As a sports writer, NY Sports Day scribe Wallace Matthews has for years held the honor of a voter for inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He’s voted for drug users, players accused of crimes, and players with abrasive personalities, but now, faced with a vote for Curt Schilling, Matthews finds voting for a conservative a step too far.
In a December 14th article, the New York-based writer published a long rant against voting in the Hall of Fame contest saying that for years he has found his task more of a chore than a pleasure.
Matthews adds a list of things he has worried about over his vote. He complains that he was once verbally dismissed by a player he voted to add to the Hall of Fame and has worried over how he should assess candidates accused of doping and using steroids.
But despite all the problems Major League Baseball players have perpetrated over the years, Matthews says he has always voted in the Hall of Fame contest. But now, faced with voting for Red Sox great and politically-conservative Curt Schilling has become the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Of the former Sox pitcher, Matthews carps, “His personal views have often troubled and at times offended me — he is an unabashed collector of Nazi memorabilia…”
The latter is, of course, a lie. Schilling is a well-known collector of WWII memorabilia, not “an unabashed collector of Nazi memorabilia.” In fact, he loaned a large part of his collection to the D-Day Museum in New Orleans, which would have no interest in a bunch of “Nazi” stuff.
But it appears that Schilling’s recent social media post slamming journalists made the final decision for Matthews.
Matthews whined that he may have voted for Schilling to get into the Hall of Fame anyway. Instead, Matthews decided to join the rest of the media in feigning outrage over a tweet that Schilling had captioned. The tweet, depicted a Trump supporter wearing a t-shirt expressing disdain for journalists.
The shirt read, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required.”
Schilling captioned the tweet, saying, “Ok so much awesome here.”
Obviously, this was meant as a joke. However, Matthews went on to assume that Schilling seriously advocated the “lynching” of journalists, instead of just passing off a joke internet meme as so many do on social media.
“Beyond the offensiveness of any reference to lynching, which is profoundly racist in itself, is the threat to the men and women in my profession,” Matthews lamented, strangely implying that an attack on “journalism” somehow equals “racism.”
Next, after tsk tsking Schilling for advocating violence, Matthews went on to advocate violence himself saying, “if Curt Schilling really wants to ‘lynch’ journalists, he can start with me, in a boxing ring with 10-ounce gloves on. That will put an end to his sick little fantasy.”
Matthews’ pearl-clutching over Schilling’s tweet rings extremely disingenuous, especially considering that one of the most famous baseball players in history, Ty Cobb, actually fits Matthews misguided description of Schilling.
Cobb, believed by many to be a racist, was implicated in several altercations with blacks including one that led to an attempted murder charge. And how much did Hall of Fame voters hold Cobb’s racist, violent past against him? They held it against him so much that Cobb received 222 of 226 votes for induction in 1936.
So an actual racist with a violent past can win near unanimous entry, but Matthews surrenders his vote over a non-racist, with no history of violence?
In the end, as far as Matthews is concerned, he can’t vote for Curt Schilling. Matthews concludes that the former player and Hall of Fame nominee’s conservative views make him “an actual menace to society.”
About the only truthful thing in Matthews’ long screed was one of his closing lines: “The Hall, of course, will go on quite nicely without my vote.”
One might suggest that sports reporting might go on quite well without him, too.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.