December 18, 2007

Hall of Fame.. of Fame, not Shame

Baseball is to many boys what Cinderella was to many girls. Towards that end, I do not want the Evil Step-mom going into my game's Hall of Fame. But, I'm metaphorically jumping ahead way to far... let me explain...

The ever-evolving quandry these days - regarding steroids and MLB's Hall of fame - is whether to vote for certain baseball players -- whose pre-steroid or pre-HGH numbers still hold up to HOF scrutiny -- to enter the HOF. The argument being laid out that they earned their place before the sojourn into artificially boosting their performance/endurance. It seems like most pundits I've been hearing say yes, they would vote for them for the Hall, because they already had HOF numbers. to which I say whoooooooa Nelly.

Now, let's just wait a minute before we actually reward these players for decisiding that being great wasn't good enough, so they went outside the game for help. Help which very likely robbed many other players the ability to play, while the limelight was extended or enhanced for other men. how can you not equate this to Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski? Here was a CEO who had worked hard all his life, had the bull by the horns - family, job, financial security and then some, and decided he wantedmore. He got caught and he's been put away. But according to some sports writers, if they had their way, he may have just received a corporate golden parachute; after all, his numbers were okay prior to going bad.

I take the opposite stance as many baseball writers for the same reason that they use for voting in the tainted players. I say because they had HOF numbers and a HOF career, I would never vote for them. Who the heck are they - when the world is essentially already their oyster - to add to the tarnishment of the game by padding their numbers or extending their careers? By enhancing their stats - either by enhancing their power on their gift of hand-eye coordination, or artificially extending their shelf-life - is placing their ego above all else. These men who had HOF careers previous to their juiced days, were going to be set for life, their legacy placed on a presitigious mantle.

Some say, in this day and age of so many 'using' where then do you draw the line? I draw it with my own eyes and ears. As any sports-writer worth his salt to vote should do as well. Perfect? no way. but it'll be many steps in the right direction. I've heard nothing about Sammy Sosa, but he came out of nowhere to do what he did. McGwire? Same. Neidemeirer? Dead (sorry, that's someone else's rant). If Palmeiro hadn't been caught, I never would have known & I would have voted him in. He was, so I wouldn't. It's as fair as we can make it and I don't make apologies for the inability to be perfectly all-inclusively exclusive or for looking to brush off the tarnish on the game.

It may seem unfair to those that don't get caught, but, so be it. If they are caught, or there is a preponderence of circumstantial evidence, no go. Preponderence of innocence is in the Constitution, not the Hall of Fame. Roman law presumes guilt until proved otherwise -- I'm not looking to go that deep, but as a baseball writer, I have no idea why they almost seem to be looking to give The Mitchell Report-players the benefit of the doubt.

I wouldn't want to take my children to the Baseball Hall of Fame and point to those players and explain that the second half of their career was entirely self-tainted, but that, not only did they capitalize on their cheationg, they were rewarded by being placed in the most presitigious place for their profession.

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