Thursday, January 10, 2013

No One Voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

I was glad to see that no one was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.  My guess is that over time, the voters will not hold the line on the Steroid Era, and we'll end up seeing lots of those folks getting into Cooperstown.  But I would never let them in.  The Steroid Era was, in my opinion, the worst period in baseball history since the World Series began in 1903.  The game was not pleasant to watch -- in large part because it was dominated by people like Barry Bonds who were doing things that normal human beings can't actually do.  Even the big and exciting things that happened -- the home run chases, the great Roger Clemens pitching performances, that one year when Brady Anderson hit 50 home runs -- were tainted because you knew that what you were watching wasn't real.

The fact that everyone associated with baseball went along with steroids, and did virtually nothing to stop it, makes everything worse.  Remember how the press hyped the McGwire/Sosa home run chase?  Remember how Mike Lupica said that 1998 was the year that baseball "reclaimed America"?  I do, and I don't want to see anything like that happen again.

So here's my preference.  Years from now, when people go to the Baseball Hall of Fame, I want almost no players from the Steroid Era in there.  No Bonds.  No Clemens.  No Sosa or McGwire.  And certainly no second-tier guys like Mike Piazza or Craig Biggio.  Not even Greg Maddux, who had a lifetime record of 11-14 in the playoffs, or Tom Glavine (who went 14-16 in the playoffs).  If it were up to me, the only players you'd see from that era would be Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Pedro Martinez, and Randy Johnson.  And whenever people asked about what happened, they would be told that this was a terrible period in baseball history, and that we've chosen to mostly forget it.


  1. I totally agree. Cheating just kills the fun of any game. I also think the Patriots' championships should be stripped.

  2. I would actually vote them all in if I believe they deserved to be in based on their numbers. It was what it was. They were the best of the era they played in and that to me is what the HOF represents. It's a sport that pays it's players millions of dollars and we shouldn't be surprised that they cheat to win. Also their behavior was fully supported by the commissioner, the owners, and the players. So it was in essence not cheating at the time it all took place. I say just be happy we learned from it and move on, but still acknowledge that those players were the best of their generation.

  3. I am typically surprised and always disappointed when someone cheats to win.

  4. I'm pretty sure that if you think about it, each of you will realize that sometime between 1990 and 2000, you pretty much lost all interest in baseball. As did a lot of people. In 1990, two small-market teams (the Reds and A's) drew a TV rating of 20.8 for the World Series. By 2000, the Yankees and Mets could only draw a rating of 12.4. And baseball has never recovered. Last year, the Giants and Tigers had a rating of only 7.6.

    Now some of that decline was because of the strike, and some of it was because the Internet created new entertainment options. But the Steroid Era was devastating to the long-term popularity of baseball. It took what had always been a pretty serious, traditional sport and turned it into a bit of a joke.

    Furthermore, steroids killed interest in baseball's home run records, which were made meaningless. For another, steroid baseball just wasn't very entertaining. It mostly consisted of guys standing at the plate and trying to hit home runs. Players' stats would fluctuate wildly from one year to the next, so a guy like Jason Giambi would be great for a while, and then quickly become terrible. And Bonds just made the whole thing ridiculous -- he was more like a guy in a video game than a real player. In 2004, when he was 39 years old, Bonds drew 232 walks in 617 plate appearances. In other words, he was being walked 37.6 percent of the time he came to the plate, because it made no sense to pitch to him unless you had to. It was maddening to watch, and I'm not surprised so many people quit watching.

    So I don't think we should be celebrating the Steroid Era at all, and I certainly don't think we should celebrate folks like Bonds and Clemens who did so much damage to the game.

  5. You can't keep people out of the Hall of Fame because you think their particular era of the sport was boring or hurt the long term popularity of the sport. If you want to say they cheated I think that's fine, but let's be serious it has never been proven that Clemens or Bonds cheated. Also blame MLB management for all the issues brought on by these changes, not the players themselves. Baseball has been on a decline ever since they got rid of having a commissioner.

  6. I blame the players, too, at least.