Jay Mariotti wants to get kicked out of the BBWAA. Hey BBWAA: please do it

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Jay Mariotti didn’t vote for anyone for the Hall of Fame. Not a single person. He gave his rationale on his ESPN podcast (transcript via Baseball Ink):

I didn’t vote for anybody in the baseball hall of fame this year. Ya know why?  To me…the first ballot is sacred. I think Roberto Alomar is an eventual Hall of Famer, not the first time. Edgar Martinez, designated hitter, eventually, but not the first time. Same goes for maybe Fred McGriff. As far as Blyleven and Dawson…if they haven’t gotten in for years and years I cannot vote them in now. Ripken, Rickey Henderson and Gwynn. They are true first ballot Hall of Famers, but I didn’t vote for anybody, throw me out of the Baseball Writers. I don’t care.

Mariotti isn’t the only voter who imposes the erroneous “first ballots are sacred” rule, but he is its loudest, most self-centered and most obnoxious practitioner.  His other exclusions are even more ridiculous, seeing as though he has previously voted for Blyleven and Dawson.

I suppose I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said before when I call Mariotti an immature and obnoxious attention whore, but I wish he’d limit his self-aggrandizing shtick to his columns rather than allow it to infect Hall of Fame voting which, no matter what Mariotti thinks of it, is still taken pretty seriously by most of us.

Mariotti ends his rant by saying that he wants to get kicked out of the Baseball Writers Association of America.  By all means writers, give the man what he wants.

In other news, if you just can’t get enough of terrible sports writers and their terrible Hall of Fame ballots, today Patrick Sullivan of Baseball Analysts has a FJM-style takedown of Dan Shaugnessy’s “I know a Hall of Famer when I see it” column from the other day. Good stuff.

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.