Wednesday, August 30, 2006 is in charge of Hall of Fame voters--here's proof if you needed it

August 30, 2006 from website: HIJACKING AN AWARD FOR A HACK

Hoffman, 38, is second on the all-time list with 470 career saves.
Change Artist
How did Trevor Hoffman go from a scrawny minor league shortstop with one kidney to a Hall of Fame closer? He got a grip. ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney explains. Story Insider
• Olney: A career once in doubt Insider | Padres sit atop WC standings
• Mark Kreidler: L.A. in charge Insider | Chats: Morgan Insider | Callis Insider

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Peter Gammons column states team contract bonus for Cy Young award--isn't this Fraud?

"Randy Johnson's (2003) contract bumps up $2.5 million for 2003 if he wins the Cy Young Award. And there are many around the game that feel that Arizona may be a franchise with huge financial problems. The 'Backs owe $34 million-$40 million in deferred payments a year from 2004 through 2010, and even this season, coming off a world championship, their attendance was lower than their first season. " From Peter Gammons column,, October 5, 2002. (The link may not be around too much longer....)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tom Verducci, SI, questions Bruce Sutter's elevation WITHOUT Gossage's--1/06

(This post from, Jan. 11, 2006)

Bruce Sutter, Hall of Famer?

SI's Tom Verducci questions the BBWAA's decision to elect Bruce Sutter to the Hall of Fame and concurrently deny Goose Gossage.

Consider: Sutter was washed up at age 32; Gossage continued as a closer until age 34 and had previously lost one prime season of closing as a starter for the goingnowhere '76 Chisox. Gossage routinely posted ERA+ levels over 150, Sutter did it three times (his ERA compared to the league average, higher number is better); Gossage also was not a one-inning specialist -- he'd pitch 2+ innings to save games, Sutter would not.

Gossage pitched well, and often brilliantly (1978, 1980-82) on the biggest stage in major league baseball, Sutter made his reputation as a closer for the bottom-dwelling (just above the Mess) Cubs in the late '70s before pitching well, but not with Gossage-level excellence (other than 1984, for a third-place team), for the Cards. The most damning indictment of the vote comes from their player pages at Baseball Reference: Sutter's career most closely resembles those of Doug Jones, Tom Henke and Jeff Montgomery -- three closers far from HoF consideration; Gossage's most closely resembles the careers of Rollie Fingers and Hoyt Wilhelm, both of whom have plaques at Cooperstown.

  • Ed. --No one has the guts to say what's going on here, but it sure as hell is obvious.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Baseball writer, Dave Newhouse, loses faith in HOF

From The Mercury News, 8/21/06

Longtime Bay Area sportswriter Dave Newhouse won't have to wrestle with his votes as players of the steroids era become eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame. He has turned in his Baseball Writers' Association of America card.

Newhouse, a Hall voter for more than 20 years, wrote last week in his column for the Oakland Tribune that he no longer recognizes ``the game I grew up with, idolizing Stan Musial and remembering significant moments -- Jackie Robinson's educating baseball about civil rights, and Babe Ruth's dying.''

Newhouse explained that he misses the sense of purity that preceded the cancellation of the 1994 World Series and the arrival of steroids.

``This whole thing weighs heavily on my mind,'' he wrote, ``and I don't want the unwanted responsibility of bringing further disrespect to the game I cherished.''
by Mercury Staff

Dave Newhouse, Oakland Tribune, quits BBWAA, 8/16/06

Divorce from baseball tough, but the right move
Column by Dave Newhouse

BASEBALL WAS my first love affair, before girls,'56 Chevys, Paris, the fair Patsy Anne, children and Mendocino. I enjoy other sports, but baseball always will be the game closest to my heart.

Thus it was with a sad heart Tuesday that I mailed my Baseball Writers' Association of America card back to Jack O'Connell, secretary-treasurer of the organization.

I picked Tuesday after considerable thought, because Aug.15 is my father's birthday. Dad instilled my love for baseball as a boy by taking me to Pacific Coast League games in San Francisco and Oakland in the late 1940s.

My father isn't alive, so I couldn't discuss with him the painful decision I've made, which is to remove myself permanently from voting on the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dad let me be my own man, so I hope he would approve.

Electing members to Cooperstown, my responsibility for better than 20 years, has meant more to me than electing presidents. I've been involved with baseball longer, thus I felt my Hall of Fame vote made more of a difference.

It doesn't any more because I no longer recognize the game I grew up with, idolizing Stan Musial and remembering significant moments — Jackie Robinson's educating baseball about civil rights, and Babe Ruth's dying.

Baseball was cleaner back then, with a sense of purity that has been lost over these past two decades with the cancellation of the 1994 World Series and the arrival of steroids.

Both of these factors tainted the game, and I can't get them out of my head, or forgive the damage they've done. However, it's steroids and BALCO, first and foremost, that made me, reluctantly, turn in my BBWAA card.

For I cannot in good conscience vote potential members into Cooperstown not knowing if they've cheated. If it were in my power, and if I had proof that someone cheated, I would kick him out of the game on first offense and preclude him from ever entering Cooperstown.

To some of you, this will sound extreme, but the only way to clean up the game is to sweep away its dirt.

Steroids give cheaters a decided advantage, from pumping up their bodies to faster recovery time from fatigue to unfairly inflated records. And baseball's records matter the most.

But because I don't have that power, the last thing I want on my conscience is that I might possibly vote a cheater into that prestigious shrine located in a quaint, tiny upstate New York hamlet.

I wouldn't vote for Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa, no matter when they started cheating. Cheaters are cheaters. Even if I couldn't prove they cheated, and the proof is pretty conclusive, I couldn't vote for them not knowing the truth.

But it's not just these three pathetic characters I'm concerned with; there may be other steroids abusers we don't know about whom might be coming up for election, or whom I've already voted into Cooperstown.

That's my dilemma: Have I already given a cheater his place among baseball's immortals, alongside Stan the Man, who was the embodiment of playing the game correctly and with decency?

I'm not speaking of only hitters. Perhaps there are pitchers who've used the "juice." And I'm not referring to Gaylord Perry, whom I voted into Cooperstown for two reasons: I don't know how often he used the spitball, and there are spitballers in Cooperstown from a time when the pitch was legal.

But steroids haven't ever been legal, and for a while they weren't illegal either, not until their terrible blight on the game was discovered in a Burlingame laboratory run by a despicable cad.

This whole thing weighs heavily on my mind, and I don't want the unwanted responsibility of bringing further disrespect to the game I cherished. I'm not trying to make a blanket statement by my action. This is a personal decision, nothing more.

Maybe, though, I can love the game better. It's worth a try. I only know that when I dropped my BBWAA card in the mail slot, I immediately felt 80 pounds lighter, just like Jose Canseco 25 years ago.

Dave Newhouse can be reached at (510) 208-6466 or by e-mail at

ed. ANG newspapers is the Alamedia News Group, which is also
part of MediaNews, Inc., which recently purchased the San Jose Mercury News.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

BBWAA member Gil LeBreton doesn't vote....11/10/05

Cy Old story

Obviously, this is why the Baseball Writers Assn. of America doesn't want me voting for them anymore.

National_league_allstar_selectionsNothing against Chris Carpenter or the St. Louis Cardinals, but I strongly disagree with the way my baseball colleagues select the Cy Young Award winners.

As the wire service story reported Thursday afternoon, Carpenter likely won on the basis of his 21-5 record. Second in the balloting was Florida's Dontrelle Willis, who was 22-10. And as the story said, Houston's Roger Clemens was "a distant third."

Stop the insanity. A pitcher's won-loss record may be the least accurate gauge of his overall pitching effectiveness. Exhibit A: Clemens, whose dominance was masterfully reflected by his 1.83 earned run average and the .198 batting average that he allowed opposing hitters.

Carpenter's ERA was 2.83 and his average allowed was .231. Willis' numbers were 2.63 and .243.

Artistically speaking, they weren't even in the Rocket's league.

A pitcher's won-loss record depends on a variety of factors, several of which are beyond his control. Yet, the writers annually will judge the Cy Young winner only on wins and losses.

By the way, though I am a long-time member of the BBWAA, I haven't been asked to vote for anything since 1994, when I followed my conscience and cast my ballot for the best-looking rookie that I had seen that year in the American League. Only two other writers voted with me for Rusty Greer. The rest voted for Kansas City flash-in-the-pan Bob Hamelin. Ridiculous.

|Gil is with the Ft. Worth
Star-Telegram. This from

Monday, August 14, 2006

From Vanity Fair on the demise of the NY Times, August 2006

That's publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.'s, according to Michael Wolff. From his "Panic on 43rd Street":
* "[Sulzberger's] strategy is to have the company face its core mortality -- the inevitable end of a paper world -- and then figure out what of its DNA can survive: Arthur is the baby Superman being jettisoned from planet Krypton. In modern management terms, the brand might theoretically be able to grow even if the physical product falls away."
* "More and more there is the sinking sensation at the Times that the Internet isn't Kansas."
* "With a daily circulation of 260,000 in the five boroughs, it's no longer ... creditably a New York paper. (Its two tabloid competitors, the Daily News and the New York Post, have far more readers in New York City.) It's an Everyman suburban daily."

San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Tim Sullivan quits awards voting

From his Dec. 16, 2005 column:

I shouldn't be casting ballots that can trigger contractual bonuses or endorsement opportunities for athletes I might have occasion to interview. Neither should I accept the responsibility of deciding whether Mark McGwire is still entitled to the presumption of innocence following his clumsy evasions before Congress.

For years, I've had misgivings about voting on awards. Baseball's steroids scandal supplied the last straw. Better to recuse oneself than to render a judgment based on unsubstantiated suspicion. Better to stick to the sidelines than to get in a game in which you never really belonged.

In journalism's post-Jayson Blair credibility quest, several American newspapers have established policies to distance themselves from awards voting. That list now includes the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post and the Associated Press.

"In general, it is inappropriate for reporters to vote on awards and rankings; doing so could reasonably be seen as compromising their objectivity," the Los Angeles Times declared in ethics guidelines published July 13. "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 coverage of that award."

Faced with an eroding electorate, the Baseball Writers' Association of America formed a committee during the recent winter meetings in Dallas to explore awards voting alternatives.

To some baseball writers, this heralds a looming crisis. To me, it represents an inevitable reckoning. To Peter Schmuck, president of the writers association, it is a curious irony. Because Schmuck works for the Baltimore Sun, he is unable to vote.

Enlisting journalists to vote on awards is, foremost, a means of generating publicity. Much as it might appear to flatter your intelligence, the actual goal is to appropriate your ink. In return for recurring ego gratification, reliable subject matter and recognized influence, media types provide priceless amounts of free advertising.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Changing Times in Baseball Awards Voting, 11/16/05

From Riverfront Times by Ben Westhoff, 11/16/05

"Shortly before Cy Young Award-winning hurler Chris Carpenter threw the first pitch of the National League Division Series to San Diego Padres center fielder Dave Roberts, veteran St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball writer Rick Hummel submitted his ballot for the National League's Most Valuable Player. His top choice? Cards first baseman Albert Pujols. Ditto Cardinals beat writer Joe Strauss. "Pujols, Jones and Lee in that order," Strauss imparts via e-mail. "I believe it's the first time I've voted Albert at the top of my ballot."

With yesterday's announcement, the scribes learned they'd picked a winner.

Hummel doesn't always side with the MVP majority. His 2004 top choice, Cards third baseman Scott Rolen, finished fourth, with one first-place vote (Hummel's). Colleague Bernie Miklasz found himself flying solo with his 2004 MVP pick as well: Pujols, who wound up placing third. (MVP ballots contain spaces for scribes to write in ten picks, in descending order of preference, with first-place votes weighing heaviest in the point system used for tallying.)

In 1998 Hummel and then-Post writer Mike Eisenbath were the only voters to pick another losing Cardinal, Mark McGwire, who finished a distant second to the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa.

Hummel says the fact that he covers the home team doesn't affect his picks. "I generally try to vote for the best player on the best team," he says, adding that he voted for seven-time MVP Barry Bonds "at least four times" between 1999 and 2003. "The only thing is, you see [the Cardinals] play every game rather than other guys you might only see ten to twelve times a year, so your judgment is colored. If you're more familiar with a player who's a good player, you might tend to put him high on your list."

Every year baseball scribes representing the Baseball Writers' Association of America cast ballots for four prestigious awards: the MVP, the Cy Young Award (limited to pitchers), Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year. In each of baseball's twenty-five big-league markets, eight votes are distributed, two per award.

Their choices are critical to players' and managers' livelihoods. Besides triggering contract-clause bonuses that can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, BBWAA honors are potentially worth millions come salary-negotiation time, and they burnish the résumés of candidates for enshrinement in baseball's storied hall of fame in Cooperstown, New York — another honor bestowed via BBWAA vote.

Theoretically, "homerism" is a moot point in the awards process: Every home team-favoring baseball writer has a counterpart in the "rival" city. But in recent years, increasing numbers of writers have opted not to participate, potentially skewing the results.

This year, for instance, sports editor Ronnie Ramos told his writers at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution they were not allowedto cast votes. Atlanta Braves center fielder Andruw Jones finished second in the balloting, with thirteen first-place tallies, seventeen second-place nods and two for third place. Pujols earned eighteen first-place votes and fourteen votes for second. (Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee accounted for the rest of the 32 votes.)

"Everybody's writing these stories about how the AJC is gonna cost Andruw Jones the MVP," Ramos said last week. "They're just making the case for why reporters shouldn't be in this business in the first place.

"Their expertise is to be used to put stories in the paper and gather news, not make it," Ramos says of his writers, adding that he doesn't permit them to vote for awards in any sport. "I want to avoid any perception of being involved in something that could affect players' incomes and salaries, in an age when our credibility is at stake.

"You put reporters in a no-win situation," Ramos goes on. "They're expected to vote for Andruw Jones, and if they don't they're sort of going against the local team. Why should it be that two people in St. Louis vote, and the expectation is that they're going to vote for Pujols? That cheapens the entire existence of the award."

Ramos isn't alone. Other news organizations that prohibit sportswriters from voting in year-end baseball awards include the

Though the pool of writers has been shrinking for years, the Journal-Constitution's withdrawal was particularly problematic because it compelled the BBWAA to assign an Atlanta vote outside the Atlanta market. The Journal-Constitution's MVP vote went to's Jayson Stark, based in Philadelphia. Stark put Pujols at the top of his ballot. The region's other MVP ballot was cast by Travis Haney of Morris Publishing Group, which owns three papers in Georgia. Haney, the sole Braves beat writer to vote for NL MVP, says he picked Pujols as well.

Houston Chronicle sportswriter Richard Justice tapped Jones. But he says it may have been his last MVP vote.

"I personally think there are too many issues that smack of conflict for us to continue," Justice comments via e-mail. "My sports editor hasn't decided, but I'd guess he's leaning the same way. There's no way of getting around the fact that many players have bonus clauses for these awards."

"I think if you were just now starting the [BBWAA] awards, there's almost no way it would be set up the way it currently is," posits Mike Berardino of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "When baseball writers started this way back [in 1931], there were no clauses of any sort."

That said, Berardino believes writers make more informed decisions than, say, pitchers.

"I think the Gold Gloves are the biggest joke, and who votes on those?" he explains, referring to annual honors handed out for defensive prowess. "Managers and coaches — and they always factor in hitting, which is ridiculous. You think Greg Maddux is really the best fielder in the league? He's 39 years old."

Rob Neyer, who covers baseball for, says the way to counteract homerism — perceived or real — might be to bar sportswriters from voting for hometown players.

  • "But you could still manipulate the vote," Neyer notes. "For example, if you're in Atlanta and can't vote for Andruw Jones,
  • just put Albert Pujols eighth."

Meantime, the folks in the Post-Dispatch sports department say everybody's getting their sox in a wad over nothing.

"It would be only [a conflict] if it affected the way I wrote about baseball, and it really doesn't," assures columnist Bernie Miklasz. "I wouldn't hesitate to write a column stating a strong opinion about who should win some of these awards, so I don't see the reasons not to actually back up that opinion with a vote. All the years I've voted, I've never known anything at all about who might have a bonus or not. It's something that never even entered my mind."

Seconds Post sports editor Larry Starks: "I haven't thought a whole lot about it, to be honest. I just don't see the conflict. I think it's perfectly OK to vote for awards, especially with the baseball writers. It's such a tradition.""

  • Major points are
  • huge financial rewards, &
  • that Richard Justice and his paper are considering opting out. (sm)

LA Times Ethics Guidelines, 10/25/05

From their document, under the category of "Financial Investments:"

"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."
  • It sounds like they don't want sports reporters writing books about players they cover WHILE COVERING THEM AND VOTING FOR THEM IN THE BBWAA POST SEASON AWARDS:
" Journalists may not work for people or organizations they cover or who are regular subjects of the paper's coverage."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Boston Herald BBWAA voter writes book about David Ortiz--Boston Globe, 6/12/06

A real deal for Herald scribe
For someone so upset about all the ``fake fans" spawned by the Sox success, Herald baseball writer Tony Massarotti sure seems to be capitalizing on the club's popularity. After the Sox won the World Series, you'll recall, Massarotti cashed in with the quick-and-dirty ``A Tale of Two Cities: The 2004 Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry and the War for the Pennant." Now, he's got another book deal, this one with St. Martin's Press, helping Sox slugger David Ortiz write his memoir. Massarotti wrote recently that all new Sox fans are frauds who ``couldn't distinguish between a baseball and a coconut," but he apparently thinks they can read.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wallace Matthews, Richard Neer

"Sheer Gluttony," (echoed by Mark Patrick); Neer, "Obsssssene."

Friday, August 04, 2006

Schmuck named BBWAA pres., 10/27/05,

Updated: Oct. 27, 2005, 5:59 AM ET
Schmuck becomes BBWAA president
Associated Press
Major League Baseball News Wire

HOUSTON -- Peter Schmuck of The Sun in Baltimore was elected president of the Baseball Writers' Association of America and Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland was elected vice president.

Jack O'Connell was re-elected BBWAA secretary-treasurer at Wednesday's meeting before Game 4 of the World Series.

Appointed to board of directors were Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, outgoing president T.R. Sullivan of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.

Will Carroll-speaks to Schmuck 11/22/05--Will, you're wasting your time

  • Will misses the point. The writers must be removed. Your being a supplicant will only delight them.

The Case
2005-11-22 16:00
by Will Carroll

I started to write this to praise Alex Belth. His piece on the death of his friend at Baseball Analysts ranks as one of the top reads this year, perhaps this decade. I often say that good writing makes you think while great writing makes you feel. I'm proud to call Alex a colleague, but honored to call him a friend.

Instead of calling Belth one of the best writers of his generation, something I imagine you already know, I realized that his writing and the rest of the Designated Hitter lineup, put together by Rich Lederer, is not only a great read, but is the best case I've seen for why 'net-based writers deserve recognition.

I've written on more than one occasion, here and at BP, about my desire to have one of those BBWAA cards hanging from my neck someday. I want to go in behind Joe Sheehan, Rob Neyer, Jim Caple, Eric Neel, and the others who blazed the path but I want the card just the same.

I had the chance to meet Jim Caple for the first time at the World Series. Great guy and great writer. It was a meeting that could best be called brief, perhaps in passing. He was grabbing food and was engaged in conversation with Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun ... and incoming President of the BBWAA. I'd been on a couple shows with Schmuck in the wake of the Palmeiro situation, so I had a nice segue into the conversation. Invariably, the conversation came around to net-based writers and Peter was gracious, but like most, doesn't think it will happen.

I know Peter reads BP, so maybe he'll stumble across this -- or maybe I'll send him a link. The awkward case I've tried to make is made brilliantly by the Designated Hitters series. Alex Belth and Eric Neel stand shoulder to shoulder with Bob Klapisch and Kevin Kernan. Even Klapisch, a young buck in the old school, shines given freedom from his format. I'm curious if Rich will continue to get great writing out of good writers, if more will test their metal in his crucible, and whether they'll notice that there are some great writers here, not just good.