Two writers I met and hung out with at the Winter Meetings were Eno Sarris of FanGraphs and Rotoworld (and several other sites) and Amanda Rykoff of espnW. Both were cool people in person, and both have some sharp and funny observations about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the Winter Meetings today:
- Eno breaks down the dress code of the Winter Meetings. It’s shockingly accurate. All it’s missing is “bloggers from Ohio who didn’t bring a coat because they assumed it was warm in Orlando wore shirts under sweaters under corduroy blazers every day because they were freezing their kiesters off.”
- Amanda gives her general thoughts about her first-ever Winter Meetings, and more or less nails it. People often ask “what happens at the Winter Meetings?” The answer, as she makes clear, is not easy to grasp. You could walk right by them and not see a thing. But you quickly realize that there’s more than meets the eye.
Now, the only thing left to really close out the Winter Meetings is for me to seek out, find and destroy the video a certain MLB.com writer made of me singing before it hits the Internet. Because, um, it’s a total fake that really isn’t me. Or something.
And yes, I used this as another excuse to post the pic of the hotel in which the Meetings were held because I know Old Gator thinks it’s ugly.
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).
Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.
Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.
Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.