Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Dan Le Batard should be thrown out of the BBWAA, and I support him

This afternoon it was revealed that Dan Le Batard gave his Hall of Fame ballot, granted him by the Base Ball Writers Association of America, to Deadspin.

Part of his explanation:
"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 was surprise.

There was condescension:
There was disappointment:

And then there was Hank Schulman:
"I have zero problem with a Hall voter asking fans to pick his ballot. Last year, on a much smaller scale, I asked fans on their opinions of Biggio because I was on the fence for that particular ballot. I voted for Biggio in large part because of what you guys told me.... There's a difference between that and handing your ballot to a website whose principal purpose is to ridicule the work of others -- and somehow do something important once in a blue moon. LeBatard this year was the classic example of LOOK AT ME!!!!!!!! And to hide behind the whole charity thing. Amazing."
***

Before we discuss the larger issue at hand, let's first look at two facts straight off:

1.  Dan Le Batard absolutely did this to draw attention to himself.  He is egotistical, he is someone who wants the spotlight, and he did say, in a sense, "Look at me!"  He succeeded, too.

2.  He took a ballot that was granted to him as an honor, and he handed the responsibility of filling out the ballot to an outside party.  It was both an abuse of the process and outright voter fraud (since he signed his name on a ballot that he did not decide upon).  If I were the BBWAA, I would penalize him to the fullest.

***

Now then,

The Hall of Fame voting process is a mess, and some of the voters -- voters not named Dan Le Batard -- should be charged with dereliction of duty.  For instance, one voter selected Armando Benitez, one vote went to Jacque Jones, one vote found its way to Kenny Rogers, and two votes apiece named J.T. Snow and Eric Gagne.

Then there was Ken Gurnick:



Dan Le Batard's vote is gone.  He forfeited it.  Murray Chass keeps his vote, despite deciding to use it now to rub smarter people's faces in his ignorant opinions.  Paul Daugherty keeps his vote, despite - remarkably - believing that the "DH is NOT a position."  Good heavens, man.  That should be grounds for vote-forfeiture right there.  Paul Hagen tells of the "informal rule of thumb... limiting the vote to four or five," which is ridiculous considering that the maximum allowed is ten, which was used by a full 50% of the voters -- why in the heck would anyone create/follow an informal rule limiting them even more?

This is not even to touch on those voters who vote, like Terence Moore, by "feel," or others, Chass among them, who won't vote for players whom they have the slightest of suspicion of PED abuse even without any inkling of proof.

So, yes, egomaniac or not, Dan Le Batard is right.  The system needs to be blown up.

Now, what comes next?  Will there be an outcry to revamp the system, or will Le Batard be pilloried while everything else gets swept underneath the carpet until next year?

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