The above photograph is of Roberto Alomar and his son after they learned the retired second baseman hadn’t made the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The picture is heartbreaking, in that Alomar is a hands-down, no-questions-asked Hall of Famer, and a handful of self-righteous BBWA dolts took it upon themselves to deter his entrance (Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald wrote this wonderful piece on Alomar’s omission).
As anyone who reads this blog knows, I don’t love calling out other writers. I think this can be an extremely hard job, and the quality of a person’s literary work is extremely subjective. I get letters saying I’m the worst writer ever, and I get letters from people saying they love what I do. Different strokes for different folksâ€”which is the way it should be.
That said, scattered throughout America are a handful of scribes who serve primarily to harm our profession. They are cartoonish buffoons who live for the spotlight; who do this job not because they cherish the written word or love sports or desire to see what makes people tick. No, they do it simply for attention; so that, in the days after they pen something provocative or scream loudly on TV how so-and-so bites, people will react. They’ll call, write, e-mail, textâ€”and the so-called journalist will embrace every minute. His ego is enormous and his skin is thick, and his ultimate goal is to have his name in bright letters as the headliner of an ESPN talk show. (If you’re thinking, “Look who’s talking,” I understand the perception. But I assure you, my love is writing and reporting. As I’ve said, this blog is a vent, and it’s fun. But books are my true calling).
I’ve never met Jay Mariotti, but, for the love of God and the sake of our profession, I wish he’d take a lengthy pilgrimage to Mecca (a la Malcolm X) to look deep within himself and reexamine his reasons for existing. Because, right now, all Jay does is SCREAM. He screams in his writing, he screams in his podcast, he screams on those ludicrous TV shows. He screams when he whispers and he screams when he screams. His mouth opens, and you hear this.
I’m sure Jay has talent. Hell, he can write very nicely. But that’s been lost behind garbage like this, uttered the other day on his podcast:
I didn’t vote for anybody in the baseball hall of fame this year. Ya know why?Â To me … the first ballot is sacred. I think Roberto Alomar is an eventual Hall of Famer, not the first time. Edgar Martinez, designated hitter, eventually, but not the first time. Same goes for maybe Fred McGriff. As far as Blyleven and Dawson … if they haven’t gotten in for years and years I cannot vote them in now. Ripken, Rickey Henderson and Gwynn. They are true first ballot Hall of Famers, but I didn’t vote for anybody, throw me out of the Baseball Writers. I don’t care.
I agreeâ€”throw him out. Render him voiceless. Move on and depend on people who actually pay attention to the game. Because this sort of thing is a jokeâ€”yet another self-righteous, can’t-touch-me writer creating his own rules for Hall voting.
Jay, just don’t vote. You show them.