Thursday, January 08, 2009

Hail to the Cork...

In a sense, Corky Simpson, who admitted he did not vote for Rickey Henderson for the Baseball Hall of Fame, may have delivered the ultimate burn on the poll-struck media.

Everyone is taking a run at a retired sportswriter in Arizona, especially since Henderson is the only sure thing for the Hall of Fame, based on a poll of writers who have published their ballots. Rob Neyer riffed on it and it's bean Deadspinned (although last anyone checked, Mr. Simpson was 70 -- septuagenarian, not octogenarian), which means this should be kept brief. The Yankees blog River Avenue Blues seems to be one of the only few to have referenced Simpson's previous 15 minutes of fame.

Sixteen years ago, he was the only voter in the Associated Press college football poll who ranked Alabama No. 1 at the start of the season, when the Miami Hurricanes and Washington Huskies were considered head and shoulders every other college football team in America. We all remember how that turned out.

You could also say what goes around comes around, since Simpson's choice in 1992 had the air of blind pig, acorn. As he related, a writer from Alabama told him to watch out for Alabama and he took it to heart. He was on to something and maybe he has been all along:
"If that year proved anything to me, it was the fallacy of the polls. They're a lot of fun, but they mean nothing. It's fun to follow the teams, but they're not that important."
There's a little irony in the fact the big 'Bama backer from those pre-BCS days is getting roasted today. Here's a guy who, possibly by dumb luck, got it right once in a sport which gets it wrong almost every fall. Florida and Oklahoma are playing for the Bowl Counterfeit Series national title tonight large on the say-so of some sportswriters, some coaches and computer rankings that have been fiddled with more than the books for Tony Soprano's waste management business. Are they the two best teams? It's very debatable. If you want to take a pass and say that for your money, this was all decided six days ago when the Utah Utes beat Alabama to finish undefeated, that's fine.

And what is the Baseball Hall of Fame vote but a big poll which is a lot of fun. It would be were it not for the fact that retired ballplayers count on it as affirmation of their place in the world and seamheads -- present company included -- get so pent-up over it every December and January. It is, ultimately, one big poll, and you knew someone would goof it up and not vote for Rickey Henderson.

Well done, Mr. Simpson. Every 16 years, you put one over on everyone, and this time you did while voting for Tim Raines.

No Hall of Fame vote for Rickey … why? (Rob Neyer,

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