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The Dan Le Batard flap

I wasn't paying too much attention to baseball last year, but I think this year is going to be different. One symptom of oncoming obsession is the fact that I am having a hard time letting go of the latest stupidity by the BBWAA.

tl;dr: Le Batard, a Miami Herald sportswriter and ESPN personality, gave his Hall of Fame vote away to Deadspin, who crowdsourced the ballot. For this, the BBWAA suspended him from voting for life, and banned him for one year.

Where it gets interesting is that not too long after the BBWAA lowered the boom on Le Batard, it came out that the association's VP had been doing basically the same thing for years, only with the Houston Chronicle's readers instead of Deadspin. (Yes, I understand that there's probably some overlap.) Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk, who has been on this story like white on rice, points out that the BBWAA may have violated their own rules in order to smack DLB and by extension the much-hated Deadspin.

Now, I can understand the hate for Deadspin; it started out snarky and acquired an additional heavy coating of slime when it was absorbed into the Gawker Collective, which makes Bob Guccione and Larry Flynt look like clones of Mister Rogers by comparison. On the other hand, you have to be pretty blind with rage to bend your own rules in order to punish somebody for associating with them, and doing so over the ever-contentious and unwritten steroid policy that the BBWAA claims is not in place just adds to the stupidity. Unfortunately, Cooperstown pretty much lets the BBWAA control the Hall of Fame voting, and very seldom gets involved in that end of their business. The last time they did so, fifty years ago, was because Ted Williams had pushed hard -and publicly- for the inclusion of Negro League stars. I agree with Joe Posnanski. Things have gotten beyond ridiculous with the BBWAA and their "no steroids" consensus non-policy, and it's time for the Hall to consider taking their ballots away - or, as Bill James suggested many years ago, opening up the ballot to fans, pros, and people who cover sports but don't write for newspapers. As much as I despise Bob Costas, I think he is arguably more knowledgeable and more concerned with baseball than (for example) Murray Chass, and the same goes for announcers like the late Jerry Coleman. It would also turn the Hall of Fame voting into a bigger thing, which wouldn't be bad for Cooperstown at all. However, I don't see it happening, short of some newly minted Hall of Famer getting up and making an incendiary speech a la Ted Williams, and I think most players these days are just too cool and too polished to do something like that. I could be wrong. I'd like to be wrong.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
huladavid
Jan. 14th, 2014 01:54 pm (UTC)
Good post. Nice and clearly written so that even a non-baseball guy could understand.
wombat_socho
Jan. 15th, 2014 01:09 am (UTC)
Thank you.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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