Dan Le Batard's decision didn't really matter in the long run, but it was yet another illustration of the completely flawed, half-witted voting system for Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame.
For the uninitiated, the former Miami Herald writer and current host of ESPN2's appropriately named Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable turned out to be the mysterious Baseball Writers' Association of America member who had his vote purchased by Deadspin, although it eventually turned out that there was no sale involved. He simply gave Deadspin his ballot.
Sweet. Way to take advantage of a great honor, Dan.
To be fair, the Deadspin readers who filled out Le Batard's ballot did a perfectly fine job with a ballot of Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Curt Schilling.
Maddux, Glavine and Thomas were eventually voted in, while Biggio came two votes shy of the honor.
In this case, however, the problem lies with the process. Not the result.
In a perfect world, Hall of Fame entrants would be decided by intelligent baseball minds who have an extensive knowledge of the game and its history. They would be decided by unbiased individuals. They would be decided by voters who—get this—are concerned more about getting the best players into the Hall than themselves being part of the story.
How would you grade the current Baseball Hall of Fame voting system?
Hall of Famers wouldn't be decided by people like Le Batard, who are so willing to break the rules—the Hall of Fame's website stipulates, "Only active and honorary members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, who have been active baseball writers for at least 10 years, shall be eligible to vote."—for attention, a personal statement against the steroid debate or whatever other reason.
They wouldn't be decided by fans on a website.
They wouldn't be decided by freakin' Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, who only voted in Jack Morris. "As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won't vote for any of them," he writes. Right, because Maddux, with his 47 mph fastball, was totally on PEDs.
They wouldn't be decided by people who put Jacque Jones, Armando Benitez, Kenny Rogers or J.T. Snow, all players who received at least a vote, on their ballots.
Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan suggested a way to fix that last one:
Armando Benitez and Jacque Jones do not get votes if the ballots are made public. Simple as that. Transparency. Honesty. Let's do it, BBWAA.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 8, 2014
Perhaps that's a start, but then again, it didn't exactly stop Gurnick.
There's no easy way to completely fix all of the problems that currently face the voting system and it's never going to be perfect. At this point, though, with guys like Le Batard handing off their ballots like it's nothing and the entire process turning into an absolute circus, any changes would be welcomed.