Fix it already…
I’m with Olbermann on this one. Major League Baseball needs to reform the Hall of Fame voting process. It also needs to get over the institutional cowardice that prevents the league from making a definitive statement regarding the so-called PED era. Bud Selig needs to grow a pair and make his legacy count by stating unequivocally what, if any, circumstances would exclude a player from Hall eligibility.
Regardless of your feelings on PED use, PED’s have been a fact and reality in professional sports since the 1950s (at least). If you’re going to say anyone who might have used them is a “cheater” and should be excluded from the Hall then you might as well refuse to vote for any player who was in the league since 1948, when players who had fought in WWII brought the greenies they’d been fed by the US military with them into the clubhouse. You’re also going to have to recuse yourself from ever voting for pitchers, because, my friend, if you don’t realize that every guy who has ever stood on that hill plays hard and fast with the rules of the game then you’re not only ignorant of how the game is played, and always has been, you’ve missed out on one of the things that makes baseball amazing.
Ah, but as Keith details in the clip above, the Baseball Writers Association’s reaction to the one thing about this year’s Hall ballot that was promising – Dan LeBatard letting the readers of Deadspin select who he would vote for on this year’s ballot – was responded to by LeBatard having his vote revoked in a lifetime ban.
I’m actually not a big fan of enshrining people in hall of fames as it is. I’ve been near enough to visit the baseball HOF a couple of times and never found it necessary to visit. I’ve performed at the Rock & Roll HOF in Cleveland twice, which gave me the opportunity to go over that institution with a fine tooth comb, and I concluded that it’s a profoundly silly place. The notion that you need a panel of people to vote on who is worthy of being remembered for eternity for their contribution to a sport or playing pop music is, on the face of it, asinine. No fan of music needs to be told by a bunch of old dudes what music is timeless and worth listening to. Likewise, no baseball fan needs a gaggle of self-absorbed baseball writers to tell them which players or managers or broadcasters put a giant stamp on the game.
The argument in favor of these museums seems to be that if we don’t create such things we’ll forget. I counter that if we do forget, it wasn’t worth remembering in the first place. Pete Rose will never be in the HOF, but no one who saw him play will ever forget him. And if you didn’t see him play, putting a plaque on the wall of a big building in Cooperstown won’t change that.
The BBWAA can exclude Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and poor Craig Biggio from the HOF, but those of us who saw them play will always remember them.