I don’t normally post about baseball, even though I’m about as obsessive about it as I am politics, but I thought news today that the Baseball Hall of Fame voters are declining to induct players linked to steroids into Cooperstown was worth a post.
Three of the players on the ballot – Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa – all have had careers that would otherwise make the shoo-ins for selection absent the cloud of steroids use hanging over their heads. The only possible reason for the refusal to admit them is the steroids question.
That’s as it should be, I think.
I tend to be a bit of a baseball purist. I don’t like the idea of steroids in the sport. I think achievement should be won by hard work and talent, not who has the best chemistry set. And yes, I know steroids isn’t a magic pill that just makes you a better ball player. It merely enhances the performance of already talented players. I get it.
But these players too steroids knowing full well what the score was. They did it knowing that it was in a gray area (before 2002), and knowing that it was against the rules (after 2002). They did it knowing that other players wouldn’t because of the rules/stigma, and that it would give them an advantage.
That’s cheating. They cheated, and while I think all three of the men in this year’s class (I honestly don’t think Biggio, Piazza, Morris, Bagwell or Raines deserve to be in the hall based on their records) would have probably had Hall of Fame-worthy careers absent steroids use, their decision to muddle their own records by using steroids makes quantifying that definitively impossible.
They made a choice. Let them reap the consequences.