absolutely should.
   50. Tracy Ringolsby Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:36 AM (#2638655)
Yes Ballfan equals Ringolsby and Ballfan was the one who obviously was stupid enough to speak up on why Law should be admitted, and then he has Law write his crap. So did Ringolsby get upset? Yes. There are plenty of things to dislike about what I do and I don't usually argue with it, but to have someone like Law accuse me of being anti internet shows that he once again is spouting off about crap he doesn't know about.

There have been several times during the year I have questioned him on his facts and accusations and he has explained the mistakes by saying he is young and inexperienced and makes mistakes but people need to be understanding. Boy that's great crediblity.

If Law had questions about the vote or my vote, he had plenty of opprotunities to ask me in Nashville, but never once broached the subject. Yet, he didn't hesitate to make accusations against me.

On the subject of minor league writers being in the BBWAA, all I can say is the membership requlations say membership is for employes of newspapers that cover a major league team on a regular basis and then it goes into specifics. It is not a discretionary decision but rather one that has been a part of the regulations since Day 1 when the BBWAA was founded to help deal with problems faced by major league writers.
   51. Lassus Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:38 AM (#2638656)
Great textual analysis, Hampton.

No, I'm not coming onto you. ;-)

No cable, Banta? Are you getting TV thru, like, THE AIR? That's hardcore. So to speak.
   52. Plank Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:38 AM (#2638657)
This is awesome.
   53. sunnyday2 Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:38 AM (#2638658)
And another criterion is that you can't do your job without being a BBWAA member? Do the teams bar non-BBWAA members from press boxes? Do major newspapers refuse to send non-BBWAA members out on the MLB beat? If so, why? I mean, why would anybody care? Other than the BBWAA, that is.

Not to answer my own questions, but...what a crock of ####.
   54. McCoy Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:39 AM (#2638659)
I think going to games is a valid general point, I have no idea if it is a valid specific point. The BBWAA was founded so that reporters could have better access to stadiums correct? In the end that is really all the BBWAA is right? A way to get access to stadiums, yes? All the other stuff is fluff the developed later on. So if a reporters doesn't go to games then a reporter doesn't really need to be a member. Now granted with all the new fluff it gets complicated because I'm sure some reporters would like a say on who is MVP or ROY or who goes into the hall but that isn't really why the BBWAA exists.
   55. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:41 AM (#2638660)
Cool, that's my first outing.
   56. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:41 AM (#2638661)
This crap about not having seen the Rockies recently enough or having gone to too many minor-league games is the obvious crap that it obviously is. I think in the other thread it was established that the BBWAA contains people who are not writers, who don't write about baseball, and who are political cartoonists in cities that don't even contain an affiliated baseball team.

I don't know if that's because these guys were baseball beat writers 20 years ago or if it's just cronyism. But with those kinds of criteria for admission I'm surprised there weren't MORE internet writers admitted. I thought Neyer and Law would get in, as well as Bill Simmons, Seth Davis, and that girl from "She Says, Z Says".

It's something of an honor to have Tracy Ringolsby here! I've tried to be objective in all discussions of you, sir, despite other people's unfair mockery of the hat you wear in your byline photo.
   57. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:42 AM (#2638662)
If the BBWAA is an association whose membership determines who the teams allow to sit in press boxes -- shouldn't admission into the association depend on who the teams want to have access to the teams, not on the approval of incumbent writers?
   58. robneyer Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:43 AM (#2638663)
Just want to throw this in because nobody's mentioned it ... There actually is at least one highly reasonable reason for the BBWAA to limit membership:

Some of us would like the BBWAA to throw open the doors to anybody who writes about baseball on the Web, or at least anybody who's got more than a smattering of readers. Maybe that really would be the best thing. But if you're a full member of the BBWAA you can show up at the ballpark and they have to let you into the press box. What would happen if every Tom, Dick and Mary who blogs about the Yankees suddenly had a credential? Would there be room in the press box for all of them *and* all the Japanese writers *and* all the guys who work for the newspapers?

You see where I'm going with this, right? There are real logistical reasons why the BBWAA probably can't -- or doesn't want to -- just add 100 new members at once. Eventually they'll have to wrestle with these issues, and I think it's sort of a shame that they've waited so long to begin. But at least it's a start.
   59. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:45 AM (#2638665)
There have been several times during the year I have questioned him on his facts and accusations
Such as?

If Law had questions about the vote or my vote, he had plenty of opprotunities to ask me in Nashville, but never once broached the subject.
Perhaps he was busy covering the winter meetings.

There are plenty of things to dislike about what I do
Agreed.
   60. Gaelan Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:47 AM (#2638667)
A public feud on BTF. What could be better?
   61. greenback needs muscle Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:47 AM (#2638669)
Heh, the BBWAA was founded the last year the Cubs won the World Series.

It might be easier for the BBWAA to accept Leading Internet Writers if such Leading Internet Writers formed their own organization with its own standards.
   62. Tracy Ringolsby Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:53 AM (#2638670)
I didn't say he shouldn't be eligible because he had not seen the Rockies play. Heck, I spoke on why I thought he was eligible, which is why I find it so irritating that in his blog he says I'm anti internet.

In the post, I was just pointing out he has exchanged emails with me that he hadn't seen the Rockies play, but yet in his post he says it is important for him to see a team, even for two days, before he critiques it. The article I refer to that prompted an exchange iwth him was one in which he said the Rockies had not produced run-producing corner players since Holliday. I pointed out Brad Hawpe and Garrett Atkins. After an exhcnage of emails, his final response was that he had never seen either one of them play. Whether someone needs to see a player or not is another question. I just find it interesting is that when I questioned him about Hawpe and Atkins, who he contends are not run producers, he admits he hasn't see then, but in his blog he says he goes to numerous games and feels he needs to go to the games to make his observations. Somewhere in between, I guess, is the truth.

I'm not sure about the accusation of a political cartoonist being a BBWAA member, but the membership rules do allow for a sports cartoonist, along with columnists, and one editor from each publication. There was even an editor and a colunist from an internet site granted recent membership. As for people who are not writers, it is erroneous to say that they are active members. If you do not actively work for a publication that regular covers major league baseball you are not allowed to maintain an active membership. I believe there were at least two members approved who were not previously BBWAA members -- Amy Nelson and Dan Wetzel. I may be wrong on that but it wasn't just former BBWAA members being admitted.

The desire to have people attend games probably stems from a feeling that it is important to have some way of making sure the people is seriously involved in coverage. At times, as stats folks know, you try to find a finite way of making a determination because you don't want to be too subjective in some areas.

As for my hat or whatever, if people don't like my style of life, that is really something for them to deal with. I grew up in Wyoming, and live there now, 15 miles northwest of Cheyenne, commuting to Denver for work. I have worn a cowboy hat for a long time and have worn cowboy boots since birth. Let me say, being made fun of for wearing a cowboy hat is probably a lot easier for me to deal with than prejudices others have to endure.

Lastly, some of the greatest writers have not had membership in the BBWAA and it has not lessened the respect for people such as Roger Angell.
   63. shoewizard Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:53 AM (#2638671)
Heh, the BBWAA was founded the last year the Cubs won the World Series.

It might be easier for the BBWAA to accept Leading Internet Writers if such Leading Internet Writers formed their own organization with its own standards.


So if such an organization were to be formed this year, it would be over 100 years before the Red Sox won the world series again? Works for me.
   64. Lassus Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:53 AM (#2638672)
It might be easier for the BBWAA to accept Leading Internet Writers if such Leading Internet Writers formed their own organization with its own standards.

Holy crap, if we think this thread is entertaining, something like that would pretty much trump everything.
   65. Banta Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:54 AM (#2638673)
To go back on topic, the BBWAA isn't a relevant organization anymore. Period. Neyer and Law not being allowed in does not matter. Let the old guard have their little funeral party, trying to keep the future locked outside the door. But their building doesn't even have walls anymore. The average Primate has greater insight than most of the writers in the BBWAA and that's just the tip of the iceberg. The general population won't eat moronic #### forever and eventually the average baseball fan's knowledge of the game will more closely resemble Neyer's or Law's. I don't know how long this will take, but I think it is ultimately inevitable.

And so, if it's inevitable, why not start practicing it now? The BBWAA being having a legitimate purpose in the past has no bearing on the current situation. They provide no content that I cannot acquire somewhere else (and most likely in a higher quality).

But really, the BBWAA knows that. See, Ringolsby's preparing for the near future already... posting on Primer, engaging in pointless snark to make up for his own irrelevance...

No cable, Banta? Are you getting TV thru, like, THE AIR? That's hardcore. So to speak.

TV is all around us.

I sometimes go around thinking about how most of the time, I'm breathing in the internet. Makes me wanna upload.
   66. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:58 AM (#2638675)
Hey Banta, stop baiting. You're not exactly helping.
   67. shoewizard Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:59 AM (#2638676)
posting on Primer, engaging in pointless snark to make up for his own irrelevance...

Dang, you just described almost every poster in here.
   68. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:59 AM (#2638677)
But if you're a full member of the BBWAA you can show up at the ballpark and they have to let you into the press box. What would happen if every Tom, Dick and Mary who blogs about the Yankees suddenly had a credential? Would there be room in the press box for all of them *and* all the Japanese writers *and* all the guys who work for the newspapers?

It seems to me that this is a strong argument in favor of having no requirement to attend games, and letting the teams decide who they want to admit. In today's world, just about anyone who wants to watch a particular game is capable of watching that game, even if they don't live or work in the same city; in that context, the requirement for teams to admit BBWAA writers is more of a historical artifact than a requirement for them to do their jobs.
   69. Frisco Cali Posted: December 08, 2007 at 05:59 AM (#2638678)
From Law's blog
I do sort of know Tracy Ringolsby, who isn’t about to nominate me for the Spink Award, but I’d like to give him the credit to think that his personal feelings about me didn’t affect his professional judgment here. I’m told he also voted against the general proposal to admit the 16 who did get in, so this is probably as much about the Interwebs as is it about me.

Seems to me that Law is just speculating. The above quote doesn't seem to be anything to get so worked up about.
Why did you vote against the general proposal?
   70. Shock Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:00 AM (#2638679)
Pardon my ignorance, but what makes (for example) Dan Wetzel more qualified than Keith Law or Rob Neyer?
   71. Gaelan Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:03 AM (#2638682)
By clinking on the link and visiting Law's site I discovered that he and MHS are kindred spirits. I never would have guessed that.

I then visited MHS's site and discovered that MHS reads Harry Potter books. High standards indeed.


I suppose this is as good a place as any to say that I've noticed I sea change in his posts. The grumpy misanthrope seems to have been replaced by a kinder, gentler, more thoughful person. Anyway, not that it matters but I thought I'd mention that I had noticed.
   72. JJ1986 Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:06 AM (#2638683)
Did anyone ask how many games any of the other writers attended or were Rob and Keith singled (doubled?) out right off of the bat?


Amy Nelson, for example, who I have never read so this isn't a value judgment, wrote about 15 baseball columns during the regular season, 5 of them in the last week, so one with no knowledge of the subject might question how many games she attended, but it's my understanding that this was limited to the two of them.
   73. Banta Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:08 AM (#2638684)
Hey Banta, stop baiting. You're not exactly helping.

I think I am helping.

I mean, what the crap do people do on the site all the time? We sit around and rip the works of many writers in the BBWAA to shreds. Why? Because they're wrong. Their methodology is flawed. There is an unwillingness to accept new data and incorporate a greater understanding from it. That, in my book, is how an organization can be irrelevant. And I can't understand why (with the exception of the HoF voting issue... which, as some as discussed previously, is really a whole separate issue) now when Law and Neyer get "rejected", we're supposed to feel like they were screwed? I'd rather not even give the BBWAA the honor of being an honor.

Oh, and just to be clear, my line about pointless snark to make up for irrelevance applies to me too. Obviously.
   74. Tracy Ringolsby Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:09 AM (#2638685)
What's wrong is he makes suppositions and insinatuions about my stand on interwebs without any knoweldge. And why does he say I voted agaisnt the general proposal to admit the 16? Why doesn't he point out I voted against the general proposal to deny admission to the two? Because if he pointed out I voted against the genral proposal to deny admission to the two, he wouldn't be able to act like I was against his membership. Of course, when he is spending time sitting at my computer in the work room, I guess it would be difficult for him to ask for clarification if the issue is of enough concern that he would post it like he did.
   75. Plank Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:12 AM (#2638686)
Because they're wrong. Their methodology is flawed. There is an unwillingness to accept new data and incorporate a greater understanding from it.


The BBWAA isn't a monothithic unit. There is enough to criticize without this kind of stuff.
   76. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:15 AM (#2638687)
Even before the, um, somewhat incendiary note above. for me it's a question of consistency. If you're going to use the "MUST ATTEND A LOT OF GAMES" cutoff, you better be well-aware of how many of your current members may not be doing this or come up with a better reason.

Aw, come on fellers, have a heart. They don't make Bob Beamon jump 29 feet every morning to keep his gold medal.
   77. Banta Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:17 AM (#2638689)
The BBWAA isn't a monothithic unit.

Well, obviously, but for the sake of generalizing, I think it's a fairly accurate description of the average BBWAA member. Doesn't this decision seem to indicate that?
   78. Plank Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:19 AM (#2638690)
The tone you used in 77 is much different than in 65. I think the new one is better.
   79. Tracy Ringolsby Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:22 AM (#2638691)
By the way, please understand I am not speaking for the BBWAA in this posts, but rather on my own for myself. These are not statements of policy but rather my beliefs.
   80. Plank Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:23 AM (#2638692)
The vote could have been close. There could have been pressure by a powerful few. We don't know. You could be right. I personally think you are mostly right (not that my opinion means anything.) But stating things like that when you don't have all the facts muddies your legit arguments.
   81. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:23 AM (#2638693)
BBWAA writers who may be reading this thread:

The anger you're seeing here is less a product of the belief that Rob et al. are "baseball writers" according to the BBWAA's definition of the term (and the BBWAA of course can define itself however it likes), and more due to the belief that the relevance of major elements of the MLB universe is being steadily degraded by the absence of important, relevant, and well-established viewpoints. In particular, the Hall of Fame voting, the BBWAA awards, etc.

Whether they are according-to-Hoyle "baseball writers" or not, the views of people like Rob Neyer, Bill James, the Baseball Prospectus team, and uncountable others -- are increasingly influential both among baseball fans, and in terms of the actual business of baseball. Their ideas and analyses may not always be accurate -- and, really, is there anyone who can say the opposite about their ideas and analyses? -- but, whether or not one agrees with it, they've developed a consistent approach to thinking and writing about the game that has informed the way a generation of baseball fans thinks about the game, and appears to the best of my measurement to be growing in influence rather than shrinking.

For the fans who do think about the game that way -- a group that includes some of the most passionate baseball fans on the planet, people who love the game of baseball because of what it is, and not merely as a lens for their statistical arcana -- seeing these people excluded from the process of voting for the recognition of the best players in baseball (among other things) is increasingly regarded as a travesty. This isn't about numbercrunchers versus typewriterheads; it's about whether things that have a long and storied history continue to enjoy the same reverence they have in the past. Ultimately, if enough fans and enough journalists feel excluded and marginalized by the selection process, those awards will lose their luster -- not right away, not all at once, but lose it they will.

If the BBWAA doesn't want to admit people who cover baseball in nontraditional media, for whatever reason, that's the BBWAA's privilege. In that event, however, I would urge you to find some way to expand the voting membership for the Hall and the awards beyond the strict bounds of BBWAA membership.

Thank you for your attention, and for the work you've done and continue to do in making baseball accessible to fans of all kinds.
   82. Boots Day Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:24 AM (#2638694)
Tracy Ringolsby has apparently been a Primate for more than two years now, which doesn't really jibe with the idea that he's anti-Internet.

But really, the BBWAA knows that. See, Ringolsby's preparing for the near future already... posting on Primer, engaging in pointless snark to make up for his own irrelevance...

This kind of stuff is really no different from the attitude you're ascribing to the BBWAA.
   83. Sawney Snows Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:27 AM (#2638695)
It's anticlimactic, but while the ballfan question was still open, I found the following, among other interesting "coincidences." Note the phrase with the word "loser" in each instance.

BBTF post, April 29, 2006 (post 3)

BBTF post, May 2, 2006 (post 1)

Ringolsby article, May 5, 2006 (scroll down to BETWEEN INNINGS section)

There is also a propensity for posting to Rockies threads, and a couple of posts about a competing newspaper and columnist in that market.

It strikes me as relevant, perhaps, to mention that Mr. Neyer and Mr. Law post here with their real names. It imparts a higher degree of accountability to what they say, whether one agrees or disagrees with them.
   84. McCoy Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:28 AM (#2638696)
Tracy Ringolsby has apparently been a Primate for more than two years now, which doesn't really jibe with the idea that he's anti-Internet.

And judgin by his posts he is just like all of us.
   85. Banta Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:29 AM (#2638697)
This kind of stuff is really no different from the attitude you're ascribing to the BBWAA.

Well, firstly, it was mostly a joke that I wanted to work in... secondly, no one thinks it's an honor to be a Banta (nor would I want someone to), so I don't really see what that has to do with anything.

If anyone's confused, I wasn't trying to promote myself at all. Aside from my sexy typing stylings, I really don't contribute anything to this site so I don't consider myself amongst the "average Primate".
   86. Cris E Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:30 AM (#2638698)
It would seem the BBWAA doesn't see itself the way outsiders do. I'd certainly not expect that since the group exists to serve its members, not the public. But they have a very public responsibility that yearly puts them in the public eye and highlights how far the industry has outgrown their organization. Asking them to proxy for all knowledgable baseball professionals in HOF voting casts a harsh light on just how many types of professional baseball writers there are and how few are inside the tent.

If the BBWAA still wants to maintain its role in advocating for print pub folks that's fine, but it seems that these days it'd be a lot more relevant if its focus were shifted towards a more abstract identity. A lot has changed since "Day 1 when the BBWAA was founded to help deal with problems faced by major league writers." Much of that can be handled easily by the teams just as it's handled for TV, internet and international press. With a broader scope the BBWAA could focus on awards, education, community building and other services and activities for those in the industry. As Rob implied above, it'll be a slow process but it's good to see things moving.
   87. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:34 AM (#2638700)
i'm with banta. the bbwaa is irrelevant. its functions have been superseded by online forums. most of us don't believe in or value the awards it hands out, we don't believe in or value its decisions on the hall of fame (we have our own hall of merit), we don't, for the most part, believe or value the writings of its members.

when i look over the current list of bbwaa members, besides gammons, there isn't a SINGLE author who i read on a daily basis. and more importantly, there are authors on the list whose works i REFUSE to read. i won't click through to their articles lest the publisher think i actually care what that writer says. so, do i actually care if the bbwaa lets neyer and law in? not really. it's an outdated institution that needs to get over itself.

ringolsby: you are really not acquitting yourself well.
Of course, when he is spending time sitting at my computer in the work room, I guess it would be difficult for him to ask for clarification if the issue is of enough concern that he would post it like he did.


what? granted that you voted FOR law and neyer (or against excluding them), congratulations. now, why are you trying to smear law here? isn't there a better way to do this?
   88. Lassus Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:34 AM (#2638701)
Actually, I've always wondered what the heck a Banta was, anyhow.
   89. robneyer Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:36 AM (#2638702)
When I was growing up, I didn't idolize the players. I idolized the writers. I thought being a baseball writer must be just about the best job in the world, and I wanted to be one of those guys, traveling with the team and watching the games and getting my name in the Kansas City papers every day, just like Tracy Ringolsby.

But I didn't have any real ambition, didn't know how one would even begin to get a job as a baseball writer. Eventually, of course, I took another path, a path that did not lead to traveling with the team and getting my name in the papers and becoming a part of the club to which Ringolsby belongs. It also led -- or I led myself -- to a great deal of criticism: me criticizing baseball writers. I never meant anything to be taken personally, and in fact it's always been my fervent hope that when I write something nasty, everyone in the world reads it *except* the subject (and his mom).

Nevertheless, I've offended a lot of my fellow baseball writers over the years, including Tracy Ringolsby, who a few years ago wrote some truly terrible, personal things about me in his column, without contacting me first to check the accuracy of those things (yes, he did to me exactly what he's saying Keith Law did to him, though that's neither here nor there and water long over the dam).

As I wrote in another thread, one BBWAA member recently told me that many of his colleagues would like to "literally choke" me. Perhaps rightly so. But Tracy, I hope you'll pardon me if, when something like this comes up, it occurs to me that someone's personal feelings might be involved. Because you and many of your colleagues have been clear, over the years, about what those personal feelings are.
   90. Banta Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:37 AM (#2638703)
Actually, I've always wondered what the heck a Banta was, anyhow.

For five bucks, you can find out, muffintop.
   91. Tracy Ringolsby Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:38 AM (#2638704)
I don't know why you say I didn't acquit myself well when I point out that Law and I were in the same location and if he was upset or concerned about the vote he could have easily asked me about my stance. Instead, he did not bring the issue up, but yet in his blog he makes assumptions on how or why I voted when in truth what he accuses me of through his insinuation is exactly the opposite of what I did.
   92. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:39 AM (#2638705)
For five bucks, you can find out, muffintop.

eyes ... bleeding
   93. Tracy Ringolsby Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:42 AM (#2638707)
Rob, sorry you feel that way.
   94. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:43 AM (#2638708)

I don't know why you say I didn't acquit myself well when I point out that Law and I were in the same location and if he was upset or concerned about the vote he could have easily asked me about my stance. Instead, he did not bring the issue up, but yet in his blog he makes assumptions on how or why I voted when in truth what he accuses me of through his insinuation is exactly the opposite of what I did.


as a writer, you didn't acquit yourself well. it took two very long sentences to explain what that confused sentence quoted above meant.

now that i understand what you meant it makes you more ridiculous than i at first thought. so, because he's right next to you and didn't ask you what you meant, you decide to come HERE and ##### about it? please. have some self-respect. why not respond in your paper? perhaps because an editor wouldn't let it pass? you're acting like a teenager.
   95. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:43 AM (#2638709)
If you're not reporting on games but rather commenting on what takes place between the lines, why do you have to attend the games? How does that benefit the reader?

Well, I can think of a few things. If you're there, you can choose what to focus on, rather than on what the Fox camera/production crew wants you to focus on. Among other things, it would help get a sense how the defense is setting up, how good a first step the glovemen have on the ball, and so on. That's often very tough to get a grip on from home.

Well, somebody's lying, right?

Not necesssarily. Could be a Rashomon* deal where one side perceives the other's actions in a different way than intended, and vice versa. (reads on). Post #45 does a good job explaining how that could be the case here.

the BBWAA isn't a relevant organization anymore. Period.

As long as they have the vote on virtually every major baseball related award, they are very much relevant.

pointless snark to make up for his own irrelevance.

Man, that's a far more appropriate site slogan than baseball for the thinking fan.

I then visited MHS's site and discovered that MHS reads Harry Potter books. High standards indeed.

I suppose this is as good a place as any to say that I've noticed I sea change in his posts. The grumpy misanthrope seems to have been replaced by a kinder, gentler, more thoughful person. Anyway, not that it matters but I thought I'd mention that I had noticed.


Actually, Rauseo's always been an extremely nice person. Unlikely, but true.

* Mind you, IIRC, they were all lying in the movie Rashomon, but that's another story.
   96. shoewizard Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:43 AM (#2638710)
the bbwaa is irrelevant. its functions have been superseded by online forums. most of us don't believe in or value the awards it hands out, we don't believe in or value its decisions on the hall of fame (we have our own hall of merit), we don't, for the most part, believe or value the writings of its members.

Most of "US" ? Us, i.e. primates, and otherwise saber savvy fans are still a relatively small group. 95% of baseball fans still look to the bbwaa awards as the definitive and final say on individual performance.
   97. Plank Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:44 AM (#2638711)
you used an alias to attack the author's works.


Okay ballfan.
   98. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:45 AM (#2638713)
Valid points Rob, however I for one am angry because you and Keith are not run of the mill internet writers or bloggers. You should be in there.
   99. Halofan Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:46 AM (#2638715)
The Deadtree posse let internet writers into their secret handshake fraternity and were soon being dissected LIVE on the internet's stage...

...but at least Pandora is happy that they will all be calling it "Ringolsby's Box" from here on out...
   100. Tracy Ringolsby Posted: December 08, 2007 at 06:49 AM (#2638716)
I've obviously overstayed my welcome. Sorry to have bothered you folks.
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