So, we’re so far away from our Hot Button survey that you probably forgot that you filled the thing out. I’m including the rest of the results without much commentary -- so please feel free to comment away: * * *
Statement: Instant replay will make baseball a better game.
Strongly agree. The umpires’ blown calls are a joke and are killing he game. 17.7%
Agree. I’m sure there will be some glitches but overall the game will improve. 57.7%
Disagree. The current missed calls are annoying but new system will be worse. 14.3%
Strongly disagree. Replay has no place in baseball. 3.8%
Agree: 74.4% Disagree: 18.1% Neutral: 6.5%
I don’t particularly like the WAY baseball seems to be thinking about instant replay -- not a fan of the challenge system -- but as I (and countless others) wrote years ago, instant replay itself was inevitable, the only real questions were how it would happen and when. You cannot sustain a sport by consistently making calls that everyone can see are wrong.
I’m writing a post on trying to combine umpires judgment with Pitch FX technology to get a better strike zone. I think that’s probably the next inevitability and will happen over the next five to 10 years.
* * *
Question: Should top college athletes get paid?
Absolutely yes. The system in place now is wrong, unfair and unsustainable. 20.6%
Yes. I know there are complications but the best athletes deserve part of the enormous revenues: 33.4%
No. If you pay some athletes you have to pay them all, and it’s not feasible. 23.4%
Absolutely no. They get scholarships now and college athletics should be for amateurs. 14.8%
Total: Yes: 54% No: 38.2% Neutral: 7.8%
This was really a sloppily formed question -- the topic is too complicated to reduce to a simple yes or no answer. But I did give you a place to make comments -- and there were almost a thousand of them.
Here are a few:
“Gut the NCAA. It’s a sham.”
“They should absolutely not get paid by colleges. That’s a bad way to go. On the other hand it’s a free country, and if Nike, for instance, wants them to endorse a product, they should absolutely be able to get paid big, fat stacks of cash.”
“College and athletics should be divorced. Only intramural sports on campus. Professional spots should fund their own developmental leagues. Communities should encourage self-funded sports clubs.”
“Some form of compensation -- besides a free education -- needs to be considered.”
“I think college boosters should be permitted to pay some or all players at their discretion.”
“No. That’s what pro sports are for. If they want to be paid, don’t mix it up with college.”
“All players should receive something. It doesn’t have to be equal.”
* * *
Statement: Sports media spend too much time doing negative stories.
Strongly agree. I watch sports for enjoyment. I’m sick of all the negativity. 7.8%
Agree. I realize negative stories are part of sports, but media cover that side too much. 25.9%
Disagree. I think the media is about as negative as the news, no more no less. 30.6%
Strongly disagree. I don’t think the media does enough illuminating the negative side of sports. 5%
Agree: 33,7% Disagree: 35.6% Neutral: 30.7%
This was OBVIOUSLY a terrible question since 30.7% of you didn’t even care enough to take a side. Looking back, I’m not even entirely sure what I was going for. I think I was wondering what people want from their sports coverage. Do we see sports as a fun and emotional escape from the tragedies and conflicts and madness that so often overwhelm the front page, or do we want our sports coverage to mirror the way we cover the news, so that we are reading and hearing and talking about Aaron Hernandez as well as about how the Chiefs will try to slow down Peyton Manning.
This question didn’t really ask that, I admit. * * *
Statement: Advanced statistics have increased my enjoyment of baseball.
100% yes. I feel like stats like FIP and WAR get me much closer to the game: 53.7%
Yes. I don’t follow all of them, but Moneyball was interesting and helped me see the game anew: 34.7%
No. I’m sure they have their place, but advanced stats don’t speak to me as a fan: 6.9%
No way. I’m sick of having these stats jammed down my throat. Leave me alone. 1.5%
Agree: 88.4% Disagree: 8.4% Neutral: 3.2%
Well, this makes sense -- I doubt there are many people reading this site (or taking my surveys), who are rabidly opposed to advanced baseball statistics.
* * *
Statement: Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame.
Agree 100%. Bonds is one of the best players ever, and that’s what really matters: 37.6%
Agree. I think Bonds took PEDs but he’s still deserving of the Hall. 34.3%
Disagree. Bonds cheated when he took steroids and I don’t think his greatness is authentic. 12.6%
Wildly disagree. Barry Bonds has no place in the Hall of Fame, now or ever. 8.7%
Agree: 71.9% Disagree: 21.3% Neutral: 6.8%
Funny, no matter how may different ways I word the question, Bonds’ support always comes up JUST SHORT of 75%. And if he’s just short of 75% among this readership -- which I sense is a bit more open-ended on the steroid and Hall of Fame question -- what chance does he have of getting 75% among BBWAA voters?
I have to say that this point, I really don’t have a good feel for what comes next. My feeling a year ago was that Bonds and Clemens would fall short of induction at first but, in a relatively short period of time would get voted in. But I don’t really see much bend. And here’s the thing: There will be a series of candidates in the next few years -- Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Ken Griffey, John Smoltz, -- who, rightly or wrongly, are widely viewed as definite non-steroid users. That’s already seven people going in over the next five years or so.
And I can’t help but wonder, more and more, if those are the ONLY players who will get elected, leaving behind all the borderline candidates, all the players who definitely used steroids and all the players who are suspected by some of using. I guess we’ll see.