Dan Le Batard Sold His Baseball Hall of Fame Vote to Deadspin
As you may have heard previously, a few months back the folks over at Deadspin announced that they wanted to purchased the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot of one voter and allow their readers to vote on how to fill it out. Why? Because they believed the voting system was flawed to the point of being absurd, and arranging this charade was a form of protest. And yes, they found somebody who agreed to make a deal with them.
At the time, Deadspin obviously could not reveal the identity of the voter, or else the whole endeavor would be for nothing. However, they vowed to reveal who it was after the Hall of Fame inductees were announced, and yesterday they made good on that promise. Turns out it was Dan Le Batard, host of ESPN’s Highly Questionable.
Here’s the lengthy explanation he gave Deadspin for why he did it:
I feel like my vote has gotten pretty worthless in the avalanche of sanctimony that has swallowed it.
I have no earthly idea if Jeff Bagwell or Frank Thomas did or didn’t use steroids.
I think I understand why the steroid guys were the steroid guys in this competition-aholic culture.
I hate all the moralizing we do in sports in general, but I especially hate the hypocrisy in this: Many of the gatekeeper voters denying Barry Bonds Hall Of Fame entry would have they themselves taken a magical, healing, not-tested-for-in-their-workplace elixir if it made them better at their jobs, especially if lesser talents were getting the glory and money. Lord knows I’d take the elixir for our ESPN2 TV show if I could.
I don’t think I’m any more qualified to determine who is Hall of Fame-worthy than a fan who cares about and really knows baseball. In fact, many people analyzing baseball with advanced metrics outside of mainstream media are doing a better job than mainstream media, and have taught us some things in recent years when we were behind. In other words, just because we went to journalism school and covered a few games, just because accepted outlets gave us their platform and power, I don’t think we should have the pulpit to ourselves in 2014 that way we did in 1936.
Baseball is always reticent to change, but our flawed voting process needs remodeling in a new media world. Besides, every year the power is abused the way I’m going to be alleged to abuse it here. There’s never been a unanimous first-ballot guy? Seriously? If Ruth and Mays and Schmidt aren’t that, then what is? This year, someone is going to leave one of the five best pitchers ever off the ballot. Suck it, Greg Maddux.
I’ve become a more and more lenient voter over the years, often allowing the max 10 guys in a year, and I wanted to put in more this year. I happen to agree with most of the reader selections. I was afraid you guys were going to have me voting for Jacque Jones and no one else. I was kind of surprised this particular snark-land respected the process. I found it impossible to limit it this year to 10, but 10 was all that was allowed, so thanks for the help. But why limit it to 10 in a year that has more than 10 worthy candidates, by the way? How dumb is that?
And my final reason: I always like a little anarchy inside the cathedral we’ve made of sports.
I’m not sure what kind of trouble this is going to bring me. I imagine I’ll probably have my vote stripped. But I don’t want to be a part of the present climate without reform anyway. Given that climate, doing THIS has more impact than my next 20 years of votes as sanctimony bars the HOF door on the steroid guys. Because, in a climate without reform, my next 20 years of votes will be counted but not actually heard. At least this gets it heard, for better or for worse.
The main take-aways? The HOF and many of its voters are sanctimonious wieners who take themselves too seriously and it’s not fair to pass judgment on players of the steroid era because everyone did it or would have done it.
Personally, I disagree with Le Batard’s take on the steroids issue. Instead, I would have focused more on the fact that the HOF’s rigid rules allow people who aren’t even baseball writers (like Dan Le Batard) to vote while excluding brilliant analysts (like Sports Illustrated‘s Jay Jaffe), or the fact that 16 people did not vote for Greg Maddux. Because how can you get all worked up about “taking the process seriously” when 16 people didn’t vote for one of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball?
Nevertheless, right on cue, here are the Pardon the Interruption clowns going nuts as though they just found out a member of the College of Cardinals sold his vote for the Pope:
Is the selection process for the Baseball Hall of Fame flawed? NO IT’S HOLY AND PERFECT AND HOW DARE YOU EVEN ASK THE QUESTION SINNER! Way to debate, guys.
In any case, here is Le Batard’s official Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, as chosen by the readers of Deadspin:
Obviously, there’s going to be some fallout here. Le Batard is certainly going to have his membership in the Baseball Writers of America revoked (though he shouldn’t have it anyway since he is not primarily a baseball writer anymore), and I’m sure the head honchos over at ESPN aren’t too pleased with the stunt. His producers were certainly caught off guard:
But we’ll have to wait to see if anything truly significant comes of all this.
Hat Tip – [Deadspin]