by Kent Sterling
Dolts don’t like being mocked any more than smart people do, and dolts with power generally find a way to try to get even in the worst possible way.
Showing their abject stupidity, the Baseball Writers Association of America has stripped ESPN host Dan LeBatard of his Baseball Hall of Fame vote after he gave his ballot away to deadspin.com after becoming disenchanted with the voting process.
“Okay, he doesn’t want to vote? We’ll show him by stripping his ability to vote!” Good thinking. That’s like banning a child forever from eating broccoli because he refused to eat his broccoli last night.
Thank you sir (or ma’am), my I have another.
The screwball who made his ballot public, showing that he only voted for Jack Morris because, “those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them,” gets to continue to apply moronic logic to his voting strategy while Le Batard loses his vote.
Ken Gurnick of mlb.com is that boob, and he evidently is under the impression that Morris played in the 1920s instead of the 1980s and early 1990s, when steroids were widely used. If anything, a vote for Greg Maddux, who routinely outdueled hundreds of chemically bulked batters during his career would have been more profound statement against steroid use.
This mess perfectly underscores the chaos that exists in this anachronistic process administered by an organization whose continued existence defies logic, and in whose hands this responsibility was correctly trusted when the only media covering baseball was exclusively print.
With the advent of television, radio, and digital content providers watching multiple games per night, it is absurd to propose that only writers have the ability to discern the difference between a good and great major league baseball player.
Last night, I wrote about not paying attention to the way the BBWAA makes the sausage, just enjoy the moment for Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas. Tonight, let’s get downright Upton Sinclair angry about the BBWAA’s sausage making, and the worst hall of fame selection system in sports being allowed to continue to make the decision for millions of fans who view the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum as hallowed ground.
There are idiots who never write about baseball who receive a ballot every year. I know one personally and can attest to both his idiocy and receipt of his ballot. And I know another voter who is steamed to the point where if he didn’t have so much respect for the Hall itself would have pulled a Le Batard years ago.
He told me that he used to get goose bumps when he completed his ballot. As he has become more aware of the dearth of knowledge the membership owns, the less excited he has become.
Some of the voters pay attention, and others treat the sacred trust of completing their annual ballot with the same lack of zeal I reserved for 10th grade vocabulary quizzes. A five-minute glance at the words and definitions was enough to give me a fighting chance, so that was all the effort necessary.
The BBWAA only strips ballots of voters who use theirs to expose the turpitude so obvious to us and yet invisible to the Hall of Fame itself.
If worthy of an ‘F’ for style, Le Batard has at least opened the door for reasonable people to have a conversation about the idiocy of this antique process administered by the journalistic equivalent of the U.S. Government’s Board of Tea Examiners, which was abolished in 1996, a half century after it’s work became a punch line.
Writers are a wacky bunch driven to paranoia through the maddeningly slow death of the newspaper. Every slight is an attack at their ability to provide for their family and suggesting that this cabal of ink stained wretches should not be the sole purveyors of wisdom is countered with manic and incoherent jabbering from the prickly portion of its membership.
No one belonging to a group who has a member that voted for Armando Benitez on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot can claim with a straight face that there isn’t a better way.
That better way might be exactly how Le Batard’s ballot was completed as Deadspin allowed visitors to its site to vote, and the top ten earned Le Batard’s vote. Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Curt Schilling were marked on LeBatard’s ballot.
That’s a pretty good ballot. I would drop Martinez in favor of Tim Raines to get to my top ten, but the ballot that has gotten Le Batard punted for life supported ten men who all fell in the top 12. Not bad for a bunch of online gawkers who have never seen a sheet of 4-ply carbon paper or feasted on a press box buffet.
For more good reading on this mess, Buster Olney offers some well-reason options and thoughts.