Baseball Writers Uphold Tradition, Even If Game Didn't

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Baseball's championship season and the fruits thereof are long gone, buried by stubbornness and greed, eulogized in public disillusionment.

But hey everybody, here come those postseason awards.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America felt compelled to conduct its annual voting for postseason honors. The BBWAA will begin announcing the winners today, when the National League Manager of the Year is revealed.

From this end, the anticipation is almost too much to contain. What better way to cap this repulsive year of baseball than to pay homage to some of its participants.

As soon as the writers' awards are passed out, perhaps we should sponsor a "Bonbons for Bettman Night" at Kiel Center, have Saddam Hussein to dinner and hold the next meeting of the Mizzou Quarterback Club at Lou's Palace.

Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz is not taken with the BBWAA awards this year. Save for the worst ballot-counting scandal in modern history, Braves pitcher Greg Maddux will win the Cy Young Award in the NL.

This represents a costly proposition for the Braves. Maddux's contract includes incentives built around the Cy Young and he stands to make $750,000 extra for his incomplete effort. That's seven-hundred-and-fifty-thousand bologna skins, kiddos, or enough to dramatically alter most of our lives.

Schuerzie is hacked, as well he might be. After all, the players brought the season to a premature end. There were no pennant winners, no World Series champions. If the goal of each individual is to help his team open champagne bottles, everyone came up dry.

It is ludicrous, Schuerholz suggests, to proceed with these individual awards in light of this group debacle. The point is well made, but he probably is not the one to make it. True, the BBWAA and its awards are costing the Braves mucho money, but that's the fault of the Braves, not the writers.

One can safely assume Rick Hummel, Post-Dispatch scribe and national president of the BBWAA, was not consulted when the Braves negotiated Maddux's contract. The writers do not lobby agents to demand incentives tied to these awards. Most of the BBWAA members don't know, and none of them worry, about who collects what as a result of the voting.

The owners and players have managed to put the national pastime in the past tense. Fine. But the BBWAA is under no obligation to follow.

If deep-pocketed organizations choose to take this team game and approve large rewards based on individual achievements, they deserve whatever they get. …