The Baseball Writers' Association of America didn't take kindly to Dan Le Batard's treatment of the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.
For the uninitiated, Le Batard gave his ballot to Deadspin, saying, "I feel like my vote has gotten pretty worthless in the avalanche of sanctimony that has swallowed it."
On Thursday, Jan. 9, just a day after it was revealed his ballot was filled in by Deadspin's readers, he was given his punishment, which he revealed on Twitter:
He later clarified a correction to his initial post:
Deadspin's readers selected Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine—the three who were eventually elected—but also added Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Curt Schilling.
Regardless of the selections themselves, Le Batard broke a rule.
According to the Hall of Fame's website, "Only active and honorary members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, who have been active baseball writers for at least ten (10) years, shall be eligible to vote."
Again, some may not argue with the result of Le Batard's stunt in terms of the players chosen on his particular ballot, but if voters were allowed to give away their ballots as they pleased, a broken system would turn into even more of a circus than it already is.
A punishment needed to be handed down, and as Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan noted, there is more work to be done:
Perhaps that starts with MLB.com's Ken Gurnick, who voted only for Jack Morris. Or maybe with the voters who thought Jacque Jones, Armando Benitez and J.T. Snow deserved votes. Or maybe those who turned in blank ballots to make a "statement," as Arizona Diamondbacks broadcaster Steve Berthiaume noted.
The Baseball Hall of Fame voting system is a mess right now, and it's going to be impossible to make it perfect, but changes are needed to at least clean it up.
Hopefully the punishment on Le Batard is the beginning of things to come for those who don't respect their votes.
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