Monday, July 31, 2006

Is this an ethical response from an ethical voter?

From, Rick Swanson, August 15, 2005

"The question is why should these privileged BBWAA members have exclusive HOF membership rights anyway? Since there are 825 members of this exclusive club today, why did only 516 cast ballots in the last election? Should those 309 BBWAA forfeit their voting privilege, because they never even voted? Maybe the Hall needs to open up the election process to those that really care about the game.

Back in the dark ages when baseball was only written about by those members of the press that were present at the games it made sense.

Some of those people with voting privileges now really don’t deserve to have them. Look at what Rick Reilly wrote in last week’s Sports Illustrated about BBWAA member Jayson Stark. According to Reilly, Stark said “I am not a cop, and it isn’t my job to police the sport.” Well Jayson maybe you need to turn over your voting privilege to someone that really cares about the game. I’m sure if Stark was a card carrying member in 1953 he would have been one of the 56% of the voters that left Joe DiMaggio off the ballot. Those members saw to it that Jolten Joe had to wait 3 years before getting in. He wasn’t much of a role model, or even a ballplayer back then anyway.

  • For starters there are 309 openings where members didn’t vote.
. The number one requirement as far as I am concerned is rule 5, and I am going to keep writing this rule until somebody finally hears me. Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character. Maybe you don’t have to be a cop to vote but you do have to look at this eligibility rule.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

But from Idelson's comments, it seems like HOF does monitor BBWAA affairs

  • These comments were made after it was revealed the BBWAA had no members in the Atlanta market to vote on the 2005 NL MVP (as it happens, an Atlanta player, Andruw Jones was in the running for the award & had no one in his market voting).

"Although the number of Hall of Fame voters remains strong, (Jack) O'Connell said he is bothered that he has lost so many qualified baseball writers from the papers with the voting bans.

"Right now it's very speculative," said Hall of Fame spokesman Jeff Idelson, who said the hall's board of directors is "very satisfied" with the job the BBWAA has done over the years. "It's something we'll obviously have to monitor. We'll stay in touch with the BBWAA and look at the number of voters, and if they're dwindling, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it." "From Gordon Wittenmyer's column 11/7/05 in the St. Paul Pioneer Press

On 7/7/06, HOF says they have no role in Cy Young or MVP

Subj: voting
Date: 7/7/2006 2:07:37 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)
Dear friend,

The annual BBWAA Hall of Fame election calls for each writer to mail his or her ballot to the BBWAA secretary. The ballots are filed by the voters, with nearly 600 eligible to vote. The validity of the vote is assured by Ernst & Young, an established auditing firm. Each writer may vote for as many as ten candidates, or as few as zero. As the system works, it is up to each voter to choose whether or not they wish to reveal his or her selections. Many of the writers list their choices in their newspaper columns, so, you may wish to look for newspaper columns in which specific writers share their ballots with the public.

The Hall of Fame plays no role in the CY Young or MVP voting.


Freddy Berowski
Research Associate
National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tom Verducci, SI, 6/29/06---doesn't even mention Mariano for All Star closer

From SI, Verducci responds to reader mail re All Star picks:

"At the risk of sounding like a homer, I have a question regarding Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan. Boston's Jonathan Papelbon is having a brilliant season, and given that you have already included three Blue Jays (thank you) in your All-Star selections, I can understand why you chose him over B.J. for your team. However, since B.J. has a nearly identical ERA, with fewer hits, more strikeouts and only two more walks allowed than Papelbon, my question is twofold: 1) How does B.J.'s season stack up historically, and 2) who would you call on in the ninth inning of the World Series with a one-run lead?
-- Ian K., Toronto

"Ryan and Papelbon are halfway to all-time great seasons, joining Dennis Eckersley in 1990 (my pick for best ever), Trevor Hoffman in 1998 and Eric Gagne in 2003. To get the last out of the World Series, right now I'd go with Ryan, only because he's a little older and experienced (though not in October), but I'd also have no problems with Papelbon, who looks like he has the guts for that kind of situation. ("Tough Calls on All Star Closers," article)

  • Astonishing disrespect & white-wash job. As Verducci may be aware, the actual manager of the game announced his choice of Mariano Rivera to close the All Star game on July 5. Sorry. Actual life won out over media spin. Never underestimate media bias or the seemingly benign exterior of Mr. Verducci.

Tom Verducci, SI, 6/29/06---doesn't even mention Mariano for All Star closer

Tough calls

Readers chime in with their own All-Star selections

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No Jose Contreras on your starting American League All-Star team? He's only undefeated this year with 16 straight wins going back to last season.
-- Marc O'Connor, Homewood, Ill.

Man, it was tough to leave off a guy who hasn't lost a game in about a year. But he did miss a few starts this year, and Johan Santana has been his superior in strikeouts, ERA and keeping runners off base. It wasn't easy leaving off Roy Halladay, either. That Cy Young Award race is going to be awesome.

Verducci, you're a bonehead! Only one Met on your starting National League All-Star team and no David Wright? Cover curling instead, more your speed.
-- Bob McNamara, Ewing, N.J.

Does that mean you didn't like my picks?

I just saw your picks for AL All-Stars. I am happy to see that Jose Lopez, Troy Glaus and Joe Mauer are getting the nod. They are the best players at their positions this year. However, to put Jason Giambi at first base is a crime to two guys: David Ortiz and Travis Hafner. Ortiz is leading the league in RBIs and is the key factor to the Red Sox' recent winning streak that is pulling the Red Sox way out in front of Giambi's Yankees. Hafner is beating Giambi in many offensive categories. How can Giambi be the pick over these two guys?
-- Charlie, New York

Pretty simple: Ortiz and Hafner don't play first base. They are DHs. Hafner was my DH pick by a slight margin over Ortiz, but I'm not about to put a full-time DH at first base. Hafner and Ortiz, though, both deserve a spot on the AL team at the All-Star Game, where the DH, sadly, will not be used.

At the risk of sounding like a homer, I have a question regarding Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan. Boston's Jonathan Papelbon is having a brilliant season, and given that you have already included three Blue Jays (thank you) in your All-Star selections, I can understand why you chose him over B.J. for your team. However, since B.J. has a nearly identical ERA, with fewer hits, more strikeouts and only two more walks allowed than Papelbon, my question is twofold: 1) How does B.J.'s season stack up historically, and 2) who would you call on in the ninth inning of the World Series with a one-run lead?
-- Ian Keeling, Toronto

Ryan and Papelbon are halfway to all-time great seasons, joining Dennis Eckersley in 1990 (my pick for best ever), Trevor Hoffman in 1998 and Eric Gagne in 2003. To get the last out of the World Series, right now I'd go with Ryan, only because he's a little older and experienced (though not in October), but I'd also have no problems with Papelbon, who looks like he has the guts for that kind of situation.

Edgar Renteria over Jose Reyes for NL All-Star shortstop? Not only does Reyes dominate Renteria offensively, Reyes also leads the majors in runs, triples and stolen bases and is sixth in hits. Not to mention he's the catalyst for the team with the best record in the NL.
-- Mike, Washington, D.C. (via Matawan, N.J.)

Reyes is definitely having an All-Star season, though I would say it's not possible to "dominate" another player offensively when the other guy (Renteria) has a better OPS. Still, if I had to pick again, I might reconsider.


Long version of God Bless America was to blame 10/3/03

Getting even

Yankees forge tie with Twins

By GORDON WITTENMYER Saint Paul Pioneer Press

Friday, October 3, 2003

The Minnesota Twins left Yankee Stadium with a split in the first two games of a playoff series nobody gave them a chance to win, in the process beating the New York Yankees for the first time in two years.

So why does it seem as if Twins fans are looking at it more like one of those T-shirts that reads, "My team went to the Bronx and all they brought me was this lousy split"?

Maybe because some of the Twins feel the same way after a 1-1 game in the seventh inning Thursday turned into a 4-1 loss because of an Irish tenor, a hit batter and a rough night for setup ace LaTroy Hawkins that included a throw into the stands for an error.

"We don't leave with a good feeling," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We won a ball game here but sure had a chance again to win here tonight."

The Twins missed a few scoring chances against Yankees starter Andy Pettitte, the 20-game winner who went seven innings for the victory. But it was the seventh inning that was their ultimate undoing.

After a seventh-inning stretch prolonged by singer Ronan Tynan's lengthy rendition of "God Bless America" on a cold night, Twins pitcher Brad Radke hit the first batter he faced in the seventh, and after a sacrifice bunt, he was out of the game.

Gardenhire said the long cooling-off period for Radke during the stretch made the difference in replacing him with the hard-throwing and hot-pitching Hawkins. But the move backfired when Hawkins had trouble controlling his fastball, gave up run-scoring hits to Alfonso Soriano and Jason Giambi, and compounded the troubles with a throwing error in between.

"You're going to get me or I'm going to get you," said Hawkins, who pitched an overpowering two innings Tuesday in the Twins' 3-1 series-opening victory. "They got me tonight. The balls they missed the other day they hit today. That was the difference."

Pettitte was another big difference, pitching four-hit ball for seven innings with a career post-season-high 10 strikeouts. New York's Mariano Rivera pitched two 1-2-3 innings to finish it.

For Baseball Writers, the baseball awards voting IS THEIR PAY

Wage Survey: Low Starting Pay And Small Raises For Journos

By Mark Fitzgerald

Published: July 26, 2006 2:10 PM ET
CHICAGO On average, cub reporters at daily newspapers make less than $30,000 their first year, according to the most comprehensive industry report on salaries and compensation.

The 2006 Newspaper Industry Compensation Survey found that the average entry-level salary last year for the 521 dailies participating in the study is up 17.3% from 2001, but is still a humble $29,048, or 558.62 a week.

They'd be better off moving to the classified department, where the average salary for an inside sales rep last year was $36,077.

Sports editors were paid an average salary of $52,632 last year, up about 15.5% from five years ago.

Newsroom raises are slowing down, the report suggests. While the base pay of beginning reporters increased by double digits since 2001, the raise between 2004 and 2005 was just 2.1%, well under the inflation rate of 3.4% last year."
  • These guys are paid a very low wage, they simmer in anger and rage for years waiting for their revenge....VOTING ON BASEBALL AWARDS BECOMES THEIR PAY (Tim Kurkjian and others have said as much).

From Boston Globe Ethics Rules, as of 7/29/06

"48. Staff members and others on assignment for us may not collaborate in ventures with individuals or organizations that have figured or are likely to figure in their coverage. Among other things, this prohibition applies to writing books, pamphlets, reports, scripts, scores or any other material and to making photographs or creating artwork of any sort.
  • Buster Olney works for the Globe's parent company, the NY Times, and wrote a book on the Yankees while covering them, published it, and remained an employee of the Times. How is this in compliance with ethics? WHY WOULD ANY TEAM ALLOW SOME REPORTER TO HAVE COVETED ACCESS TO THEIR PRIVATE LOCKER ROOM FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROFITING FROM PERSONAL CONVERSATIONS, ETC.?
  • The Boston Herald is a different company, but isn't Tony Massarotti writing a book on David Ortiz? Remember Tony's comments about Ortiz' in relation to the MVP vote last year? But, there's no conflict, right?

Friday, July 28, 2006

1995 AL MVP--rules say character matters but voters don't

"In snubbing Belle, the writers also revived a controversy as old as the award itself. Many feel

From the Boston Globe, Nov. 17, 1995
Belle was the player of the year, and he was voted that very honor yesterday by The Sporting News. But the BBWAA has five criteria for MVP voters, and numbers are just one of them.

One of the guidelines includes "general character, disposition, loyalty and effort." It seemed that Belle was being penalized for his stormy relations with the media, though many voters contended that Vaughn was more valuable to the AL East champion Red Sox than Belle was to the talent-studded Indians.

Even though voting was done before the postseason, in which the Indians swept the Red Sox in three games, it seemed that conduct might have been a major factor.

"I guess it really does say something," said Vaughn, who didn't even begin to think of the possibility of becoming the MVP until a few days ago. ''People are looking at the whole thing, and it turns out that it's just not numbers.

Jack O'Connell, who covers the New York Yankees for The Hartford Courant, is the secretary of the BBWAA. He said his ballot listed Vaughn first, Cy Young winner Randy Johnson of Seattle second and Belle third. "I'd like to think character didn't make a difference in my vote," O'Connell said. "But it could have. Subconsciously, it might have."
  • A BBWAA officer blithely states he'd like to ignore the rules, but subconsciously he might've adhered to them. But he really doesn't know.

History often repeats itself. The tightest AL election also involved a question of popularity when Joe DiMaggio beat Ted Williams, 202-201, in 1947. Williams won the Triple Crown that season but was left off the 10th-place ballot by a Boston writer who did not like the sometimes snarling Red Sox star.

"It's important to have character," Vaughn said. "And to be considered the best at the major league level is tremendous. You don't think about it. To receive this honor is unbelievable."

  • Even the writer ignores the issue revealed here. And changes the whole argument to one of popularity.

BBWAA Officers 1999---900 members

Baseball Writers Association

Liaison: Barry Forbis, Rocky Mountain News.

President: Bob Elliott, Toronto Sun, 333 King Street E., Toronto, Ontario M5A 3X5. CANADA. Home phone: 905-822-9268. Office phone: 416-947-2266. Fax: 416-947-2454. E-mail:

Vice president: Charlie Scoggins, Lowell Sun, 12 Cliffside Road, Lowell, Mass. 01852. Home phone: 508-454-1625. Office phone: 508-458-7100.

Meetings: Twice a year: All-Star Game and World Series.

Membership: 900 (baseball reporters, sports editors, columnists and feature reporters who cover baseball). Dues: $35 nationally; local dues vary.

Major concerns: Access to players and club officials; credentials.

Financial contracts: None.

Activities: Voting on BBWAA awards, which include MVP, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and Manager of the Year.

Scott Miller, CBS, July 2006--shows bias

Scott Miller the day before the 2006 All Star game shows he's incredibly ill informed:
Francisco Liriano, David Eckstein and Chris Capuano added to the All-Star rosters ... Ozzie Guillen and Phil Garner, two of the game's most engaging characters, managing ... Vastly underrated Padres closer Trevor Hoffman here with his three boys ... "
  • Underrated? By whom? Trevor has always received an inordinate amount of praise from the baseball media mafia. You'd never even know Mariano Rivera existed if it were left up to people like Scott Miller, here showing his flawed and incorrect opinion.
And, as if we didn't know the object of Miller's obsession, on July 5 he notes:

"Likes: Cleveland handing George Steinbrenner a 19-1 birthday present."

  • So out of 30 teams, guess which one he singles out to hate and ridicule? Miller has said he wanted to vote on baseball awards his whole life. He's been very involved with the bureaucracy of the BBWAA, and he spent a good deal of time working in Minneapolis. Knowing all these facts about Miller, what chance would there ever be he'd vote for Mariano Rivera for 1st place for either the AL Cy Young or MVP? Answer: NONE, because of his biases.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My email to Brian Costello, NY Post 7/27/06 re 2005 AL Cy Young voters

Mr. Costello, I read a recent article you wrote in the NY Post, and thought you might be able
to advise me. I seek the names and professional affiliations of the 28 persons who voted for
the 2005 AL Cy Young award. I requested this information from Jack O'Connell who told me it
was only available to BBWAA members. I read an interview with Randy Harvey in which he
stated the information was "open." So, I emailed Peter Schmuck, who told me the information isn't confidential, but he doesn't have it at his fingertips, and it is kept in New York. I called MLB in New York & was told they don't have it. I called Ernst and Young, left a message as to the information I sought, but haven't heard back. I sent Mr. Schmuck another email asking him for the information or whom to contact about it, but haven't heard
back. Since the information isn't confidential, I thought you might be able to tell me the 28
names. I already have several of them, but need all 28. My interest is that of a baseball fan.
Thanks for your time and help. Susan Mullen, New York.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Cy Young--is it supposed to be indep. of the team?

Second, remember that Cy Young voting is supposed to be independent of the team a pitcher plays for. Third, you are right in that Halladay's team is better, on average, when Halladay pitches than the Twins when Liriano pitches. They score more runs. And this should be held against Roy Halladay.
  • From Fire Joe Morgan blog post 7/19/06, Woodrow

Peter Schmuck comments 3/9/06 to Baseball

What it will come down to is the corporate wisdom of the 500-or-so Hall of Fame voters, who have done a terrific job over the years of keeping the gate at Cooperstown.

The Hall of Fame ballot, after all, is just the blank canvas for each individual opinion.

The issue of who decides and how is just as troublesome as the issue that will be decided over the decade or so. Many newspapers are uncomfortable with their reporters taking part in what is, essentially, a fairly significant news event.

The Baltimore Sun and several other major newspapers have decided that they would prefer to have their employees simply cover the news and let someone else make the newsworthy decisions on who should win certain awards or gain induction in the Hall of Fame.

I accede to that authority, but I believe that the baseball writers charged with voting on the postseason awards are uniquely qualified to render those decisions while still meeting the ethical standards of the journalistic profession.

I feel even more strongly that the BBWAA is the proper body to choose the inductees for the most revered of the various professional sports halls of fame.

In short, it's a difficult job, but there is no one better qualified to do it.

Peter Schmuck is a columnist for the Baltimore Sun and President of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). He covered baseball for 26 years before becoming the Sun's Page 2 Sports columnist 18 months ago.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Washington Post, 11/05, Rivera dominant closer of his era

Rivera, who went 7-4 with a 1.38 ERA and 43 saves, was second with eight first-place votes and 68 points. The dominant closer of his era, Rivera finished higher than at any point in his career. He was third in 1996, 1999 and 2004. Last year's winner, Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins, placed third.

HOF made attempt to include variety of positions & champions

  1. The committee apparently made an attempt to elect players at positions which were not yet represented in the Hall;by 1945, the BBWAA had elected 20th century players at every position except catcher, third base and left field. The committee's election of Jimmy Collins corrected the absence of a third baseman, as he was generally regarded as the game's greatest player at the position to that time and had consistently finished first among third basemen in the BBWAA voting, usually outpolling the combined totals of all others at the position. His career spanned the years 1894 to 1908, easily allowing him to be considered a star in both centuries. The committee's choices at the other two positions also followed the BBWAA vote closely. Catcher Roger Bresnahan had finished first among catchers in most of the BBWAA elections, with only the recently retired Mickey Cochrane competing for the top spot. In the voting since 1937, Fred Clarke had trailed only Ed Delahanty - who died in 1903 - among left fielders. Both Bresnahan and Clarke were stars of the 1900s who had made their major league debuts in the 1890s, making them eligible for selection by the Old-Timers.
  2. Among most of those following the elections, there was very strong sentiment to choose players who had remained in the sport as managers, coaches or executives after retiring. Eight of the selections were major league managers at some point, with five (Clarke, Collins, Jennings, King Kelly and Robinson) leading their teams to pennants. Bresnahan, Jennings and Robinson each served at least five seasons as coaches in the major leagues, and Duffy worked as a scout for many years. With the elections of Clarke, Robinson and Jennings, 5 of the 9 retired managers with over 1000 wins were now in the Hall (as well as the still-active Connie Mack), with Clark Griffith's candidacy deferred. There were 14 managers with at least 1000 wins before 1945; all have since been elected, the last being Frank Selee in 1999.
  3. There was a strong emphasis on those who had played central roles on championship teams, particularly the three-time champion Baltimore Orioles of 1894-95-96 which were regarded by many as the greatest baseball dynasty of the 19th century; Dan Brouthers, Jennings and Robinson were all regulars on that team, with Jennings also playing for a later Brooklyn champion and Brouthers starring for 3 earlier champions. Bresnahan had starred on the 1905 New York Giants; Collins was the playing manager of the 1903 Boston Americans, and a star player for two NL champions of the late 1890s; Duffy starred on 5 pennant winners in Boston in the 1890s; and Clarke was the playing manager of 4 pennant winners in Pittsburgh. Kelly and Jim O'Rourke each starred on several pennant winners in the era before 1893. Of the 10 selections, 8 had been a starting player and/or manager on at least four pennant winners.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Randy Harvey, Balt. Sun, says no writers should vote on awards; 11/18/05

From "On the Media," Nat. Public Radio 11/18/05

But how much longer that group names MVPs, as well as Rookies-of-the-Year, Cy Young winners, and even Hall of Famers, is very much an open question. This year a handful of major newspapers issued new ethics policies banning their writers from taking part in the voting. Among them was the Baltimore Sun, whose new sports editor, Randy Harvey, sees the issue as a no-brainer. Journalists, he says, should be covering the news, not making it.

RANDY HARVEY: I mean, I'm a little insulted that editors around the country allow their sports writers to do this because I don't think any editor in any self-respecting newspaper would allow the people who cover the courts to vote on who should be on the Supreme Court.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: So, Randy, if not sports journalists, then who do you think should be determining things like the MVP Awards and the Hall of Fame inductees?

RANDY HARVEY: Well, I think it should come from baseball. I mean, the Academy Awards is a good example. The movie industry decides on the movie awards. Well, the baseball industry should decide. The Hall of Fame, I think, should be voted on by living members of the Hall of Fame. You know, people who are in the Hall of Fame should decide who they want to let into their club.


RANDY HARVEY: I think for the Most Valuable Player, then maybe it should be managers.

BROOKE GLADSTONE: Well, that'll be an objective group.

RANDY HARVEY: Well, I mean, I don't know why they wouldn't be objective. You know, the players have bonuses written into their contracts for making the All-Star team and, you know, a manager or managers decide who will be the reserves on the All-Star teams, and I think they do a pretty good job of selecting the All-Star team. I mean, the football coaches vote on the CNN/USA Today Football Poll, and you could make the same claim of them, that, well, they're not going to be very objective or they're going to have agendas. But it's amazing how much their poll ends up looking like the Associated Press Poll or now this new poll, the Harris Poll. I mean, I think we are quite good at what we do, at reporting and analyzing baseball games, but I'm not sure we're any better at evaluating talent than the players themselves or the owners and general managers. You know, I wouldn't want baseball players voting on the Pulitzer Prize winners, so I'm not sure why we should be voting on baseball awards.

USA Today- Joe Saraceno, 1/11/06; LA Times Ethics Guidelines 10/25/05

Blyleven now has been rejected 10 times, Gossage eight, Dawson five. The entire ordeal seems almost cruel and unfair for everyone. And it's not going to become any easier for the Baseball Writers' Association of America, whose involvement is under increasing scrutiny. Some newspapers don't allow their writers to vote.

From the LA Times Ethics Guidelines:
Some types of civic participation may be deemed inappropriate. An environmental writer, for instance, would be prohibited from affiliating with environmental organizations, a health writer from joining medical groups, a business editor from membership in certain trade or financial associations.
  • This says to me that the BBWAA as it now exists, doesn't pass ethical guidelines. It has so many offshoots, such as recently considering televising its selections via Dick Clark Productions, to many other income-creating outlets, publishing interests, and higher levels of office seeking which have even more leverage over players' lives.
The LA Times continues:

The Times, like many newspapers, for years has allowed its sports writers to participate in voting for baseball's Hall of Fame, college football's Heisman Trophy and national rankings in college sports, among other areas. Participation in these polls creates possibilities for conflicts of interest. Similar issues arise in the arts when journalists are invited to vote for awards and prizes in film, literature and other fields.

In general, it is inappropriate for reporters to vote for awards and rankings; doing so could reasonably be seen as compromising their objectivity. For critics, whose job is to express opinions on the merits of creative works, awards voting is less troublesome.

Nevertheless, any staff member invited to vote for an award must first receive the permission of the managing editor. No staff member who votes for an award -- whether in sports, the arts or any other area -- may be part of the paper's news coverage of that award.

Bartolo Colon--"Mo didn't have enough saves." 11/9/05

Fascinating, Bartolo. Do tell us more.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tom Haudricourt

In the days leading up to the announcement of the award, Colon admitted to having doubts about emerging as the winner. He said he had a considerable respect for Rivera, who taught him how to throw the "cut" fastball that made the Yankees' closer one of the best in the business.

"A lot of crazy things came into my head," said Colon, who indicated he began thinking about the award after beating the White Sox's Jon Garland in an early-September match-up in Chicago.

"I have a lot of respect for Mariano Rivera. I knew he had a great year but other pitchers had more saves. I thought that might change the vote a little bit.

From the AP Mike Fitzpatrick, 11/9/05

NEW YORK -- Bartolo Colon won the American League Cy Young Award on Tuesday in a surprisingly one-sided vote...

  • "Surprisingly one-sided," showing that someone was cheated.
Also on 11/9/05, Matt Hurst beat reporter for the Angels voted for Colon and left Mariano off
the ballot entirely, also citing...guess who, the media darling Trevor...(from the NY Daily News)

One voter, Matt Hurst of the Riverside Press-Enterprise, voted for Colon and said he did not specifically exclude relievers but felt they needed to have an extraordinary season to beat out a strong starter candidate. He did not include Rivera on his ballot at all.

When Hurst compared Rivera's numbers this year to Dodgers closer Eric Gagne's stats in 2003 (when he had 55 saves, a 1.20 ERA and won the NL Cy Young), Rivera came up short; Hurst also pointed to Trevor Hoffman's 1998 season, in which he had 53 saves and a 1.48 ERA but finished second to Tom Glavine in the NL Cy Young voting, a similar situation to Rivera's this year.

"I wanted to put Rivera on my ballot, but after looking at those numbers, I felt like this was not the year," Hurst said.

  • This is a crime.
And on 11/8/05 from Mike Scarr at

"Still, speculation centered on Rivera as having the superior season and the idea haunted Colon during the first few weeks of the offseason. But it is Colon with this year's honor and he gives some of the credit to Rivera.

"He has taught me to hold the cut fastball," Colon said of the pitch that is considered one of the best in baseball. "He has also taught me how to be a complete pitcher."....

Colon named AL Cy Young winner | News

Nov 8, 2005 ... Colon named AL Cy Young winner. Angels right-hander easily outdistances runner-
up Rivera. By Mike Scarr / ...

Proof of Local Bias in BBWAA voting, 2001 MVP

  • Following up on Monday's column, in which I wrote, "And did you notice that two AL MVP voters listed Jason Giambi fourth on their ballots? And does anyone else suspect that one or both of those voters hail from Seattle?"

    A reader was kind enough to send me the ballots (top three listed) for all 28 voters, and I have to report that I was off ... but not by much.

    Here's how the Seattle-Tacoma writers voted:

                    1st     2nd      3rd
    Bob Sherwin Boone Ichiro Giambi
    Larry LaRue Boone Ichiro Giambi

    Believe it or not, Sherwin (Seattle Times) and LaRue (Tacoma News-Tribune) were the only voters who had Boone-Ichiro-Giambi in that order. Now, there are a lot of possible reasons for this, so many reasons that I won't even get into them, but doesn't it seem just a mite strange to you? Of course, both the Oakland voters had Giambi No. 1 ... and both the Cleveland writers had Alomar No. 1, too. As I said Monday, the hometown biases tend to cancel each other out, but the problem for Giambi was that the Seattle writers' biases meant that two players got listed ahead of Giambi on those ballots, rather than just one. Not that those two ballots were the difference; even if Sherwin and LaRue had switched Giambi and Ichiro, Ichiro still would have won the award, 287 points to 283.

    Oh, and in case anyone's curious, the two writers who didn't rate Giambi as one of the three most valuable players in the American League were Patrick Reusse (Minneapolis Star-Tribune) and Carter Gaddis (Tampa Tribune). The other oddities include Reusse listing Mariano Rivera third, and Dick Kaegel (Kansas City Star) listing Alex Rodriguez second. This might, by the way, be the first time I've ever agreed with Kaegel about anything.

  • The above from Rob Neyer's espn column, 11/01
  • Saturday, July 22, 2006

    Until 1980 Newspaper writers were official scorers

    "Until 1980, newspaper writers held these positions. However, those papers decided that this was causing a conflict of interest for someone who had to interview field personnel to write a story. Thus, baseball started hiring independent contractors to fill the job of official scorer. "by David Vincent, Retrosheet founder, from Baseball Analysts August 18, 2005

    Jim Souhan, Twins reporter, loves the publicity he'd otherwise never get, 2003

    Jim Souhan is a local writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and is frequently on Twins telecasts. Jim Souhan responded to "King George"s comments, and stood his ground.

    Baseball Insider: Steinbrenner ire affirms writer's vote
    Jim Souhan, Star Tribune

    Published November 12, 2003 INSI12

    If I had doubts about leaving Hideki Matsui off my American League rookie of the year ballot, they were assuaged at 2:20 p.m. Tuesday, when New York Post reporter George King left this message on my voice mail.

    "You have just been ripped by George Steinbrenner," he said. "Welcome to the fraternity."

    Steinbrenner, the Yankees' imperialistic owner, criticized my decision to vote for Royals shortstop Angel Berroa, Indians outfielder Jody Gerut and Devil Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli for AL rookie of the year, eschewing Matsui.

    Now I am sure of what, before, I could only suspect: A conscience knows no greater comfort than Steinbrenner's opposition.

    Little did I know in September that my vote would place me in the same company as Steinbrenner whipping boys Joe Torre, Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, Don Zimmer, Mel Stottlemyre and Dave Winfield.

    Yep, Winny and me -- the former Mr. May and the new Mr. November. I have never been, nor will ever be, closer to the Hall of Fame.

    Steinbrenner believes Matsui was the league's outstanding rookie.

    I believe he was neither.

    Had I considered Matsui a rookie, I'm not sure where I would have placed him on the ballot. Maybe second. Maybe third. Maybe not.

    Considering Matsui's nickname (Godzilla) and reputation, I found him to be a savvy but overrated player. His most impressive statistic -- RBI -- was as much a function of his presence in the middle of a remarkably productive lineup as his hitting.

    He seemed like a pro. He seemed like a good guy. But a rookie? Sure, kind of like that political pinch hitter, Walter Mondale.

    The crux of the arguments I've seen against my decision is that Matsui is considered a rookie by Major League Baseball, so I was compelled to consider him one.

    I'm sorry. You can tell me Madonna is like a virgin, that the Metrodome is a baseball stadium, that computers are built by extremely intelligent people, but I'm entitled to employ common sense. To consider the likes of Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki, Kaz Sasaki, Shigetoshi Hasegawa or Hideo Nomo a rookie would be to insult all of Japanese baseball.

    I've heard I should compare Matsui to Jackie Robinson, after whom the rookie of the year award is named.

    Please. Robinson emerged from a league that should have been considered "major" -- but we all know it wasn't at the time, which is why Robinson's play and comportment were so crucial to breaking the race barrier.

    Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers as a prospect, earned a promotion from the minor leagues, then proved himself under the most difficult circumstances at the major league level while being treated like a rookie in terms of pay and status.

    Matsui already had proved a dominant player at what I believe is a high-level professional league, already had earned millions and become a star before becoming the focus of an international bidding war that, of course, George won.

    My vote will probably make East Coast baseball fans think the Star Tribune is the Bermuda Triangle of postseason awards. And that might be about right.

    In 1999, Star Tribune writer La Velle E. Neal III, my friend and colleague, was one of two writers to leave Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez off his MVP ballot, ensuring that Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez would win the award.

    I disagreed with that decision. While I believe everyday players are generally more valuable than once-every-five-day pitchers, I thought that, in 1999, Martinez proved himself a worthy exception.

    When I left Matsui off my ballot, I didn't intend to create a debate on whether international stars should qualify for the rookie of the year award. But it should.

    In any case, Steinbrenner on Tuesday rewarded me for my decision. His criticism qualified me for the pantheon -- the roster of all-time greats who have incurred the wrath of George.

    Luckily, he's no more effective accosting baseball writers than beating semi-retired 72-year-old managers.

    bake mcbride
    01-18-2004, 10:45 AM
    While I have to agree that the experience players like Ichiro and Hideki Matsui receive in Japan leaves them far from rookie status, Major League Baseball considers them rookies in their first years in the bigs.

    So, while I had no problem with Angel Berroa winning the Rookie of the Year title, it should have gone to Hideki Matsui.

    MLB considered him a rookie and the writers don't have the choice to simply ignore that fact. Yes, Berroa had a terrific season and was certainly deserving of winning...if you leave Matsui out of the equation.

    But, let's face it, he came in and had to adjust to an entirely different league. He didn't have the same success hitting for power as in Japan, so he made adjustments and still drove in over 100 runs in New York with those fans, that media and that owner watching his every move.

    And, although the playoffs aren't considered...watching the Yankees in October, one thing was very clear: after Jeter, Matsui was the most reliable position player on that team. Not Bernie Baseball, not Giambi or Soriano, not even Posada (who should have been the AL MVP, by the way)-but Matsui.

    Feb. 16, 2004--on Arod and writers

    A-Rod was so desperate to get out of Texas that he approached Selig at Sammy Sosa's November birthday party in the Dominican Republic to let the commissioner know he was extremely unhappy with the Rangers. Selig listened closely as Rodriguez explained why he wanted out. When news broke about the possible Manny Ramirez trade, Selig figured Boston represented an ideal landing place. From USA Today, Ian O'Connor

    Here's a listing of the USA Today commentary on that day--all hate

    2003 writers anti yankee bias

    2003-11-12 13:26
    by Alex Belth

    George Steinbrenner issued a statement yesterday expressing his displeasure over two writers' decision to leave Hideki Matsui off their Rookie of the Year ballots (two writers also inexplicably left winner Angel Berroa off their list as well). According to the Times:

    The writers, Steinbrenner said, "clearly made up their own rules to determine who was and was not eligible for the award and disqualified an eligible candidate who could have won." Steinbrenner continued: "One of the writers in question, Mr. Ballou, actually said, `while he is technically a rookie by the rules of Major League Baseball, he is not a rookie in the spirit of the award.' Spirit of the award? The award was renamed by the Baseball Writers' Association to honor Jackie Robinson, its first recipient.

    "Jackie Robinson came to the major leagues after playing in the Negro Leagues, a league whose high level of play is unquestioned. This year's voting farce, where the appropriate qualifications for the award were blatantly ignored...

    John Harper puts it well in the Daily News this morning:

    Before I swallow hard and at least sort of agree with George Steinbrenner, a notion that has all the appeal of a colonoscopy, let's get to the bottom line: The right guy won the AL Rookie of the Year award.

    The two writers in question---Bill Ballou from the Worcester (Massachusetts) Telegram & Gazette and Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune--defended themselves, but ESPN's Mike Greenberg thinks that their arrogance is inexcusable.

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    Matt Hurst, high school sports reporter

    15. California High School Sports
    ... stomach ailments. 01:25 AM PST on Tuesday, January 4, 2005. By MATT HURST / The Press-Enterprise ... By MATT CALKINS / The Press-Enterprise ... RIVERSIDE - As practice started to wind down, California ...

    16. Southern California High School
    ... Scalia must endure stomach ailments. 01:25 AM PST on Tuesday, January 4, 2005. By MATT HURST / The Press-Enterprise. ... High School Riverside California. Chspe. High School Address California. Carmel High ...

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    MATT HURST, March 2006, "now works for the Riverside PE"

    It sounds like Matt Hurst is not an experienced baseball writer. It's written by Oakland and SF beat writers.

    Matt Hurst, hired in 2004 to cover high school sports, was 1 year later granted the right by the BBWAA to mock the great Mariano Rivera

    This is Matt Hurst's hiring blurb from the AP Sports Writers site.


    Riverside Press Enterprise: Hired Matt Hurst, former Bakersfield writer, as a staff writer focusing on high schools.

    Dec. 2004

    Other relievers have won cy young

    Eric Gagne won the NL Cy Young in 2003 with 55 saves and a 1.20 ERA.

    Dennis Eckersley won the AL Cy Young in 1991 with 51 saves and a 1.91 ERA.

    Mark Davis won the NL Cy Young in 1989 with 44 saves and a 1.85 ERA.

    Steve Bedrosian won the NL Cy Young in 1987 with 40 saves and a 2.83 ERA.

    Willie Hernandez won the AL Cy Young and AL MVP in 1984 with 32 saves and a 1.92 ERA.

    Rollie Fingers, Sparky Lyle, Mike Marshall, Jim Konstanty and Bruce Sutter also won a Cy Young award. There are a total of 10.

    Mariano CY votes vs MVP votes-Lehigh Valley Fan Club

    Six voters of the 28 (21%) did not even list Mariano on their ballot. That I find inexcusable. Isn’t it funny that Mariano finished higher than Colon in MVP voting but lost the Cy Young to Colon? I am sure the Cy voters do not also have MVP votes, because how can you reconcile leaving Mo off the ballot for the Cy Young award but then put him in the top 10 for MVP? One voter voted Mo THIRD for MVP, so the absence of Mo from those six Cy Young ballots really seems incomprehensible. Nevertheless, it is Mariano’s fourth top 3 finish in Cy Young voting in his career, to go along with two top-ten MVP finishes (9th in 2004 and 2005). That is remarkable considering he is a reliever. His Cy Young finishes were 3rd in 1996 (when he was a setup man to John Wetteland!), 1999 and 2004, to go along with this year’s runnerup finish. However it should also be noted that 1996, 1999, 2004 and 2005 are the ONLY years where Mariano got a Cy Young vote. The pitcher many consider the “greatest reliever ever” had some great seasons where he did not receive any votes. Amazing. Do I think Mariano should have won this year? Yes, but then I still think Ron Guidry should have won the 1978 MVP over Jim Rice and that the 1964 MVP should have gone to Mickey Mantle over Brooks Robinson. You could go on and on…..not only with the Yanks, but with others as well. For example, when Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski won the 1967 Triple Crown, one voter actually voted for Cesar Tovar of the Twins for MVP! This kept Yaz from being a unanimous selection. The postseason awards make for great controversy and long arguments, that ’s for sure, and sometimes there seems like no rhyme or reason to the vote.

    Here are some great stats from recent Jayson Stark columns on Rivera gave up one run all season on the road. And he gave up one extra-base hit all year to any of the hitters he faced with runners on base. Yep, one. Rivera has been the closer for the last nine years. In six of those nine years, his ERA was under TWO. His ERA this year was 2.10 LOWER than Bartolo Colon’s. (1.38 vs. 3.48). I know closers are going to have a lower ERA because they pitch less innings, but by a margin of 2.10? This from Lehigh Valley Fan Club blog 11/05

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Quote by Mel Antonen, BBWAA, USA TODAY transcript 1/10/06

    Eventually, there will be a standard for closers, but it hasn't been defined yet.
    • Mel, Mel, this proves you and the other voters are a joke, fraudulent, and unsupervised.

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    Gary Thorne, another ESPN elite, says he knows for a fact that no writer has ever voted for a local favorite (11/22/05)

    Where's his evidence for this huge claim? Funny, but we already have plenty of evidence to the contrary--'we' meaning the people. Thorne's statements show you how secretive &
    false the whole procedure is. Why are Thorne & other writers so covetous of this voting
    privilege? If it's really only about facts concerning winners & not opinion or emotion, why should it matter so much to them? Answer: Because it's clearly about something ELSE. Here's a big lie:
    • "The writers cover the games all summer" says Thorne. Which writers? Cover which games? What does "cover" mean? How many applicable games did applicable voters see on video, to get the best views & description of what went on? They'd flunk on all these points.
    Here's Big Lie #2
    • "There is no group more unbiased in voting for awards than the writers. They take that job seriously and believe, correctly so, that their integrity is essential to continuing the history of the game in terms of award winners honored yearly." Where is Thorne's evidence for this grandiose, pompous falsehood?
    Big Lie #3
    • "The external dispute is a never-ending one. Fans think writers are inclined to vote for those players they cover the most. I know for a fact, that is not the case." Gary, where's your proof? There are plenty of ballots already exposed proving you dead wrong.
    The only good thing he says
    • "The writers association is worried about losing the right to make these selections. They take pride in doing so and want to continue. The internal newspaper problem is the one that may take that vote away."This is the answer--the remaining newspapers involved must opt out.
    Baseball print reporters are always trying to convert their special access to $$$. How many books have been written by these writers? Many. Thorne pathetically tries to say they should
    keep the vote BECAUSE THERE'S NO ONE ELSE AVAILABLE TO DO IT!!! Really? How about
    the ONLY ones qualified to do it--managers of teams & possibly some coaches, possibly some past managers.

    Here's a big point in his favor--
    • "Someone has to decide." That really convinces me it should be you & your cronies, Gary.
    These items are all taken from his article, "Writers Have Credibility," 11/22/05

    Sunday, July 02, 2006


    "On the larger scale, awards in most sports can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars to a player or coach who has incentives tied to them. For a college football program, selection as the national champion in The Associated Press poll, which includes writers, brings great prestige to universities and big bonuses to coaches. Election into a hall of fame raises one to the peak of his or her sport and usually is followed by plenty of endorsement or appearance fees. Again, sports writers play a large part in such elevation."
    Citing recent controversies surrounding newspaper reporters and sports award balloting, the South Florida- Sun-Sentinel announced Sunday that it would withdraw from such voting on national honors.


    Bias against Yankees shows in Cy Young Award

    Nov. 11, 2005 12:00 AM On the West Coast we believe there is a thing called the East Coast bias. In New York, they believe there is a thing called the Yankees bias. How else to explain how Mariano Rivera didn't win the Cy Young Award?The best closer in the history of the game happened to have the best year of his career and he gets beat out by a guy who posted a fine-but-hardly-stellar ERA of 3.48. Bartolo Colon did win 21 games but his 157 strikeouts were far from phenomenal - you could even make the argument that Johan Santana had a better year as a starter.

    So how does a guy whose numbers are good but not Bob Gibson-like win the award over a reliever who at one point in the season converted 37 straight save chances. Rivera had 43 saves. He had 80 strikeouts and just 18 walks, and he gave us just one run on the road all year. 6 voters didn't even put Rivera on their ballot. The only logical explanation is that there is, indeed, a Yankee bias. John Gambadoro, azcentral

    Saturday, July 01, 2006

    BASEBALL AWARDS AT RISK--Gordon Wittenmyer, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 11/07/05

    "The future of the BBWAA awards could be in jeopardy because of a sudden lack of eligible voters in some cities.

    What it means for the BBWAA and its awards is that a pool of potential voters already in gradual decline because of a decades long decline in the number of daily newspapers has almost dried up in some major league markets.

    Until this year's bans, ethics policies had not limited the pool of voters since the early 1980s, when the New York Times and Washington Post banned their writers from voting, said BBWAA secretary/treasurer Jack O'Connell, who administers voting for postseason awards and the Hall of Fame.

    • 2005's bans added the LA Times, the Baltimore Sun, & the Atlanta Journal Constitution to the already banned NY Times, Washington Post, & AP writers.

    "I'm hoping this isn't becoming a trend where we have to give this thing up," O'Connell said of the postseason awards. "I think we've done a great job the last 70 years. … All it takes is a Houston Chronicle that comes up and tells me I can't use them anymore. Then what do I do?"

    The Houston chapter of the BBWAA has only 11 members, and eight are Chronicle employees. It takes eight BBWAA members from each chapter, two for each award, to fill all the voting committees every year.

    The predicament was underscored in this year's NL MVP balloting. With nobody from the only daily in Atlanta allowed to vote this year,

    That meant no writer who covered Atlanta's Andruw Jones, one of the top three MVP candidates in the NL this year, voted on the award.

    "That's not right," said Dayton (Ohio) Daily News baseball writer Hal McCoy, a member of the BBWAA since 1970 and member of the writers' wing of the Hall of Fame since 2002. "To me it's a slap in the face when the newspapers aren't going to let you vote for something, when there's no remuneration. You just do it because you're a baseball writer who sees almost every game and your vote means something."

    But ethics policies have as much to do with the appearance of conflict of interest than actual compromises, editors say.

    "You're stepping into the realm of making news rather than reporting," said New York Times sports editor Tom Jolly, who said he agreed with the rationale behind the policy that was in place before he became sports editor.

    • "Particularly in this day and age where major league baseball players and other athletes get enormous bonuses for winning these awards, it puts us in an awkward position to be judging their worth and also reporting on it in a way that's supposed to be unbiased."

    The Washington Post uses the same rationale, said Post sports editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz.

    • The only reason the Hall of Fame voting ban wasn't spelled out before this year to Post reporters was because it had "slipped between the cracks," said Garcia-Ruiz,
    • a former Pioneer Press sports editor.
    Although the number of Hall of Fame voters remains strong, O'Connell said he is bothered that he has lost so many qualified baseball writers from the papers with the voting bans."
    • Idelson at the Hall of Fame will not get involved. Says it's 'speculative.'
    "Right now it's very speculative," said Hall of Fame spokesman Jeff Idelson, who said the hall's board of directors is "very satisfied" with the job the BBWAA has done over the years. "It's something we'll obviously have to monitor. We'll stay in touch with the BBWAA and look at the number of voters, and if they're dwindling, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."
    • They continue to dwindle. (sm)