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.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉