I’ve never been to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. For as much of a baseball fan as I am, and for growing up only a couple of hundred miles from Cooperstown, I should have gone while I still lived in Massachusetts. Now that I live in California, and rarely make it back to the East Coast, I’m going to have to make a pilgramage to Cooperstown someday… should’ve gone when it was more convenient.
Every year at this time, I follow the Hall of Fame election debates on the various sports websites that I frequent. For many years, it was one of my favorite parts of the offseason, reading up on who was eligible, seeing which writers would vote for which players and why.
But for the last few years, as many of the stars of the 1990s and early 2000s have come on to the ballot for the first time, it’s become much less entertaining to follow the debates. The PEDs era has cast a shadow over the whole process, with writers taking to their soapboxes to express their righteous indignation. Never mind that many of them turned a blind eye to PEDs for years, ignoring whispers and rumors until it became en vogue to trash the players that started getting caught. Sportswriters turned heroes into villains overnight, letting idle suspicion change the narrative.
You have Dan Shaugnessy from my hometown Boston Globe spouting nonsense (emphasis by me):
This is where we go off the rails. Like Thomas, guys such as Piazza and Bagwell have Hall of Fame numbers and never tested positive for PEDs. But they look dirty. Something doesn’t make sense. Thomas makes sense.
This is where it gets unfair and subjective. I don’t vote for the PED guys, so it’s easy to say no to Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGwire, and Palmeiro. They have positive tests and/or admissions and/or multiple appearances in the Mitchell Report. Piazza and Bagwell have none of that. They just don’t look right.
And then there’s this nonsense from Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.
Talk about a soapbox… Gurnick is making headlines in the Associated Press (picked up by ESPN.com, SportsIllustrated.com, etc) by who he didn’t vote for — Greg Maddux, who might otherwise have been the first player to be unanimously selected to the Hall of Fame.
I hope this is Gurnick’s last ballot cast for the Hall of Fame. The “PED period” is still happening. A player needs to be out of the game for five years before even being eligible for the HoF vote. By his current stance, Gurnick MAY be available to vote again in, say, 20 years?