Polls and baseball, together at last! Quick! Someone light the Nate Silver signal!
Sixty percent of baseball fans are bothered by steroid use by players, and 44 percent say Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez should not be allowed in the Hall of Fame, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll . . .
. . . Over all, 41 percent of those surveyed had an unfavorable opinion of Rodriguez, 17 percent had a favorable opinion and the rest had no opinion.
Fans were divided on whether he belongs in the Hall of Fame: 36 percent said yes and 44 percent said no.
I suppose this is interesting in the abstract, but given that citizens don’t have a direct role in validating or punishing a baseball player’s performance like they do with politicians through the vote, I wonder if polls like these don’t lend themselves to a greater cynicism and fatalism than do political polls. And if we are going to run polls like these, let’s at least get more of them. I mean, I hate the exercise, but this poll would be far more useful if we could compare it to a poll of, say, Pete Rose’s popularity circa 1989 or Roberto Alomar’s in 1996.
Regardless, someone should probably tell the doomsayer columnists that, for all of the “A-Roid” outrage they are mustering, 56% of people either think A-Rod should be in the Hall of Fame or don’t have that strong an opinion about it, and 59% either had a favorable opinion or no opinion about the guy. Maybe that’s not stellar — and a 44% Hall-opposition rate would keep him out if writers felt the same way — but it’s certainly better than you’d expect given the coverage over the past couple of weeks.