I have no idea if this is even Jays-related, technically. Is Tim Raines still with the organization? There was a rumour, before Tim Leiper got the gig, that he might be in line to be the club’s first base coach in 2014, and his name is still on the club’s front office directory, but that’s currently a bit outdated.
Whatever, though. He’s an Expos legend! And in my book, pretty much anything Expos is fair game, especially when it’s this delightful– and when it comes from the den of awesome that is Cespedes Family BBQ (who last month were kind enough to have me give them a hand rating the top ten Jays shirseys, even though I’m not funny anymore now that I don’t write posts while half in the bag– still employed though!).
So on what’s sure to be a disappointing — yet hopefully encouraging — Hall of Fame announcement day for Raines, I pass along these blessings (after the jump)…
Seriously, though. Guy is a total Hall of Famer.
As I’ve mentioned in this space before, I’m trying hard not to care this year, but Raines really is emblematic of one of the major problems — and there are several, notably the P.E.D. stuff, of course — with the voting process. That’s the fact that it’s just so easy for voters to entrench themselves their long-held positions (even if those are often pure fantasy, as evidenced by the fact that only 22.2% thought Jack Morris was Hall-worthy in his first year, with totals of just 19.6%, 20.6%, and 22.8% in the years after that), and to get their backs up about smarmy post-Moneyball seamheads telling them what they should think. It plays so easily into an already existing divide, and I think makes it harder for those who Were There to accept that it’s probably a good idea — not to mention the intellectually honest response — to actually consider those hated new numbers, which they and their long-held opinions and decades of wisdom were beaten with over and over as the internet and social media exploded during the last fifteen years, and the possibility that maybe they weren’t quite valuing the most valuable things, and that maybe using the breadth of data now available isn’t about turning Cooperstown into the Hall of Stats, but about putting a player’s achievements into a proper, neutral context, and not one coloured by fuzzy memories and quiet agendas.
Then again, that’s a bit of a gross oversimplification, too. There are lots of way to think about it and lots of ways to vote. Some will point to the word “fame” and say that it’s more about perception than reality anyway. And some will tell you that the number of people actually working daily in the industry, as opposed to legacy voters, who could be characterized by the above whining is smaller than anyone who’d bother to go pissing and moaning about it probably wants to believe anyway.
Others still, like Ray Ratto of CSN Bay Area, in his outstanding, unapologetic piece on his ballot, will say this about his vote for Jack Morris:
He was a dominant figure in an era with few dominant pitchers, and while I like math as much as the next guy who didn’t date much in high school, I as a voter acknowledge all eras – even the drug-infested, racially restricted, dead-ballish and just plain crap eras. The Hall of Fame is the history of the game, good, bad, cheap, stupid, hateful, arrogant, smug and even Jack Morris-y.
Yeah… that’s fine, too.