I have known Dan Le Batard for a long time, and I hardly think he is a “scumbug,” which was my initial label for the voter who turned over his ballot to Deadspin.
However, I am disappointed that it is Le Batard who gave his vote to Deadspin. I would be disappointed in any voter who participated in this stunt.
Le Batard writes on Deadspin’s site:
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.
For starters, at least Le Batard wasn’t paid for his vote. The first Deadspin story said, the person “sold us his/her vote.”
That notion sent me through the roof. Hence, in part, my harsh reaction. Journalists shouldn’t be bought.
Apparently, that first person backed out for whatever reason, and Le Batard stepped in.
Why? Well, it will gain Le Batard a ton of publicity today, drawing attention to his various ESPN shows. Sorry, Dan, but that had to factor into your decision.
Also, Dan, if you are so disturbed about the process, why did you use Deadspin as a vehicle? Surely, you have plenty of your own platforms to get out your message.
All in all, it just seems to me by undermining the process, Dan, you sold out your fellow members of the sportswriting fraternity. Yes, the process is flawed, but your stunt also reflects poorly on people you’ve shared the press box with for years. There are better methods if you truly wanted reform.
Bottom line: The whole thing just doesn’t strike me as something a serious journalist would do. And I’ve always thought of you as a serious journalist.
Anyway, those are a few quick thoughts. Hope you enjoy the fallout.