What Price Some Other Guy's Glory?It wasn't me. If you take nothing else from the soon to be huge brouhaha over the claim by the sports/asshole's guide to life Website Deadspin that a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America sold his Hall of Fame vote to the site, promising to abide by the results of a reader poll, remember that. I didn't do it.
I didn't because doing so would've been a hideous violation of the ethics of any and all professions. Also, I wasn't asked.
But of course, like any normal baseball fan, and like all BBWAA members, I'm curious about two things. Who is the member who did this dirty deed? And how much was it worth?
Maybe the deed was only lightly soiled. Deadspin's somewhat laissez-faire attitude towards the 5Ws of journalism makes me wonder if perhaps the miscreant only gave away his vote, or had the site make a charitable donation. The former would be OK. I thought about doing it myself at the Herald by announcing a reader poll. Then I decided it was too much work. The latter would not be OK. You want to benefit some deserving charity? Reach into your own wallet or put in some sweat equity. Don't pretend selling out is for the benefit of mankind.
For now, let's assume the worst. The BBWAA member in question gave away his vote for the sport's ultimate honor in a straight cash homey transaction. That would be sad and disgusting. It would mean said person thinks a serious responsibility is just another fringe benefit of the trade Red Smith so accurately described as underpaid but overprivileged. It would mean said person basically holds what they cover or covered in deep contempt, unworthy of their own committed participation in its rituals. It would mean said person was a conniving grifter.
Last but not least, it would mean the vote seller was King of All Chumps. They sold out way too cheap, and the only justification for selling out is obtaining the absolute top dollar in the deal.
I don't know what Deadspin paid or donated to obtain this vote. But I guarantee there are demented fans of means out there who would've beaten the site's price by amounts that can only be expressed through algebra. Baseball cards go for ten of thousands. Sweaty, disgusting old uniform jerseys cost more than many Picassos. A Hall of Fame vote? Seven figures and a seat on a corporate board seems like a bid only slightly above median. There are many folks rich enough to buy entire baseball teams. Until now, none of 'em could purchase a Hall vote. Supply and demand works without regard for morality.
Sooner or later, probably sooner, the seller's identity will be revealed. I sincerely hope it is not a BBWAA member I know personally. That would be depressing. I do hope it was one of the voters who cast blank ballots last year to protest the "cheating" of performance-enhancing drug use by baseball players. That would be hilarious.