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.

What a Shame

What goes around comes around. Stupidity is what got Roger Clemens into this mess and, for now; stupidity has gotten him out of the mess.

Roger Clemens didn’t have to testify in front of Congress. His Roger Goodell sized ego and James Harrison like stupidity told him to lie in front of congress. Sorry, allegedly lie.

Steroids in baseball aren’t a big issue in the grand scheme of the world. Aids, murders, poverty should probably be put ahead of cheating in a game. However, lying under oath isn’t something to be taken lightly.

It’s a shame that two guys could get off scot-free for perjuring.

Regular readers of mine know that I hate steroids with a passion. The fact that everyone was doing it is no excuse. What if everyone was jumping off a cliff? That’s what Mom teaches you when you’re 10. I hated to see Barry Bonds get off without even a slap on the wrist.

This is not about steroids though.

Related: Musings on the 2011 Hall of Fame Class

Baseball is a game. However, when the government gets involved the game becomes life. The consequences of your actions are no longer within the game. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens supposedly understood what was happening and proceeded accordingly.

Bonds’ trial has been called a waste of the taxpayer’s money by many. The Roger Clemens trial is facing the same criticism on top of the potential for a second trial costing more money. Nevertheless, just because the issue involved is about a game doesn’t mean that the law shouldn’t be enforced. There are bigger issues in the world but perjuring under these circumstances is hardly different from lying under oath at a murder trial.

It’s a sham that Roger Clemens could get off scot-free because of an inexcusable mishap. Maybe the prosecution misremembered that the evidence they presented was deemed inadmissible?

Clemens’ situation is far different from Bonds’. He wasn’t subject to an investigation. Clemens wanted to throw the middle finger to the world by testifying. He wanted prove to the haters that he wasn’t on steroids. He thought he could make a mockery out of the system to repair his image. He flat out lied to a panel of Congressmen and got caught in a web of misremembers.

He ought to be punished for it.

At this point it isn’t personal. Roger Clemens disgusts me but that isn’t why he should be punished or why the prosecution should continue pushing for a re-trial. The law is the law. Perjury is a felony.

He didn’t simply lie to the media about steroids like so many have. Lying publicly about the issue is child’s play. Roger Clemens’ mind was on the school grounds playing cops and robbers. He didn’t realize what he had gotten himself into.

Marion Jones was sent to prison after insurmountable evidence finally forced her admission of guilt. She lied to a federal grand jury and spent 6 months in prison for it.

That didn’t happen to Barry Bonds.

It will be a shame if Roger Clemens also finds his way off the hook.

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

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