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A few thoughts on the Deadspin Hall of Fame vote and the process itself

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional baseball Updated: January 9, 2014 - 3:38 PM

We've been debating whether to post anything on the Baseball Hall of Fame since so much has been written already, but in the end we decided to spill a few thoughts:

*Dan Le Batard giving his Hall of Fame vote to Deadspin readers isn't the kind of thing that should keep us up at night. In the grand scheme of things, a plaque in a building that celebrates grown men chasing a ball is not that important. That said, if we are going to take the Hall of Fame seriously in the context of what it is, then the giving away of a voting privilege is an amateur act. If you want to protest a system you think is flawed -- which we'll get to in a minute -- then don't vote. Say why you aren't voting. Giving away the vote might raise some sort of weird awareness and endear you to the whinier set, but mostly it's a cheap publicity stunt and a meaningless act.

*Is the Baseball Writers Association of America a little high and mighty? Sure. Pretty much any institution with power is. Are there members you would rather not see have a Hall of Fame vote? Yeah, when there are almost 600 voters, that's going to be the case. [Disclosure: We had a BBWAA card for a few years, but never the 10 needed to be a Hall voter. We no longer have one as we no longer cover baseball]. Are those who decry the BBWAA for being high and mighty dinosaurs also a little high and mighty? Sure. It's all very I'M SMARTER THAN MY DAD, and it's pretty annoying. We'll avoid firing missives about millennials like we did on Twitter because generalizations aren't really fair, but sometimes you don't get what you want (at least not in the five seconds you have the patience to want it). The process is simple: If you have been in the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, you get a Hall of Fame vote. That likely means you have seen hundreds of games and covered a lot of eligible players fairly extensively. That matters. And that's the arrangement between the BBWAA and the Hall of Fame.

*Could the process be improved? Sure. La Velle E. Neal III, Twins writer at this paper and the president of the BBWAA said they are always looking at ways to tweak things. At some point, they might raise or even eliminate the maximum number of players who can be voted on in one ballot (currently it's capped at 10). That said, you can read a long Grantland story about a "deeply flawed" process (headline) and not find a single thing in the body of the post that amounts to anything more than an opinion about players. Deeply flawed because Craig Biggio missed election? Biggio is a .281 career hitter with a .796 OPS. He's borderline, which is exactly where the voting put him. Deeply flawed because Tim Raines isn't in the Hall? He probably doesn't deserve to be. Flawed because nobody was elected a year ago? Nobody deserved it a year ago. Flawed because steroid-era guys aren't getting votes? Well, if you adhere to the voting standard that "Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played," then evidence that a player used PEDs certainly matters. If it clouds the entire era, let that be a black mark on the era instead of the Hall.

*But you know what: we don't have to agree on all of this. We can keep debating it because that's healthy. What we can't do is play fast and loose with the rules because they don't suit us. That's what Deadspin and Le Batard did, and nobody is better off except for Deadspin (page views) and Le Batard (more exposure).

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