.

Op-Ed: Bonds' Hall of Fame Snub is Bigger Problem Than Steroids

Bud Selig's anti-steroid crusade is tarnishing baseball more than local hero Barry Bonds ever did.

In case you didn't know, the National Baseball Hall of Fame is a joke. It is a sham. A misnomer. A decorated soldier in Bud Selig's army deployed in the bogus Operation Baseball is Ethical strike on America. 

No one was elected to the Hall on Wednesday in the annual vote of players eligible for consideration, in large part because many of the candidates come from the Steroid Era — a roughly 15 to 20-year period starting in the late 1980s when players started using performance enhancing drugs to boost stats. 

The pervasive and completely flawed logic is that because a massive majority of these players used synthetics along on the way, they are blacklisted as cheaters and barred from entry into Cooperstown baseball shrine. 

Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA) make up the electorate in the Hall of Fame selection. It takes a 'Yes' vote from 75 percent of the writers to earn selection to the Hall. Wednesday's vote, in which indisputable all-time greats like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro (all accused steroid users) didn't even come close to 75 percent, simply shows how readily the members of the BWAA eat up the company line like their paychecks depend on it.

Let me explain: Bud Selig, commissioner of baseball, has led the crusade against steroids in his sport for about a decade, more or less since Bonds broke the single-season home run record in 2001. He has encouraged everything from federal trials to congressional witch hunts in his public battle with steroids. And the world has eaten it up, as evidenced by Wednesday's Hall of Fame voting results.

But this only began when it became convenient for Selig. For a solid decade, if not 15 years before Bonds hit 73, steroid use grew exponentially among Major League players, with full cognizance of training staffs, front offices and league executives. In that time, it was technically against the rules, but enforcement was scarce, some say nonexistent. 

Then in 1994, the baseball strike threatened to kill off the sport as a profession entirely in America. Fans stopped buying tickets. TV viewers flocked to anything but baseball. The sport needed a shot in the arm (or the butt) like never before and it got that jolt in the form of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. 

Thanks to steroids, McGwire and Sosa saved baseball. In 1998 they hit 70 and 66 home runs, respectively, both shattering the previous record of 61 held for decades by Roger Maris, turning America's attention back to its pastime. If it wasn't Clinton and Lewinsky headlining the news, it was Sosa and McGwire. That's how big of a deal it was. And it was no secret to anyone on the inside where these guys' massive biceps, inflated bat speed and jacked up power came from. But did Selig nail them as villains for injecting their way to the top? Of course not. He had a failing business to run.

In fact, he did quite the opposite. He made sure Sosa and McGwire were exalted as gods of the sport. Major League Baseball started using the slogan "Chicks dig the long ball," making millions in merchandise emblazoned with that war cry. Not only does the catchphrase champion steroid use, it suggests that guys need 28-inch biceps because, of course, that's what "chicks dig."

Fast forward to 2013 and there is no greater enemy in professional sports than steroids. Likely, that's the position that should have been taken all along. It would have promoted health and morality in sports. But morality is not reality, not in baseball, despite what Selig would like everyone to think.

The BWAA members helping cleanse the Hall of steroid users are only buying into Selig's propaganda aiming to erase the last 20 years of baseball from the history books. It's called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Morals. Bad history is just as important as good history. Every player can't be poster boy Cal Ripken with shiny blues and a perfect crescent smile. 

The Hall should be a historical museum of all things important in baseball, and how can that exclude the men who helped save the sport 15 years ago?

I propose this: Let's start an Unbiased National Baseball Hall of Fame, where we don't pretend that history didn't happen just because we're not proud of it. The Black Sox will be included along with Bonds, Clemens and the rest of the Steroid Era greats. Pete Rose has been known to throw his money around. Maybe he'll help fund it. We can let him in, too.

What do you think? Should steroid users be allowed in the Hall of Fame? Tell us in the comments!

Jacob Bourne is the editor of Capitola-Soquel Patch.

John Ferguson January 10, 2013 at 02:18 AM
This from the BBWAA website - Rule 5 concerning what the writers should consider while voting: 'Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.' I understand that voters have issues with steroid users when regarding their integrity, sportsmanship and character but let's get real. Ty Cobb is in the hall and he had well documented sportsmanship and character issues that dwarf any that Bonds and Clemens could ever lay claim to. Gaylord Perry is in the hall despite being a well known cheat who wrote a book on the subject. Orlando Cepeda is in the hall despite being jailed for 10 months for trafficking marijuana. The list goes on and on. Steroids enhanced performance, but so did amphetamines which were widely used in the 60s and 70s. My take - this will all pass before this current crop is denied entrance to the hall. I just feel bad for the guys whose window for entry is coming to a close and who are otherwise pretty deserving, like Tim Raines. They'll be the ones to be locked out unfairly.
Bill Turner January 10, 2013 at 05:45 PM
No one has been "barred from entry" to Cooperstown. Players remain on the ballot for 15 years. I agree with John Ferguson, this will pass before the big names' eligibility does. When you have an ego the size of Barry Bonds and all the money in the world, this in fact might be the only "punishment" that actually matters. If I were a baseball writer I would certainly not elect any of these guys on the first ballot.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something