Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled Voting For A Hall Of Fame Isnt That Hard

In between swilling citrusy beers and fetching Gatorade for Steve Young, the ever-lofty Peter King took a moment this week to write about his super duper favorite sport... BASEBALL! What, you thought his favorite sport was football? PLEASE. Behind baseball and eight grade girl's softball and keeping the Acela quiet car quiet, Peter's sporting plate is nearly full! Anyway, here's King drooling out his opinion about Dan Le Batard giving away his Hall of Fame vote:

The fact is, baseball writers have a far more difficult job that the voters for any other Hall of Fame, because they have to factor in how to treat players from the Steroid Era, and I don't know how you do that.


Ah yes, the "job". King is not the only sportswriter to drone on and on about the terrible, burdensome "job" of Hall of Fame voting. Here's Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald:

Dear Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Mark McGwire and Jeff Kent...

I just never thought that the day would come where I'd be the one throwing you into the Charles.

It's like asking a parent to choose his or her favorite child. It's a choice that doesn't have to be made.

And Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:

By limiting the ballot to 10, it's hard to get into. Tough choices have to be made. When a player such as Jim Rice gets in on his 15th try, that means the voters have gone through an evolution of more than a decade of scrutiny, comparison, soul searching, and review of his career. It was a hard decision for most to vote Rice into the Hall of Fame...


And Ken Rosenthal:

So I made choices, difficult choices, choices that I would have preferred to avoid.


And Mike Vaccaro:

I sweat and bleed and agonize over the vote, every year. It really is a privilege. I take it seriously. Maybe my vote isn't sacrosanct (whose is?). But I can assure you it isn't done lightly.


And fucking Shank:

I've been voting since 1986 and I truly miss the good old days when we argued about home runs, batting averages, ERAs, World Series performances, All-Star Games, and a player's dominance at his position in his era. Things were so much simpler then. Saying yes to Ron Santo or no to Jim Kaat was a serious baseball debate. This was before PEDs and WAR and ALDS and Deadspin buying a Hall of Fame ballot. Now there is so much to consider, it makes one's head explode.


And Scot Gregor:

Nothing is easy anymore when it comes to Hall of Fame voting.

Sportswriters will tell you this is a hard job, even though voting for a Hall of Fame isn't a job at all. Writers do the job for free and are more than happy to be paid strictly in prestige. In fact, here is a sampling of far more difficult jobs:

  • Ditch digger
  • Night nurse
  • Coal miner
  • Teacher
  • President of the United States
  • Firefighter
  • Navy SEAL
  • Drug runner
  • Last prosecutor employed by the city of Detroit
  • Dishwasher
  • Farmer
  • Nightclub bathroom attendant

Those are hard jobs. Sitting in on baseball's equivalent of a Wal-Mart board meeting? THAT IS NOT HARD. That is easy. That is a joy. Don't feed me a line of horseshit about how AGONIZING the job is when you fucking volunteered for it. You want that job! You love that job! If you didn't love all the PRIVILEGE it confers upon you, you wouldn't do it! You can sense a bit of damage control every time someone like Shank drones on and on about tough choices. It's basically screaming, "Don't get mad at me! I did my homework!"


This is all horseshit. What's really at stake when you vote for a Hall of Fame? Your vote doesn't start or end WARS. All it does is make a filthy rich, obscenely talented athlete who has already had multiple lifetimes worth of adulation either a little bit happier, or a little less happy. That's it. There's more at stake in judging an amateur gymnastics meet. It's not like Jack Morris won't be able to get into Harvard now that you failed to elect him.

No, the only reason Hall of Fame voters think this job is hard is because of potential fan blowback. Here's King, still mashing away at his MacBook Air keys:

I've found this over the years about being a Pro Football Hall of Fame voter: Very few people are going to say, "You guys did a great job." Most often, the Denver fan is going to say, "You're an idiot for not putting Terrell Davis in the Hall of Fame," and the Packers fan is going to scream about Jerry Kramer. It grinds on you after a while; it certainly has on me.


In other words, the hard part about the job is dealing with making your opinion public, which is the job that many sportswriters are supposed to do day after day. Yes, it's true: fans will never be happy with your votes, because fans are dicks. But none of this is of any literal consequence to the world. Don't sit there and earnestly tell me that this is something out of Sophie's Choice, you fucking drama queens. Tim Raines won't get shipped to labor camp because he didn't make your ballot. These are people who want your admiration for putting thought and care into the process when that's what they're SUPPOSED to do anyway, when that is the absolute least they can do. And even then, it's not hard. You do your homework. You check off some names. You put a stamp on the envelope. And the world keeps spinning. Your job is easy. Your job is fun. Don't try to sell me on it being any other way.

Photo via Getty

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