MILLER: So, the results are in, and to the surprise of few, it’s John Shuerholz and Bud Selig going to the Hall.
ERIC: Selig’s election was about as surprising as winter snowfall in New England.
MILLER: I have to say that I don’t understand all of the anger in the Twitter world about Selig’s election.
ERIC: You are very kind to hang a slider to me. He treated baseball fans like fools, held municipalities hostage, canceled the World Series, colluded with other teams against free agents, approved horrible owners and denied folks like Mark Cuban who actually wanted to win games from owning teams, etc etc etc. He represents for many people, the money-grubbingest, most deceitful, and most informationspeak aspects of the game we love. Which isn’t to say he didn’t do good things…but most everything he did do felt laden with ulterior motives. There’s a sense that he’s the George W. Bush to the owners’ Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/Cheney machinations. Right down to the doofusy public speaking gaffes.
MILLER: You’re welcome. And I hung it so I could say the following. We disagree. Why is it that baseball is unlike any other business in the minds of fans? We’re a group, basically, of capitalists. We generally don’t begrudge private companies for making the money they make. Sure, many object to Walmart busting unions. And lots of people would prefer a higher minimum wage. But we’re proud of those who can make money. It’s the American way.
ERIC: People resent capitalists all the time. We resent drug companies for jacking up the prices of drugs because we recognize that public health is a higher good than some company’s profiteering. Especially when it might affect us someday. What we really resent are bad actors and profiteers. I believe that what sports fans dislike is when the bad actors intrude on the game itself. Whether literally on the field (by canceling the World Series) or by colluding to rob teams of potential acquisitions. No one is complaining about MLBAM. What they are complaining about is that Bud Selig was the captain of a crew of mercenaries who routinely threatened to take the game away in some fashion if their profiteering demands weren’t met. No one likes a bully. Especially one with a fountain pen.
MILLER: A bully? Seriously? His job was to get the most for his constituents. It just so happens those constituents are billionaires. Anyway, if we agreed that Selig’s job was to please the fans, we’d agree that he failed. If we agreed it was his job to please the owners, we’d agree he succeeded.
We’ve talked about these issues a lot at this point, and I don’t expect we’re going to suddenly start agreeing. So I have another angle. The Twittersphere seems replete with folks saying Selig’s election opens the door for the election of steroid guys. The line of thinking is that since Hall of Famer Selig ran the show during the so-called steroid era, steroid using players will/should now receive BBWAA votes. I think this notion is a bit silly. You?
ERIC: Yes, we can agree that the Twitter steroid stuff makes little sense. Selig positioned himself as the champion of not-steroids. Why, then, would his election suddenly fling the doors of the Coop open to roiders? What’s much more likely is that the election of one is not connected to the election of the others. What reasoning would suggest that there’s any connection when there are two different voting bodies involved?
MILLER: No good reasoning. That’s for sure. So we’re happy about Schuerholz, right?
ERIC: Absolutely. I’m a little surprised that he gained unanimity (and that Selig didn’t), but in a sixteen-person vote there’s no telling.
MILLER: Hey, even Griffey wasn’t perfect. Are you bothered by the fact that these Veterans Committees seem not to elect players anymore? It’s only Ron Santo and Deacon White since 2008.
ERIC: I am not terribly bothered this specific year by the lack of an elected player. In this inaugural version of the Today’s Game ballot, there simply aren’t many great and overlooked players to go around. That’s because a lot of Today’s Game’s most overlooked players are still busily being overlooked by the BBWAA. The good news in this election is that we’ve cleared the decks a bit by getting Selig and Schuerholz out of the way. When next this committee meets, the players will have more room to shine. With these two suits gobbling up two spots on every ballot, it forced the other eight people to scrabble for 33 elect-me slots. No wonder no one else got more than five votes.
MILLER: The fun for us is that we get to elect two more to our Pioneer/Executive wing!