Today is what might be referred to as a slow news day. Moments ago I was actually contemplating the creation of a timeline for the back and forth tweets between Ken Rosenthal and an attention starved individual claiming to have insider insight into a trade between the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays.
Somehow, this has become a more enticing option than writing about baseball’s Hall of Fame.
On January 9th, the inductee class of 2012 will be announced. It could include Barry Larkin. It could only include Barry Larkin. Jack Morris might squeak in. Tim Raines might get excluded again. I no longer care.
As someone who is slow to turn their brain’s other cheek when it’s slapped by stupidity, this might be seen as something of a surprising development. It shouldn’t be. You see, the baseball writers who decide on who has played good enough baseball throughout their career and been morally upstanding enough to gain entry into the sport’s illustrious hall of fame are unaware that they’re currently playing roles in their own Greek tragedy.
In their quest to erase their own involvement, if not implicit participation, in the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs from the history books (while simultaneously imagining an obviously non-existent moral code for members of the club that they act as gate keepers for) baseball writers will render themselves irrelevant in a little over a year’s time when they refuse to allow Barry Bonds (the greatest baseball player many of my generation, and quite possibly any generation, have ever seen play the game) into its no longer hallowed Hall.
So, I’m not going to stand in the way of those gate keepers’ lemming-like march toward irrelevance by pointing out how Jack Morris probably wasn’t as good as Dave Steib, or how Tim Raines should be celebrated, not shamed, for recognizing his substance abuse problems as a 23 year old and checking himself into rehab on his way to becoming one of the most exciting baseball players of all time.
If I want to learn about the best players in the history of the game, or one day talk about them with my future children, I’m not going to make some redundant trek to a baseball mecca. I’m not going to consider the subjective thoughts of people whose opinions I have little respect for. It’s unnecessary. This is baseball in the age of objective evaluation. I’ll simply visit websites that count numbers, read anecdotes from sources I trust and essentially make my own Hall of Fame.
After all, the one in Cooperstown only has as much authority as baseball fans choose to give it. I’m choosing to give it every bit as much as the current induction process has earned.