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ESPN's Dan Le Batard gets lifetime ban for Hall of Fame balloting stunt

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With the Baseball Hall of Fame voting process under fire in the aftermath of the steroid era, one voter, ESPN's Dan Le Betard, made a mockery of the process by giving his ballot away to the readers of Deadspin.com.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America, the organization that determines the eligibility of voters, responded today by permanently stripping Le Batard, of his voting privileges.

The BBWAA outlined its response in a statement.

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.”

Deadspin proclaimed two goals in obtaining Le Batard’s right to vote.

“The first was to draw attention to how ridiculous the Hall of Fame elections have become,” wrote Tim Marchman on the site. “The second was to turn a small bit of power over to the public for the sake of doing so.”

Le Batard explained the reasoning for his for giving up his ballot on Deadspin.

I hate all the moralizing we do in sports in general, but I especially hate the hypocrisy in this: Many of the gatekeeper voters denying Barry Bonds Hall Of Fame entry would have they themselves taken a magical, healing, not-tested-for-in-their-workplace elixir if it made them better at their jobs, especially if lesser talents were getting the glory and money…”

The players listed on Le Batard’s ballot, as chosen by the site’s readers included Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas – the three who gained elected – as well as Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Edgar Martínez, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Curt Schilling.

Induction for Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas takes place in July's ceremony that will also honor Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre who were unanimously elected by the Veterans Committee in December.

Visit Baseball Hall of Fame page on Facebook to offer your opinions and talk baseball. While you’re there, hit the “Like” button so you can receive updates.

As always, Jim encourages your email comments.

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