Deadspin managed to buy a Hall of Fame vote

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Remember a couple of weeks ago when Deadspin announced its modest plan to buy a Hall of Fame vote? Well, they got a taker. An actual BBWAA member has agreed to sell his or her vote to Deadspin. He or she will fill out the ballot in accordance with a Deadspin reader poll and submit it. After the vote is in, he or she will go public and state his or her reason for doing so. It should be hoot.

As we said then: it’s a fabulous idea. What better way to mock a process and electorate that seeks to pass moral and ethical judgment on a bunch of baseball players than to show that at least part of said electorate is corruptible. What better way to show that a process which is taken way, way way too seriously by those who control it is, in reality, basically a joke. Viva chaos, you know.

But I do have one somewhat serious thought about this. Obviously the BBWAA will and should punish whichever of their voters allowed the system to be corrupted like this. I mean, you can’t have an organization that allows this kind of nonsense, even if outsiders like me think it’s funny  But what happens if the person who sold their vote to Deadspin is revealed to be someone for whom BBWAA discipline is meaningless? A long-retired or non-baseball writer for whom a BBWAA credential has no point. Someone who, as so many Hall of Fame voters do, covers another sport. Or does political cartooning. Or hasn’t worked in the sports business for decades.  If that’s the case, maybe it’s time to alter the electorate?

Put differently, wouldn’t it be pretty damning of the Hall of Fame voting process as a whole if the person who sold their vote has no reason to care, no investment in baseball or the Hall of Fame and is beyond any semblance of control or sanction from the BBWAA?

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”

Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.

After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.