We knew this day was coming. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are eligible to become members of baseball’s Hall of Fame.
The question is whether or not suspected PEDs users, such as the three above, among others, should be elected.
I think they should be enshrined.
Now, before you start throwing stones…I’m not foolish enough to believe none of the eligible candidates cheated the game. In fact, I’d bet money I don’t have they did use performance-enhancers. Who are we kidding?
However, if baseball is ever going to move on from the Steroids Era it can’t allow this debate to fester on year-after-year, which it will, as long as a seven-time MVP is without a plaque in Cooperstown.
There’s no better example than Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader, whose legacy only grows with his exclusion from the hall. Granted, Rose wasn’t banished for steroids use, but cheating is cheating.
What I’m saying is Bonds, Clemens, Sosa etc. shouldn’t be given the privilege of such attention, like what Rose receives during the election announcements each year.
Instead, the writers must remind themselves the Steroids Era cannot be erased. What happened, happened. Yes, it’s a black on the game, but it can be healed.
Just as we learned to separate the Dead Ball Era from the Live Ball Era, fans will learn to do the same with the Steroids Era.
By the numbers we’ll know Bonds is the all-time home runs leaders and Clemens is one of the best hurlers ever. But we’ll also have an understanding they accumulated their numbers artificially, at least partially, and against other steroids users, no less.
Baseball’s most cherished statistics become no less sacred by electing players from the Steroids Era into the HOF. Rather, it will only help make the game’s history more transparent.
On the contrary, if the baseball writers chose to withhold their votes for highly suspected PEDs users the Steroids Era will never come to a close. And what could be worse than future Hall of Famers, even those decades from now, being overshadowed by the eternal debate of Bonds’ exclusion from the hall?
The writers can lop the head off the ugly Steroids Era monster by simply voting the roid players in, even though we know in our hearts, none are truly deserving of the honor.
Strangely, the decision to enshrine Steroids Era players would actually devalue the players’ accomplishments over time, thus bettering the game and the Hall of Fame itself. So put the cheaters in and move on with the understanding a certain period of the game’s history was chemically enhanced.
That doesn’t mean voters from this point forward should issue a free pass to future PEDs users eligible for the hall. We’re in a new era, more aware, more informed and better educated. Baseball’s steroid rules have been revised and most importantly, enforced. For all intents and purposes, it should be a non-issue.
In the meantime, reliving the Steroids Era with each new HOF ballot does the game no good. The writers need to bury baseball’s dead past and close the chapter on the Steroids Era once and for all.
Unfortunately, it takes putting some more scoundrels in Cooperstown. Call it an unpleasant, but necessary evil if you will.
We’re coming up on the 5-year anniversary of the Mitchell Report (Dec. 13, 2007).
The investigation most notably uncovered and published the names of 89 MLB players of either highly suspicious or confirmed uses of performance-enhancing drugs (steroids, HGH, amphetamines, etc.).
I was curious to know how many players listed in the Mitchell Report were still playing in the major leagues as of 2012.
By my count there are 5: Rick Ankiel, Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte, Jerry Hairston and Brian Roberts.
Ankiel, 33, is the youngest of the five and could still play several more seasons. He was, however, cut by the Nationals on July 27 and failed to play another game last season. The remaining four are 35 and older with Giambi and Pettitte both in their 40s.
If Ankile fails to latch on with another club, it’s nearly a certainty 2013 will prove the final season for both Giambi and Pettitte–if either plays at all. But that doesn’t mean the Mitchell Report players vanish from the present game entirely.
The names of Bonds, Palmeiro and Clemens will resurface during Hall of Fame discussions. Mark McGwire is still around as the hitting coach for the Dodgers and Matt Williams (also listed) appears poised to become a big league manager.
To baseball’s credit, in the five seasons since the Mitchell Report the league has taken great strides to clean up the game with improved testing practices and harsher penalties. But, as Melky Cabrera proved this past summer, there’s still work to be done.
I’m not suggesting there’s a policy baseball can put forth to prevent all players from cheating. But I do believe more can be done to discourage players from using PEDs by implementing stauncher penalties.
Further preventative measures are the responsibility of the Players Union, the owners and Bud Selig. It’s up to all three parties to cooperate on hammering out the details of stricter penalties to ensure the integrity of the game will not be compromised any further by steroids offenders. This is the best way for baseball to stay ahead of the players seeking new and improved artificial advantages in the coming years.
An unyielding stance on PEDs users would mean five years from now we’ll be able to look at the game and know, without question, we’re well into the post ‘Steroids Era’ and past the ugly black eye of the Mitchell Report.
Mark McGwire should have learned from Pete Rose. Lame apologies mean little when there’s something to be gained other than forgiveness.
Pete wanted the Hall of Fame, McGwire a position as the Cardinals hitting coach.
Although Rose gave a worthwhile apology, he quickly blew his chances by heading to Las Vegas, of all places, to promote his newest book.
McGwire, on the other hand, simply lives in the denial that steroid and HGH use never altered his career numbers at the plate.
Seriously, whatever happened to apologizing simply because you’re wrong?
So much for hard work and dedication.
Not that we need the New York Times to tell us Sammy Sosa used PEDs.
The man grew from a Dominican stick figure into a modern day Transformer.
What other proof did you need?
Had Sosa come clean, all would have been forgiven yeas ago.
Instead, he chose the path of Bonds and Clemens: fans are pathetic suckers who will believe anything.