Literally, at the end of the day yesterday, we were left with this thought on the Hall of Fame voting shenanigans: We all want it both ways.
As a baseball fan, we still appreciate the fact that the our sport's Hall of Fame is the most discerning of all the major North American sports. But then it drives us nuts when players who are probably deserving get hung out to dry for a year or ten as their candidacy gets wrung through thoroughly.
We like the fact that players' careers get a thorough review, although it drives us batty when a minority of the voters bypass the tangible evidence and choose to focus on intangibles like "heart" and the ability the invoke "fear". And with Jim Rice last year and Andre Dawson this year, we've had two consecutive marginal Hall of Famers get in based on those ephemeral, immeasurable qualities which seem only to be known and understood in the addled minds of aging sportswriters.
(And it seems to us as though some of these guys are working hard to get their generation of ballplayers into the Hall while they can, which is a shame.)
As for the writers, it seems like they want to have the authority to elect whoever the hell they want, and they don't want to discuss it with all of you pissants who are too focused on your empirical evidence to understand what imposing physical specimens Dawson or Rice were. At the same time, they'd like for you to please read their column in the Upper Schenectady Community Observer and Bugle as they tell you why they'll never vote for a baseball player who spits, because spitting is abhorrent.
(We don't know how to break it to those guys, but every Major League Baseball playing surface and dugout for the past century has been covered in a layer of salival expactorations. So, you know...maybe we shouldn't get up on our hind legs quite so much about a single moment in time.)
As frustrating as yesterday's result was for Blue Jays fans, we have to acknowledge that the significant majority of voters understood Roberto Alomar's excellence, and recognized that he was a deserving candidate. If we're honest about it, we figured he glean about 80% of the vote, so he came up about 20 votes shy of what we imagined. We imagine that he'll make it in next year, although after yesterday's result, we're not about to bet our house on the whims of a bunch of geriatric jerkwads and grandstanders who comprise 27-odd percent of the voting pool.
At some point yesterday the Globe's Jeff Blair, likely regretting the day that he decided to follow so many Jays fans on Twitter, implored those of us who were losing our shit to "relax", and noted that "we're not curing cancer here". There may be a fair point in there somewhere amongst the disingenuous, clichéed "cancer" argument, although that kinda feels like those moments when Jon Stewart gets cornered on a serious issue and suddenly plays the "Hey! I'm just a comedian!" card.
And beyond that, we figure the reason why there are 400-plus men and women who are rightly or wrongly employed as baseball writers across the continent is because so many of us have placed an outsized importance on the sport.
Yeah, sure. Ultimately, baseball's not important. But that's beside the point, isn't it? Should we all be piling into laboratories in the tens of thousands to observe the Polymerase Chain Reaction assays undertaken by scientists? Rooting for them to defeat cancer? (We're more partial to ELISAs, to tell the truth. Much more viscerally exciting to observe.)
So the Hall of Fame matters, and it doesn't matter. Rant on either way.