If you are going to have the occasional year where nobody makes the Hall of Fame, the best time to do it would be when there's no physical Hall of Fame. I'll bet Cooperstown wishes they had thought of that! The US Soccer Hall of Fame could easily have focused on whichever Builder and Veteran makes it this year. It's not like anyone's going to travel to see the induction.
But, there is a rule that one suspects was passed sometime between the Noneonta of the Above Class of 2008 and the Hall's closing the next year. When nobody makes the 66.666% threshold needed for election into the Hall, we have a second ballot.
I didn't actually know there would be a second ballot in this instance, otherwise I wouldn't have been quite so strident in pleading with my fellow voters to get the lead out.
But my motive was to prevent players from possibly being ignored by history, and to add to the variety and depth of the story of soccer in the early MLS era. And also, under my plan, the players involved wouldn't necessarily know they were being let in under a mercy rule.
This way, however, there's no getting around it. Someone's getting in that would otherwise not have. If the person I think will get in does get in, well, that person would have eventually made it anyway, either by veterans or by my fellow media members coming around. (Like I did - I didn't vote for the player the first time, but changed my mind in subsequent years.)
Still, it's a clumsy way to bestow the highest honor American soccer has to offer. Some tact might have been in order.
....which tact I myself might be spoiling. The Hall of Fame page (run by US Soccer these days) says nothing about a second ballot...although seeing as how a second ballot was sent to hundreds of people who run their keyboards all day, I don't see how it was supposed to remain a secret. I think there's probably a more depressing reason why the page hasn't been updated since January.
When one day the mighty United States Soccer Hall of Fame building towers over downtown Sioux City (or wherever) in its majesty and grandeur, remember these days, when even the Hall of Fame subsisted on electrons and love.
Anyway, here's who I voted for:
Chris Armas Mauricio Cienfuegos Marco Etcheverry Robin Fraser Jason Kreis Shannon MacMillan Joe-Max Moore Ben Olsen Cindy Parlow Taylor Twellman
And here's the second ballot:
MacMillan Etcheverry Armas Parlow Moore
One of these five will be elected, thanks to a failsafe that's not really anything like the Doomsday Device in Dr. Strangelove but I can't think of a better metaphor. We are asked to award points on a scale of 10,000 to 3.14159 - no, from 1 to 5, 5 being the most worthy. Also, those who returned blank ballots have not been asked to participate in this second ballot.
Which I suppose is vindication - the Hall (or the Fed, or whoever is running the store at this point) agrees with my Big Hall approach rather than a Little Hall. As if standards for a more exclusive Hall are any more quantifiable, or even defensible, than mine, now that I think about it - why is my opinion less valid? Because I make ten-page long dick jokes?
In any case, I expect the winner will be MacMillan - who is also the person I gave five points to, as you might have guessed from the above list.
So this probably isn't any way to run a Hall of Fame. But if you have to run a Hall of Fame this way, it might as well be while no one is paying much attention.