When the allegations about Bill Conlin came out yesterday, America quickly turned its eyes to the Baseball Writers Association of America. Because we're dumb, you see, and wanted to hear from the secret club of baseball writers who annually send up smoke signals from Cooperstown. The BBWAA also gives a self-congratulatory award to one of its own each year, and last year's J.G. Taylor Spink Award went to Conlin.
So the BBWAA felt compelled to issue a statement. This is what they came up with, signed by secretary/treasurer Jack O'Connell:
"Bill Conlin has been a member in good standing of the BBWAA since 1966. The allegations have no bearing on his winning the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which was in recognition of his notable career as a baseball writer."
Which means....what? He's always paid his membership dues? He never molested anyone in the press box? This is absolutely true, even for a voting body that's appointed itself the moral arbiters of steroids, yet stands as gatekeepers to a building that honors folks like Ty Cobb, who killed a man just to watch him die (probably). And yet—wouldn't it have been nice to see some sort of acknowledgement that baseball writing is somewhat insignificant in the face of this stuff?
At least one BBWAA member says that statement was inadequate and does not speak for the entire body. So today, the BBWAA tried again. From Los Angeles Times writer and BBWAA President Bill Shaikin:
"We were shocked and saddened to learn of the allegations involving Bill Conlin and we extend our sympathies to everyone involved. This is a matter far more serious than baseball and, at this point, a matter best left to the proper authorities."
Was that so hard?