Wanted to catch up on this story from late last week. It gives me another chance to vent about the conflicts that arise when writers vote for awards and Hall of Fames, etc.
Last week, Nick Piecoro, who covers the Arizona Diamondbacks for the Arizona Republic, disclosed that he chose Andrew McCutchen over Paul Goldschmidt in his ballot for NL MVP.
Piecoro explained his vote:
I understand this is not a popular decision around here. There are certain realities you have to accept in this job. One of them is that you’re never going to please everyone. Today is a day to keep that in mind.
Voting for these awards isn’t easy for beat writers when the players we cover are among the candidates. If you give them your vote, you risk looking like a homer nationally. If you don’t, you catch heat not only from the local fans but also within the clubhouse you cover. What you try to do – the only thing you can do – is make what you believe is the best choice. You don’t make your selection based on the team you cover or based on what other’s reactions might be. You make your selection based on your convictions.
Piecoro deserves to be commended for not taking the easy way out and handing a hometown vote to Goldschmidt. However, the fact that he had to point out the inherent conflicts shows why he shouldn’t have been voting in the first place.
Sure enough, Piercoro did catch considerable flak in Arizona. Awful Announcing’s Joe Lucia even noted the beat writer got scolded in a tweat by Sen. John McCain.
However, there was a bigger problem. Lucia writes Diamondbacks pitcher “Brad Ziegler went on a now-deleted rampage about his teammate not winning.”
Piercoro now has to answer to an Arizona locker room about why he didn’t vote for Goldschmidt, including Goldschmidt himself. Hopefully, the Diamondbacks star will have more of an open mind than Ziegler and appreciate Piercoro’s objectivity. But you never know, especially since Goldschmidt likely had bonus money coming if he won the award.
Piercoro could have been spared this uncomfortable situation if he hadn’t been a voter. It should be an example for other beat writers too.
Once again: Writers cover news; they don’t make news. Piercoro was in the news last week for the wrong reason.