A pair of ESPN's biggest stars went after one of their own on Wednesday. Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon, the hosts "Pardon The Interruption," ripped ESPN colleague Dan Le Batard for handing his vote for the baseball Hall of Fame over to Deadspin as an act of protest.
"This is egotism run amok," said Kornheiser.
Shortly after it was announced that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas had been voted into the Hall on Wednesday afternoon, Deadspin revealed that Le Batard was the previously anonymous voting member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America who let the site's readers fill out his ballot. Approximately two months earlier, Deadspin offered to buy the right to fill out the ballot of any voting member of the BBWAA. Shortly after extending the offer, Deadspin announced it had found a taker. On Wednesday, that voter was revealed to be the host of ESPN's "Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable."
In an email sent to Deadspin and later published, Le Batard complained about the "avalanche of sanctimony that has swallowed" the Hall of Fame voting process in the wake of MLB's Steroid Era. The ESPN television and radio host also noted that "many people analyzing baseball with advanced metrics outside of mainstream media are doing a better job than mainstream media" in explaining his willingness to let Deadspin readers to pick out the 10 players that could go on his ballot.
"Baseball is always reticent to change, but our flawed voting process needs remodeling in a new media world," wrote Le Batard. "Besides, every year the power is abused the way I'm going to be alleged to abuse it here. There's never been a unanimous first-ballot guy? Seriously? If Ruth and Mays and Schmidt aren't that, then what is? This year, someone is going to leave one of the five best pitchers ever off the ballot. Suck it, Greg Maddux."
CLICK HERE to read Le Batard's full explanation
The notion that Le Batard had offered up his ballot as an act of protest did not meet the approval of Kornheiser and Wilbon.
"It is so sanctimonious for Le Batard to offer up this garbage," Wilbon said. "Because when you have a radio show that is now national, a television show that's national every day, you write columns, you even wrote for Deadspin, you have a voice, a big fat voice that can reach everyone. Don't tell me that the process is flawed. Lobby for what you believe in."
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ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz had a more measured response to revelation that Le Batard had provided the Deadspin vote.
"We respect and appreciate Dan's opinions and passion about Hall of Fame voting," Krulewitz said in a statement. "He received his vote while at the Miami Herald. We wouldn't have advocated his voting approach, which we were just made aware of today."
While the voting approach was not ESPN-approved, the choices certainly were in line with those of some of the Worldwide Leader's top baseball analysts. Le Batard's Deadspin-supplied ballot included Maddux, Thomas, Glavine, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Curt Schilling. Eight of those players appeared on Buster Olney's ballot and he described one of the remaining two (Curt Schilling) as "worthy of induction."