Get over yourself, Baseball
A couple weeks ago the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) decided not to elect a single player in to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This year’s ballot was probably one of the most star-studded ballots in recent memory with names likes Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa just to name a few.
Other names that were rejected entry included Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Edgar Martinez and Curt Shilling.
I understand that a large portion of those the were not elected weren’t exactly worthy of the honor based on their above-average, yet not extraordinary careers.
This summer, the Hall of Fame will hold an induction ceremony that will honor three individuals who have been dead for over 70 years. Only one of those was a player, and Deacon White played so long ago he was a catcher without a glove.
It’s no secret that most of the players were kept out because of their links to the steroid era. I get that so many people and fans have strong beliefs that any player suspected of performance enhancing drugs should be barred form the holy Hall of Fame.
My only problem with all of this is that the BBWAA is choosing to ignore and discredit an entire era of baseball.
An era that I grew up watching. An era that featured some of the greatest feats in baseball history. An era the made Major League Baseball a ton of money.
On columnist for ESPN perfectly outlined how outrageous it is that none of the eligible players were elected:
A man who hit 762 home runs (Bonds) wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame.
A pitcher who won seven Cy Young Awards (Clemens) wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame.
A man who hit 609 home runs (Sosa) only got 12.5 percent of the vote.
A catcher who made 12 All-Star teams (Piazza) missed election by 98 votes.
Even a guy who got 3,060 hits (Biggio) found out he didn’t do enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Do we really want a Hall of Fame that basically tries to pretend that none of those men ever played baseball? That none of that happened? Or that none of that should have happened?
The fact of the matter is that it did happen and baseball need to realize that as impure as it may have been, it is a part of the game’s history.
Baseball and it’s writers simply need to get over themselves.
Baseball stands on this pedestal of purity and morals that is making them look borderline ignorant.
I love the game. I grew up watching baseball nearly every night. If I wasn’t watching I was at the city park playing. I cherish baseball as much as any other fan, but I’m not blind to reality. Anyone who says they didn’t enjoy watching Clemens dominate or follow the home run race between Sosa and Mark McGwire is lying.
Baseball shouldn’t deny immortality to those that help build it’s brand which believe it or not, they let happen. You can’t say that baseball big-wigs didn’t suspect PED’s when Sosa, Bonds and McGwire were shattering records with mammoth homers. They knew, but they didn’t really care because more fans were buying tickets and their wallets were getting fatter.
These players need to be honored for what they did for the game and be elected to the great museum of baseball.
The same ESPN columnist had the best recommendation I’ve heard to solve this problem.
“If we decide it’s a museum, then we need to put all of these men -- the greatest players of their generation -- in the Hall of Fame, and let the sport do what it should have done years ago: Figure out some way to explain what happened back then.”
“There are many ways to do that. Put the good stuff and the bad stuff right there on the plaques. Erect informational signs that explain the context of that era -- and every era in baseball history. Just be real and honest, and let the truth carry the weight of history in all its permutations.”
If you can’t erase it, embrace it.