Because we care about the players and the players care about the Hall of Fame.
The average player probably was on his high school team and before that may have played some little league or grade school ball. From there either he went to college or straight to the minors. There are exceptions to that, but again this is the average player. Some players last through their 30s; others burn out. Either way, that’s at least a decade of dedication to the game. Hate Barry Bonds for any reason you want, but his first wife is baseball and his long-time mistress is breathing.
The pay is good and the fame is probably pretty sweet at times too, but let’s not ignore the disappointment that some of these guys feel when the Hall call never comes. Yet we care about the snubs. We make case after case for the snubs. The competitiveness and glory-seeking doesn’t simply vanish upon filing of retirement papers. Jon Heyman Tweeted that if Jack Morris played on non-World Series teams, he wouldn’t consider Morris a Hall of Famer. Think about that for a moment. His vote for Morris is based almost entirely on luck; meanwhile, Bert Blyleven’s candidacy is in the shadows over bad luck with certain metrics. Life is funny, isn’t it?
The guys like Blyleven and Tim Raines have a type of fan support that some would describe as obnoxious. They’d say that some people need to remove their nose from the spreadsheet because the game isn’t played on Baseball-Reference.com. Besides being a silly thing to say, those people miss the point. Rich Lederer, Jonah Keri, and Tom Tango didn’t waste those words to come off as omniscient or as holier than the non-believers. They spent those words because they care about those players and 99.9% of all Hall cases are based on numbers, just not the numbers that make sense to people like them.
And you know why those guys care about the players? Not because of their numbers – although they certainly help – but because in the end, those players enhanced the game-watching and -attending experience. Keep that in mind the next time someone writes a piece bemoaning the deserving nature of a future candidate. The motive isn’t to be a pain in the neck or trendy. It’s an exhibit of appreciation earned through merit.
Isn’t that what the Hall should really represent?
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