Bill Madden Represents Everything That Is Wrong With The BBWAA

As you may have heard, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America recently made headlines by voting to not send any of the eligible candidates into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, despite the fact that several of them certainly have the resumes to justify their inclusion. Many of these writers have showered themselves with praise in the aftermath of the vote, despite a large amount of public criticism in response to their decision. I have angrily read through several of these writers’ defenses of their organization’s decision, but it wasn’t until Richard Deitshch tweeted out a link to Bill Madden’s article in the NY Daily News that I finally reached my boiling point. I’ve decided to give it the FJM treatment, because the self-righteousness and pretentiousness that Madden exhibits in this column is truly something to behold.

Baseball Hall of Fame voters did the right thing keeping Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza out of Hall of Fame this time around

I’ll be honest, I’m a fairly judgmental person. If I read books, I would definitely judge them by their covers. That said, the line above was the title of this article. Now typically, I would see something like this and know that I should probably just move on, but I was in a particularly masochistic mood when I came across this article, and it did not disappoint.

It is important to note, too, that there were only five blank ballots cast this year — as opposed to nine a year ago — so there was no concerted effort on the writers’ part to subvert the process because of the steroids issue.

This was the sub-title. (I think that’s what it’s called, anyway) Remember folks, the best way to prove your innocence is to present specific evidence in your defense prior to bringing up the accusation.

By mimicking Congress on the deficit debate and kicking the steroid needles down the road for another year, the Baseball Writers Association of America made a powerful statement Wednesday that it does take the integrity/sportsmanship clause in the Hall of Fame ballot seriously and that the writers plan to look long and hard at all the proven and suspected cheats before awarding them a plaque in Cooperstown.

…and we’re off! Bold move, comparing yourself to a wildly unpopular branch of government that is currently sitting below a 25% approval rating, and coming off a deficit debate that very few people on either side of the aisle were satisfied with. Bold move, indeed.

The integrity/sportsmanship clause is fucking stupid, and a plethora of writers have used it to shield themselves from the negative reaction to their own stupidity. The root of the question that these writers faced is simple: Did any of the eligible candidates do enough throughout their careers to be honored alongside baseball’s all-time greats? That’s what a Hall of Fame is supposed to be, but due to the self-righteousness of many of these voters, the spirit of the law has taken a backseat to the letter of the law, which they have used as justification for their own stupidity.

So let all the whining begin: Change the system! Fire the baseball writers! Get rid of the clause!

I’ll admit it. This is a clever technique out of Madden. He knew that there would be tremendous backlash to the BBWAA’s vote, and he had already anticipated some of the solutions that would be suggested. Rather than address these solutions individually, he trivialized his opposition by referring to any negative response as “whining.”

Bill Madden just gave his entire audience the journalistic equivalent of “U MAD BRO?”

To those critics of the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA, I can only say: Save your breath. The system isn’t going to be changed because it is working — and has worked just fine since the first Hall of Fame election in 1936.

The only reason anybody is critical of the Hall of Fame is because the BBWAA has positioned themselves as the sole entity worthy of determining who deserves to be enshrined there.

As for the second point, now seems like a good time to mention that Pete Rose is not in the Hall of Fame. He is the all-time MLB hits leader, and one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Yet, if you took your child to Cooperstown someday, you’d never know that he existed. As of right now, neither the all-time hits leader, nor the all-time home runs leader are included in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The system is broken.

The Baseball Writers aren’t going to be replaced because,

Finally! It’s about time we receive a legitimate explanation for why the BBWAA should continue to be responsible for the Hall of Fame selections. That is what we’re about to get, right?

by tossing a shutout and relegating Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens to 36.2% and 37.6% of the vote, respectively, they merely reaffirmed how hard it is — and how special it is — to get into the Hall of Fame, while at the same time upholding the integrity of the game.

MOTHER FUCKER! That isn’t an explanation at all! All he did was summarize the results of the vote, and try to give some meaning to them. Is it hard to get into the Hall of Fame? Sure. That’s why inclusion should be reserved for players whose accomplishments are truly exceptional! Only those who truly exhibited greatness are worthy; like the guy who hit the ball more times than anybody else that ever played in MLB, or the guy who just happens to be the all-time MLB home runs leader!

It is important to note, too, that there were only five blank ballots cast this year — as opposed to nine a year ago — so there was no concerted effort on the writers’ part to subvert the process because of the steroids issue.

I feel like we’ve seen this before..

To those crying out for broadcasters, bloggers and fans to be included in the voting process: Take any group of 600 people, comprise it with anyone you want, broadcasters, fans, whoever, and I guarantee you they would not elect Bonds or Clemens and probably not vote for Craig Biggio or Jack Morris either.

I have yet to hear one person cry out for, or even suggest that broadcasters, bloggers and fans should be included. A 13-man “Selection Committee” made up of legendary managers, administrators, journalists and Hall of Famers would probably be a better suggestion.

Getting 75% isn’t easy — which is why the exclusivity of the Baseball Hall of Fame makes it the only Hall of Fame that anybody cares about, at least with the kind of passion this election has evoked.

The only reason this election has evoked so much passion is because this is the only Hall of Fame that routinely rejects players that deserve to be admitted! If Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin were both kept out of Canton because of Irvin’s off-the-field behavioral issues, people would have a pretty big fucking problem with that too. The difference is, the NFL’s Hall of Fame committee doesn’t view themselves as the ultimate authority on how the league should be remembered through the annals of time.

I also appreciated how he immediately backed away from his assertion that Cooperstown is the only Hall of Fame anybody cares about by softening it with the “passion” clause. You can almost see the self-righteousness oozing through his hands and onto his keyboard as he was typing this up.

As great a player as the highest vote-getter, Biggio, was, with his 3,060 hits, 414 stolen bases, 291 homers and 688 doubles (fifth-most), he wasn’t the kind of first-ballot no-brainer as, for example, Greg Maddux, who headlines next year’s ballot, is.

The multiple-ballot system is a fucking joke. Tell me, Bill, what precisely does it take to be distinguished as a “first-ballot no-brainer” Hall of Famer?

I am fairly certain the Hall of Fame hierarchy

Who’s that?

is more than happy to endure the one-year pain of this shutout, content in the knowledge that exclusivity and integrity were upheld and that the writers will be electing someone, probably a lot of someones, every year for the foreseeable future.

We have now reached the point where he’s responding to a self-administered performance review. Good news, he got an A!

Next year’s ballot will have Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina.

Frank Thomas could very easily get snubbed because of his notoriously contentious relationship with the media. The same goes for Jeff Kent, who is also coming off of a lackluster performance on the most recent season of Survivor. How would their induction affect the integrity of the Hall?

The year after, the ballot will have Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz. And the year after that, it will be Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman.


It will be at least another year until the Baseball Hall of Fame gets a new plaque.

We know.

But to those who are crying out to lift the voting restriction of only 10 choices on the ballot and make it 15 or more, that would only make it harder to elect someone. Remember, in 1936, the voters were asked to consider every player in the history of baseball, and it went on like that for years.

That’s right! Thanks for reminding me.

But little by little, the writers got it done, at least as far as electing all the truly elite players, and there are players on this ballot — Biggio, Curt Schilling, Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza — who will likely also get elected down the road, if not next year.

It’s like a real-life reset button for the writers! What a world we’re living in!

It’s a process.

So is filing an insurance claim, that doesn’t make it a good thing.

In 31 years of voting, I have never checked off more than seven names. I suspect next year I will need the full 10 quota.

Geoff Jenkins or bust! Let’s get the campaign started.

This year, I voted for Biggio, Morris, Schilling and Fred Mc-Griff. I will never vote for any player known to have used steroids.

It would only be appropriate to take any current Hall of Fame member who was known to have use “greenies” and remove them, right Bill?

As we all know, the best way to address something controversial is to pretend that it never happened.

So why not Piazza, who, though consistently suspected of using steroids, never tested positive and wasn’t named in the Mitchell Report? I, apparently like many others, feel I need more time and more information before I cast my vote for Piazza.

You hear that, Piazza? You’d better be on your best behavior for the next 365 days if you want the Gods of Cooperstown Admission to smile upon your name.

For one thing, I’m a little curious as to why he postponed the publication date on his autobiography until after the Hall of Fame election.

That should have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on whether or not he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. What the fuck does that have to do with anything?!

But the very fact that he finished fourth, at 57.8% and far ahead of Bonds and Clemens, tells me he is getting in eventually — barring some revelations forthcoming about him from the steroid underworld.

You acknowledge that there has been no real evidence against him, and yet you still withhold your vote because of speculation? Here’s a little life tip, Bill. If you are ever selected for jury duty, do everything you possibly can to get yourself removed from it. You would be doing all of society a favor.

So let the debate rage on for another year if it must, but, please, spare me the whining about changing the electorate, eliminating the integrity/sportsmanship clause, expanding the number of candidates a writer can vote for or reducing the 75% requirement.

“Don’t even think about trying to get me fired you inferior specimens!”

Much as I hate being compared with Congress,


I have no problem with the baseball writers not electing someone this year while asking for more time to digest the steroid issue.

By this point your readers have no doubt that you are satisfied with the outcome of the vote. You don’t need to reiterate it.

As far as I’m concerned, the process worked

We get it.

again —

We still get it.

and I am confident the BBWAA will elect plenty of deserving candidates in the years to come.

REALLY?! Why didn’t ya say so before?!

As for Bonds and Clemens, they can be happy the BBWAA at least has 14 more years to think about them.

Why in god’s name would they be happy about that?!

“There’s always next year” is something that adults tell children because they don’t feel like dealing with an entire day of pouting and tears. Nobody with any competitive spirit actually believes that shit.

My only hope is that the rest of the writers come to their senses and vote these guys in, if for no other reason to spare the American public from being exposed to 14 more of these condescending, self-righteous columns from Bill Madden.

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4 Responses to Bill Madden Represents Everything That Is Wrong With The BBWAA

  1. Baseball fan says:

    Bravo Sgt. Bill Madden should be ashamed for his actions. Mike Piazza should not be denied Hall of Fame because of innuendo talk.

  2. Erg says:

    Finest Kind, Sgt. Hammerclaw.

  3. BirdLaw says:

    The guys with the best numbers of their generation probably cheated. Keep ’em out!
    The guys that probably didn’t cheat didn’t have the best numbers. Keep ’em out, too!

    The process has worked.

Comments are closed.