Yesterday I read one of the most galling sports columns I’ve seen in a long time. It was actually published Jan 1, but I don’t normally notice the San Diego Union-Tribune nor columnist Nick Canepa. I was culling through articles about the baseball Hall of Fame voting and ran across it. After all, the results of this year’s vote get announced next week, and it’s not like MLB itself is doing anything to hold our attention. Anyway, having read the column, I will now file him with Murray Chass among writers whose works I intentionally do not read. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/sports-columnists/story/2022-01-01/column-nick-canepas-sez-me-column%3f_amp=true
My first issue is that he submitted a blank ballot, for the second straight year. That puts us in immediate disagreement. He’s clearly an extreme “small Hall” guy, writing that it should be harder to gain access to the HoF than to the Vatican archives (with its priceless documents kept in humidity controlled vaults, some documents of which are over 1000 years old). That ship has already sailed; the Hall is not the elite of the elite, more like the top 1-2% of ball players. It is first and foremost a museum and tourist attraction. It would be an out of business one if the voters all thought his way. That line of thinking doesn’t really irritate me though; I just disagree and point out it’s not in keeping with the reality of what the Hall is.
He then proceeded to justify his blank ballot. First, he said he would never vote for “druggies.” Very professional, clearly well thought out and not influenced by emotion at all. He, of course, means known/presumed PED users rather than recreational drug use. I won’t rehash why my view is different from his here—it’d take too long, and I’ve written my opinion of PED use before.
Next, he wrote that he will never vote for a DH. I was bored yesterday but not enough to check the veracity of his claim by seeing if he ever voted for Frank Thomas or Paul Molitor who were both DHs for a significant plurality of their careers…or any of a number of poor fielding players who were not DHs but should have been and yet are in the HoF now. No, I just find it ridiculous that—after 50 years of its existence in the AL and likely to be MLB-wide whenever the next CBA is agreed upon—he still thinks DHs are “not real baseball players.” One can reasonably prefer the game without the DH; one cannot reasonably state that the player assigned to a position he does not like is somehow therefore not worthy of respect or recognition.
Yet he did not stop digging there. He went on to state that, if he does not vote for a player on their first ballot, he never will. After all, the player is retired and cannot change who he was, right? Right? Thus he has no need to ever reconsider a player, or listen to other viewpoints, or accept there are things he might have forgotten. The stance is incredibly arrogant. Good thing others don’t think that way or not-elected-on-the-first-ballot players like Yogi Freakin’ Berra would not be in the Hall of Fame.