Sunday, January 13, 2013

If it is OK by AK....

....then it is fine by me.  I suspect that I know what are thinking right now.  Something akin to, "Holy crap this self-impressed d-bag has completely f*cking lost it!"  While that may in fact be the case, it is not in fact a conclusion to be drawn from the title of today's piece.  

Earlier this week, the Baseball Writers Association of America (a/k/a "The Lords of Admission to the Baseball Hall-of-Fame") voted on the Class of 2013.  As it turns out, the Class of 2013 will consist of exactly ZERO members.  In a year in which very high-profile names appeared on the ballot for the first time - names such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling and Craig Biggio - not a single person eligible for enshrinement garnered the number of votes needed for entry into Cooperstown.  Schilling's famous bloody sock is in Cooperstown but as of 2013 no part of his person, including the foot he jammed famously into it - and his own mouth - is.  For the first time since 1996, no new member shall be enshrined in Cooperstown this summer

Much was written this past week both by fans and journalists about the BBWWA's decision,  some commending and some condemning it.  Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said, "The standards for earning election to the Hall of Fame have been very high ever since the rules were created in 1936.  We realize the challenges voters are faced with in this era.  The Hall of Fame has always entrusted the exclusive voting privilege to the Baseball Writers' Association of America.  We remain pleased with their role in evaluating candidates based on the criteria we provide."   I could not find any published comment from the President of the Cooperstown, New York Chamber of Commerce either echoing or disagreeing with Mr. Idelson.  He or she was no doubt busy preparing for a summer tourism season when the guests come disguised as empty hotel beds and empty restaurant tables. 

Far more interesting to me than the reaction of those of us on the outside of the hallowed halls looking in was the reaction of one of baseball's all-time great players and great ambassadors.  Detroit Tigers Hall-of-Famer Al Kaline, when asked for his reaction to the vote, said, "I'm kind of glad nobody got in this year.  I feel honored to be in the Hall of Fame.  And I would've felt a little uneasy sitting up there on the stage, listening to some of these new guys talk about how great they were."   

And then - for good measure - Kaline said something that baseball, in the era following its own idiotic labor strife that cost us the fans a World Series in 1994, had allowed itself to let slip through the crevices and cracks of its collective mind (but that in light of the news on the even more wide-ranging, comprehensive drug testing policy that was announced this week appears to be separating itself from), "I don't know how great some of these players up for election would've been without drugs.  But to me, it's cheating.  Numbers are important but so is integrity and character.  Some of these guys might get in someday.  But for a year or two, I'm glad they didn't."    

If it is good enough for AK, then it is certainly good enough for me.  

-AK 
(the other one) 





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