BBWAA Watchdog is dedicated to exploring the voting records of the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Their general secrecy about their members, their refusal to open their ranks to journalists outside of the print media, and, primarily, their awful voting history for baseball's highest awards, demand that their collective words and deeds be documented and critically examined.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

An Overdue Post

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. (Man, I bet my Latin-speaking, old-time Catholic mother is proud right now.)

I abjectly apologize for not only failing to post anything for a long, long time, but for also failing to post anything that explained why I would be MIA. My bad. Without further ado, a few catch up thoughts:
  • Me and the family were in Disney World for more than a week, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as you would expect. It was hot as blazes, really humid, it rained every afternoon from 2:30 to 4:00, the lines were long and everything you bought cost at least 50% more than it should have, and were had a blast anyway. The experience of seeing your kids' faces when they enter the Magic Kingdom, or when they meet Snow White, or get off their first roller coaster that goes upside down is worth every stinkin' penny.

  • One of the days we were there, we drove over to Tampa-St. Pete to catch a Red Sox/Devil Rays game. It's my second dome, and I'll say this; they try hard. There's a great scoreboard with great information provided on it, the sound system is outstanding, the seats were pretty inexpensive, and the views were outstanding. And I still hated it. Playing a baseball game indoors just plain sucks.

  • One other note; the parking situation at Tropicana Field is the worst I've ever experienced at a major league stadium. We got to the freeway exit for the stadium, with the dome in plain site about 200 yards away, at about 5:45 for a 7:10 game. We barely got to our seats in time to see the first pitch. That's nearly an hour and a half from highway exit to seat, for those of you counting. With a decent opponent in town, the Trop's few parking lots filled up quickly, and not being quite far enough into the downtown area to have other parking facilities close by, people were stuffing their cars into any space they could find. I followed a line of cars into an empty field about a mile from the stadium that was used, at least in part, by homeless people who sheltered themselves under the one available tree. That's where we parked, and that's where we had to go to get our car after the game, in a dark, somewhat industrial area of St. Petersburg. In the rain. Wake up, St. Petersburg. If you're going to force people to watch baseball indoors, and you don't have a decent public transportation system to allow people to ride instead of drive, then the least you could do is spring for sufficient parking. As it is, you're sending the clear message that you never expect to draw more than 20,000 fans on a regular basis, because you've clearly made no plans to handle the traffic.

  • On a note far more in keeping with the intent of this site, I was very pleased to see the changes to the voting process for the Veterans' Committee that were outlined by the Hall of Fame. Not only did they separate the voting process for managers, executives, umpires and the like, a step that was long overdue and may finally result in some worthy inductions from those groups, but they weakened the power of the BBWAA in the process. Those groups will now be screened by a committee consisting mostly of Hall of Fame members, executives and historians, with only a few veteran writers involved. On top of that, the veteran players on the ballot will not only be fewer, creating a greater chance for a 75% majority necessary for election, but the voting will only be done by Hall of Fame players, specifically excluding the Ford Frick and J.G. Taylor Spink award winners who used to be part of the process. In other words, no more BBWAA doing the voting. A BBWAA-appointed overview committee will still be determining most of the ballot, but now a committee of six Hall of Fame players will appoint five others to the ballot. Overall, these changes lessen the power of the BBWAA, always a good thing, while making it more likely that deserving players, executives, umpires and the like will finally be elected. Sounds like a win-win to me. Kudos to the Hall of Fame for taking action.

That's it for now. I'm currently working on a more in-depth analysis of voting patterns on the Hall of Fame ballots. A cursory look at a half-dozen ballots from the early 1980s leads me to believe that there are some severe, documentable biases in the BBWAA's voting patterns, as hinted at in my last post. It's a somewhat tedious process to get all of the data into a format that lends itself to detailed analysis, so please be patient. I believe the results will be well worth the wait.


Anonymous said...


Love the site.

I want to write a paper analyzing HOF ballots. Do you know where to get data on each members' HOF ballots? Or is this confidential? I know some writers publicly reveal their ballots? Has anyone assembled this? Is this available at Cooperstown?

I would greatly appreciate any advice you could give.

My e-mail is: neilm@stanford.edu



Anonymous said...


Please also evaluate how a player with the worst fielding percentage in the majors can be named Rookie of the Year. Ryan Braun is deservedly the best rookie hitter in the NL, but isn't Rookie of the Year supposed to be about the total package and overall contribution to the team?

I guess we can't blame the BBWAA too much. The coaches and managers didn't perform any better with their Gold Glove choices.

Frustated Rockies Fan