Some baseball writers criticize their award-voting peers while others attack those who critique them.
Prior to the announcement of this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame vote, several mainstream writers maintained a long-standing drumbeat of complaints about complainers, reiterating how weary they are of non-voters criticizing the voters and the process. In some cases, direct challenges to dissenters were made via social media.
Healthy, issues-oriented discussion of baseball award voting is both an annual rite and right. For example, in 2010, the collective anger of a group of St. Louis Cardinals watchers were directed toward a pair of sabermetric-oriented voters who were believed to have robbed Adam Wainwright of his rightful Cy Young Award.
Yet once the 2011 Hall results become visible, some of the most scathing criticism came from not from fans on message boards or the blogging community, but from within their own ranks, the mainstream media. In one most ironic case, some of the heaviest shots were delivered by a writer at the same entity that employs one of the more vigorous attackers of external questioners.
Some writers offered their peer criticism laced with humor or satire while the less subtle resorted to direct body blows. The common thread was the enlightened going to great lengths to explain why they are smarter, more balanced and more visionary than the other voters.
Criticism of the voting was not limited to the writers. For example, at different junctures of KMOX radio’s Hot Stove Show this Tuesday, at least three well-known Cardinals broadcasters suggested the same “solution” to the Hall voting. Not surprisingly, their answer is to include… themselves. After all, broadcasters are with the teams every day, etc…
I bring this up not to join those taking shots at the results or the process. Hall of Fame voting is extremely challenging and with several hundred casting ballots, there are going to be differing views each and every year, no matter the rules or the voting population. It has always been controversial and likely always will be.
Further, I have no reason to believe the vast majority of the current voters do not take their responsibility very seriously, yet it seems incredibly hypocritical for members of the mainstream to lash out at others for their critiques while doing precisely the same thing themselves.
As Sun Tsu once wrote, “Know thy self, know thy enemy.”