Hey everybody, look at me!…

No, don’t actually look at me.  No one wants to do that.

No, this is my assessment of the chum biscuits who decided to vote no one into the MLB Hall of Fame this year.  Ostensibly they did so because they objected to the available eligible class of players.  But that wasn’t it at all.  This was about focusing attention on themselves.

Look, I get it.  Lots of players who played between 1990 and 2007 used performance enhancing drugs, and this could have potentially skewed their numbers. They’re nasty little cheaters who besmirched the good name of professional baseball.  It was all a dirty lie and they totally faked it every time you were together. But folks, that is one of the largest piles of ridiculous bullshit ever.

First off, there are plenty of men enshrined in the HOF who were despicable human beings.  So this can’t be about character.  Second, why no uproar about the stats of players who played jacked up on amphetamines, which includes, well, everyone from about 1948 until they were included in the drug testing regime instituted within the last few years in response to the hew and cry about PED use?

If either of your reasons for not voting for Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, etc. is one of the above, then you’re being absurd.  Let’s say, for a moment, that every stat in the last 5 years of Sammy Sosa’s career came about as a direct result of PED use.  You can be annoyed by that, but outraged?  Why no equal outrage for all the guys who are already in the Hall as a result of their enhanced abilities they got from taking speed?  Let’s say that Jose Canseco was being completely forthright and honest when he said that 75% of the guys he played with took PEDs.  Now, let’s compare that to the numerous stories players have told about MLB in the 1970s, when it was standard practice for teams to put bowls of “greenies” out in the locker room.  What percentage of guys on the Big Red Machine do you think dipped their paws into that bowl?  Are we now outraged that Joe Morgan is in the Hall?  Why not?

I’ll tell you why not – because there’s no opportunity to be sanctimonious about it.  There’s no opportunity for sports writers to elevate themselves to a level above the players.  Also, baseball writers knew about the greenies.  They saw them in the locker rooms and they just considered it an unpleasant but accepted aspect of the game, just like they know which players are out carousing past curfew, which players gamble, which players cheat on their wives, which players beat their wives, which players are racists, which players are homophobic, which players are dumber than a used pizza box and which players are just there for the big paycheck and couldn’t care less about the game.

Now no one on the ballot this year got zero votes, so, obviously some of the writers have their heads somewhere other than their asses.  My guess is these are the guys who view this whole thing a lot like I do – it’s just part of the story of the game.  It’s in there with the greenies, Gaylord Perry putting vaseline on his fly so he could throw undetected spitballs and teams sticking someone in the outfield stands with binoculars to steal the opposing catcher’s signs.  If Bonds and Sosa are bad guys for juicing they’re certainly less vile than Ty Cobb, who I’m guessing would have injected a vat full of PEDs for another 5 to 10 years of being a rich superstar ballplayer (and a chance to eclipse Babe Ruth).

No, if this is about “cheating” then cram it.  I could inject myself with HGH and anabolic steroids until both were running out of my nose and never be able to pitch like Clemens or hit like Bonds.  PEDs do not improve talent and ability.  They make you heal faster so you can recover from training more quickly, and so you can play every day into your 40s.  That’s it folks.  Just like popping greenies kept the superstars of the previous era from pooping out halfway through a long season.

If this is about character, well, cram that too.  That is, unless you plan to withhold your vote from any player who cheated on his wife, beat his wife, beat his kids, was a bigot, lied or otherwise behaved less than immaculately during his career.

These self-proclaimed defenders of the institution of baseball are just puffing themselves up.  You’re not defending baseball’s integrity, you’re attempting to create an unreasonable barrier to entry to the HOF to protect your own personal notion of baseball.  And those of you who cover other sports are just hypocrites.  Would you behave this way regarding Football?  Basketball?  Golf?  Of course not.  Why?  Because you’ve bought into the absurdist perspective that says all the greatest things that have ever happened and all the greatest men who ever played the game in baseball happened in a long-gone era.  This doesn’t happen in other sports.  If I am in a bar with friends talking about football and I suggest that Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback ever to play in the NFL I’ll get some argument from my friends, but they won’t dismiss me out of hand.  If I similarly claim that Michael Jordan is the greatest to ever play in the NBA, sure there will be argument, but no one will treat me as if I just gave birth to a puppy via my left nostril.  Suggest that any player who has played within my lifetime is the greatest anything in Major League Baseball though and I guarantee an appearance will be made from the “If he played after 1960 he is a pale shadow of all who came before him” contingent of baseball fans.

The aforementioned fans exist because of jackass sportswriters who have promoted this nonsense going back to the 1930s.  And Major League Baseball doesn’t help matters any.  One of the reasons the NFL is so successful is their willingness to embrace change and update the game.  The NFL embraces technology to make the fan experience and the action on the field more interesting.  Meanwhile MLB is still arguing about using replay technology on tough calls.  MLB is essentially a preservationist sport – and that feeds the insanity that encourages bullshit like what happened today.

Put Bonds, McGwire, Sosa and Clemens in the Hall.  They were the greatest players of their era.  If need be, note on their plaques that they were all suspected of using PEDs – which were commonly used in the era they played in.  Tell the whole story.  That’s all.

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