I’m thinking I need to come up with some award to bestow on columnists who play the “when I was a kid things were much better” card. Maybe it should be the Golden Age Award or the Nostalgia Award or something, but whatever we call it, it should be given to those writers who use their perfect 20/20 hindsight to denigrate today’s game for not matching up to the game of their youth.
The latest recipient of it would be Monte Poole of the Oakland Tribune who slams the 2010 All-Star Game this morning because there simply aren’t enough future Hall of Famers in it for his liking:
The games, however, aren’t
what they once were. They have become, rather, a collection of men paid
obscenely well to perform at the highest level. The players in Anaheim
on Tuesday don’t have the abundance of cachet found during the actual
golden age. This might explain the record-low TV ratings . . . They play a fine game of
baseball, yes, but they are playing not in the golden age but the age of
gold, the era of wealth. Many wouldn’t have come close to an All-Star
game 40 years ago.
His summary of this state of affairs came earlier in the column when he said “to reiterate, less than 10 percent of the players on the combined
All-Star game rosters have proved worthy of the game’s greatest
individual honor,” meaning the Hall of Fame.
I haven’t looked at the numbers myself, but I recall Bill James once wrote that, roughly speaking, a little less than 10% of active players at any given time have gone on to be in the Hall of Fame. In light of that I’m struggling to see what Poole’s problem — other than a general frustration with modernity — really is.
Poole aside, there have been people saying that the world is going to Hell in a handbasket since approximately five minutes after we first came down from the trees. Amazing that it never actually gets there.