Voting Woes in Sports and Politics: Character Matters--Sometimes
This year, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) had before them perhaps one of the most star-studded Hall of Fame ballots in the last 75 years, and they did not vote one person into Cooperstown.
Players like Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, and Sammy Sosa were on the ballot this year, and for the first time since 1996, the BBWAA did not elect anyone because this group of players was tainted by the "steroid era."
When I looked at the Hall of Fame ballot, and saw that not one player had been voted in, I was by no means shocked. It did however spark a thought in my head. The BBWAA got its votes right this time by taking the "character clause" seriously. That is the only reason why players such as Clemens and Bonds did not get into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.
Meanwhile, American society often does not use the equivalent of a "character clause" in its elections. Oftentimes, the public does not even consider merit when voting.
Time and time again, we have seen crooked, corrupt, incompetent politicians voted back into office. The most recent example of America's inability to elect the right man for the job was President Barack Obama's reelection despite his terrible economy.
Does the BBWAA act more like the Electoral College? Does it mirror the House Ethics Committee? Or is the BBWAA baseball’s version of the mainstream media?
In response to the question I asked above, the BBWAA is baseball’s example of the mainstream media. During the final push toward the election, economic growth was at 1.5%, unemployment at around 8% had become a chronic issue, and Obama surged in the polls.
And the mainstream media's "gaffe patrol" slammed Romney. Remember the 47% comment reported by Mother Jones, the left-leaning publication, in September 2012? The media managed to pump out 42 stories, totaling 90 minutes of coverage over a three day period, which prompted ABC to call this a “political earthquake” and a “bombshell rocking the Mitt Romney campaign." Partisan fact-checking was spewed out to liberal rags all over the country. There were left-leaning moderators controlling the presidential debates. Let us not forget the mainstream media never brought up the economy, no matter how bad it was.
When Obama was reelected in November of 2012, many so-called "political experts" walked away with pie on their faces because they had guaranteed Mitt Romney had the election in the bag. But the mainstream media controlled much of the narrative that demonized Romney and hyped Obama.
The same people who wrote about steroids in baseball, whether before or after the "steroid era," are the same writers who could have put these players into Cooperstown. These writers were not as antagonistic against these players while they played.
But after their careers were over, these same writers did not see Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa fit to be a part of baseball’s most prestigious group.
When one looks at the BBWAA and the mainstream media, it becomes apparent that those in power seem to have the ability to pick and choose who is voted into any important position, even though the baseball writers voted correctly this time. These writers serve as the ultimate gatekeepers, excluding some members and embracing others based on standards that seem to be arbitrary at times.
When those in power tilt the tables in their own favor, it is time for someone somewhere to step up. The question going forward is, who will it be in my beloved United States of America?