December 28, 2009
Ah, the week between Christmas and New Year's. It's traditionally a time when most of baseball remains shut down and the only baseball "news" comes via the casting of Hall of Fame ballots (and the subsequent mocking of those votes) before the announcement of the next Cooperstown class on Jan. 6.
Thanks to the magic of the Internet, we now have a way to track the running vote totals.
Also, borderline candidates like pitcher Bert Blyleven now have an easy way to share their first-person agony while presenting their own case for the Hall.
"It hasn't been easy going through this process every year. I've been frustrated at times, and I've been angry. But that doesn't get you anywhere. After awhile you just learn to accept it. I think I've gotten to the point where I'm kind of numb this time of year. The sad part is that I think I do have Hall of Fame numbers, but I feel like I have to defend them because people want to pick them over, and almost belittle what I've done. That to me is the negative part of this time of year."
The outspoken Blyleven — who was one of our best Answer Men ever — then proceeds to write a Posnanski-length defense of his own portfolio and why the 13th time should be a charm for his 287 wins and the fifth-highest career strikeout total.
I'm assuming that self-campaigning is seen as distasteful by many, but I don't have a problem with Blyleven's stump speech(es). If you're proud of your numbers and think they warrant inclusion in the Hall of Fame, what's wrong with stating your case?
If I had a Cooperstown vote, I'd be among the many who think that Bert belongs. Still, there's a part of me that think that Blyleven ironically maintains more "fame" by remaining on the outside looking in. If he makes up another 12.3 percent to reach the 75 percent mark this time around (Bert received 62.7 percent in 2009), he'll have to keep saying crazy things to remain in the spotlight. Right, Jim Rice?