The conversation about the National Baseball Hall of Fame has become near garbage thanks to people thinking more about morals and ethics than actual baseball. But hey, at least there is a shred of a justification for that what with the “character clause” for voters. But what’s the excuse for lesser, team-specific halls of fame?
Specifically, the Red Sox, who yesterday announced that Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra will be inducted. No controversy there, right? Two of the greatest pitchers of all time who did their best work in a Red Sox uniform and a guy who was the team’s offensive heart and soul for nearly a decade? We can’t argue with that, can we?
Sure we can. Or at least Gerry Callahan can:
First question for the Red Sox Hall of Fame committee: You couldn’t have waited another year? Or two? Or five? You had to bestow this honor on disgraced cheater Roger Clemens in the same year as Pedro Martinez? This is just wrong. This is like making Willie Mays share the stage with Barry Bonds, or allowing Mark McGwire to walk arm-in-arm into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame with Stan Musial.
Why is it so hard for the Sox Hall of Fame folks to say, “You cheated. You lied. You won’t go to jail, Mr. Clemens, but you can’t come in here.”
So does Jose Canseco get in next year?
He doesn’t like that Nomar is going in either because he once posed shirtless on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Seriously. That’s his reasoning.
It may be hard for media yakkers to grok this, but there are a ton — just oodles — of fans who don’t give a crap about any of that. Who watched Clemens and Garciaparra do great things in Fenway Park and, even if they don’t love them the way people love Pedro, appreciated their talent and associate them with fantastic baseball. That, for most people, it really is just about the baseball. It really is that simple.
Marc Carig of Newsday took Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon to the woodshed over the weekend. He, quite justifiably, lambasted them for their inexplicable frugality, their seeming indifference to wanting to put a winning team on the field and, above all else, their unwillingness to level with the fans or the press about the team’s plans or priorities.
Mets ownership is unaccountable, Carig argues, asking everything of fans and giving nothing in the way of a plan or even hope in return:
Mets fans ought to know where their money is going, because it’s clear that much of it isn’t ending up on the field . . . They never talk about money. Whether it’s arrogance or simply negligence, they have no problem asking fans to pony up the cash and never show the willingness to reciprocate.
And they’re not just failing to be forthcoming with the fans. Even the front office is in the dark about the direction of the team at any given time:
According to sources, the front office has only a fuzzy idea of what they actually have to spend in any given offseason. They’re often flying blind, forced to navigate the winter under the weight of an invisible salary cap. This is not the behavior of a franchise that wants to win.
Carig is not a hot take artist and is not usually one to rip a team or its ownership like this. As such, it should not be read as a columnist just looking to bash the Wilpons on a slow news day. To the contrary, this reads like something well-considered and a long time in the works. It has the added benefit of being 100% true and justified. The Mets have been run like a third rate operation for years. Even when the product on the field is good, fans have no confidence that ownership will do what it takes to maintain that success.
All that seems to matter to the Wilpons is the bottom line and everything flows from there. They may as well be making sewing machines or selling furniture.