The Hall of Fame has arbitrarily reduced the amount of time candidates can be on the ballot, has refused the request of the BBWAA to increase the 10-vote limit and continued to include the so-called “character clause” on ballots while providing no guidance to voters what it actually means.
Now, just when you think the Hall of Fame couldn’t be sillier and more priggish than it is, it issues a press release to reporters demanding that they adhere to a dress code for Thursday’s post-election press conference:
UPDATE: The dress code is apparently from the New York Athletic Club, where the press conference will be held. You can read it in its entirety here.
I’ve spent a lot of time poking fun at journalists over the years, but I will say that I have never once seen one dress inappropriately for a professional function. They aren’t always the sharpest bunch in the world — pleated Dockers and gleaming white New Balances can generally only be pulled off by aging basketball coaches — but they don’t show up to press conferences in culottes and bare midriffs and stuff. Thank GOD they don’t.
Also: who uses the word “slacks” anymore? I mean besides my mom.
Oh well. Hall of Fame is gonna Hall of Fame. They don’t trust baseball writers to vote for worthy players so they insist upon silly rules. They don’t trust them to be professionally competent in a professional setting so they issue a silly and unnecessary dress code. I suppose the sun will still come up tomorrow.
Still, I’d like to see someone challenge it. Perhaps a well-respected member of the media. Perhaps someone whose character and credentials are unimpeachable in the assessment of the Hall of Fame. Someone who could show up at the press conference in whatever the heck he wanted to wear and force the Hall of Fame back down. Who could it be . . . ?
It’s on, Class of 1990-style.
The recently-retired Dan Haren has taken to Twitter quite well. He doesn’t use it as an arm of a PR operation and doesn’t use it just to talk to athlete friends or celebrities. He uses it like a lot of us normal people do: to share random thoughts. Some interesting, some not. But he’s always honest and has taken to saying a lot of very revealing and self-effacing things, all while interacting with just about anyone.
His tweets today are a great example of this. From his exercise bike he’s sharing facts and insights about his baseball career. The sorts of things that normally wait for a tell-all book or an in-depth interview. Haren, however, is eliminating the middle man:
His whole feed is here. There are a handful more observations like that and, I presume, he’ll offer more at other times based on how well these are being received.
Haren really seems to be embracing retirement and loosening up. It’s so cool to hear what ballplayers have to say without the filter of PR and the media.
As I noted a couple of weeks ago, I’m mostly out of the Hall of Fame vote criticizing business. However, just because I am no longer particularly interested in writing pedantic posts criticizing anyone’s particular votes doesn’t mean I won’t point out some ridiculousness once in a while. Over the weekend there were two particularly fun bits of ridiculousness in this regard.
First up was Thom Loverro of The Washington Times, who in the course of his Hall of Fame column made the argument that Hall of Fame voters who cast votes for guys like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens — guys such as Ken Rosenthal of Fox and many top reporters and columnists — are akin to the Black Lives Matter movement. He goes on to mock them as the “No Justice/No Peace Wing of the Baseball Writers Association of America.” It’s pretty vile stuff. On Saturday, over at my personal blog, I wrote a lengthy piece about that. Not going after Loverro as such because who cares about him, but using it as the jumping off point for the argument that sports writers, as a rule, should criticize their colleagues more often as a means of raising the discourse in the overall conversation about sports.
Second up was our old friend Murray Chass. As I said in my “I won’t criticize ballots anymore” post, I make an exception for Chass because he’s positively wonderfully delicious when he wants to be. He didn’t disappoint in his latest blog post either. On the voting front he has one dude on his ballot: Ken Griffey Jr. Which, hey, his ballot, godspeed. It’s worth a read, however, because he goes after Dan Szymborski of ESPN — who he calls “a digital dandy” — with serious vigor. At the end of it he compares someone’s criticism of the Baseball Writers Association of America as an “ISIS polemic,” because that’s the first comparison any reasonable person thinks of when talking about baseball arguments.
Anyway, I will tip my hat to Chass. While he’s wrong and overheated on about 50 levels, he’s at least taking my “baseball writers should criticize one another more often” idea to heart. I’d rather see a bunch of yelling like this than a bunch of polite nodding and phony, surface level professional respect which has the effect of sanctioning horrible ideas because everyone’s afraid to argue with their colleagues. Say what you want about unhinged rants, but they inspire you to take a side. And I know Dan Szymborski. He’s a big boy. He can handle it. And frankly, I bet he’s pretty darn pleased with himself to get a rockin’ nickname like “The Digital Dandy.”
The Hall of Fame announcement is Wednesday evening at 6PM. Here’s hoping for some more silliness between now and then.