Monday, January 08, 2007

Writers and Their Ruses

I hate media controversies. When writers complain about other writers' choices of topics or subject matter, it's like fingernails grating down a chalkboard. Of course I have advocated the neutering of Jay Mariotti's word processor in the past, so I'm not completely innocent of the charge either.

But now comes the Daily Southtown's Paul Ladewski and his absurd baseball Hall of Fame ballot, and I just can't keep silent. He submitted a blank ballot in what he called a test to provide further evidence that the steroid era in baseball wasn't a charade as it concerns first ballot nominees Cal Ripken, Jr., and Tony Gwynn. He says he wants to wait a year or two in case more evidence is uncovered in the ongoing steroid investigations.

But a closer reading of his column explaining his actions reveals a deeper, more hidden agenda:

"Besides, what makes Gwynn and Ripken so special that they deserve to be unanimous selections?

Walter Johnson, Cy Young and Honus Wagner didn't receive such Hall passes. Neither did Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. In fact, nobody has in the history of the game.

Based on the standards set by the Hall of Fame voters decades ago, is there a neutral observer out there who can honestly say Gwynn and Ripken should be afforded an unprecedented honor?"

Is Mr. Ladewski's real problem all the talk about Ripken and Gwynn possibly being unanimous inductees? And is his abstaining from voting on the grounds of possible steroid use just a ruse to hide his indefensible position of not wanting them to have an honor that Ruth, Gehrig and Williams never received?

If steroids were really the question, couldn't he find a few more worthy candidates whose service time didn't conflict with the so-called Steroid Era of 1993-2004?

Say a Jim Rice, perhaps? Or Bert Blyleven? Or maybe even an Andre Dawson?

To summarily reject all Hall of Fame candidates based on his disdain for the possibility of cheating would mean removal from Cooperstown of known spitball pitchers, George Brett and his pine-tar bat, and anyone who may or may not have used a corked bat from time to time. Show me a player from the late '70s to the late '90s who doesn't fall under that cloud of suspicion.

My suspicion is that he just didn't like the idea of anyone being unanimously voted in, but maybe Ladewski's blank ballot was just a political statement on the Steroid Era of baseball. However, if that's truly the case, will he abstain from voting until any and all players from the same era are no longer eligible for the Hall of Fame? Will he turn in a blank ballot next year too? If that's the case, he'll be waiting a long time before he ever votes again.

(Editor's note: In the interest of full disclosure, the Daily Southtown is the one newspaper I actually receive each morning on my porch, and prior to his last column, I'd always considered Mr. Ladewski to be a capable and diligent writer which makes this recent admission and submission that much harder to comprehend.)


Blogger Jeeves said...

He should have owned up to the true reason he was abstaining from voting, because it sounds like he didn't vote because he didn't want Gwynn/Ripken to be voted in unanimously.

If that's truly his reasoning, I can somewhat see where he's coming from. Being a first ballot hall-of-famer has always had a certain added meaning, but being voted in unanimously has been somewhat of a holy grail in baseball. Most baseball fans know that Tom Seaver came the closest to being voted in unanimously. So with that in mind, I can somewhat, sorta, see where he's coming from.

If he was just sending mixed messages and was really abstaining from voting because of steroids, he should have, as you suggested James, rewarded the players from the pre-steroids days

2:07 AM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger Soxually Repressed said...

Heard Ladewski in an interview with morning radio idiot Mike North. His waffling continued. To North's credit (and my eternal surprise), he didn't let the writer off the hook. In fact, he asked many of the same questions asked here. (, in our forum, the people's blog.) Ladewski basically jumped around answering anything that resembled sense.

Gives writers a bad name (much like Heart-block-iotti). If you are going to write an OPINION column, and then proceed to obscure one somewhat idiotic opinion with a vaguely more noble one, well, lots of other dopes (yes, that includes me) could do that.

11:09 AM, January 10, 2007  

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