Dan Le Betard (right) was punished by the BBWAA for his Hall of Fame voting stunt. (ESPN / Deadspin)
A day after the Dan Le Batard/Deadspin Hall of Fame ballot fiasco, the Baseball Writers' Association of America has now issued an official statement and announced Le Batard's punishment for turning his ballot over to Deadspin readers.
Deadspin, the snarky sports blog, wanted to make a mockery of baseball's Hall of Fame voting process, and openly courted a BBWAA voter who would turn over (or even sell) his or her ballot.
Le Batard — a sports columnist at the Miami Herald and an ESPN personality — let Deadspin readers decide his ballot, saying he felt his vote was worthless because he didn't know which players used PEDs and which didn't. The BBWAA, which governs the Hall of Fame's selection process, was none too pleased. In response, it has permanently stripped Le Batard of his Hall of Fame vote and suspended his membership for one year. Here's the full statement from BBWAA president La Velle E. Neal III:
This isn't a huge surprise. Le Batard said he expected to lose his Hall of Fame privilege when he was revealed as the voter who gave his ballot to Deadspin. Appearing on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday, Le Batard said he'd do the whole thing differently if given another chance.
It's tough to declare who's right and who's wrong in this case. Le Batard turned his ballot into a spectacle, that's for sure. Had he wanted to truly crowd-source his Hall of Fame vote, he could have. He works at one of the bigger newspapers in the country, has a national radio show and an ESPN TV program.
It wasn't as if turning to Deadspin was his only platform to take a stand against the Hall of Fame voting process. He knew Deadspin's motives and willingly participated, so punishment is just.
However, plenty of other Hall of Fame voters make statements with their ballots too. Like the guy who only voted for one player, Jack Morris, in objection to the PED era. Or the voter who only voted for three players because "that oughta be enough." He didn't want "28 people entering the Hall at once."
It turns out the selections on the Le Batard/Deadspin ballot were a lot better than either of those. Had it not been revealed publicly as the "Deadspin ballot" no one would have been bothered by it.
The difference in this fracas: process vs. result. Some writers abided by the process and had a seriously subpar result. Le Batard circumvented the process, but finished with an OK result. The BBWAA, rightfully, has protected the process here. But as the results show, the BBWAA needs to re-evaluate some of its other voters too.
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