ESPN's Dan Le Batard turned his Hall of Fame vote over to Deadspin, and has now been punished for it. The Baseball Writer's Association of America released a statement on Thursday, decrying his actions and suspending Le Batard:
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
The ultimate privilege for the ultimate honor, occasionally given to the ultimate Dude Covering Curling. Hey now, he covered baseball once, back when Frank Thomas was a fetus. His baseball thoughts are still of the ultimate variety!
It's worth pointing out that the BBWAA is not monolithic, and not everyone is armed with pitchfork and torch, ready to attack Le Batard. MLB.com's Richard Justice went off on the BBWAA's current setup earlier today, as captured by our own Pinstripe Alley:
The New York Times' Tyler Kepner mentions that Le Batard shouldn't have a vote anyway, since he's not a baseball writer, and goes on to say that it should be only baseball writers making these calls anyway. Ken Rosenthal, who did not agree with what Le Batard did, at least wrote that changes to the process should occur, namely lengthening the ballot and possibly cutting down the amount of time it takes to be eligible to vote, in order to bring new ideas and opinions into the mix. Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan tweeted that he hopes Le Batard is the first of many unqualfied, non-baseball writers to be ousted from what the BBWAA considers to be the ultimate privilege.
If Le Batard is indeed the first of the fallen here, then his sacrifice was a noble one, and Deadspin's mission would be accomplished. How about that.