The Baseball Writers Association of America just had their annual meeting. At that meeting they consider new applications for membership and reconsider old ones. They just did it with Fangraphs and SB Nation: accreditation granted to the former, denied to the latter.
Great news for FanGraphs. They do amazing work, of course, and I guarantee you that every single thinking BBWAA member relies on their analysis heavily as they do their jobs. Well-deserved.
I’m not at all pleased with SB Nation not making it. If for no other reason than this means that Rob Neyer and Amy K. Nelson, who have been BBWAA members for several years by virtue of their ESPN affiliation, are now officially on a one-year at-large membership. If SB Nation is not reconsidered next year, they presumably lose their ticket.
Rob’s tweet about this a few minutes ago suggested that the reasoning given for it not being accredited was that SB Nation is “too new” and that someone said that they’d only been around since July. This makes very little sense because while, yes, SB Nation has amped-up its national coverage in the past year or so with notable new hires like Nelson and Neyer, it has existed as an entity for several years. And it’s not like Fangraphs has been around since the Carter administration itself.
That aside, if “too new” was the real reason, I think it marks the third different rationale for keeping people out of the BBWAA I’ve heard in the past five years. Earlier it was about how many games people cover. Last year people said it was about whether the writer in question gets, like, health benefits from their employer. It seems like a moving target to me. But whatever. It’s their organization. They can do what they want with it.
I just think they’ve made a pretty big mistake here. SB Nation is doing fantastic work and has a tremendous reach. As are many other online outlets. Any organization needs to evolve to survive. I’ve never been particularly impressed at the speed with which the BBWAA has evolved.