January 8, 2014

The Hall of Fame...the only one that matters

I don't know why I care so dang much about baseball.

I don't really like watching the games. Yeah, I go to a couple a year, but I'm there as much for the social aspect as I am for the beauty of the game.

I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the day-to-day standings during the season. Yeah, I follow the Reds a bit, but I'm not checking every day until the last couple of weeks of the season, and then only if the Reds are in contention.

I certainly never played the game more than my very infrequent visits to the batting cages, a couple of homerun derby games, and some Wiffle ball games.

For some reason, though, I care far more about Baseball than I do about baseball. See, there's a distinction there for me. I love Baseball, the capital B kind, the Game, the history, the legends and stories, the records...all of it. Just because that doesn't translate to a total love of baseball doesn't mean I love Baseball any less.

I blame James Earl Jones and W. P. Kinsella and Annie Savoy and Crash Davis and Bill James and Rob Neyer.

Because of all this, though, I care about the baseball Hall of Fame far more than I should. In reality, the Hall of Fame is a dumb, arbitrary, collection of some of the best (and some of the not-quite-so-best) players in major league baseball history. Today's voting announcement won't really matter in the scope of the world. Some players who I think should get in will probably get in. Some players I think should get in probably won't. Some players who I think shouldn't get in just might get in anyway.

But still I care, and I'll be following today's 2pm announcements like nobody's business because I care.

That also means I'm paying a lot of attention to the announced ballots, ballot analyses, and predictions in advance of the announcement.

I particularly enjoy Chris Jaffe's predictions article on The Hardball Times. He sees Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, and Craig Biggio going in. I'd be fine with those choices.

The IBWAA sees the same four going in, though with Glavine ahead of Thomas.

Honestly, Joe Posanski's thoughts are pretty close to mirroring mine. There are more deserving candidates this year than there are spots on any ballot. And there are players who deserve to get in and won't because of PED issues and rumors. I don't know that I agree with his #13, but I do think there are fourteen Hall-worthy players on this year's ballot.

The Baseball Hall of Fame continues to matter, and I'm thrilled to have read Bill James's The Politics of Glory (now published as Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?) for my understanding of the history of the Hall. Give it a read if you have any interest in the Hall's past, present, or future.

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