David Jenkins: Fractured Hall Of Fame Means This Is Year Zero

Saturday, January 05, 2013 - by David Jenkins

I do not expect the Baseball Writers Association of America to elect a single player to the Hall of Fame this coming week.

And that's as it should be.

The Hall of Fame as we knew it as kids is dead. Oh, the dirty old building in Cooperstown still stands and there shall be a ceremony this year to enshrine three long-dead old timers (i.e. "veterans") that none of us has ever heard of.

Fine. As big a mess as the Hall of Fame has become, there will continue to be tweaks and adjustments to what has already been established as a fickle, capricious “standard” that will move wherever Facebook and Twitter trends say it should go.

Right now, the main trend is the total absence of one, which means a few hundred well-educated, independent-minded sportswriters spent days staring at their ballots, waiting for someone to tell them what to do. No matter that at least seven players who would be legitimate Hall of Famers on any other planet except Bizarro World are on the 2013 ballot. In fact, I would not be surprised if 2013 set a record number of blank ballots submitted.

The reality is that this is Year Zero for the Hall. All that has gone before means nothing to what will or won't come in the future.

My long-standing, unchanging opinion is much like that of ESPN writer and Vanderbilt graduate Buster Olney, and that is that the Hall of Fame is, at its heart, a museum that is a record of Baseball (capital B).

The Black Sox happened. Pete Rose happened. Ballplayers injecting stuff into each other's rears in the bathroom happened. And so did Sosa/McGwire in 1998, Barry Bonds in 2001, Ken Caminiti in 1996. No awards have been retracted. No records erased. No one barred for life this time. In the most literal sense, it's all good so far as MLB is concerned.

But what are we hearing daily on some of the national sports channels? Taint of suspicion of steriod use on Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza – since when? What day did I oversleep and miss that allegation? Oh, okay. All that was strictly press box and locker room talk, we hear now, not presented as a "news" story since there was no apparent evidence to back it up.

And so why is it brought up now? To protect the integrity of the Hall of Fame, we're told. In the last year or two, there has been an unprecidented wave of stories, revelations or innuendo about this player or that. It has been widespread and darned effective, especially against Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza, who in the latter case, I've heard more about his "back acne" that I ever thought possible. I've seen one prediction that Craig Biggio and Jack Morris could beat the odds this year, another where Piazza rightly earns his place.

But by a huge number, the largest percentage of predictions is that it will be next to impossible for anyone to post 75 percent

I entered the debate doubting that Sosa and Bonds deserve being crucified for doing something that was not yet tested for. I walk away from it wondering if a Hall of Fame can be decertified for refusing to listen to its own fans. But that will only happen if the fans can reach something resembling a consensus -- which means it's your turn at bat.

In the short term, let's just agree to use 2013 to reset what used to be the grandest hall of them all.

e-mail David Jenkins at carty43@netzero.net


Dalton State Booster Club Holiday Basketball Classic Is This Weekend

The Dalton State Men’s Basketball Booster Club will host the second annual Holiday Basketball Classic this weekend at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center’s Mashburn Arena. Dalton State will be joined in the event by Concordia from Selma, Al; the University of the Cumberlands from Williamsburgh, Ky and Cumberland University from Lebanon, Tn.  The Roadrunners ... (click for more)

Running A Family Affair For Jennifer Funk

Running is and has been a family affair for Jennifer Funk for a long time. It’s not that she wanted to be a runner when she was younger, but her father and three sisters were all involved and she got started as a result of peer pressure from her family. Jennifer will celebrate her 45 th birthday on January 1.   She played a lot of sports as a student at Maryville ... (click for more)

Investor Group Plans $31 Million Hotel In Chattanooga Bank Building

An investor group announced that it is planning the development of an upscale 150-room hotel in the historic Chattanooga Bank Building.   MCA is comprised of 20 EB-5 investors as limited partners with Red Leaf Development, managed by David Roos, as the general partner. Long-time partner PHG is involved in the development of the hotel and will be responsible for its management ... (click for more)

Police Say Texts From Slain Minister Detailed Drug Deals

An investigator testified Thursday that a minister who was beaten to death during an apparent drug deal had texts on his phone dealing with similar exchanges of illegal drugs. The minister's wife said he had gone out that night as part of a church counseling program to women. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck bound charges of felony murder and especially aggravated ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Last Day Of School

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This story first appeared in the Chattanooga News-Free Press in the early 1980s and every year since then I have been asked repeatedly about it. It is easily the most famous story I have ever written – copies have been sent to me from numerous foreign countries -- and it may be the easiest story I ever wrote. All I did was write what the noted religious psychologist ... (click for more)