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The Ballot Battle

Another day, another TV appearance… Okay, it really isn’t that routine, but twice in one week? From the same show? Somebody up there must like me. Even before I’d gotten to appear on last Wednesday’s Clubhouse Confidential with my own JAWS take on the ballot, host Brian Kenny and company had booked me to participate in a Friday free-for-all roundtable with former Baseball Prospectus colleague and fellow Clubhouse Consultant Joe Sheehan as well as BBWAA voter Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and MLB Network.

Our panel kicked around the candidates for over 15 minutes, with each of us taking the lead making the case for several of them; mine were Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez and Lee Smith. In the process, we produced our fair share of disagreements. Heyman, who has been hostile to the notion of using sabermetrics in the past — “[T]he day I consider VORP is the day I get out of the business,” he wrote back in 2007 — stuck with the party line on Jack Morris, noting opening day starts and waving off the high ERA while sprinkling the conversation with plenty of I-saw-him-plays, as though the rest of us were hiding under the bed during Morris 18-year career. He also refused to consider the notion that anybody should be re-evaluating anything in a sabermetric light (such as the value of Alan Trammell’s defense) 20 years after the fact. That’s obviously a position I’m not buying, even if it did come at the expense of withdrawing my support for a longtime pet candidate, albeit one who’s going nowhere on the ballot.

But it’s not like the rest of us were marching in lockstep all the way; much as I love Bernie Williams as a player, I’m less open to the idea that he’s a Hall of Famer than either Heyman or Sheehan are. We didn’t all see eye-to-eye on the notion of what to do about candidates who may have used performance-enhancing drugs, but that’s no surprise in this day and age. Our debate produced its share of sparks, but I don’t think we became disagreeable in the course of our disagreements, and none wound up using our chairs as weapons. Ah, well.

Here’s Part I:

And Part II:

The voting results will be announced at 3 PM Eastern. I’ll be chatting at BP starting at 1 PM and running through the announcement, with a recap up at BP tomorrow. I’ll also be on Clubhouse Confidential again tomorrow looking ahead to the 2013 ballot, which offers a bumper crop of strong candidates — Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, and Curt Schilling, for starters — and promises a fair bit of fireworks when it comes to PED-related issues.

One Comment

  1. Lou Doench says:

    Loved the segment Jay. I thought Heyman did ok expressing his views sandwiched between the Sheehan and the worlds most powerful mustache. He’s certainly an articulate memeber of the old school to choose for that role.

    Much is made of the backlog of candidates coming up (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, and Curt Schilling.) But this is only that big a problem if the drip drip pace of enshrinement continues. Surely Biggio is a first balloter, that clears a spot for upcoming years. And Piazza should be a slam dunker. I’d put all but Schilling in first ballot (as if that really means anything, Schilling should certainly go.)

    How many empty fields at Cooperstown can the Hall go through before they start taking political flak from the locals? I’ve only been to one ceremony (Tony Perez, Carlton Fisk and Marty Brenneman) and I may go this year to see Barry, but I can’t imagine a huge crowd. What if its just Biggio next year? The optics have to start turning against the Hall at some point right?

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