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Highly Questionable

Jan 09, 2014 -- 7:35am

By Bruce Hooley |



In light of what he did with his Major League Baseball Hall of Fame vote, perhaps it’s time for national media personality Dan LeBatard to change the name of his television show on ESPN 2.

Instead of, “Dan LeBatard is Highly Questionable,” a more appropriate name would be, “Dan LeBatard is Petulantly Arrogant.”

By handing his Hall of Fame vote to the internet site, Deadspin, which polled its readers and then voted with LeBatard’s ballot, LeBetard resorted to tactics beneath even the most spoiled child on the playground.

Rather than take his ball and go home, LeBatard brought a whole bunch of kids along to disrupt the game by playing with a completely different set of rules.

Hall of Fame voting is the exclusive privilege of 10-year-and-up members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Fans don’t get to vote, and it’s a different argument as to whether they should. Theoretically, reporters who cover the game on a daily basis are better-informed than fans who follow the sport from afar.

Whether that is correct or incorrect isn’t the issue here.

The issue is how LeBatard’s chose to pout about the majority of voters disagreeing with his view that players implicated in baseball’s performance-enhancing drug scandals of the past should be in the Hall of Fame.

LeBatard has grown so frustrated with those players being excluded over the years that he handed his vote to Deadspin’s readers in protest.

What exactly did that accomplish other than raise LeBatard’s profile nationally?

Among the 10 names Deadspin submitted were Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Its readers didn’t vote for Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa, whose career numbers likely would qualify them for the Hall if not for their PED-related pasts.

Presumably, given his stance PEDs should play no role in Hall of Fame voting, LeBatard would have voted for Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro, McGwire and Sosa.

So by giving his vote away in protest, LeBatard wound up costing at least three players he supports for Hall of Fame induction votes they otherwise would have received.

That’s the equivalent of an anti-war protester doing so by grabbing a weapon and shooting the enemy.

Look, it’s certainly LeBatard’s right to believe Bonds, Clemens, McGuire and others deserve Hall of Fame induction.

It’s also LeBatard’s right to rail against those who believe otherwise via his column in the Miami Herald, his radio show on 790 The Ticket in Miami or on Highly Questionable.

But it is not LeBatard’s right to poison the process by giving his vote to anyone, individually or collectively, who does not qualify as an eligible voter, according to BBWA guidelines.

That’s the equivalent of one political party steamed by the election of another party’s candidate stuffing the ballot box to ensure a result more to their liking the next time.

That’s not how elections work in a free society, and I know Dan LeBatard is smart enough to know that.

Years ago, he was a student journalist at the University of Miami while I covered the Hurricanes’ football team. His career success is no surprise to me, because I found him bright, curious, opinionated and eloquent back then.

I wish LeBatard had put those skills to work across the various platforms now at his disposal to effect the voting changes he advocates, because such change certainly won’t result from the avenue he chose.


Bruce Hooley hosts "Hooley & Jerod" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”

Email Bruce

Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz




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