This year’s Hall of Fame vote brought about its fair share of scrutiny and the announcement yesterday that no one would be enshrined forever in baseball history certainly wasn’t shocking. With Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa- among others- appearing on their first ballot in 2013 it was widely believed that the voters would snub the players that had been linked to PED’s during their career despite career numbers that would make them unanimous victors.
These three were undeniably the faces of the PED epidemic of the late 90’s, early 2000’s and none of them came even close to making the Hall this year. Is this blasphemy? Criminal? After all, the same Writers Association did vote Bonds to four consecutive MVP awards from 2001-2004. But now eight years later, in my humble opinion, the game is different and for some of these writers it is obvious. They recognize how PED’s changed these players as well as the game.
There have been numerous people sounding off on how awful it is that the Hall of Fame allows the Baseball Writers Association of America to vote on who is elected to the Hall each season. My thought is, who would you rather have vote? The players already inducted? The owners? Maybe you as fans? These sports writers, whether you like them or not, cover baseball every day of the year. They live and breathe baseball and have earned the right to carry a vote for Hall of Fame inductees. In order to earn a vote, a writer has to be a part of the BBWAA for ten consecutive years. This means that every voter was covering baseball during the steroid era in some capacity. They were asked to follow the game then as it was and report on it. If some of them have changed their perspective of how it was and their acceptance of it during those times, that is their prerogative. I’d be willing to bet that a lot of us have a different point of view on the steroid era now.
Also, let’s keep in mind that the writers everyone are bashing right now are the same writers you look to for your information on teams and individual players throughout each season. Who are we really mad at here? It is a foregone conclusion that these players used PED’s during their career, which elevated their performance to produce numbers once thought impossible.
“I think as a player, a group, this is one of the first times that we’ve been publicly called out,” Schilling said. “I think it’s fitting. … If there was ever a ballot and a year to make a statement about what we didn’t do as players — which is we didn’t actively push to get the game clean — this is it.” ~ Former Diamondback and Hall of Fame candidate Curt Schilling in response to yesterdays Hall of Fame vote.
As we watched those seasons unfold, it was jaw-dropping and awesome. The game of baseball was back and historic records were dropping at an alarming rate. However, now that the dust has settled from the height of the steroid era, the mindset has shifted and it looks like this year’s ballot included a statement with it, if only for one year, that lets the baseball world know that performance enhancing drugs aren’t just a slap on the wrist.
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