Baseball’s Hall of Fame Voting System Needs a Reboot

Hall of Fame voting is moronic.

It’s a flawed system that gives a select group of writers the majority of control over a player’s legacy. Writers who could have at one time had a contentious relationship with a great player, or just didn’t like the “way” those players played the game, or writers who just don’t believe in the position that player played have almost complete control on how the game of baseball is remembered. It’s not right.

As a San Diegan I’m obviously partial to the last argument listed above based on the recent weeks of the Trevor Hoffman debate mysteriously helmed by Keith Law. He’s come out of the gate in 2017 as the anti-Jonah Keri. Instead of being hell-bent on an overlooked player who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, Law wants to keep one out: Hoffman.

Keith Law essentially feels that the role of Closer should not be included in the Hall of Fame, and even got into an argument with me on Twitter about the merits of the position. Law, an analyst and senior baseball writer for ESPN, took the time out of his day to make fun of Padres fans and belittle those who want great players to be included in a building of great players. You might think this is something that should be “below” Law or even ridiculous for him to get involved in. Perhaps even mean. But, it’s not and I’ll explain.

Law is a genius. I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way. The guy is a very smart individual who has certainly found his niche in the world of baseball journalism and script. His approach matches his intellect, which is analytic, economic, mathematical and smug. I imagine hanging out with Law would be about as fun as hanging out with a lamppost. However, he is very smart. He even wrote a book. But, see Law is a fan. That’s it. Just like you and me, Law is a fan of the game and it’s players. Why do you think he started writing about baseball to begin with, because there were job openings in the field? Trust me, there are not.

Like normal every day diehard baseball fans guys like Law, Bob Nightengale, or Buster Olney have spent a lot of time being around baseball, arguing and debating with friends about baseball, and cultivating opinions based on their personal beliefs and romantic experiences with the game and it’s players. The biggest difference between those guys and us is that at some point they were able to articulate their opinions and feelings in a way that garnered them employment in different arenas in and around the professional game.

They are professional baseball writers and analysts who get paid to have opinions. And, that is rad. The little money I have made over time writing about sports is an added bonus to my life I could have never expected. However, I’m just a blogger. I’m not a professional, and even though that distinction is blurring more and more every day, people will still take a guy like Keith Law’s word over mine. I don’t blame them. He wrote a book. I wrote a song called “Party In My Tummy”. We’ve both won awards. Whatever.

Law, Olney, and even heroes of the genre like Peter Gammons have all moved to the Internet to find a voice. Starting podcasts, websites, and pay walls all to try and continue their dominance as thee voices and judges in the world of what is and isn’t good baseball. However, at this point we both have .com (or .org) at the end of our paychecks. Those guys are glorified bloggers. They’re super fans with a talent for analysis. That’s it, and that alone does not warrant one the right to decide how someone who did what they can’t do should be remembered. Would writers be okay with Trevor Hoffman being the main decision maker on who gets to be in the baseball writer’s hall of fame? I doubt it.

I’d venture to say over 90% of baseball writers, and most likely 98% of baseball fans have never played the game professionally. They have absolutely no idea what it actually takes to get on the field and perform at a high level. They can sit around, crunch numbers, debate athletic merits, and score tests, but they can’t physically play. This fact alone makes it strange to me that they’ve been able to position themselves as the judge and jury delivering verdicts on the legacy of an actual professional baseball player.

The only people who should be able to vote on Hall of Fame inductees are the players and managers who actually spent time in the game. The ones who succeeded or failed, and know exactly what it takes to hit .210 or .310, to throw 200 innings or 40. They know what the individual players and managers meant to the sport, city, and team on a day in and day out basis. They should be the sole panel allowed to decide who will represent them for eternity.

And, if we are gonna continue with the charade of letting BlogSpot overlords and kings of a dying industry be the end all be all of baseball’s fame then let’s examine two quick things that illustrate just how unqualified they are:

In my argument with Keith Law it was revealed that he places little value on a player’s individual talent. This makes sense given his precise numbers driven way of thinking. He leaves little or nothing to the imagination, and in fact I’m not sure if he even has one. The fundamental difference between Law and I is that he believes managers are responsible for making Closers and situational players good, and I believe the players are.

He believes, I’m assuming because he’s crunched numbers down to a sliver of a fraction, that managerial decisions outweigh whether a player is good or not. By his standards ANY base stealer could’ve changed the tide of the 2004 World Series, not JUST Dave Roberts. I maintain only Roberts and maybe like two other guys could have pulled off that stolen base. Roberts’ individual knowledge of the game, his experience, his personal struggle and motivation led to that success, not a managerial decision based on a mathematical likelihood. The same goes for the role of a Closer. Law argues that sans Mariano no Closer should be inducted, and I can see the point of Mariano being the greatest of all time. He definitely made the biggest impact on the largest stage, but how would he be remembered if he was a Padre? Now imagine how good Hoffman had to be to play in San Diego and STILL be considered the second greatest Closer of all time. Again, Law says his greatness was determined by Bochy and Black, but I have a hard time believing Donne Wall would have shared the same fate as Hoffy given the same situations.

Law and I can argue back and forth and neither one of us are actually right or wrong because we are both fans who lack the fundamental understanding of what it takes to be a player and to be a player facing Hoffman, or trying to throw out Roberts, or pitch to Edgar Martinez.

Secondly, look at how the BBWAA treats players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Now, it’s widely believed that both Clemens and Bonds started taking steroids later in their careers: When Clemens went to Toronto in 1997 and Bonds in 1999 six years after joining the Giants. It is also widely known that these guys were actually taking steroids. Of course when the truth came out executives and writers and managers wanted to play the dumb card, but they all knew. They ignored it and the BBWAA voted Barry Bonds the MVP from 2001-2004. They gave Clemens the Cy Young in four of his juiced years. They willfully and gleefully celebrated two players in advanced years doing things no human had done before. For all their brilliant opinions and number crunching they couldn’t see the forest for the trees or just chose to ignore the lumberjacks.

Now, in their sixth year of eligibility, Bonds and Clemens sit on the ballot ignored and passed over, paying for a crime the very writers who ignore them help to perpetuate.

It’s childish, stupid, hypocritical and moronic.

Players knew what was going on. They knew how it affected the game, the players, and teams. They and they alone should yield the power to choose how it is remembered. Maybe every veteran agrees that Dave Roberts belongs in the Hall because of that one stolen base. It certainly meant a whole hell of a lot to modern day baseball. Maybe the players want to vote in Edgar, because for all your advanced stats you still can’t quantify what his plate presence meant to the runner on second base, or the shift it caused the outfield to take, or the fear it struck in the pitcher who unintentionally walked him loading the bases and now creating an RBI opportunity for A-Rod, or Griffey, or whoever. You can present cases that help you understand these things, but you never will. Neither will I.

We like to guess, and fight, and debate, but what the hell do we know? Who watched Barry Larkin play in more games – Peter Gammons or my Dad who watched every Cincinnati Reds game from 1985-1997? Who would have a better opinion on what Barry Larkin meant to the game? I would bet my Dad, but it doesn’t matter because my Dad’s opinion would be biased based on his loyalty and love for the Reds. Gammons would be biased based on his assessment of the Reds organization from an outside perspective that probably doesn’t place a premium on a semi-relevant Midwest team that hasn’t won anything in quite a while.

That’s why only the guys who played with or coached Larkin knew how good or bad he was based on talent.

We’ve let these writers yield so much power that they think they’re above the game. They think they’ve solved it. They haven’t. No one really has. Ted Williams was close, but that was about it.

I realize that Eras Committees have always been established and can help right the wrongs of the BBWAA, but there shouldn’t be wrongs. There shouldn’t be mistakes. It shouldn’t have taken the Modern Era Committee to get Jack Morris and Alan Trammell in the Hall of Fame. They were both great players who deserved it long ago. Trammell’s numbers were never considered Hall of Fame worthy, but the man played incredible defense, with an above average bat for twenty years on one team. And Jack Morris who had what they call “fringe” Hall of Fame numbers, should have been inducted years ago but during his career he hurt writers feelings by being a bit gruff once or twice.

I realize the argument would be that letting the players decide could result in too many fringe players or role players who didn’t have the same career as a Gwynn or an Aaron in the Hall – but what does it matter? It’s not for us. It’s for the players. If they want to elect Mike Mussina or Larry Walker or Billy Wagner or Donne Wall then they should and no one should care.

Only the players and managers know who was truly worthy, and we should leave up to them.

[Editor’s Note: Keith Law has blocked us on Twitter for questioning his judgement.]

For more expert sports stuff, and things you probably won’t care about, follow me on Twitter @dallas_mc

Week 14 Recap: Chargers vs Redskins

Welp, I’m officially nervous the the Chargers might be good. They controlled the entire game and didn’t even miss a field goal somehow. Not that the Redskins are a formidable opponent, in fact, the Redskins are a shitty team with one of the few owners as shitty as Dean Spanos.

The only thing Dan Snyder has going for him is that he’s rich outside of the NFL, which means he doesn’t have to beg city governments for money. The only beef he has with Washington D.C. is that they won’t allow him to build a stadium in city limits until he changes the name to something less racist. So he’s just a different kind of asshole.

Quick context for exactly how big of an asshole Dan Snyder is: he claims he won’t change the name of his team because of “tradition.” Not only is ‘appeal to tradition’ one of the all-time logical fallacies, it is a shitty tradition to which he’s appealing. The Redskins were founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves, and played on the same field as the baseball team of the same name. They moved to Fenway park the following year, and they changed the name to an obscene racial slur to promote CROSS-BRANDING. Red-Sox… Red-Skins. Get it? So the Redskins “tradition” is a marketing ploy from one of the most racist cities in America. Fuck Dan Snyder. And fuck the Chargers for making me cheer for the Redskins Sunday. 

Anyway, here’s some shit that happened during the game:

  • Austin Ekeler prevented a chance at a FG by trying to score a touchdown as time expired at the half. And while it was hilariously stupid I can’t help but be charmed by his rookie antics.
  • Keenan Allen is the best WR Philip Rivers has ever had, which speaks volumes about how terrible Charger GMs have been basically forever.
  • They ran a flea-flicker. And it worked. They’re having FUN out there, and it is killing me inside.
  • Mike Williams is a first round draft bust until otherwise noted. See: terrible GMs.
  • Injuries are ruing every team in the NFL EXCEPT the Chargers. Nothing is fair.
  • Kirk Cousins killed me in the fantasy playoffs, and I deserve to be dead for starting him.

That’s all. I hope Dan Snyder and Dean Spanos crash their private planes into each other over a Native American reservation with all their money aboard.

Jono Zalay is a native San Diegan and co-host of the F*** The Chargers podcast, available on iTunes and all those other places. He now lives in Los Angeles where he can hate the Chargers from close proximity.

The SDSU West and Ohtani Episode – TKF Pod #112

This week the guys dig into SDSU’s potential expansion to Mission Valley with VOSD’s Andy Keatts. They talk about the 2018 race coming up between the university’s idea and SoccerCitySD’s plan that has already made it on the ballot.

Then they call Dustin Palmateer (@SacBuntDustin) and dive into Ohtani Mania! Will this international phenomenon roll through San Diego and completely change the struggling franchise’s rebuild? All we can do is wait and see. Check out Dustin’s new site sacbuntnewsletter.com and subscribe!

Support TKF with our new Patreon. If you’d like to sign up go to patreon.com/thekeptfaith

Download the episode here:

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Week 13 Recap: Chargers vs. Browns

The Chargers beat the Browns. Whoopdy doo. It wasn’t a dominating performance. The Bolts played a solid game and I’d be more terrified about their resurgence if not for the fact that this solid game was against an 0-11 team. The same team whose only win last year was against a tanking, LA-bound Spanos-owned franchise in a tail spin.

The more troubling part about this victory, is that they are now tied for the lead in the AFC west. The soul-wrenching nature of this dead heat is tantamount only to the virtual tie in the Alabama senate race. And make no mistake the Chargers are the Roy Moore of the NFL: Abandoned by the rest of the country, defiant to all common sense, pariah of hometown storefronts, a legacy of ruined childhoods, only supported by insane brainwashed locals who have traded their last strand of moral fiber for any chance at winning something.

And yeah maybe the crimes of the Chargers do not exceed that of known Alabama mall exile Roy Moore. If you agree I highly encourage you to donate to KKK-prosecuting hero Doug Jones’ senate campaign as I have. Sorry to get political, but so rarely do you get the chance to invest in not having a child molester in the senate.

Anyway here’s what happened in the Browns-Chargers game:

  • LA’s new kicker Travis Coons missed another FG, keeping with Chargers tradition, and especially for those with a last name starting with “Koo.” (Reminder: there are no bad kickers, just bad teams who have kickers.)
  • Josh Gordon is back from his party sabbatical and looks amazing. One day he might even have a QB to throw the football to him, rather than him tracking it down somewhere in the vicinity.
  • Joey Bosa continues to be a beast. I look forward to his awkward contract negotiations in a couple years.
  • The StubHub center was about ⅔ capacity, with equal or greater number of 0-11 Browns fans, which is a truly historic feat of stadium incompetence by Spanos.

The Chargers have a real chance at winning out and repeating the 1992 season of starting 0-4 but finishing 10-6. But I doubt they will, since that team played in a city that loved them.

Jono Zalay is a native San Diegan and co-host of the F*** The Chargers podcast, available on iTunes and all those other places. He now lives in Los Angeles where he can hate the Chargers from close proximity.

The Temecula Episode – TKF Pod #111

This week Travis and Nick went up to Temecula to record with Dallas and his dad during Ohio State vs Michigan. It was a blast! Dallas’ dad told stories of going to Jack Murphy Stadium back in the 60s and the Buckeyes won!

Also, thanks for all the support with our new Patreon. It means a lot. If you’d like to sign up go to patreon.com/thekeptfaith

Download the episode here:

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Week 12 Recap: Chargers @ Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott has given us the gift of exposure. And this time it is not just his bare midriff like his slutty draft day suit. Zeke exposed the Cowboys offense, which looked weak and un-dynamic. He exposed the level of play in the league, which hinges on the health/availability of about three players per squad. He exposed Jerry Jones as the psychopathic vindictive owner who would threaten to sue the NFL. He exposed Roger Goodell as a legally vulnerable bellwether coward with no scruples. He exposed the NFL for not having a clear cut way to deal with abusive assholes like him. And he exposed the legal system which favors the rich and powerful over victims of such abuse. It has become harder to stay an NFL fan each year, and now seemingly each week.

Plus let’s not forget the worst part of the week: the Chargers won. Convincingly. For the second week in a row. The former Bolts fan in me knows this win streak cannot and will not sustain. The Chargers just happened to go against 2 average teams with personnel issues in the midst of their skids. But still, these wins will give the Chargers undue confidence. And I am not happy about it.

But this is a week of giving thanks. So I will be thankful for the following reasons:

  • Nick Novak missed another field goal and injured himself doing so. The kicker quagmire continues and a reliable midseason replacement will be harder to find than the practice net was for Drew Kaser.
  • A Cowboy DB dropped an easy INT because Jerry World™ was designed so poorly that the sun screams into the stadium from a weird angle, blinding players.
  • Mike Williams continues to be injury-prone and will likely heal into another first round draft bust.
  • The Chargers play the Browns in LA next week. The 0-11 Dog Pound probably won’t travel well, which means there will be no excuse for when StubHub is at 2/3 capacity when the Bolts are technically in the playoff hunt.
  • The likely 7 or 8 win season will prevent the Chargers from getting a top-10 draft pick, unless they foolishly sell the farm to trade up.
  • The Cowboys are in disarray, and fuck Jerry Jones and Zeke Elliott.
  • Danny Woodhead is healthy again and he is the only white life that matters. He will help the Ravens lock up that last wild card spot and he and Eric Weddle can have a celebratory caffeine-free soda pop and give thanks to heavenly father.

Be thankful and keep the faith, for the Bolts will always blow it.

Jono Zalay is a native San Diegan and co-host of the F*** The Chargers podcast, available on iTunes and all those other places. He now lives in Los Angeles where he can hate the Chargers from close proximity.

SUPPORT THE KEPT FAITH!

It’s here.

It’s time.

The Patreon is live and available at all times, HOWEVER we gotta Black Friday special:

From 8:00am PST until 8:00pm PST TODAY ONLY, if you become a patron at the $5 a month level you’ll get a limited edition FREE Kept Faith t-shirt!

How do I get to the Patreon? Here. Click here.

This Patreon is set up to support us in creating new podcasts, posts, add contributors, equipment and merch! You’re support will take us to the next level in 2018, and that level is where we want to be. (One year ahead of the Padres)

So, do it. Become a patron. It’s just $5 a month and if you sign up today between 8:00am and 8:00pm you’ll get your free t-shirt. It’s so easy. Almost too easy.

Now listen, if you do join up as a patron there will be a slight hazing process. It’s not easy, but you’ll learn a lot.

Join our team. Take your lumps.

In all seriousness, thank you for your support, now go sign up!

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT(S)! – TKF Pod

It’s time to take The Kept Faith to the next level, and we need your support…

Since 2007 Nick and I have been writing about San Diego sports. Back then the void for an opinion that wasn’t radio or the U-T was unfathomably large. Our writing was pretty bad, and all over the place, and we were on blogspot. In 2010, Producer Travis joined the fold as we began the TKF Podcast. Many incarnations, contributors, and think-pieces on Jake Peavy later we’re ready to make a few announcements! (Listen to the announcement pod here.)

WE’RE STARTING A PATREON!

We’re launching it on Black Friday  – THIS FRIDAY! And, if you become a Patron of our Patreon this Friday – ON BLACK FRIDAY  – for $5 a month, you will receive a free limited edition Kept Faith t-shirt! That’s right, become a Patron and get a free t-shirt! We will be fully explaining what it means to be a Patron of TKF, and the benefits included later this week, but this is huge (or UGE because our President, remember? He says “huge” funny. HAHAHA what a good joke we’re all gonna die.)

If you become a Patron of TKF your contributions will allow us the flexibility and bandwidth to support new podcasts, merch, multiple weekly posts from all over the spectrum – sabermetrics (not Dallas) to ridiculous pieces about the way Jankowski wears his hair. We’ll also be able to produce more live shows and events, speaking of…

THE KEPT FAITH WINTER MEETINGS AND SAN DIEGO SPORTS TRIVIA CHAMPIONSHIP!

January 10th at The Whistle Stop in South Park, we’ll be holding our second live podcast recording. The guests will be announced in December, and details including trading bazaar and more will also be announced soon. But, this detail is being announced now –

THE FIRST EVER SAN DIEGO SPORTS TRIVIA CHAMPIONSHIP!

Directly following the live recording of the live podcast, the Whistle Stop will turn into Trivia Central! Any fan of San Diego sports is welcome to form a team and play, or just play by themselves – however, we are calling out all the podcasts and blogs to form teams and compete! East Village Times, Pads Pod, MTPGA, Padres & Pints, The 5.5 Podcast, Gwynntelligence, Padres Public, Madfriars, Gaslamp Ball, all of them. Even Brady Phelps. Everybody. Get your team together and represent. Winner gets a round of drinks and…

…the first ever San Diego Sports Trivia Championship Trophy!

So, that’s it – that’s the announcements. Yay! Become a Patron of The Kept Faith, and come show off your SD sports knowledge Jan. 10th!

FULL ANNOUNCEMENT POD HERE.

 

Week 11 Recap: Chargers vs. Bills

This game sucked.

That’s it.

Jono Zalay is a native San Diegan and co-host of the F*** The Chargers podcast, available on iTunes and all those other places. He now lives in Los Angeles where he can hate the Chargers from close proximity.

The Hosmer Episode – TKF Pod #110

This week the guys sit down with Eric and Dan from The 5.5 Podcast. They talk about the Eric Hosmer discussion that is apparently happening in the Padres front office. After unpacking the problems with making a move like that, they take a closer look at executive chairman Ron Fowler and the influence he brings to the delicate process the team is currently engaging in. Will the Padres angling towards a .500 record in 2018 blow up in their faces? Will the build (not rebuild) work at all? These are the questions Padres fans are left with as the hot stove season approaches.

Download the episode here:

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