It's Hall of Fame season and there's no joy in it, because instead of discussing what matters—Edgar Martinez's elegant swing, Tim Raines careening around third, Mike Mussina flicking a knuckle curve at the edge of the plate—baseball fans will be discussing the voters, who are mainly sour, nasty old men who take the vote as a way to demonstrate their continuing relevance.
Last year, there were a good 15 serious candidates for election, most of them obvious choices, and not one was voted in. This year there are about 20 serious candidates, and while probably a few will be voted in—Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, and Tom Glavine all seem to have good odds, having apparently met the necessary threshold of perceived moral purity—many more won't be.
This is because the Hall of Fame ritual has become, more than anything else, a way for an electorate dominated by neo-Puritan scolds, milquetoast handwringers, and straight-out dimwits to show how high its standards are by telling people like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, and Curt Schilling that they're just not good enough. What was meant as a way to honor great ballplayers is now an annual exercise in vigorously insulting them, and thereby asserting the power of the baseball writer.
This is awful, especially when it gets into the area of dumbfuck epistemology. The Hall of Fame season should be about great careers, brilliant moments, the historical record, and the memory of strong, winning play, not about some asshole from the Schenectady Herald-Pollinator agonizing about how he just can't know whether or not some player is tainted by the scourge of drugs, and how this makes him feel. But so it goes.
The sensible thing to do would be to just stop paying attention to this raging trash fire, but we don't think that's enough. We're going to seize some small, symbolic bit of power and turn it over to the public. We're going to buy a Hall of Fame vote.
If you're a 10-year member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, we want to give you cash in exchange for allowing Deadspin's readers to fill out your ballot. We're not entirely sure what the market value of a vote is, so we'd like you to contact us—at email@example.com, or in the comments below—and name a price, so that we can start negotiations. We'd be happy to give the money directly to you, or to a charity of your choice. We can keep you anonymous if you prefer, or give you a platform to express why you think selling your vote to us is a good idea. (Or both!) This offer is open to all, and if we get many voters who want to sell us their ballots, we'll figure out a way to pay for each one of them.
Your motives aren't all that important to us. Perhaps you need money; perhaps there's a worthy cause you'd like to support; perhaps you have a vote despite not really having followed baseball and think our readers would make better, more informed choices than you would; perhaps you agree that the Hall of Fame season has become an embarrassment and would like to protest. Whatever the case, you need to reach out to us to get paid. We look forward to hearing from you.