I suppose there are a few that will now legitimately ask if Dan Le Batard is highly questionable. I would also suppose that at this point in time, the response would be an emphatic “yes”. Le Batard, the ESPN-ite who gave – not sold – his vote to Deadspin, created a firestorm. (Catch his reveal on the set of his show.)
Did you catch the reaction from Bomani Jones? And what he said at the right as the video ends? “I would have treated it with respect!” And that’s been the issue for some of Le Batard’s BBWAA brethren.
Some have opined that Le Batard disrespected the vote by taking this route. He received a Twitter reprimand from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. He was given the “what for” from ESPN colleagues Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. Not only on their show Pardon the Interruption, but also in an appearance on Le Batard’s radio show. He’s been called everything you could imagine (do a Twitter search), and I’m willing to bet the name-calling will continue until the BBWAA finds the means to strip Le Batard of his vote.
More on that in a few…
Strange thing is that I’m kind of leaning toward Le Batard on this. He doesn’t cover baseball these days. His statement as to why he chose this route honestly makes sense. I’m not alone here. Joe Lucia of Awful Announcing is in clear support of Le Batard.
I’m curious as to what Le Batard did that was so shameful here. He turned his ballot over to the Deadspin readers, and they selected ten very worthy Hall of Fame candidates. Would it be more shameful if he sent in an empty ballot to “make a statement” like so many have done in the past? Or if he voted for only Jack Morris, like Ken Gurnick did? How is what Le Batard did more despicable than what many other attention whore writers have done in the past with their ballots?
Read a few comments that this “vote” should have been conducted on a ESPN platform. I disagree. Deadspin was the perfect vehicle. Now if ESPN had done such, the shock value would have been on a scale unlike anything that has ever shaken Bristol U. The ramifications would have been far more intense.
Granted, the timing of the reveal by both Deadspin and Le Batard could not have been worse. Le Batard has admitted to that. The day should have been owned by the trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. Instead, just as I am doing at this moment, the attention turned to Le Batard. But it’s not like he doesn’t mind the attention. It was his goal, in a manner of speaking.
Speaking of Heyman, here’s how Le Batard’s “ballot” and Heyman’s stack up against the other (differences are in bold):
|Le Batard/Deadspin||Heyman||Actual Vote*|
|Jeff Bagwell||Craig Biggio||Greg Maddux|
|Craig Biggio||Tom Glavine||Tom Glavine|
|Barry Bonds||Fred McGriff||Frank Thomas|
|Roger Clemens||Greg Maddux||Craig Biggio|
|Tom Glavine||Don Mattingly||Mike Piazza|
|Greg Maddux||Jack Morris||Jack Morris|
|Edgar Martinez||Tim Raines||Jeff Bagwell|
|Mike Piazza||Curt Schilling||Tim Raines|
|Curt Schilling||Frank Thomas||Roger Clemens|
|Frank Thomas||Alan Trammell||Barry Bonds|
* – reflects order of percentage of vote received
The readers of Deadspin pieced together a nice ballot on Le Batard’s behalf. Of the ten names submitted on the Le Batard/Deadspin ticket, eight were in the top 10 among the total electorate. Schilling finished 12th and Martinez finished 13th. The differences between their vote and who Le Batard could have potentially voted for would include Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa. That’s assuming he would consider all three of those Hall of Famers.
For Heyman, only six on his ballot cracked the top 10 in voting. Those that missed. Heyman also had Schilling. Morris was on the BBWAA’s ballot for the final time this year. McGriff received only 11.7%, and Mattingly received less than 10%. I don’t have an issue with Heyman’s ballot either. That’s how deep this ballot was.
Granted, this is merely looking at two of the well over 500 ballots that were cast.
File this whole exercise under the category “just saying”. Then again, you could be wondering (and you wouldn’t be alone) how Le Batard still has a vote.
But it’s not like any of this matters. According to a statement on its website, the BBWAA brought down the hammer against Le Batard today by suspending him for a year and stripped him of ever voting for the Hall of Fame again. I doubt the latter would hurt Le Batard’s feelings. In the video I linked at the beginning, he seemed resigned to the fact this was going to occur.
I guess Deadspin will have to look elsewhere for next year’s foil.