It's taken me years to realize this, but I hate the Hall of Fame.
I've always been a baseball history buff, even when I didn't follow the season too closely. I used to get really worked up about the arguments for and against various candidates, and the questions of which Hall of Famers were and weren't deserving.
Now I'm completely sick of it.
If the system were salvageable, I might feel differently. But as it is, we have a Hall of Fame that is ill-defined, one with low standards due to previous mistakes, and one with a very mixed bag (that's putting it mildly) of voters.
This year, statheads (at least the ones who are willing to put Bert Blyleven on the backburner) are going crazy trying to get Tim Raines elected. In response, they're getting stupid arguments about Raines's drug use, comparisons with Vince Coleman, and my all-time favorite: "I won't vote for him his first time on the ballot because he's not that good." [Not a direct quote, but too close for comfort.]
Of course, all of the flaws with the writer's part of the HOF voting system are also present in the BBWAA awards each year. And I don't like those either. But, somehow, those are less bothersome, perhaps because they are so much more fleeting. My grandkids aren't going to read biographies of Bartolo Colon just because he won a Cy Young Award.
I know who I think should be in the Hall of Fame. I don't claim that my picks are perfect, though they probably are better than the ones that various voting bodies have made over the years. I suspect that most of you have your own personal Hall, even if that just means tossing a few players and inserting a few more who you believe should have made it. (Rob Deer, for instance.) I certainly don't need Tracy Ringolsby and Buster Olney to tell me how good Tim Raines and Jim Rice are.
Like many of the other annoyances that result from being a hardcore baseball fan, this one has an easy solution: ignore the voting season prattle. I have to admit, though, the Hall does a great job of maximizing their press, putting the voting in the middle of the slowest part of the baseball news season. We don't even have a Jeff Suppan signing to talk about this year. (I suppose we could talk about Suppan anyway.)
So this year, I'm opting out. If Raines or Blyleven gets in, I'll be happy for them. If they don't, I feel as confident as ever in saying that its no reflection on them.