Effectively Wild Episode 1792: Should Old Infractions Be Forgot

Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley discuss Ben’s decision regarding his Hall of Fame ballot, and how to handle Hall of Fame voting in the future. Then (38:05) they complete their series of discussions of Korean baseball drama Stove League by breaking down the last four episodes (13-16) and reflecting on the series as a whole.

Audio intro: Blood Red Shoes, “Count Me Out
Audio outro: Sloan, “Your Dreams Have Come True

Link to latest HoF election projection
Link to 2016 Ortiz comments
Link to 2020 Ortiz story
Link to first EW Stove League discussion
Link to second EW Stove League discussion
Link to third EW Stove League discussion
Link to Pengsoo Wikipedia page
Link to stream Stove League via Viki

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Robert Gracemember
2 years ago

I appreciate Ben’s thoughtfulness in approaching the Hall of Fame ballot and explaining his decision to abstain. But, with great respect, I disagree with that decision and hope he will reconsider next year.

I offer my opinion not as an attack, but as feedback from a longtime reader and to stimulate discussion (if anyone is interested).

Ben laid out a sound rationale for not wanting to celebrate certain players — both because of the rules and because of his own reassessment of actions that called their character into question.

I understand the critique of the Hall’s using character criteria in the first place. However, I question how abstaining will have any effect on them. Why would the Hall place value on the opinion of a writer who opts not to exercise their most important privilege?

More fundamentally, it sounded as if Ben would have had serious reservations about voting to celebrate (for example) an abuser and watch him get honored at the induction ceremony. That’s an important position to advance.

Influential, empowered people need to make decisions that affirm their beliefs, not defer to others to make those decisions on their behalf, or opt out of making a decision because an institution is imperfect. (They all are.)

Ben also said there was at least one candidate (Scott Rolen) who met all of the stated Hall of Fame criteria, in his judgment.

Why not vote to celebrate Rolen, then, along with any other such player?

Next year, I hope that Ben will exercise his voting privilege affirmatively, and help decide who gets celebrated at the induction ceremony. I care about the Hall of Fame, and I want Ben and other such thoughtful people to exercise their power and actively shape it into a contemporary institution that grows and changes alongside our society.