First, congratulations to David Ortiz, for his first ballot election to the Hall of Fame. This is a well-deserved election and to those Baseball Writers who did not put him on their ballot–you are idiots.
However, I do not write to congratulate Mr. Ortiz. I am writing to ask how long the Hall of Fame will continue to allow the Janus-faced to elect the inductees.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire and, I am sure, others will never be elected because of their alleged involvement in using PED’s (Performance Enhancing Drugs). Note, I say alleged because no court of law, or, non-politically motivated body has ever found these men guilty of using PEDs. Innuendo, rumor, perception etc. are not facts and, self-serving statements of those facing criminal liability are not exactly convincing.
A bit of history might be in order, so I will start with this:
In 1994, the baseball players struck when the owners attempted to cap their salaries while those same owners wanted to keep all of the revenue from any local broadcasts. As a result of the strike, the World Series was canceled. This cancellation and the public perception that billionaires (owners) fighting millionaires (players) over more money was an unforgiveable reason to cancel the World Series. Added to this was the ever increasing popularity of the NFL, NBA and College Football and baseball was in danger of becoming nothing more than a way to fill the summer gap, at least at the major league level.
While the owners had given lip service to banning the use of PEDs in 1991, after the 1994 strike, the owners and writers quickly ignored their policy and the owners made sure there no mechanism for enforcing the ban was even attempted until late 2003, or early 2004. By that time, Roger Clemens had won his 300th game (June, 2003). Mark McGuire had his 70th home run (1998), with Sammy Sosa hitting 66 home runs in the same year and Barry Bonds had hit his 73 home runs (2001).
What does this matter? Well, the home run races that occurred post 1994 and prior to the implementation of any mechanism for enforcing the alleged steroid ban, and the pitching efforts of many like Clemens, quite honestly, saved baseball and kept it from being relegated to an also ran in sports.
The owners, with the help of television and the Baseball Writers–the keepers of the Hall of Fame gate–all promoted the home run race, touted Clemen’s feats and enjoyed the benefits of these accomplishments. The owners counted their money and the baseball writers pushed and shoved each other out of the way in order to be the ones to get “the interview” and nary a one was outraged by the possibility of PED use.
By the time the “outraged”, “shocked” Baseball Writers and team owners decided to make PEDs an actual priority, their wallets and/or writing portfolios had been made fat by the benefits of the efforts of these mentioned and other players.
Even knowing some of the alleged PEDs were used for nothing more than helping players recover from injuries quicker, or recover from the physical stresses of a 162 game season, the writers and owners, with the help of politicians, continued their new attempts at headline grabbing.
So now that Clemens, Bonds and the other are off the ballot for the Hall of Fame, having watched in futility as the baseball writers postured (and I am sure with the unstated support of the owners) and, unless the veterans committee brings them in years from now, the Baseball Writers can puff their chest about protecting the integrity of the game.
The Baseball Writers and owners with there contrived shock and outrage, are like Claude Raines’ character, Captain Louis Renault, in Casablanca, when he shouted that he was shocked gambling was going on in “Rick’s” only to have his winnings delivered as he was closing Rick’s down.
So congratulations to the owners and Baseball Writers, you have now saved yourself from looking in the mirror and admitting that you enjoyed the benefits of the work of these men, waited until they had, effectively, saved the game, your incomes and jobs, only to then demonstrate your faux outrage, all the while hoping those of us, who were merely fans, would cheer you on.
You, ladies and gentlemen, are in this writer/fan’s opinion not worthy of baseball.