The Baseball Writers of America are Self Indulgent Weiners
Posted Saturday January 12, 2013 at 6:31:45 am in Real Sports
Hold on if you heard this before: The BWOA screwed the pooch.
Over the years I've softened on the steroids/HGH issue in baseball quite a bit. Not to the extent that I don't think testing should exist, but that we shouldn't be up in arms about guys like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, et al. getting into the Hall of Fame.
Hear me out.
I think the big stars all used steroids and HGH in some shape or form. Clemens, Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro, Canseco, etc. All of them used steroids. Let that settle in.
Every single one of them.
Do we have positive tests from each and every one of them? No. But there's enough evidence by way of player testimony, the Mitchell Report, dozens of books on the manner, etc.
So, with that said, I think the BWOA screwed the Hall of Fame voting...but I understand why. They didn't know how to properly handle the situation without getting severe backlash from an ultra-sensitive American population...and possibly even more so the existing Hall of Fame members. They are a rather vocal bunch.
Baseball is a sport with a very rich history. The Baseball Hall of Fame is also the most prestigious (and exclusive) honour in all of professional sports. It's not something that mandates that every year at least one player gets voted in (cough NFL cough). But it also has a somewhat archaic process of voting in players. I say archaic because adjustments to the process has been few and far between.
....and guys like Bernie Williams and Kenny Lofton from this ballot paid the ultimate price. Yup, they failed to receive the 5% required to stay on the ballot, so they won't be on it next year.
So, my numero uno point is to eliminate the 5% cutoff altogether. It's unnecessary. Let the natural course of a 15 year ballot life cycle allow the player his due diligence.
That's the first point.
The second point is this: steroid/HGH use in baseball wasn't punishable by MLB prior to 2004. So that (mostly) leaves the fact that it was illegal for use without a (legal/legit) prescription.
I say to that: so what. Sports are not just about playing the game the right way, but finding creative (and often times) physiological ways to cheat the game. Gaylord Perry and his spitball, for example. He's in the Hall of Fame, btw.
But you know who really suffered this year on the ballot? Those that in no way, shape or form were associated to steroids...but are getting the brunt of it. Cal Ripken received 98.5% of the vote in 2007. Why wasn't it unanimous? Baseball writers contend that there are a contingency of writers that won't vote for a single player that played during the so called steroid era.
What a shame.
The system is broken, folks. It needs to be fixed.
Cal Ripken's 98.5% is a crying shame, but ultimately Ripken got in with a near unanimous decision. And very rightfully so. Bias acknowledged.
But what about guys like Craig Biggio? On a ballot that a lot of people thought that the BWOA would lack the proverbial smack down on "known" steroid users (Clemens, Bonds, Sosa, etc.), I assumed that guys like Biggio would be an overwhelming shoe-in.
You know, a hard nosed player who averaged > 140 games a year over the course of a 20 year career. He who was worth nearly 71 WAR over that course. He who was/is easily in the top 10 second basemen of all time.
Yeah, him. On a very controversial ballot.
He was (is) the easy blue collar vote.
But he only received 68% of the vote. I strongly suspect this is due to the writers lumping him in with the rest of the steroid era folk. Or because they don't like 5'11" players. Hey, I resemble that remark. But I digress.
Will he eventually get in? Sure. But we're doing a disservice to the sport by playing this witch hunt and superiority game with players that (most likely) used steroids [Clemens, Bonds, etc.] that played during an era in which there was absolutely no league punishment for using them. Hell, McGwire openly had Androstenedione visible in his locker during an interview. Let that sink in.
On a ballot that had such (obvious) shoe ins as Biggio, Bagwell, Piazza, Clemens, Bonds, Walker, etc....not a single one made it in.
I hope that the writers are just doing this because they were scared of public backlash and not because they're trying to be part of the moral majority on the steroid/HGH hate wagon.
Maybe this is a move a la Roberto Alomar's snubbing in 2010 due to his umpire spitting incident.
Maybe this is a way for the writers to avoid public backlash for one more year. And to teach those no gooders a lesson.
Yeah, a lesson.
But before you start screaming, "GOOD! KEEP THEM OUT OF THE HALL!" Ask yourself the following question:
Were you cheering like a mad man (woman) during the 90's/early 20's with all the big blasts?
And, I guess, even more so:
Were you surprised to find out that players were finding a way to become bigger, faster and stronger in ways that you may/may not approve of?
My answer to the first question: Yes
My answer to the second: No
I'm kind of okay with the writers snubbing Clemens, Bonds and those guys for one year as a punishment. But not if they don't eventually get in. And by eventually I meant in 2014.
But I'm not okay with not voting in a Biggio and allowing Bernie Williams and Kenny Lofton to be casualities in this ridiculous (moral) war.
The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer’s view
© Copyright 2012, Stephen Adams