Dan Le Batard and the Hall of Fame
By David Hill
Here at Kings of Kauffman, we are fans of the Kansas City Royals first and foremost. Yet, at the same time, we are all fans of the great game of baseball. We debate players and how they rate compared to others. Naturally, we debate the worthiness of whether or not players should end up in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Given the announcement that Dan Le Batard gave his ballot to Deadspin, and his subsequent punishment from the BBWAA, the Hall of Fame and it’s voting process have come under further scrutiny.
First, allow me to state that I thoroughly support what Dan Le Batard did. The BBWAA is, naturally, missing the point. The balloting system is completely flawed, and needs to be fixed. Le Batard protested that in the best way that he could.
If the BBWAA feels a need to ban him from voting, then they should ban Ken Grunick, who only voted for Jack Morris because he “won’t vote from anyone from the steroid era” despite Morris having nine years of overlap with Greg Maddux. Or Murray Chass, who is making unfounded accusations of players being on PEDs without any evidence. Or the clown who sent back a blank ballot. The BBWAA would then make an actual statement, instead of grandstanding on it’s own self-importance. It is said that one vote does not make a difference, but in this case, two votes meant a lot to Craig Biggio, who would have gotten in if those two ballots had not been cast.
However, that is not what the BBWAA does. They gladly applauded the accomplishments of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, but are now passing judgement despite the accolades they placed on the very players they regarded as the ‘Saviors of the Game.’ They voted in known cheaters such as Gaylord Perry and Don Sutton with a wink and a smile, but not PED users. The sanctimonious twaddle from this organization is sickening, and is entirely what is wrong with the process.
Instead, the BBWAA is an organization that is essentially rudderless. In numerous articles I have read from people who voted for the Hall, they have admitted that there is confusion as to how to approach the ballot. Specifically, writers want to know how to look at the candidacies of Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and other suspected PED users. Naturally, there have not been any answers forthcoming. Instead, we have voters and ‘baseball writers’ who have not covered the game for years, yet still have a vote for the Hall of Fame. And they are considered to have a more viable ballot than the one the Le Batard turned in?
That has led to the problem we have today. Players are not getting votes because they ‘look’ like they took PEDs without any proof, or a single allegation that they ever did. A Hall of Fame class in 2013 that inducted a catcher from the 1880’s, an umpire and an owner who went out of his way to help maintain the color barrier in baseball. Writers making accusations like they are Jose Canseco in desperate need of money. And there is nothing that anyone can do about it.
The blatant hypocrisy and inability to adapt with the times are a problem. While one may not agree with his methods, and while this act may have been a way to draw attention to himself as well, Dan Le Batard at least took a stand. The only part about this situation that is surprising is that it has not happened before.
In the end, this entire situation is a travesty. It is blatantly unfair to Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas – those players whose careers we should be celebrating and who achieved the highest honor there is in the great game of baseball. Instead, we focus on the actions of one man, as justified as he may have been, and an organization that refuses to acknowledge the very era that they celebrated less than a decade ago. Perhaps more than everything else, that is the true problem.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled Royals posts.