No more phone calls. No more text messages. No more emails. No, I am not happy about this Hall of Fame non-vote. I think it’s disingenuous and I think it’s embarrassing both as a fan of this game and someone who considers himself somewhat of a historian thereof.As I’m sure everyone is probably aware, the BBWAA voted – or didn’t – yesterday for the Hall of Fame candidates and elected no one. As a person who thoroughly loves the history of this game and still touts the purity of baseball over all other sports, I have since been inundated with texts and emails asking how great I think it is that the electors “took a stand” against the ‘Steroid Era.’ If it is someone taking a stand then it’s a self-important blowhard who is using his lone, minute position of authority as an elector to dump on the accomplishments of someone who achieved great feats WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THEIR PROFESSION
Have we all forgotten that when these men were active in the MLB, it wasn’t against the rules? Mark McGwire didn’t cheat at the game of baseball by taking androstenedione. Did he use something that gave him a chemical, artificial edge at his chosen profession? He sure did, but it wasn’t against the rules. Say it with me baseball writers - it was not against the rules. If any of these men did in fact use performance enhancing drugs after they were outlawed by Major League Baseball, then commence with the ostracizing. However, to tear apart a career that you as baseball writers glorified and demonize a man that you turned into a mythical character is beyond disingenuous, it’s reprehensible.
I know it sucks that there is a black eye on our game now, but you’re hurting people who shouldn’t be punished for simply working within the legal framework of their profession. Why don’t you place the blame upon the people whom are actually responsible for the Era? MLB Owners and Commissioner Selig turned a blind eye for decades because of skyrocketing profits and popularity, why are we not blaming them for this period in baseball?
I see a similarity between the way MLB players of this era are treated and the way in which the NFL attacked New Orleans this year over the Bounty Gate scandal. New Orleans was demonized in this scandal, and for good reason as it was a disgusting thing to do, but I would bet dollars to doughnuts that the same thing had been going on in every single NFL locker room. The NFL got ahead of the scandal and destroyed New Orleans to make an example out of them before someone had the opportunity to blow the story up and prove that it’s a league-wide issue. Once again, “The League” goes into self-preservation just like the MLB did when Congress got involved in the ‘Steroid Era.’ To save themselves, they have to find a scapegoat and the MLB turned the players named in The Mitchell Report into scapegoats when the names that should have been in that report are those of the ownership committees who allowed performance enhancing drugs to remain a legal part of the game for so long.
If you’re a baseball writer and you cast a no-vote for any of the men who are lumped into the ‘Steroid Era’ category based on some moral high ground in promoting the purity of the game – I think you’re misguided. If someone cheated, let them be outcast but we can’t make a rule and then look backward and say “okay, everyone who broke this rule before it was a rule? Yeah, you’re screwed.” Look at the owners, look at Commissioner Selig. These are the men responsible for the black eye on our game.