Earlier this week, prominent sports columnist and radio host Dan Le Batard revealed that he turned his Hall of Fame ballot over to Deadspin to allow fans to determine who he would vote for. On Thursday, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America punished Le Batard by stripping him of his Hall of Fame voting privileges for life. But was Le Batard’s stunt unheard of?
As USA Today pointed out, BBWAA vice president Jose de Jesus Ortiz openly invited readers of his blog to join him at a Mexican restaurant and help him fill out his Hall of Fame ballot in 2007.
“I hope you come join me and a group of baseball fans to discuss the ballot and fill it out together,” Ortiz wrote on his Houston Chronicle blog at the time. “Ever since I earned my first ballot, I vowed to always fill it out with the help and guidance of the readers who know as much and sometimes even more about the history of the game. Last year I filled it out with a Texas Supreme Court Judge, several big-time lawyers in town and my father in-law.
“This time I’ve invited some of my regular blog readers and some of the toughest baseball critics in Houston. Please come help me again this year.”
Uh oh — what now? Le Batard openly admitted that he turned his ballot over to Deadspin in protest of the process. He wrote a well-reasoned essay explaining how he believes the system is broken, but that’s not what the BBWAA said he was punished for.
“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 BBWAA said in a statement on Thursday.
Ortiz included the Hall of Fame ballot in his 2007 blog post and offered to bring copies of it to distribute to those who joined him. He also said he would forward the ballot and each player’s bio to anyone that acquired via email.
Clearly, we’re dealing with hypocrisy on some level. Was Le Batard punished for what he did or for his intention? If it was the former, it would seem that Ortiz should lose his Hall of Fame voting privilege as well.
Photo via Twitter/Jose de Jesus Ortiz