Friday, May 8, 2009

Hall of Fame Conundrum

This sucks. We all know that by know. Unless you're a Yankee fan or a Red Sox fan, who really doesn't like Manny, there is no doubt how much this sucks. Yet another of the top players in baseball was linked to performance enhancing drugs.

When will this crap ever go away?

The answer is simple: never. The talk of steroids, HGH, and now HCG will live on forever in the baseball world. By this, I am obviously referring to the hall of fame.

I never imagined a time where I would think about letting cheaters into the hall of fame. There is something very "un-kosher" about this. Yes, these players were all fantastic at one time, but they cheated and took substances meant for the sole purpose of giving them a competitive advantage. There should be no logical reason to enshrine cheaters into the sacred ground that is the hall of fame.

But as another big name gets caught with PEDs, I fear that eventually we will have no choice, but to let the cheaters into the hall of fame, in some fashion. Already, some of the best players of my lifetime have been caught or accused of taking PEDs: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmerio, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, and now Manny Ramirez. And the worst part of it is that I'm sure more names are going to come out and more cheating exposed.

At what point do we all simply say that steroid use was the norm during this period and that it's impossible not to put these guys in the hall of some capacity? We all know the culture was different and that very culture could right now be shaping a hall of fame that is missing many significant players.

Is it possible to have a hall of fame that is missing so many?

There is also a distinct possibility now that a player receives enshrinement into the hall of fame and then is discovered later on that he was using PEDs as well. For example, what if Mike Piazza gets enshrined into the hall of fame in a few seasons and then in 2015, we find out conclusively that he did in fact use steroids.

What would we do then?

If we exclude all these guys from the hall of fame, I'm beginning to fear that players, who had above average careers, but were clean, will get the benefit of the doubt and receive induction into the hall simply because they did not juice.

And finally, I'm interested to see if suspected users, who we have no evidence used PEDs, will lose votes because voters suspect that they cheated. The suspicion and doubt in future hall of fame classes will be enormous because of the steroid era if no precedent is set about steroids and the hall of fame.

That's why I feel as though we will have no choice, but to come up with some form of enshrinement for these guys. I don't like the thought of it; and I know many of you will hate this idea. The idea of a separate wing for steroid users or an asterisk has been thrown around in the past, and I honestly don't know if either idea has much legs. I think it sends a strange and twisted message, but it could also provide a valuable learning opportunity for future generations.

On one hand, I want my son to see what I grew up with and the legends that I came to know and love, but on the other hand, I want him to see what happens when people cheat and that even in baseball, cheating is not right. Like I said, I'm torn on this issue.
So thanks, Manny Ramirez, for getting me all sentimental. All I know is that the hall of fame is going to be a mess in a few years and I'm anxious to see what happens.


Bill said...

For about a million reasons, you put them all in the real Hall of Fame, plain and simple.
There's no way to know, right now, how much a given PED even helps a player play, but it's pretty clear that it doesn't turn, say, Matt Lawton into Albert Pujols. I don't think there's any player close enough to the borderline that you can claim with any kind of certainty that he wouldn't have been a Hall of Fame-quality player without the juice.

So once you realize that, you realize that all we're doing by trying to keep these guys out is moralizing. And the Hall is no place for that. I want my son to learn that cheating is bad, too, but Ty Cobb and John McGraw are already in the Hall, so that ship sailed like seventy years ago. There are other ways to teach these lessons; the Hall can really just be about history and baseball.

Josh said...

But the difference between Cobb and McGraw with these guys is that neither of those guys cheated the game.

I understand your points though; very valid.

Anonymous said...

Another asterisk on the wall, tainted championships- when are they going to out Big Sloppy – and his 120 ab’s with 0 HR’s this year.