Mike Schmidt has a horrible, horrible idea for changing the Hall of Fame voting

36 Comments

I missed this before, but Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt was on SiriusXm the other day talking about Hall of Fame voting. He thinks it’s time to change the voting procedures. You can hear his whole idea here. It won’t blockquote it because it’s kind of rambling, but here is the upshot of his comments:

  • Getting voted in to the Hall of Fame is not just an honor, but it’s important to some players in terms of “subsidizing their current income.” This, I presume, refers to the very real notion that guys who are inducted can command much, much higher fees for autographed merch and appearances at baseball card shows and the like;
  • The more recent players really don’t need the money like some of the other ones do;
  • Writers often have personal grudges against players, have big problems with PEDs, etc., so maybe they shouldn’t vote on these guys;
  • Instead, have the writers come up with a list of finalists for voting and then let a committee of current Hall of Famers make the final call.

Setting aside the idea that allowing current Hall of Famers vote is the reason why the old version of the Veterans Committee never elected anyone, does Schmidt not realize that his idea comes with an extreme conflict of interest?

Sure, the writers may have grudges and irrational ideas on some matters, but if you’re a current Hall of Famer, and you make a LOT of money selling yourself as a Hall of Famer — and notice that Schmidt says that before anything else — is it not in your best interest to ensure that there are far fewer Hall of Famers who might compete with you on the autograph circuit? Indeed, Schmidt’s seemingly random comment about some players not needing the money as much as others suggests that this is at the forefront of his mind.

Maybe he’s right that the voting system should be changed, but between the conflicts, the track record of the old Veteran’s Committee and the calcified “things were better in MY day” reasoning of a lot of former ballplayers, I think having them play a part in elections is the worst idea imaginable.

The 2017 Yankees are, somehow, plucky underdogs

15 Comments

There’s a lot that has happened in the past year that I never, ever would’ve thought would or even could happen in America. Many of them are serious, some are not, some make me kinda happy and some make me terribly sad. I’m sure a lot of people have felt that way in this oddest of years.

There’s one thing in baseball, however, that still has me searching my feelings in a desperate effort to know what to feel: The New York Yankees are the postseason’s plucky underdogs.

This is not about them being lovable or likable — we touched on that last week — it’s more about the role they play in the grand postseason drama. A postseason they weren’t even supposed to be in.

None of the three writers of this website thought the Yankees would win the AL East or a Wild Card. ESPN had 35 “experts” make predictions back in March, and only one of them — Steve Wulf — thought the Yankees would make the postseason (he thought they’d win the division). I’m sure if you go over the plethora of professional prognosticator’s predictions a few would have the Yankees squeaking in to the postseason on the Wild Card, but that was nothing approaching a consensus view. Their 2017 regular season was a surprise to almost everyone, with the expectation of a solid, if unspectacular rebuilding year being greatly exceeded. To use a sports cliche, nobody believed in them.

Then came the playoffs. Most people figured the Yankees would beat the Twins in the Wild Card game and they did, but most figured they’d be cannon fodder for the Indians. And yep, they fell down early, losing the first two games of the series and shooting themselves in the foot in spectacular fashion in the process. Yet they came back, beating arguably the best team in baseball and certainly the best team in the American League in three straight games despite the fact that . . . nobody believed in them.

Now we’re in the ALCS. The Astros — the other choice for best team in the American League if you didn’t think the Indians were — jumped out to a 2-0 lead, quieting the Yankees’ powerful bats. While a lot of teams have come back from 0-2 holes in seven game series, the feel of this thing as late as Monday morning was that, even if the Yankees take a game at home, Houston was going to cruise into the World Series. Once again . . . nobody believed in them.

Yet, here we are on this late Wednesday morning, with the Yankees having tied things up 2-2. As I wrote this morning, you still have to like the Astros’ chances given that their aces, Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander, are set to go in Games 5 and 6. I’m sure a lot of people feel still like the Astros’ chances for that reason. So that leads us to this . . .

It’s one thing for no one to have, objectively, believed in the Yankees chances. It’s another thing, though, for the New York Yankees — the 27-time World Champions, the 40-time American League pennant winners, the richest team in the game, the house-at-the-casino, U.S. Steel and the Evil Empire all wrapped into one — to officially play the “nobody believed in us” card on their own account. That’s the stuff of underdogs. Of Davids facing Goliaths. Of The Little Guy, demanding respect that no one ever considered affording them. If you’re not one of those underdogs and you’re playing that card, you’re almost always doing it out of some weird self-motivational technique and no one else will ever take you seriously. And now you’re telling me the NEW YORK FRIGGIN’ YANKEES are playing that card?

Thing is: they’re right. They’ve totally earned the right to play it because, really, no one believed in them. Even tied 2-2, I presume most people still don’t, actually.

I don’t know how to process this. Nothing in my 40 years of baseball fandom has prepared me for the Yankees to be the David to someone else’s Goliath and to claim righteous entitlement to the whole “nobody believed in us” thing.

Which, as I said at the beginning, is nothing new in the year 2017. I just never thought it’d happen in baseball.