The National Baseball Hall of Fame proved how arrogant and misguided it is once again today. The same holier-than-thou institution that wouldn’t let Ron Santo join their clique until after he died announced today that no one on one of the greatest ballots of all time will be gain entry to their exclusive club.
I’ve grown almost as tired of the whole Hall of Fame/steroids debate as I am hearing about the irrelevant NY Jets incessantly on ESPN. My ears and eyes are bleeding from the steady stream of self-righteous blathering from indignant baseball writers pondering their Hall of Fame vote, or lack thereof. Today’s news only guarantees that we will all have to listen to their boring and delusional internal monologs for yet another year, and most likely for years to come.
These same fuckers gleefully effused about the incredible feats of the very players they are now turning their backs on. How many newspapers did they help sell covering the record-setting era while conveniently turning a blind eye to the fact that it was obviously fueled by steroids? How many billions of dollars MLB rake in during the “Steroid Era” that they are at least complicit in, if not mostly responsible for, by not making a single rule against their use? No one seemed to mind at the time when the money was rolling in.
For those that say cheaters should never get in, I only have to point to Hall member Gaylord Perry who was infamous for his filthy Vasoline ball and was even suspended for doctoring the ball in 1982. Cheating has always been a part of baseball. One could even go so far as to argue that cheating in baseball have been celebrated over its history. We all wink and nod and generally get a kick out of Perry’s exploits and stories of widespread amphetamine use in the old days, but somehow now the line has been arbitrarily drawn at steroids? That’s the real question: Where do we draw the line?
How can anyone say a guy with seven Cy Young awards like Roger Clemens isn’t worthy? How can the reigning home run king and a seven-time MVP, Barry Bonds not be in the Hall? The fact that both are complete assholes certainly doesn’t help their cause, but there are worse guys in the Hall (i.e. Ty Cobb). It’s only going to get more complicated as more great players from the era become eligible. How can anyone definitively say guys like Frank Thomas, Nomar Garciaparra, or even Randy Johnson weren’t juiced? It seems ludicrous, but no one can say they absolutely know for certain. The level of arrogance it would take to do so is nauseating.
While it’s not ideal, the only logical solution to this unfortunate and confounding problem is to continue to base admission to the Hall on the numbers. The Hall has always been reserved for the best players of their era. If the use of steroids was as widespread as most suspect, everyone was essentially competing on a level playing field. While the numbers may be artificially inflated, some players obviously excelled well beyond others and they deserve to be in the Hall.
The most annoying thing about this whole issue is that we treat the Hall selection like the Pope telling us who gets to go to heaven. Let’s keep things in perspective here. This isn’t life or death—it’s simply admission into really cool club. Just let them in.