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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Calcaterra: Did the BBWAA violate its own Constitution in disciplining Dan LeBatard? I can’t tell.

Just in case there are any lawyers here.

Dan Szymborski alerts me to something that is potentially – and I stress “potentially” — quite delicious. It seems that the BBWAA Constitution — under which the BBWAA suspended Dan LeBatard for giving his vote to Deadspin — requires notice and hearing before disciplinary action. Notice and hearing that could not have possibly taken place before his suspension today…

That said, there is another section in the Constitution which works against this, as it suggests that one-year suspensions — which LeBatard recevied — can happen “automatically.”...

This is a little problematic in that neither section references the other, which you would normally expect when one term limits another term of such a document. It’s possible that this is just bad drafting. It’s possible that the one-year “automatic” suspension refers to different kinds of suspensions — ones by local chapter chairs instead of the Board of Directors, for example — than the one LeBatard got. It’s also possible that LeBatard indicated to the BBWAA that he’d waive all hearing and appeal rights and just take his medicine so none of this potential ambiguity matters in the least.

If he did want to challenge this — and if I’m not simply missing something in the BBWAA Constitution — he could theoretically sue to be reinstated or something, arguing that his organization didn’t follow its own rules. But really, it’s highly unlikely he’d bother given that he basically gave the BBWAA the big kiss off with his comments in Deadspin yesterday.

The District Attorney Posted: January 09, 2014 at 07:49 PM | 99 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bbwaa, craig calcaterra, dan le betard, hall of fame, media

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   1. Dale Sams Posted: January 09, 2014 at 07:59 PM (#4635198)
I officially refuse to give a **** about the baseball HOF for the duration of my life.

Turn in a blank ballot? Nuthin.
Turn in a ballot only consisting of Jack Morris and refusing to vote for anyone else because they played WITH steroid users?Nuthin.

This? Suspension.
   2. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4635202)
My legal opinion is that this can only be resolved by a long and bloody civil war among BBWAA members.
   3. ptodd Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:15 PM (#4635206)
How many ways can you spell IRRELEVANT. Citizens of the world Unite and throw the bums out.

Seriously, one of the best ballots submitted was the Deadspin ballot. Maybe BBWAA should subcontract the voting to Deadspin.
   4. Bob Tufts Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:17 PM (#4635210)
Per tweet 2 hours ago:

LaVelle E. Neal III ?@LaVelleNeal 2h

@DSzymborski that's for five-year bans. We can suspend for 1 yr. Thanks for spreading misinformation.

   5. Tripon Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4635218)
Per tweet 2 hours ago:

LaVelle E. Neal III ?@LaVelleNeal 2h

@DSzymborski that's for five-year bans. We can suspend for 1 yr. Thanks for spreading misinformation.


Man, the BBWAA needs better PR people.

Also, the BBWAA renew the suspension every year?
   6. Guapo Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:22 PM (#4635220)
From the Constitution:

Violators’ memberships shall be suspended automatically by any Chapter Chair or Association Warden for one year dating there from.


Neal's statement said that Le Batard was suspended by the Board of Directors.

Pretty clear the BBWAA can't follow its own constitution, but not sure what the value would be to Le Batard to fight it.
   7. andrewberg Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:25 PM (#4635225)
Pretty clear the BBWAA can't follow its own constitution, but not sure what the value would be to Le Batard to fight it.


It probably wouldn't do him much good personally, but it would be a black eye for LEN3 if his goal was strictly to continue to delegitimize the BBWAA.
   8. Bug Selig Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4635231)
Did Conlin vote for the suspension?

EDIT - ...before, you know.
   9. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4635236)
LaVelle is one of our local guys here in Minnesota. Does he have some sort of official role as BBWAA spokesman?
   10. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:39 PM (#4635246)
Note that the official statement from La Velle E. Neal III (what the hell?) didn't explain which section of the Constitution Le Batard was being disciplined under. So he can bash Dan all he wants but the confusion is his own fault for vaguely wording his statement:

The BBWAA Board of Directors has decided to remove Dan Le Batard’s membership for one year, for transferring his Hall of Fame ballot to an entity that has not earned voting status. The punishment is allowed under the organization’s constitution.

In addition, Le Batard will not be allowed to vote on Hall of Fame candidates from this point on.

The BBWAA regards Hall of Fame voting as the ultimate privilege, and any abuse of that privilege is unacceptable.

-BBWAA President La Velle E. Neal III
January 9, 2014


(Maybe he took his cue from MLB in its ARod saga, which argued that ARod was being disciplined for a bazillion games under "the CBA and the JDA.")

Earlier today I did a quick run through the Constitution and it was not immediately apparent to me what clause would support Le Batard's automatic discipline. And if Dan and Craig (a lawyer) had trouble understanding it after a more detailed look then they may not be the problem here. A poorly drafted Constitution combined with a vague statement from Neal III would be my first stab at what the problem is.
   11. Bob Tufts Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:45 PM (#4635251)
You cannot do what Dan LeBatard did (crowdsource), but you can do what the BBWAA Vice President did (focus group). Per Deadspin:

As for the voter who seeks local input, that's BBWAA vice-president Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle. He gathers about 6-8 people over a lunch or dinner, they talk about the players, then he votes by how the majority tells him to vote re: each player. I was part of the panel one year.
   12. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:46 PM (#4635253)
OOOOOOOOO, CATFIGHT!
   13. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:49 PM (#4635262)
Hilariously LeBatard's ballot was one of the best out there.
   14. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:03 PM (#4635278)
Hilariously LeBatard's ballot was one of the best out there.


That's exactly why the BBWAA is so pissed off about it.
   15. Bug Selig Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:05 PM (#4635282)
The BBWAA regards Hall of Fame voting as the ultimate privilege, and any abuse of that privilege is unacceptable.


...but your niece is fair game. Seriously, Bill Conlin died as a member in good standing. YOU CAN NO LONGER EVEN LOCATE HIGH GROUND, MUCH LESS CLAIM IT.
   16. JRVJ Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:12 PM (#4635287)
We really should set up a Kickstarter collection for Le Batard if he chooses to litigate this. I'd pony up.
   17. plim Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:16 PM (#4635293)
 4. Bob Tufts Posted: January 09, 2014 at 07:17 PM (#4635210)
Per tweet 2 hours ago:

LaVelle E. Neal III ?@LaVelleNeal 2h

@DSzymborski that's for five-year bans. We can suspend for 1 yr. Thanks for spreading misinformation.


Ok, fine that's for the suspension. What about the lifetime ban from HOF voting? Or is that not considered disciplinary action?

16. JRVJ Posted: January 09, 2014 at 08:12 PM (#4635287)
We really should set up a Kickstarter collection for Le Batard if he chooses to litigate this. I'd pony up.


Nah, he's not going to do that. He said, before the results, that he'd probably lose his ballot after this.
   18. JRVJ Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:18 PM (#4635296)
People do change their minds, especially when it doesn't cost them anything.
   19. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:21 PM (#4635301)
As I said in the other thread, I don't have any problem with the BBWAA disciplining a member who essentially transferred his vote to an organization offering to pay for a ballot, even if money actually didn't change hands. Furthermore, people here seem all too eager to assign altruistic motives to Le Betard, who I suspect is more interested in raising his own profile & enhancing his career (he succeeded!) than reforming the HoF or its voting process. If he was really interested in the voting issue, did he write about it? I didn't get a response when I asked about that in the other thread, but I can't recall seeing anything linked here.
   20. Moeball Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:30 PM (#4635309)
Hilariously LeBatard's ballot was one of the best out there.


That's exactly why the BBWAA is so pissed off about it.


That being said, 51% of Deadspin voters went for Don Mattingly, and only 45% for Mike Mussina and only 38% for Alan Trammell? C'mon, people, we're supposed to be smarter than the BBWAA.

   21. Lassus Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:30 PM (#4635310)
As I said in the other thread, I don't have any problem with the BBWAA disciplining a member who essentially transferred his vote to an organization offering to pay for a ballot, even if money actually didn't change hands.

This is where the ugly snark of old Deadspin reared it's fecal head. They could have made the same point, and better, without ever even speaking of or even making any kind of purchase offer.
   22. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:39 PM (#4635317)
As I said in the other thread, I don't have any problem with the BBWAA disciplining a member who essentially transferred his vote to an organization offering to pay for a ballot, even if money actually didn't change hands.

Of course. How could they not discipline him?

Furthermore, people here seem all too eager to assign altruistic motives to Le Betard, who I suspect is more interested in raising his own profile & enhancing his career

LeBetard is an attention whore. No news there.

People seem awfully fired up by a pretty reasonable vote outcome yesterday. Strange.
   23. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:49 PM (#4635323)
This is where the ugly snark of old Deadspin reared it's fecal head. They could have made the same point, and better, without ever even speaking of or even making any kind of purchase offer.


Provoking a silly overreaction from the BBWAA was part of the point of the whole thing.
   24. Fanshawe Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:54 PM (#4635327)
Has Neal gotten around to blaming "Millenials" yet?
   25. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: January 09, 2014 at 10:03 PM (#4635332)
We really should set up a Kickstarter collection for Le Batard if he chooses to litigate this. I'd pony up.

Hell, I'll go one better: Le Batard, if you're reading this, PM me. I'm a lawyer, licensed in both California and federal court, with criminal and civil experience. I'll help fight your claim for the unbeatable rate of zero moneys.
   26. Publius Publicola Posted: January 09, 2014 at 10:12 PM (#4635335)
In addition, Le Batard will not be allowed to vote on Hall of Fame candidates from this point on.


Well, at least something positive is coming out of this.

RE:19. Finally, I can wholeheartedly agree with something TYC wrote.
   27. Lassus Posted: January 09, 2014 at 10:32 PM (#4635339)
Provoking a silly overreaction from the BBWAA was part of the point of the whole thing.

A stupid, childish part, but YMMV.
   28. Sebastian Posted: January 09, 2014 at 11:58 PM (#4635401)
Is there anything that says that the BBWA has to be in charge of hall of fame voting? Seems to me that they’ve been killing themselves for a few years now. Can the Hall declare a new pool of voters if they feel like it?
   29. Zach Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:12 AM (#4635410)
I'll repeat what I said in the other thread. If you have a professional credential and you give it out to someone who doesn't have it so that they can evade rules which require that credential, you're going to get in trouble. Ask an accountant. Ask a lawyer. Ask an architect. Heck, ask your janitor if he ever lends anybody his keys.
   30. greenback calls it soccer Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:54 AM (#4635425)
If you have a professional credential and you give it out to someone who doesn't have it so that they can evade rules which require that credential, you're going to get in trouble. Ask an accountant. Ask a lawyer. Ask an architect. Heck, ask your janitor if he ever lends anybody his keys.

These aren't particularly comparable. If DLB had delegated the voting task to an intern, then he still would have his card, even if he had yapped about it on ESPN the next day. DLB is trolling the BBWAA, which makes him an ass, so I really don't have nice things to say about him. But it's telling that a BBWAA member can behave unprofessionally in any number of ways without repercussions, so long as the unprofessional behavior is not an attack on the BBWAA.
   31. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:03 AM (#4635429)
I have the impression that DLB doesn't actually give a #### about the penalty, so I would be surprised if there was any litigation.

Note that all this happened right after BBWAA members fell all over themselves saying Ken Gurnick had earned the right to a vote and anyway he choose to vote was A-OK.

Fact is, if DLB had diddled his niece, he would still have his Hall of Fame vote. If DLB had used his ballot to smear Craig Biggio and announce he would vote out of spite in the future, he would still have his Hall of Fame vote. If DLB had used his ballot to say \"#### this, I'm not voting for any over the last 30 years because I'm going to pretend history stopped in 1987" he would still have his Hall of Fame vote. But DLB let fans choose his ballot and raised some money for charity. Get the guillotine.
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:12 AM (#4635433)
But DLB let fans choose his ballot and raised some money for charity.


He didn't. The other guy was going to raise money for charity. No money changed hands here.

FTR, if money had changed hands, even if it went straight to charity, then I'd be onboard with the punishment.
   33. RJ in TO Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:24 AM (#4635435)
Is there anything that says that the BBWA has to be in charge of hall of fame voting? Seems to me that they’ve been killing themselves for a few years now. Can the Hall declare a new pool of voters if they feel like it?


The Hall could, but the Hall Board of Directors is filled with people associated with MLB, and they seem perfectly happy with the job the BBWAA has been doing so far.
   34. SoSH U at work Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:39 AM (#4635439)
The Hall could, but the Hall Board of Directors is filled with people associated with MLB, and they seem perfectly happy with the job the BBWAA has been doing so far.


It's more than that. The BBWAA is an easy choice because it's a fixed group with a baseball-based barrier for entry (even if some of the guardians haven't kept the best eye on the gate) and a presumption of independence. It's easy to say the system would be improved with the addition of a Forman or a Scully, but how do you add Sean without a couple hundred other baseball website operators who also want to vote, or Scully without also bringing along Hawk Harrelson and other team mouthpieces. The BBWAA ain't much, but it's still the only true organization out there. And while going outside an organized body may sound appealing, it's probably a little unwieldy.
   35. Zach Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:45 AM (#4635440)
These aren't particularly comparable. If DLB had delegated the voting task to an intern, then he still would have his card, even if he had yapped about it on ESPN the next day.

Oh, I agree they aren't comparable. But then again, certification is a big part of what BBWAA does, and taking LaBatard's certification away seems like a pretty logical punishment.

And in this particular case, he didn't delegate the ballot, ask for advice, or spontaneously see the Deadspin ballot and agree that it was a pretty good one. He gave his ballot to an organization that was openly looking to buy one.
   36. Tim Marchman Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:48 AM (#4635441)
On the narrow point of whether Le Batard violated a BBWAA rule, this is the actual explanation I was given by Jack O'Connell, the BBWAA secretary/treasurer:

The rules of the Hall of Fame clearly state that the only voters are 10-year members of the BBWAA. Mr. LeBatard transferred his ballot to an entity that has not earned that status. Rule broken.

This actually isn't true. Le Batard maintained control over his ballot, and I strongly doubt he would have sent in an Armando Benitez/Todd Jones ballot if our readers had turned out to be cranks. (If they had we'd probably have ignored them and sent in the same ballot we did with Tim Raines swapped out for Edgar Martínez, but whatever.) Past that, he didn't transfer his ballot to anyone in any way meaningfully different than other voters have. He lost his voting privileges because Deadspin is considered scurrilous, not because he did anything wrong.
   37. SoSH U at work Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:51 AM (#4635443)
This actually isn't true. Le Batard maintained control over his ballot, and I strongly doubt he would have sent in an Armando Benitez/Todd Jones ballot if our readers had turned out to be cranks.


Didn't he say as much?
   38. Tim Marchman Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:54 AM (#4635445)
He did, but it's possible he would have gone along with a terrible ballot if he thought it legitimately represented the will of tens of thousands of voters.
   39. John Northey Posted: January 10, 2014 at 08:07 AM (#4635475)
It is funny how the standards are. Vote due to spite and admit as much ... no problem. Forget about a clear HOF'er even though his name is written on the ballot in black and white? No problem. Write in names of ineligible players...for years? No problem. Have a small group of people tell you what to do with your ballot? No problem. But let it be known publicly even if you kept ultimate control? Big problem.
   40. Andy McGeady Posted: January 10, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4635496)
I'm just a humble sportswriter, certainly no lawyer. But this screams of the BBWAA screwing the pooch here in a fit of pique.

Unless, that is, LeBatard was on double-secret-probation... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0cF2piwjYQ
   41. Publius Publicola Posted: January 10, 2014 at 09:37 AM (#4635504)
Tim, best wishes with your new gig at Deadspin. Missed the memo you had switched jobs.

EDIT: Looking forward to your next "scurrilous" column. :)
   42. zonk Posted: January 10, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4635507)
I find Neal's tweet sounds much better if you read it in a Shooter McGavin voice.... and then add "Damn you people. Go back to your shanties... err... Moms' basements"
   43. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 10, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4635509)
if bbwaa had an hr dept they would already be backtracking from this approach. but they are saved given that the individual in question apparently doesn't give a hoo ha

but this has all the earmarks of an action born out of a hissy fit by leadership. rarely does that action hold up under additional scrutiny
   44. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 10, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4635511)
Is there anything that says that the BBWA has to be in charge of hall of fame voting?


Yes, the Hall of Fame Board of Directors:

1. Authorization: By authorization of the Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc., the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) is authorized to hold an election every year for the purpose of electing members to the National Baseball Hall of Fame from the ranks of retired baseball players.


-- MWE
   45. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 09:54 AM (#4635519)
I officially refuse to give a **** about the baseball HOF for the duration of my life.


I was so cutting edge on this.
   46. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4635523)
We really should set up a Kickstarter collection for Le Batard if he chooses to litigate this. I'd pony up.


No. If you really want to play this out correctly, you should get Deadspin to spin up a Kickstarter to fund the purchase of warehouse space in Cooperstown as near the MLB HOF as possible, and the crafting of "Hall of Merit" displays. A few mil should get you a decade+ lease or a building outright. A partnership/promotion agreement with one of the start up 3-D printer manufacturers should make HOM "plaques" rather inexpensive. Fund it properly and write the correct business plan and you could almost certainly run for 3 years or more without charging admission. Just open the doors on HOF induction weekend and say "hey fans, check this out after you see the MLB stars! We're like the HOF, but not run by ignorant jackasses!"
   47. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4635526)
This actually isn't true. Le Batard maintained control over his ballot, and I strongly doubt he would have sent in an Armando Benitez/Todd Jones ballot if our readers had turned out to be cranks. (If they had we'd probably have ignored them and sent in the same ballot we did with Tim Raines swapped out for Edgar Martínez, but whatever.) Past that, he didn't transfer his ballot to anyone in any way meaningfully different than other voters have. He lost his voting privileges because Deadspin is considered scurrilous, not because he did anything wrong.


The way that I read this is that Deadspin had control over the ballot sent to Le Batard...since Deadspin would have changed the ballot if the readers had done something that Deadspin didn't think was appropriate before the ballot ever went to Le Batard. That sounds more like support for the BBWAA's position that Le Batard turned control of the ballot over to Deadspin than it does that Le Batard maintained full control over the ballot.

So, Tim...why don't you and Le Batard release the full text of your agreement on how the ballot was to be handled? Seems to me that if Le Batard maintained control over the ballot that there would be something in the agreement between the two parties that clearly stated that Le Batard had the right to refuse to submit the ballot he received from Deadspin - and releasing the text of the agreement between the two parties would be the perfect way to defuse the BBWAA's position that Le Batard violated the rules.

-- MWE
   48. bunyon Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4635537)
FWIW, I think Le Batard should be punished for this. I just also think the blank ballot and spite ballots* should also be punished. Either a voter can do whatever he wants with the ballot or not.

* Blank ballots are self-explanatory. Spite ballots require the writer to "justify" the vote the way Gurnick did. Reading his column and thinking about it you can't come to any conclusion other than his vote was out of spite, or other emotion, rather than rational judgement. For that matter, if Le Batard had simply farmed out his vote and not confessed, he'd be fine. I wonder how many people really are involved in the voting? Maybe the kickstarter that is needed isn't for money but for ballots. Find enough guys willing to vote for who you say - seems they may be out there.
   49. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:19 AM (#4635542)
I just also think the blank ballot and spite ballots* should also be punished.


You can't punish blank ballots. In a theoretical year where Carlos Delgado, Gary Sheffield and Don Mattingly are the best a blank ballot is perfectly reasonable.
   50. bunyon Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4635552)
You can punish a blank ballot when there are 4 or 5 clear HOFers on it. I'm just saying that either the BBWAA has the right to punish how voters come to their votes or they don't. If DLB didn't sell his ballot, BBWAA should have no say in how he arrived at his list. Or, they should have a say on every voter. A blank ballot this year pretty clearly shows an inability to judge or an ulterior motive.
   51. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4635554)
A stupid, childish part, but YMMV.


Sometimes, Lassus, you can't work from within the system.

If the BBWAA were open to constructive prompting toward reform, they would have addressed situations like Chass's spite ballot or the zombie electors themselves. They didn't, so if they can't be nudzhed into action, they need to be shamed into it.
   52. zonk Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4635556)

You can't punish blank ballots. In a theoretical year where Carlos Delgado, Gary Sheffield and Don Mattingly are the best a blank ballot is perfectly reasonable.


Came up in another thread -- but I do not think you can find a ballot that scarce going back to 1936.

BBREF has them all online -- the weakest years would probably be 2006 (SUtter) and 2008 (Gossage). Both years also had Blyleven, Trammell, Parker, Raines - as well as eventual HoFers Dawson and Rice. Add to that one-and-done Will Clark in 2006, Dave Parker, Dale Murphy, Tommy John, and Lee Smith. I'm not saying ALL those guys are Hall of Famers... I'm just saying that you have to be an awfully, awfull small hall guy to say that NONE of them are.

I know it's the Hall of Fame -- not the Hall of Merit -- but Blyleven is a 96 WAR player and Raines is a 70 WAR player... Hard to see a blank ballot in such a case.
   53. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4635557)
You can punish a blank ballot when there are 4 or 5 clear HOFers on it.


No, you can't. At that point it's not a ballot. It's a "SELECT AT LEAST ONE" multiple choice quiz. You can't say you're asking an individual to vote on the qualifications of candidates for X based on their expertise but then turn right around and demand that their judgement result in a vote for a "clearly" qualified candidate. The entire process of the vote is the determination of qualifications. You don't agree with the judgement of qualifications by the actual voter base. I get that. I agree with that. I think a large block of the BBWAA voters are, essentially, morons. But that's not a problem with the vote process or ballot. It's a problem with the electorate.

The point of HOF voting is to ask a pool of experts to agree, communally, on which retired baseball players qualify for induction into the MLB HOF. You can't ask a pool of experts to gauge qualifications but then demand that they not judge all candidates for a given year lacking. You can't assume that there will be a qualified candidate every year. If you do, then you're asking the voters to determine qualification for a player, but to determine the least unqualified for a given ballot.

The problem with HOF balloting isn't the ability for the expert voters to choose to leave the ballot blank. The problem with HOF balloting is that the voters identified as experts are not.
   54. bunyon Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4635558)
Yeah, there seem to be debate between "Le Batard is an ego-whore" and "Le Batard was trying to change the system." That is a silly debate. The answer is "both". I mean, have you ever known someone to be a major public person (politician, athlete, entertainer) who didn't have a massive ego? Anybody who is agitating for anything has a big ego. That isn't reason enough to doubt their other motives. As we've seen, you can be a major egoist on the other side of this issue, too. I'm comfortable with Le Batard and Gurnick and most everyone else involved being very interested in pushing themselves as far forward as possible. Thus, you have to find some other means of judging their work/opinions.
   55. bunyon Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4635559)
That's a fine position, Sam, and perfectly reasonable. At that point, though, you can't punish Le Batard for this ballot. Unless you can prove he signed a contract with Deadspin that gave him no veto power, he submitted the ballot. He arrived at the names however he arrived at them. You made him a voter and gave him the power to make choices. He made them, live with it.

The problem with HOF balloting isn't the ability for the expert voters to choose to leave the ballot blank. The problem with HOF balloting is that the voters identified as experts are not.

I agree with this. As, I suspect, does Le Batard. What I'm saying is that by punishing Le Batard for "how" he chose his names, you can't go back to saying however a voter votes is completely up to them. He didn't sell the vote. Essentially, he asked for advice. Unless you have a rule that they can't do that, you can't punish him and be consistent with the intent of voter freedom.
   56. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4635561)
Came up in another thread -- but I do not think you can find a ballot that scarce going back to 1936.

BBREF has them all online -- the weakest years would probably be 2006 (SUtter) and 2008 (Gossage). Both years also had Blyleven, Trammell, Parker, Raines - as well as eventual HoFers Dawson and Rice. Add to that one-and-done Will Clark in 2006, Dave Parker, Dale Murphy, Tommy John, and Lee Smith. I'm not saying ALL those guys are Hall of Famers... I'm just saying that you have to be an awfully, awfull small hall guy to say that NONE of them are.


I think Trammel and Raines are HOF quality players on the list above. (I've never been too deeply sold on the Bert Blyleven thing but don't want to derail this into a rehash of his qualifications.) But I think it's reasonable for a "small Hall" guy to say no to both Trammel and Raines. More so, those guys had been on the ballot for years already. Let's say they voters already put them in (being smarter than the actual voters from those years. Hell, say Blyleven got in earlier too.) Now you have a ballot of Parker, Sutter, Gossage, Will Clark and Dale Murphy. There's no reason to demand that an empty ballot not be submitted for that potential class.

You can't set up a voting process that always assumes the class has a qualified candidate. Sometimes, however rarely YOU think that might occur, a blank ballot it reasonable. The problem isn't blank ballots. It's bad voters.
   57. zonk Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4635563)
Someone can probably do this better than I -- but going through ballots, 2012 is the only year I can find where the ballot did NOT include at least 1 90 WAR player (2012 had 6 70+ WAR players -- Trammell, Larkin, Raines, Bagwell, Palmeiro, Walker).

Again - Fame not Merit.... I'm just saying when a guy gets into the 90 WAR range, I feel like we have a no doubt HoFer.


So - I guess 2012 -- you'd have to say that none of those 6 deserve enshrinement.... I'm not seeing it... Maybe you can say Walker, Bagwell, and even Palmeiro don't pass muster... but all 6?
   58. zonk Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4635567)
You can't set up a voting process that always assumes the class has a qualified candidate. Sometimes, however rarely YOU think that might occur, a blank ballot it reasonable. The problem isn't blank ballots. It's bad voters.


I ultimately agree... bad voters is the be all and end all...

I'm just tossing it out there as more of an interesting exercise than anything else... I don't see a non-sham zero player ballot in our past and I don't see one in the foreseeable future. I suppose maybe if you're a Joey B PED rager, it might be conceivable to backne, innuendo, and whisper you're way into saying NO ONE!!! in a few years.
   59. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4635568)
At that point, though, you can't punish Le Batard for this ballot.


Oh, I think the BBWAA's suspension/banning of DLB's vote is doubly idiotic and another in a long series of bullets in the gun they continually aim at their own head. First, it proves the DLB/Deadspin argument that the BBWAA is a self-centered group of primadonna whores for them. Second, it gives DLB the attention he wanted from the exercise. It's a PR and rhetorical ###########. Of course, it's the BBWAA. ############ are what they seem most qualified to do.
   60. bunyon Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4635570)
I agree you can't really create rules that protect against idiocy - anywhere, not just in HOF voting.

But you could start by not making lifetime appointments to voting.

My only argument is that by suspending Le Batard the BBWAA is doing exactly what folks say they can't do: interfering with voting. Again, had he sold the vote, or given away veto power over what Deadspin decided, I agree he could be punished. Short of that, he basically asked a wider circle of people for advice than the guy who asks his friends at dinner.
   61. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:52 AM (#4635575)
I don't see a non-sham zero player ballot in our past and I don't see one in the foreseeable future. I suppose maybe if you're a Joey B PED rager, it might be conceivable to backne, innuendo, and whisper you're way into saying NO ONE!!! in a few years.


We agree on all of the primary points of judgement. There have been no blank worthy ballots in the recent or mid-recent past. There is unlikely to be a blank worthy ballot in the near future. PED rage is ####### stupid. Joey is ####### stupidity embodied and shouldn't be allowed to vote on what's for dinner, much less on issues of actual import. But all of that presupposes that our judgement of qualifications are the only valid judgements. It presupposes that we are qualified to vote for the HOF and Joey, being an idiot, is not. It argues that his judgement is invalid because it disagrees with ours. Again, that's a problem with the electorate, not the process.
   62. thetailor Posted: January 10, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4635582)
MWE, I think you make an interesting point:

So, Tim...why don't you and Le Batard release the full text of your agreement on how the ballot was to be handled? Seems to me that if Le Batard maintained control over the ballot that there would be something in the agreement between the two parties that clearly stated that Le Batard had the right to refuse to submit the ballot he received from Deadspin - and releasing the text of the agreement between the two parties would be the perfect way to defuse the BBWAA's position that Le Batard violated the rules.

Not to get too 1L on this, but although I like your idea, I don't think it would have made a difference. Le Batard could have recanted on this deal at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all - there was no contract between LB and Deadspin to render it enforceable.

Therefore I think even a lack of a written portion of the agreement saying that Le Batard could reject the Deadspin ballot wouldn't matter.

Edit: which also strengthens the argument of those who would have supported the suspension had Le Batard accepted $ or charity $ ... that said, he didn't, so I can't see a basis for the suspension

Edit 2: my full take on the issue is here: Link. I didn't submit the link to the main page because its basically just agreeing with what the consensus here appears to be.
   63. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:02 AM (#4635587)
I think the best reforms would be these:

1) all ballots are made public
2) all ballots must be submitted with a written explanation of why you vote for the players you do, and why you don't vote for the others.

It would help weed out the lazy and stupid.
   64. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4635597)
Ideas don't vote. People do.

(And I can't believe people are wasting their time scouring through the constitution of the BBWAA (!!) to see if it's being followed. Jesus on a bicycle, people.)
   65. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4635602)
Edit: which also strengthens the argument of those who would have supported the suspension had Le Batard accepted $ or charity $ ... that said, he didn't, so I can't see a basis for the suspension


Bob makes the truly relevant point @11. Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle (the VP of the BBWAA) did the exact same thing as Le Batard. He crowdsourced his ballot. The difference is that Ortiz' crowd was much smaller - a group of 5-6 people sitting around a table having drinks. Le Batard went wide with his crowd, going for "Deadspin readers." The BBWAA has absolutely no leg to stand on here, logically. DLB's crime was not polling other people (outside of the BBWAA) for direction and input on his ballot. It was choosing to poll the unwashed heathens on the internet. This is about classism and preserving the holy ground of voting input for the College of Cardinals within the BBWAA. It's okay to do a smokey back room meeting around dinner with similarly classed non-members (as long as you don't publish that very loudly.) It's not okay to let the lower classes from the internet into the process. The BBWAA's primary concern these days is building walls against the internet. It's an existential fight for the old guard of baseball writers and newspapermen against the death of their medium, and thus their jobs. They're whale oil salesmen. They can't let electricity users start voting on the power-supply HOF.
   66. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4635604)
(And I can't believe people are wasting their time scouring through the constitution of the BBWAA (!!) to see if it's being followed. Jesus on a bicycle, people.)


A guy tasked to write multiple entries to a blog at NBC.com, with a legal background, dug into the BBWAA constitution with a legal eye. This is the least surprising thing in the world. HardballTalk demands content constantly. Craig found an angle and wrote it up.
   67. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4635606)
(And I can't believe people are wasting their time scouring through the constitution of the BBWAA (!!) to see if it's being followed. Jesus on a bicycle, people.)

I think when someone receives a lifetime 'ban' it's reasonable to understand whether the governing body actually had the authority to levy such a punishment.
   68. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4635608)
What do you guys think, should we all chip in and buy a vote next year? It would be fun though I think if we had a collective vote we might destroy BBTF trying to come to agreement on how to use it.
   69. thetailor Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4635613)
I haven't seen anyone mention this yet, but Le Batard's lifetime ban on HOF voting seems to me to be much less drastic of a punishment than his one year revocation of credentials. What's the impact of that on Le Batard?
   70. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:25 AM (#4635616)
What's the impact of that on Le Batard?

Probably nothing. Can't ESPN just credential him if he needs to cover an event?
   71. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4635620)
What do you guys think, should we all chip in and buy a vote next year? It would be fun though I think if we had a collective vote we might destroy BBTF trying to come to agreement on how to use it.

I dunno, as long as everyone can agree to leave off Bonds, I'm in. (/ducks)
   72. SoSH U at work Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4635624)
I haven't seen anyone mention this yet, but Le Batard's lifetime ban on HOF voting seems to me to be much less drastic of a punishment than his one year revocation of credentials. What's the impact of that on Le Batard?


Not much. He can still apply for credentials on an individual game basis through his other work outlets, and it's not like he's going to be denied (and, considering his other obligations, he probably isn't using them much anyway).

   73. Morty Causa Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4635627)
They really call it a "Constitution"! All right!
   74. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4635630)
I dunno, as long as everyone can agree to leave off Bonds, I'm in. (/ducks)

You will be free to not vote for Bonds, of course. It won't matter and we really want your money!
   75. Tim Marchman Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4635632)
So, Tim...why don't you and Le Batard release the full text of your agreement on how the ballot was to be handled?

Well, there wasn't really a formal agreement; Le Batard and I just emailed a bit with him saying he'd serve as a failsafe vote if our purchase of a ballot fell through. There was certainly nothing holding him to it, and I'd be happy to release those if he wants to make an issue of it, which I doubt he does. (The voter whose ballot we agreed to purchase, by contrast, signed a formal agreement our lawyers drew up.)

As to the counterfactual, I should clarify. By saying that we would have ignored crank results, I mean that we would have submitted a different ballot than the ones our readers came up with if there was voting gamesmanship—say, if Sean Casey and Richie Sexson got 50,000 more votes than anyone else, artificially suppressing their results. I was tracking the results from early on—they stabilized quickly—and if the voting had in the end produced a joke ballot we probably would have gone with what was established early in the voting as the vanilla response, which was the ballot we submitted with Raines in place of Martínez, who benefitted from a bit of a surge after we ran an article touting his candidacy. I didn't mean that we would have fixed the results if they weren't to our liking; Le Batard agreed to come on because he liked the symbolism of giving a vote to the public and saw us as credible stewards of such a vote.
   76. GregD Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4635642)
Well, there wasn't really a formal agreement; Le Batard and I just emailed a bit with him saying he'd serve as a failsafe vote if our purchase of a ballot fell through. There was certainly nothing holding him to it, and I'd be happy to release those if he wants to make an issue of it, which I doubt he does. (The voter whose ballot we agreed to purchase, by contrast, signed a formal agreement our lawyers drew up.)

As to the counterfactual, I should clarify. By saying that we would have ignored crank results, I mean that we would have submitted a different ballot than the ones our readers came up with if there was voting gamesmanship—say, if Sean Casey and Richie Sexson got 50,000 more votes than anyone else, artificially suppressing their results. I was tracking the results from early on—they stabilized quickly—and if the voting had in the end produced a joke ballot we probably would have gone with what was established early in the voting as the vanilla response, which was the ballot we submitted with Raines in place of Martínez, who benefitted from a bit of a surge after we ran an article touting his candidacy. I didn't mean that we would have fixed the results if they weren't to our liking; Le Batard agreed to come on because he liked the symbolism of giving a vote to the public and saw us as credible stewards of such a vote.
Just want to say thanks for answering the questions so clearly
   77. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4635647)
I think when someone receives a lifetime 'ban' it's reasonable to understand whether the governing body actually had the authority to levy such a punishment.

So people other than those directly impacted are spending time seeing if a guy in the Teamsters was properly disciplined under his union contract, when something like that happens?

Whether or not a single BBWAA member was wrongly deprived of his Hall of Fame vote is about as irrelevant as an irrelevancy can be. The time spent by outsiders on the matter is strictly a product of the internet and modern modes of communication.(*) Literally no one beyond maybe the voter would have spent a second on this as recently as 20 years ago.

With this obsession, the feticization of the Hall of Fame has spun completely out of control and become utter farce.

(*) While our pre-Internet forebears were of course not fully conversant with 21st century instant communications, they were amply aware of full-out obsession and the comedic value hidden therein. We need look no further than the episode of Taxi in which Jim Ignatowski somehow acquires an arsenal of half a dozen TVs and some high-grade cable/sattelite equipment and in the process of getting hooked on all the channels he can watch becomes glazed over with the deliberations of the Delaware Legislature upon whether the citzenry should be referred to as "Delawarians" or "Delawarites."

   78. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4635652)
Tim, perhaps next year you could approach someone about doing the same thing, but publicly, and without couching the process as "buying a vote." Explicitly have a voter, if you can find a willing one, to say "I'm doing here what Jose de Jesus Ortiz does with his friends over dinner in Houston, but with a larger audience." Maybe have some Reddit conversations where the voter takes Q&A (or host that at DS.)
   79. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4635658)
With this obsession, the feticization of the Hall of Fame has spun completely out of control and become utter farce.

You're probably right but, you know, you're free to ignore it.
   80. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4635659)
With this obsession, the feticization of the Hall of Fame has spun completely out of control and become utter farce.


Arguing about the HOF ballot on the internet: stupidity!

Arguing about how arguing about the HOF ballot on the internet, on the internet: pointed commentary on the downfall of society even since Taxi went off the air!
   81. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4635661)
Hey, stop helping Tim work things out for Deadspin and start figuring a way we can get a vote.

Really, though, thanks for chiming in Tim. If you had any extra candidates who wanted to crowdsource their vote, send them our way.
   82. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4635665)
sugar

my wife has spent a good portion of her life advocating for people to receive due process from their employer when disciplined/terminated.

as someone who has authored significant company downsizings like you I find such advocacy inconvenient to my purposes

but I don't deny it's relevancy.
   83. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4635674)
Hey, stop helping Tim work things out for Deadspin and start figuring a way we can get a vote.


ID a BBTF in charge of networking to the point where he or she can convince a voter to associate with us.
Do the same thing I suggested Tim do above.

The problem with a BBTF spin on this is putting a face in front of a voter with the same authority and decision making power as Tim has at Deadspin. Jimmy doesn't seem to be interested in being that sort of networker in the press. Szymborski's an ESPN'er now. Dial talks to loud. Repoz is buried in a dive bar in central Jersey.
   84. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4635680)
The problem with a BBTF spin on this is putting a face in front of a voter with the same authority and decision making power as Tim has at Deadspin.

Why do we have to make a big deal of it? I don't care about publicity, I just think it would be fun if we could contribute to the vote. If there's a voter out there who doesn't have the time/inclination to do the exhaustive research, I can think of no better option than to put us nerds to work for free--god knows we would waste thousands of man hours on a ballot and we would take it thousands of times more seriously than it deserves. They don't have to out themselves and we won't out them. I will volunteer to be the point of contact if need be.
   85. zonk Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4635681)

Bob makes the truly relevant point @11. Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle (the VP of the BBWAA) did the exact same thing as Le Batard. He crowdsourced his ballot.


NOw that you mention this, I remember a sportswriter for the local paper when I was young (South Bend Tribune) did the same with his ballot -- I don't recall the name or how he came to get a HoF ballot, but I do remember he did a series of columns where he solicited 'votes' from readers and those votes became his ballot.

I have to think this happens a LOT... especially now, with the internet making such interactions so easy.

Was there really no other columnist who did something similar?

Did the BBWAA come down on them, too?
   86. JE (Jason) Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4635692)
What do you guys think, should we all chip in and buy a vote next year? It would be fun though I think if we had a collective vote we might destroy BBTF trying to come to agreement on how to use it.

Even if we don't go this route, I suspect Repoz is going to need to hire a publicist next December.
   87. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4635695)
Why do we have to make a big deal of it? I don't care about publicity, I just think it would be fun if we could contribute to the vote. If there's a voter out there who doesn't have the time/inclination to do the exhaustive research, I can think of no better option than to put us nerds to work for free--god knows we would waste thousands of man hours on a ballot and we would take it thousands of times more seriously than it deserves. They don't have to out themselves and we won't out them. I will volunteer to be the point of contact if need be.


There are multiple voters who frequent this site. Put your contact info out there. Or we can write up a specific "We Want To Help You Research Your Vote But Won't Le Batard You By Going Public" newsroom link. Make it sticky like the Softball link from the summer.

Of course, given the popularity of the Gizmo and the occasional contribution of national, credentialed writers in discussion threads, I strongly suspect that the annual HOF free-for-all threads are go-to reading for writers doing private research already.
   88. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4635698)
Or we can write up a specific "We Want To Help You Research Your Vote But Won't Le Batard You By Going Public" newsroom link. Make it sticky like the Softball link from the summer.

This seems like the best plan. Who has the keys around here?
   89. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4635699)
Now that you mention this, I remember a sportswriter for the local paper when I was young (South Bend Tribune) did the same with his ballot -- I don't recall the name or how he came to get a HoF ballot, but I do remember he did a series of columns where he solicited 'votes' from readers and those votes became his ballot...
Did the BBWAA come down on them, too?


Not only didn't the BBWAA discipline the South Bend Tribune writer, but he died eleven years ago, and this week he voted for Maddux and Mattingly.
   90. McCoy Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4635714)
This is about classism and preserving the holy ground of voting input for the College of Cardinals within the BBWAA.

No it isn't. It is about the fact that Deaspin "buying" a vote gave the BBWAA and the Hall of Fame a black eye and since both would like to protect their status they came down hard on the person who did it. If Deadspin had simply run a poll or Dan did and then simply said I'm going to go with those picks this would be a non-issue. It isn't the action that is wrong but how they spun the actions.
   91. thetailor Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4635742)
It is about the fact that Deaspin "buying" a vote gave the BBWAA and the Hall of Fame a black eye and since both would like to protect their status they came down hard on the person who did it. If Deadspin had simply run a poll or Dan did and then simply said I'm going to go with those picks this would be a non-issue. It isn't the action that is wrong but how they spun the actions.

I agree with your take that the two are different. However, as you know, as it turns out, Deadspin did not buy Le Batard's vote, and Le Batard was, in reality, free to vote however he chose since he never had a binding agreement with Deadspin aside from a gratuitous promise to follow their poll.

I also sign on completely to #87's suggestion. I'd love to do that.
   92. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4635747)
when hearing from the bbwaa the last few days it makes me think of the song from the ‘book of mormon’ where they sing about turning off bad thoughts like a light switch

poof. just make all this noise go away.

that was an amusing song.

pretty sure it’s on youtube if folks are wondering what in the sam hill I am blabbering about
   93. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4635765)
There are multiple voters who frequent this site. Put your contact info out there. Or we can write up a specific "We Want To Help You Research Your Vote But Won't Le Batard You By Going Public" newsroom link. Make it sticky like the Softball link from the summer.

BTF has already done way more than that by setting up the Hall of Merit. Rebrand it as the "Shadow Hall of Fame." (In the same way that there exists, e.g., a "Shadow SEC.")(*)

And then publicize it.

The "nerds" already have the infrastructure and have done the work to be able to explain and advocate for their alternative HOF. That's -- needless to say -- a far more weighty project than scouring through the codicils of the BBWAA constitution counting entrails.

(*) And, I believe, a "Shadow Fed."
   94. McCoy Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4635789)
I agree with your take that the two are different. However, as you know, as it turns out, Deadspin did not buy Le Batard's vote, and Le Batard was, in reality, free to vote however he chose since he never had a binding agreement with Deadspin aside from a gratuitous promise to follow their poll.

Reality doesn't matter, perception trumps it everytime.
   95. CrosbyBird Posted: January 10, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4635906)
My only argument is that by suspending Le Batard the BBWAA is doing exactly what folks say they can't do: interfering with voting. Again, had he sold the vote, or given away veto power over what Deadspin decided, I agree he could be punished. Short of that, he basically asked a wider circle of people for advice than the guy who asks his friends at dinner.

I think that's a very charitable account of things. What Le Batard did was pretty provocative and a clear sign of not respecting the gravitas of his voting privilege. That has to be punished if you're at all concerned about the integrity of the process.

I liked the ballot (except I would have swapped Edgar for Raines), and I agree that there's a big problem with the HOF situation, but if you're even going to pretend to be credible, you can't let Le Batard's conduct slide.

I really like Snapper's solution: 100% public ballots, with explanations for both yes and no votes. At least there's some accountability. I don't see a reasonable way to formally enforce "legitimate effort," which would be ideal.
   96. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: January 10, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4635912)
I really like Snapper's solution: 100% public ballots, with explanations for both yes and no votes. At least there's some accountability. I don't see a reasonable way to formally enforce "legitimate effort," which would be ideal.


A semi-functional organization would create a public website where members went to vote, which published their votes as they came in. It would make the vote public. It would modernize the voting mechanism. It would drive traffic to the BBWAA's website regularly (traffic that is currently being captured by BBTF honestly.)
   97. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 10, 2014 at 05:00 PM (#4635945)
. . . he basically asked a wider circle of people for advice than the guy who asks his friends at dinner.

No, he didn't. Le Betard agreed to assign his vote to a third party that offered to buy a vote. That money didn't change hands is immaterial. That the agreement was never formalized, and Le Betard, could have backed out is immaterial. He didn't.

I'm surprised that people here are comparing Le Betard's actions to blank ballots, spite ballots, or other "bad" ballots. Not the same. Bad ballots are relatively few in number, and while annoying, they don't normally have much impact, and don't specifically violate the voting rules, as was the case for Le Betard. Asking friends & colleagues for their input also doesn't violate the rules, and I'm not sure anyone has actually verified the anecdotes of that nature to determine how often the recommendations were actually followed, rather than merely promised.

Many here seem eager to assign altruistic motives to Le Betard & Deadspin, but I see a sordid pact between two entities to profit by the publicity their scheme would generate (It worked!). I've asked this in several threads and seen no answer - Where was Le Betard on Hall of Fame voting reform before he became an attention whore on the day inductees were announced? If he was leading the charge for reform, those columns don't seem to have been linked here. He could have done quite a bit at his paper & ESPN to consistently promote the issue, but going by my own memory and what has been reported, it doesn't look like he did.
   98. GregD Posted: January 10, 2014 at 05:14 PM (#4635956)
A semi-functional organization would create a public website where members went to vote, which published their votes as they came in.
I actually think this would be quite bad as it would give later voters additional information that would sway their voting and distort the whole process. If you logged in expecting to vote for players 1-10 on your ballot but saw that earlier voters had basically eliminated the chances of your #8, you would then switch to, say, #12 who still had a shot. While rational, this strategic voting would mean that early voters would have a disproportionate effect and it would affect which players fell off the ballot.

Many here seem eager to assign altruistic motives to Le Betard & Deadspin, but I see a sordid pact between two entities to profit by the publicity their scheme would generate (It worked!). I've asked this in several threads and seen no answer - Where was Le Betard on Hall of Fame voting reform before he became an attention whore on the day inductees were announced? If he was leading the charge for reform, those columns don't seem to have been linked here. He could have done quite a bit at his paper & ESPN to consistently promote the issue, but going by my own memory and what has been reported, it doesn't look like he did.
I don't know their motives and don't care. It's possible to do things for crass reasons and have a good effect. There were black cab drivers in Montgomery who supported the bus boycott in part because they made more money. So what? They still helped the outcome happen.

From whatever motive, the Le Batard/Deadspin move brought a lot of attention to the broken system, and that's something I wanted. Other people brought attention in other, perhaps as effective and perhaps more responsible ways. Good! I don't see the conflict.
   99. Moeball Posted: January 10, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4635957)
I really like Snapper's solution: 100% public ballots, with explanations for both yes and no votes. At least there's some accountability. I don't see a reasonable way to formally enforce "legitimate effort," which would be ideal.


Yes, I would like to know why some writer voted the way he did or didn't and I am grateful for those who choose to publicly disclose their leanings. It does take some courage to do that, especially if you know you've made some unpopular choices.

But I just can't see forcing everyone to reveal their votes. The reason this has been a private ballot for several decades is because of a wish to have people vote how they truly feel without public influence or "shaming". I may not like that a lot of voters think that Jack Morris was a Hall-of-Famer or that Alan Trammell wasn't - but I would rather we get honest opinions even if I feel some of those opinions are being spouted by ignorant poopy-heads. I believe that making all the voters reveal their opinions isn't necessarily going to improve the process if writers feel they are being "pressured" to vote a certain way.

It's like our political system and the votes we have for propositions or candidates. I sincerely believe in the private ballot where each person can choose as (s)he really believes without outside influence or pressure. We have to be willing to let the populace decide and just accept that some decisions may not be so wise. Hey, we outlawed booze in this country at one point in time. Seems silly today but I suppose at the time people thought they knew what they were doing.

We need look no further than the episode of Taxi in which Jim Ignatowski somehow acquires an arsenal of half a dozen TVs and some high-grade cable/sattelite equipment and in the process of getting hooked on all the channels he can watch becomes glazed over with the deliberations of the Delaware Legislature upon whether the citzenry should be referred to as "Delawarians" or "Delawarites."


"Delaweenians" never had a chance.



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