Monday, January 09, 2012

Neither of the two LA chapter baseball writers that voted for NL MVP is a traveling beat writer, Ted Lilly noticed

An MLB.com article cites baseball awards problems but doesn't mention recent example of Eric Gagne. The article allows readers to believe MLB.com employees don't vote in baseball awards which isn't so. On the plus side, the article reveals the outsized influence west coast baseball reporters have in conferring or withholding immortality: because there are fewer of them, the same person can vote much more often than, for example, a New York voter.
"(Ted) Lilly isn't convinced the (NL MVP) award shouldn't be revoked and transferred to runner-up Kemp, even though Ken Caminiti and Alex Rodriguez didn't lose their awards when steroid use was revealed."...
Below is a copy of Eric Gagne's Express Mail receipt from Kirk Radomski, Aug. 9, 2004, from the Mitchell Report. Was this the first time for the 2003 Cy Young winner? Oct. 2003 Dodger notes said "he probably takes medication." There are still over 100 secret 'positives' from 2003 the year Gagne received immortality. Aside from Ryan Braun, only Arod's name is regularly mentioned as a tainted winner and without detail that his was the only name 'officially' leaked from the 2003 list.]
  • MLB.com reporter Gurnick goes on:
"But Lilly has just as big of a problem with the composition of the award's voting pool, which has changed dramatically while reflecting the change in the media that covers the sport.
"I don't think players are fully aware of who votes for these awards," said Lilly. "I always thought it was the beat writers, and I guess back in the day, it was. But now I understand that some of the beat writers aren't allowed to vote,
  • so you get a lot of substitute voters
that might not actually be covering their teams and you don't really know how they define an MVP. "
Lilly is correct. For example, the BBWAA has disqualified from membership MLB.com writers for a conflict of interest because they work for Major League Baseball."...
(continuing, MLB.com): "In addition, newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times won't allow their reporters to vote on season-ending awards because of a conflict of interest that exists when such awards can result in financial incentive bonuses for the winning players.
The Dodgers have three traveling beat writers, but only one is allowed to vote for postseason awards. Neither Los Angeles chapter writers that voted for the NL MVP -- Yahoo.com national writer Tim Brown and Los Angeles Times blogger Steve Dilbeck --
  • is a traveling beat writer,
although both have been in the past.
According to the BBWAA website:
"Two writers from each MLB city are recommended by the local chapter chairman and approved by the national secretary-treasurer to vote for each award. Writers from NL cities vote for NL awards, and writers from AL cities vote for AL awards, making 32 voters for each NL award and 28 for each AL award. Most traveling beat writers will vote for at least one annual award each year. In some chapters, columnists or backup writers may also vote. Any active member of the BBWAA is eligible to vote for annual awards, regardless of his or her number of years in the organization."...
(continuing, MLB.com): "Most national baseball writers who are active BBWAA members will vote for annual awards. Typically, the writer votes in the chapter where he resides, but sometimes national writers vote as part of smaller chapters that don't have enough qualified voters.
"Beat writers may be asked to vote for two or even three awards, especially in chapters with fewer voters. Writers in two-team markets may even vote for awards in both leagues. Most writers vote for just one award each year."
Lilly thinks voters missed the significance and degree of difficulty of Kemp's season compared to Braun's.
"Matt didn't have Prince Fielder in the lineup," he said. "That's a huge difference. Matt didn't play in a hitter's park, which Miller Park is and Dodger Stadium isn't. Matt plays center field, so there are more defensive demands.
"I'm not saying that Braun didn't have a great season, but if he got the award just because his team went to the postseason, that's no reason to penalize Matt, who had a better season and was more important to the Dodgers. Think of where we'd have been without him.""
  • ----------------------
MLB is doubling down at a time when these awards should obviously be scrapped. In 2012 the awards will be televised for the first time:
  • ----------------------
1/8/12, "Time to change Baseball Hall of Fame electors," Evan Weiner, Examiner Sports Business "A number of Hall of Fame voters
  • actually now work for Major League Baseball's website which
Journalists writing for and being paid by Major League Baseball voting on a baseball award or honor seems to be wrong."...
This leaves the impression that MLB.com has no awards voters which according to the above 1/8/12 report isn't so. Not to mention a 1/9/12 MLB.com report that 16 of its members including Gurnick voted for this year's Hall of Fame award. "MLB.com writers cast their HOF ballots," MLB.com, John Schlegel. ed.
  • ----------------------
11/23/2010, "ON BASEBALL; Yankees Punished at Award Time?," Kepner, NY Times
  • (Kepner of course says no. That's his job. I haven't analyzed the 9 MVP awards he references but I like to keep track of statements like this:)
"Nine years in a row, from 1996 through 2004, the A.L. M.V.P. was a player from the West division. The West is the smallest division in baseball, with only four teams, so an individual's contribution tends to stand out even more. In Hamilton, the award is likely to return to that division."...
  • As I said I haven't analyzed these 9 awards. The outsized influence west coast baseball reporters have in conferring or withholding immortality may not have factored into these particular awards.
In any case, I don't accept the idea that BBWAA voters are saints, free from bias, just because they say so. They've chosen a highly political and rigid power structure in which to make a living to begin with so they start off impure.
11/5/05, "But you could still manipulate the vote," (Rob) Neyer notes.
11/5/2005, "The Times, They Are A-Changin' ," Ben Westoff, Riverfront Times


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