Hall of Infamous

Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds.

It’s not about morality with Barry in the slightest bit. It’s not that guys like Barry duped fans into believing they were heroes. It’s not that these guys brought shame to America’s past time.

I understand that Hall of Fame voting is partly determined by “character” but that isn’t why past steroid users should be kept out of the Hall.

This is about the question marks of their numbers. This is about the unknown, the unexplainable and the mystery. We have no idea what these all-time fakes would have done if not for their use of performance enhancers. The question mark surrounding what they have done is enough in itself to deem them unworthy of the Hall of Fame

I’m not exonerating the guys who cut balls with their belts, the spitballers and all kinds of other cheaters, but those guys are already in and that’s not going to change.

Steroid users gained a significant advantage. How significant is obviously up for debate but the uncertainty surrounding the level of significance is partly why these individuals should not be in Cooperstown.

People say that the “they cheated” narrative is simplistic and contrived.

Hardly.

I’m tired of the ol’ “everybody was doing steroids” narrative. Not everyone was on steroids. This article by Tom Verducci is a microcosm for the steroid era. A considerable amount of individuals were on the juice but there were also many who struggled immensely with the dilemma of whether or not to cheat. Whether or not to gain a significant edge over their competition.

Let’s assume for argument’s sake that the vast majority of players were on steroids. At least where I come from, majority doesn’t mean unanimous. The era was much more complicated than “everyone was doing steroids.”

Steroids skew the numbers. To illogically assume that everyone was juicing would be to ignore the historical aspect of the game, where numbers from eras past are still comparable unlike so many other professional sports.

Ken Griffey Jr. has never been associated with performance enhancing drugs. How does he stack up against the Barry Bonds’, Alex Rodriguez’s and Mark McGwire’s of the world? He stacks up incredibly favourably even when ignoring the possibility of PED’s. However, without steroids, where does he stand? It’s incomparable. I have no idea and neither do you. We could argue into the night but we wouldn’t get anywhere.

This is exactly the problem. Ken Griffey Jr. wasn’t doing it, at least we don’t think so. It isn’t fair to him that he is seen on a similar level to those who were clearly able to help their own cause through unnatural means.

What about Hammerin’ Hank? The Babe?

The dark cloud that hangs over those who have only been speculated to have taken performance enhancers should be enough in itself to keep a player like Jeff Bagwell out of the Hall of Fame. The absence of an outright admission or positive test doesn’t remove the unanswerable questions that will always follow that individual. For a player as good as Ken Griffey Jr. to have avoided any resemblance of a cloud over his head during that dreaded era shows that it wasn’t impossible to avoid that kind of speculation and the unanswerable questions.

How immense was the advantage of steroids? Do I really need to go over the same clearly inflated offensive statistics you have probably heard a thousand times again?

Don’t tell me that Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens would have been in the Hall of Fame anyway. You don’t know that. The fact that the numbers cannot be compared with former and future Hall of Famers because of the lack of knowledge surrounding the true effect of performance enhancing drugs is why no one can be certain of anything.

It’s not as if these individuals will be forgotten if they are not put in the Hall of Fame. Being such a big part of baseball history does not justify a spot for them in the Hall of Fame either.

It sometimes sounds like a segment of the people in favour of putting steroid users in the Hall of Fame want to do so only because they are tired of the debate. Personally, I don’t even think this should be a debate. Stellar careers were extended and made even greater into old age because of the technology. Fringe Major League players lost careers because other fringe players decided to go the steroid route.

I get that it must have been extremely difficult to choose the clean path. The best want to be the best and without steroids it was very hard to be the best during that era. Still, they knew what they were doing was wrong. Excusing them isn’t fair to those of the era who stayed clean and those in the past who weren’t exposed to the science of performance enhancing drugs.

Moreover, allowing the steroid era superstars into the Hall of Fame sets a terrible precedent. It opens doors that have no business being opened. No one seems to have considered the grave implications that admitting past steroid users could have on the inevitable future steroid users of Major League Baseball.

Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon have made it pretty clear that steroids are not out of the game for good. Technology is always improving and those who want to or feel as though they need to use will find ways to beat the system. What if a future Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez talent is found to have been using performance enhancers 30 years down the line? Welp, there goes your “everyone was doing it” argument.

The thing is, if you put the original Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens or Alex Rodriguez in the Hall of Fame, that means you have to put in the future all-time cheats of the world, doesn’t it?

It doesn’t have to be this way though. Don’t open Pandora’s Box.

It will only lead to no good.

Agree? Disagree? Reply in the comments section below or e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com

Also, you can follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

Musings On the 2011 Hall of Fame Class

Roberto Alomar is now a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer

The only thing that was stopping one of the greatest second basemen to ever play the game from being inducted to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame was a single incident. A lapse in judgement, in the heat of the moment when Roberto Alomar, then with the Baltimore Orioles, spit in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck.

Last year, a no doubt first ballot Hall of Famer was snubbed because of an incident that reflected poorly on his character. Many voters decided to make a point to Roberto last year, but not this time.

Roberto Alomar with his 12 gold gloves, 10 all-star appearances, career .300 average and 2724 hits was inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday with a decisive 90% of the vote (75% is needed for induction).

The Hall of Fame is not also meant to be the moral Hall of Fame and the fact that Roberto Alomar had one major blemish during his playing career should not lead to a snub from Cooperstown.

Obviously it didn’t.

This year, a major distinction that Hall of Fame voters have made is the difference between character/personal transgressions and cheating. They are finally getting this right.

However, Andrew Stoeton, a very good writer for the website Drunk Jays Fans, points out that this is a flaw in the logic of the Hall of Fame voters.

Really?

He also seems to think that Roberto Alomar’s personal indiscretions that are not widely reported to be a certain double standard in the minds of reporters.

Most of the time the guys on Drunk Jays Fans point out to us readers the amount of stupidity that is all around us but we’re going to turn the tables on them.

Honestly, something must not be connecting in your brain if you want to excuse these players of cheating the fans and more importantly the game of baseball. Just because PED’s were known and commonly accepted during that era does not mean it was right for the players to use them. I’ve mentioned it before but I want to reiterate that the inflated numbers caused by the use of steroids does not create an equal comparison of players who have legitimately made the Hall without performance enhancing drugs.

Jeff Bagwell was not a first ballot inductee as he received a bit over 40% of votes largely due to the speculation that he was steroid user during his career. 449 home runs to go along with a .297 ain’t too shabby, which make Bagwell’s power numbers a major reason pertaining to the argument that he is deserving of a Hall of Fame spot.

Mark McGwire admitted he had the juice

Although, doesn’t it seem more than a little odd that his home run total in his minor league career prior to his call-up to the big leagues does not even reach double digits? Granted that does consist only of 274 games according to baseball-reference.com but if a key part of Bagwell’s consideration to the Hall of Fame is due to the amount of home runs he hit how it is fair that that those numbers may be skewed to a great degree? Oh yeah, same to you Big Mac, who saw his percentage of votes dip despite his admission of guilt with regards to his use of steroids.

Players in the past who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame set a precedent by which voters make their decisions on future inductees. However, with likely steroid users the precedent is thrown out the window as there is no way by which we can evaluate those players in relative terms to current Hall of Famers.

On the other hand, character issues and personal transgressions play no part in statistics. There is no doubt that players who face character questions, yet have no connection to performance enhancing devices, have put up numbers that are 100 percent legitimate.

Steroids deal directly with the game of baseball where as personal indiscretions do not. It’s as simple as that and if you can’t distinguish between the two then I feel sorry for you.

The same goes for the spit balling, belt cutting pitchers that are currently in the Hall of Fame. That was something that was also common and well-known at the time but again, it still doesn’t make it okay.

In any sport the Hall of Fame is meant to recognize players who have excelled in playing their respective game.

If we ever do accept cheating we compromise the integrity of the game and will just be cheating a different way. We will be cheating the guys who made it into the Hall the right way, the real way, the hard way.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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