Big League Stew

New York Times sports page goes blank to reflect lack of Hall of Fame news

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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Thursday's sports front (Kevin Negandhi via TBL)

The New York Post and Daily News usually corner the market with it comes to buzzy front pages that make national news.

The New York Times, however, got into the act on Thursday morning by making a statement with the front page of its sports section. Adorned with a "Welcome To Cooperstown" headline, a majority of the sheet remained blank in reference to the BBWAA not electing anyone to the Hall of Fame for the first time since 1996.

Big League Stew was a bit partial to our own art in the aftermath of the ballot-wide snub, but there's no denying the power of opening the nation's paper of record to see silence in paper-and-ink form. Early January is usually a time for papers to break out sweet file art of that year's inducted ballplayers, followed by a few perfunctory quotes and vote totals. Meanwhile, the reader gets a nice winter escape as he or she daydreams about a beautiful summer day on the great lawn of Cooperstown.

[Related: Steroid era dealt first big blow with denials to Hall of Fame]

But not this year. No, 2013's ballot will always be remembered for the expansive shutout and the avalanche of opinion, shouting and namecalling that followed. Considering that wall-to-wall racket, the New York Times' blank front page somehow makes an even louder statement.

That said, how would you like to be a football or basketball or hockey writer that worked hard on a story all Wednesday, only to see it kicked inside in favor of, well, nothing? Makes us wonder how many people are muttering under their own breath at the Old Gray Lady today.

[Related: Hall of Fame rejection of PED-era players reveal outdated ideals]

UPDATE: Ed Sherman of Sherman Report asked NYT sports editor Joe Sexton about the process that led to this decision:

“Wayne Kamidoi, our boundary pushing art designer came up with the idea, and Jay Schreiber our baseball editor saw the chance to capture the very old, very dispiriting story of steroids in baseball in a freshly powerful way. Yes, it was not a surprise that Bonds and Clemens didn’t make it. But (it) felt like history had spoken. How to convey that to our readers? I think we did it — a striking, profound emptiness.”

Stay warm this winter!
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