It’s become a yearly tradition for Baseball Writers Association of America members to release their National Baseball Hall of Fame ballots and hold their noses over voting for Curt Schilling. The initial reaction I have is similar to others, “why do they keep voting for him? Don’t they care about the victims of his hatred?” We spend far too much time tying ourselves into knots trying to figure out why writers like David O’ Brien and Ken Rosenthal are okay with putting a checkmark next to Schilling’s name. We don’t need to waste our time trying to find reasons. The reason is present from the very onset, we simply choose not to see it or believe in its veracity.
They do not care. It really is as simple as that. There’s no need for deep soul searching to figure out why these, largely, white men are choosing to vote for someone as vile and repugnant as Schilling. For those in the back, I’ll say it again, they do not care. Transphobia is not an issue that concerns them. Homophobia isn’t a blip on their radar. Racism only matters in terms of how they can report on it while giving a noted racist a pass every year. Schilling can insinuate, and then flat out say, that reporters aren’t worth anything unless they are hanging from a noose. Guess what, the reporters he is targeting will still vote for him because they are a group of feckless cowards.
No threat of personal attack nor realization that Schilling is a neo-Nazi who wants to see people of color die as America is taken back by white male power can sway the majority of BBWAA members from what they do care about: on the field action and steroids. Schilling gets their votes because he threw a nasty assortment of pitches and was able to fool the world via a packet of blood in a sock that he was some sort of grit machine. He also did this while not being associated with steroid usage in any fashion. Those two factors override any of the concerns most people have in regards to Schilling’s character. He could viciously attack a transgender person in a public place and the writers would still fall back on ”Well, his curveball was great and he didn’t use roids.”
We know this is true, yet we try to find other reasons. The plights faced by Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are all the evidence we need to support the above theory. Bonds and Clemens have been rumored to be involved with steroid use since before their careers even ended. They became two of the most noteworthy alleged steroid users. They are also two men who have been credibly accused of domestic violence. Yet, when the ballots come in without checks next to their names it’s not their violence towards women that is cited as the reason for their omission. Rather, it is their connection to steroids. Every. Single. Time.
The time has come for both the Hall of Fame and the BBWAA to face a reckoning. It is clear by their voting habits that they value the game on the field more than they do human life. Their silence about the actual transgressions of players like Schilling, Bonds, and Clemens speaks volumes. That they look at a reprehensible cretin like Schilling (or Omar Vizquel) and attempt to rehab his image in order to justify their votes tells you everything you need to know of what they think about you. Neither of those institutions cares about the transgender, homosexual, Islamic, or domestic violence survivor community. Every time they cast a vote for Schilling, Bonds, Clemens, or Vizquel they tell everyone exactly how much those communities don’t matter to them. The same message is sent when they don’t vote for Bonds or Clemens and make sure to loudly declare they were left without a checkmark thanks to their steroid associations and not their actions off the field.
There’s no need to dig deep into why the BBWAA and Hall of Fame do the things they do. They’ve told us, for some time now. We simply need to start holding them accountable for their lack of humanity. The Baseball community needs to push back and not allow them to continue to act as if the game of baseball is more important than entire communities of people. The BBWAA and Hall of Fame may be self-serving organizations that don’t actually deserve to exist, but they do, and as long as we have our voices we need to keep hammering the need for accountability in their faces.
Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Unknown