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BBWAA defends Conlin in light of charges

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  December 21, 2011 09:16 AM

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The Baseball Writers Association of America doesn't waste any time.

It only took hours after the bombshell about Bill Conlin made headlines for the BBWAA to once again make itself look like the incompetent organization that it has proven itself to be time and time again. Conlin, the long-time Philadelphia Daily News columnist, accused of sexual abuse in a story that appeared yesterday, was the recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award earlier this year, the BBWAA's most prestigious honor given by his clueless colleagues in recognition of his "notable career."

Last night, BBWAA secretary/treasurer Jack O'Connell released the following statement:

"Bill Conlin has been a member in good standing of the BBWAA since 1966. The allegations have no bearing on his winning the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which was in recognition of his notable career as a baseball writer."

That's got to be more embarrassing for many BBWAA members than Evan Grant or George King. Where's your almighty "morality" clause now, Jack? We're not saying you strip him of the award immediately, but a simple, "We're waiting to learn more" might have sufficed.

Instead, the BBWAA as an organization threw its undying support to Conlin after the accused retired in light of the accusations.

Gross.

David Brown makes a good point over on Big League Stew:

O'Connell seems to be saying that because Conlin hasn't been accused of molesting children (including relatives) while also writing about baseball, it's irrelevant to the Spink Award and (presumably) whether the honor can be revoked. He wasn't accused of doing anything untoward in a press box, or a clubhouse, or on the field, so who cares? Conlin could have been accused of treason, murder, war crimes - you name it - and it would not matter because none of it fits the description of a baseball writer's job. John Wayne Gacy might have raped and murdered all of those boys, but don't let that muddle his accomplishments as a clown painter.

The BBWAA isn't afraid to deny the likes of Pete Rose, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds, but when it comes to one of their own, the old boys club rushes to the lodge and denies reality, pledging its time-honored refrain.

"The BBWAA, heads in the sand since 1908."

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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