The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Bill Livingston wrote a grandstanding column today about his decision to forgo participating in this year’s baseball Hall of Fame vote. There’s, uh, one big problem with his column:

Major league baseball will confer bronzed immortality on a few players Wednesday when the results of the national baseball writers’ balloting for the Hall of Fame will be announced.

I had a 2017 ballot. I returned it signed, but blank, with an explanatory note.

The thing is, if you want to abstain from voting, what you need to do is not submit a ballot at all. That way, your ballot won’t be counted in the total pool of ballots and thus won’t change the number of votes a player needs to get to cross the 75-precent threshold. All Livingston has done by submitting a signed, blank ballot is to make it a little bit harder for everyone in this year’s class to get into the Hall of Fame, and that’s a dick move.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Down in the comments section below his column, Livingston insists that he attached an explanatory note to his ballot which should prevent it from being counted, and says he stands by his decision either way:

If a basic misunderstanding of how abstaining from a vote works isn’t enough to drive you crazy, get a load of Livingston’s explanation for his attempt to sit this one out:

MLB officials should devise a formal ruling on the steroid era. At least, they should define it chronologically, probably from 1990 to the start of drug testing in 2003.

Designate that era as a separate voting classification, or use an asterisk for suspects, indicating the likely use of PEDs — whatever baseball does, some kind of guidelines need to be set up.

Until they decide what to do about the stain on the game, I abstain.

This is a professional sportswriter admitting that he is too chickenshit to decide for himself how the steroid era should affect his Hall of Fame vote, and that he can’t be bothered to cast a ballot until MLB gets around to making up his mind for him. Good shit, Bill.