Seriously, an actual Cy Young voter said that. And put his name on it. Obviously I don’t think this makes any sense. Put aside the fact that 21 of 28 voters had Felix at the top of their ballots, and just consider the dynamic of bullying for a second. Bullies have the power over the bullied, whether it’s because they’re the bigger kid, because they’re higher in an organization than someone else, etc., bullies are always the more powerful party in the equation. Obviously that wouldn’t be the case here. I’ve been known to criticize Ken Rosenthal a few times, but I’ve certainly never bullied him. Why? Because he’s bigger than me. Whatever I might say about Rosenthal or someone else in the BBWAA, they’ve got a much larger platform than me and are seen and read by a lot more people than I am. And I’ve got a pretty darn big platform in the context of fan blogs. Which is what always makes this whining about “the internet” so unintentionally hilarious.
If you’re being “beaten” by a collective of people operating sites like this one, it’s not because people like me are bullies, it’s because we’re making a more persuasive case. It has to be. How would I go about bullying someone like Phil Rogers? I can’t threaten his job. I can’t threaten his standing in the baseball writers’ community. Heck, I can’t even hurt his feelings unless he lets me. The only thing someone like me can do to someone like Rogers is argue with them on the merits. That’s literally all I’ve got. Sure, it might be peppered with colorful language in some places, it certainly won’t always be respectful, and there’s not going to be mutual respect or admiration between the two sides at the end of every day. For the most part I think there is, but there are certainly extremes on both sides. But the idea that “the internet” is “bullying” BBWAA voters is just preposterous.
More than being preposterous though, in many ways it proves my point. Rogers isn’t actually making an argument that the 21 writers who voted for King Felix first were wrong on the merits, he’s trying to come up with an alternative reason for why they might disagree with him. Something nefarious. A couple of paragraphs later, Tracy Rigolsby claims that Felix voters were trying to be “trendy.” These aren’t arguments that Felix shouldn’t have won, they’re insults. Plenty of writers have made the case that only wins should matter (though why David PRice got more first place votes than C.C. Sabathia in that case is probably a discussion worth having at some point), but the majority of their voting colleagues disagreed. And the anti-Felix crowd decided to lash out and blame the nefarious internet. While talking to blogger Murray Chass.
This is why baseball commentary is leaving these people behind.