At 10 am today, the Baseball Hall of Fame launches the annual fan voting campaign for the Ford Frick Award, their recognition of career excellence in the field of baseball broadcasting. And while there are several broadcasters who we feel worthy of recognition, and whose enshrinement we would wholeheartedly support, we will not participate in the Hall of Fame's fraudulent mockery of the fans by voting on their Facebook page.
Before we go further, let's take a second to lay out precisely what the process for the Frick Award is: The fans click and click and click away over the next month, voting for their preferred candidates from the hundreds of broadcasters with more than 10 consecutive years of broadcasting experience. At the end of that month, someone scrapes off the top three names, and they are added to seven other finalists (whose provenance is unclear). Then, a jury of 20 individuals, including former Frick winners and baseball historians enters a star chamber and they select one of the ten names from that list.
And none of this is to suggest that the name that they will select this year will be someone who is unworthy. We're certain that there will be a segment of the baseball community who will be overjoyed at the selection, and somewhere deep down, we still carry a barely-flickering light of hope that Tom Cheek will be the name that they announce when that group emerges from behind closed doors.
If there were overwhelming support for a particular candidate amongst the fans, we suspect that it would only create more distance between their candidacy and the jury's affirmation. After seeing both Cheek and former Expos announcer Jacques Doucet fall short last season, in spite of outpacing the field with vote totals almost four times larger than the third place Joe Nuxhall, we can't imagine what sort of a groundswell of popular support would be necessary to put them over the top in the eyes of those who hold the only 20 votes that matter. We can't imagine a scenario where our votes are going to positively influence the voters towards our particular choices, and we actually fear that the fan's choices on the final ballot may carry a certain taint to them in the eyes of that august group
Call us cynical, but after years of hoping and wishing and campaigning for Cheek, we find ourselves unable and unwilling to participate in a program which is meant primarily to give the fans an illusion of input. There's nothing about the Hall's campaign that makes us think that our input is necessary or desired by anyone but a junior communications officer with the responsibility for social influence marketing. And we're not going to play along with this charade any longer.
If you feel like you want to contribute to the candidacies of Cheek, Doucet, Don Chevrier or any other baseball voice that you hold dear, and you feel as though the Facebook voting is the best that you can muster, then go ahead and vote. It sucks to feel as though you have no voice in something like this, and if the illusion set forth by the Hall of Fame is enough to assuage you, then have at it.
But if we're being a little more pragmatic about it, there are really only 20 people who are going to make the decision this year and for the years going forward, and the best bet that anyone has to get sneak Tom Cheek through the front door in Cooperstown is to positively influence those individuals.
So if you happen to run into Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Milo Hamilton, Jaime Jarrin, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Dave Niehaus, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker, Bob Wolff, Bob Costas, Barry Horn, Stan Isaacs, Ted Patterson or Curt Smith in the coming months, then put in a good world for your candidate of choice. It will be a much more effective use of your time than indulging the Hall's PR machine with your interest.
How wrong can one tweet be?
Speaking of the Frick: Yesterday, noted SPORTS JOURNALIST Steve Simmons tweeted the following:
"For the 8th straight year, the late Tom Cheek is nominated for Ford Frick HOF award. Maybe this is the year he finally wins."
Let's take a second here to break down all 140 characters here. First off, Cheek hasn't been nominated for anything yet. He's just eligible to be nominated, as are literally hundreds of other active and retired broadcasters. (Chip "Fisted!" Caray is on the same footing as Cheek at this point, just for the sake of clarity.)
Secondly, it is not the eighth year that Cheek has been nominated. Cheek has been eligible since 1984, and has been a finalist for the past five years.
But then again, we're just a blogger, so what do we know?