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?

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.