Thursday, November 14, 2013

Some thoughts on the Houston Chronicle/BBWAA

Good work, everyone. In the voting for the AL Rookie of the Year, 30 ballots were cast - two for every AL market. Houston was represented by the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo and the New York Post's Ken Davidoff.

Davidoff voted for Wil Myers, Jose Iglesias, and was the only voter to vote for someone who played for Kansas City named David Lough - who, thanks to Baseball-Reference, I know posted an *amazing* .724 OPS in 96 games for the Royals, good enough for a 96 OPS+. I'm not so cynical to think that this had anything to do with Lough hitting .375/.375/.625 in a four-game series at Yankee Stadium in July. Nick Cafardo, again of the Boston Globe, one of five voters who picked Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias as the AL Rookie of the Year, followed by Wil Myers and Dan Straily. For the AL Cy Young Award, the Houston representatives were Gaku Tashiro of Sankei (Japan) Sports and Bob Klapisch of the Bergen (New Jersey) Record.

They represented Houston's chapter of the Base Ball (yeah, two words) Writers Association of America. Why? According to the BBWAA, Houston did not have enough "eligible voters" which led to the BBWAA choosing two writers from other cities to fill their spots.

Houston is the 4th largest market in the country, yet because they didn't have enough eligible voters in the BBWAA, Houston-based writers didn't get to vote on the AL Rookie of the Year or the AL Cy Young. Jose de Jesus Ortiz was the lone Houston-based writer to vote on the AL MVP and Manager of the Year. Network's Tom Verducci was the other "Houston representative" for the MVP voting, and the New York Daily News' Bill Madden was the other "Houston representative" for the AL Manager of the Year.

This is stupid. How is it that the 4th-largest market in the nation doesn't have enough eligible voters to participate in the end-of-season awards? It's not because I want Jarred Cosart to come in 14th in the Rookie of the Year voting - I just want Houston to be represented in the voting. Why did this happen? Because (BBWAA member and Crawfish Boxes' guru) David Coleman discovered that it's because former-Astros/now-Texans beat writer Brian Smith was moved over to the Texans beat mid-season. Because that's exactly what the Chronicle needs - more writers to cover the Texans (who doesn't love a good train wreck).

And I get it. Of course I get it. The Texans were pre-season Super Bowl contenders (whoops), and easily more interesting than an Astros team that was approximately in the 4th level of Hell in Dante's Inferno when Smith's switch happened. But the short-sightedness of the BBWAA saw Houston get shut out of even voting on the awards.

Is it petty for me to get *this* pissed off about it? Probably. What do I care if State Farm agent David Lough got some Rookie of the Year votes? Am I going to regret this? Absolutely not. Figure your crap out, Houston BBWAA.

UPDATE (without deleting any of my above rant): Let's be sure to keep in mind that the Chronicle has lost Richard Justice and Zachary Levine. New beat writer Evan Drellich was covering the Red Sox, so it's not exactly fair to ask him to leave the playoffs to come sit and DERP on what the Astros may or may not do in the off-season (and I like Drellich thus far). It seems as though my issue is with the Houston BBWAA chapter president - the Fort Bend Herald's Bill Hartman - for picking NY/BOS/Japan-based writers as opposed to Houston-based writers who follow baseball (and there are plenty) to vote on the awards.

And let's remember all the way back to September, when the Houston Chapter of the BBWAA selected Jason Castro as the team MVP in a "unanimous vote." That probably wasn't a unanimous vote of one.