Deadspin cranked up the suspense – and volume of self-involved-baseball-writer outrage – in this year’s Hall of Fame process by announcing it had purchased a vote from a member of the BBWAA. To protect this person from having their ballot thrown out, Deadspin refused to reveal their identity until after the votes were tallied.
For extra yuks, Deadspin let their readers decide the ten players who should be named on the purchased ballot.
Then something terrible happened. The deal with the writer fell through. Fortunately, Deadspin anticipated this possibility and had a second person lined up who was also willing to sell their vote.
And now that the votes are all counted and the inductees revealed, Deadspin has torn aside the curtain and unmasked their purchased voter.
Which is perfect. Because Le Batard is irreverent and fun and in-tune with the less-pretentious people out there. He is the anti-Costas, in many ways.
Le Batard explained his decision to sell his vote:
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.
Dan Le Batard, sports anarchist, hero, fat sweaty dude.
The money for the vote went to charity by the way. In case you’re wondering, here are the ten people chosen by the fans on the ballot.
- Greg Maddux
- Tom Glavine
- Frank Thomas
- Craig Biggio
- Mike Piazza
- Edgar Martinez
- Jeff Bagwell
- Roger Clemens
- Barry Bonds
- Curt Schilling
Wow, they really made a mockery of the process by picking those ten people.