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?
Just one week after Taylor Cole and Felix Peña tossed a combined no-hitter against Seattle, Mariners right-hander Mike Leake worked on his own perfect game through eight innings against the Angels.
It was an ambitious form of revenge, and one that Leake served up perfectly as he held the Angels scoreless in frame after frame. He sprinkled a handful of strikeouts throughout the first eight innings, catching Matt Thaiss on a called strike three in the third and getting two whiffs — called strikeouts against both Brian Goodwin and Shohei Ohtani — in the fourth.
The Mariners, meanwhile, put up a good fight against the Angels, backing Leake’s attempt with 10 runs — their first double-digit total since a 13-3 rout of the Orioles on June 23. Daniel Vogelbach led things off in the fourth with a three-run homer off of reliever Jaime Barria, then repeated the feat with another three-run shot off Barria in the fifth. Tom Murphy and J.P. Crawford helped pad the lead as well with a two-RBI single and two-RBI double, respectively.
In the ninth, with just three outs remaining, the Angels finally managed to break through. Luis Rengifo worked a 1-1 count against Leake, then returned an 85.3-m.p.h. changeup to right field for a base hit, dismantling the perfecto and the no-hitter in one fell swoop. Leake lost control of the ball following the hit, issuing four straight balls to Kevan Smith in the next at-bat and giving the Angels their first runner in scoring position. Still at a pitch count of just 90, however, he induced the next two outs in quick fashion and polished off the win with a triumphant eight-pitch strikeout against Mike Trout for the first one-hitter (and Maddux) of his career.
Had Leake successfully closed out the perfecto, it would’ve been the first of his decade-long career in the majors and the first the Mariners had seen since Félix Hernández’s perfect game against the Rays in August 2012. For their part, the Angels have yet to be on the losing end of a perfecto. The last time they were shut out in a no-hitter was 1999, at the hands of then-Twins pitcher Eric Milton.