Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio and John Smoltz burned a trail to Cooperstown
Tuesday, gaining entry to the Baseball's Hall of Fame. Left in the their wake are more questions
about who was clean, who was on steroids, and why those who were on them should never
achieve baseball immortality.
The Hall of Fame announcement used to one of the greatest things about baseball. Cooperstown
is a Norman Rockwell type of town that is home to the most significant shrine of all the sports.
It's truly special. But it's been polluted every year and will be for the next 20 because of
all the PED talk.The great accomplishments of the players will be followed by the black cloud
of steroid suspicion. It's quite nauseating, really.
Curt Schilling got more votes than Roger Clemens, really? Mike Piazza received a much
higher percentage of votes than Barry Bonds? That's downright absurd. Nearly everything is
absurd about the voting process now and many parts of the game are, too, thanks to the
Yep, Bud Selig and the owners (and many sports writers, too) turned a blind eye to pumped
up players putting up video-game stats every year. Nearly everyone in the game got filthy rich,
the owners, players, television networks,--if you had something to do with major league baseball,
chances are you moved into a higher tax bracket.
Sad thing is, while everyone was getting rich off the golden goose, the integrity of the game,
the one thing that used to mean so much (just ask Bart Giamatti, the former commissioner who
died trying to protect it thanks to the Pete Rose betting scandal) went into the gutter. It's like
the Exxon Valdez. Years after running aground, baseball's ocean is still getting poisoned by
something that should've been cleaned up 20 years ago.
Remember when records meant something. Baseball more than any other game is
stat-driven. Fans used to be able to recite the hallowed records of the game with ease:
61 home runs in a season, 755 career home runs, and 200 hits in a year actually considered
Steroids came along and every punch and judy hitter was belting 40 bombs a year and some
former string-bean named Luis Gonzalez hit 52 home runs. Good lord, Hank Aaron never
hit more than 47 in a season.
It was a joke. Sammy Sosa cranked 60 or more home runs in three consecutive seasons
which is insane! Babe Ruth never did that. Guess the Bambino really wasn't that good. The
sports writers, the supposed "keepers" of the game sure got caught up in Sosa's daily home
run derby. I never recall them writing any article about Sosa being on the juice. They know
everything about the game and hear all the whispers like a teenage girl in the high school
Yet, they are making sure Sosa doesn't get anywhere near Cooperstown even though he
has 609 home runs to his credit. 609!
In the vote Tuesday, Sosa got 6-point something of the vote and is in jeopardy of falling
off the ballot for good. Yet, there is Piazza who admitted taking Andro, the same drug
that allowed Mark McGwire to hit baseball's into orbit at a record pace, and he got nearly
70 percent of the vote and is in good position to get in to the Hall of Fame next year. Yeah,
that makes great sense.
It's ridiculous. It really is. Some of these sports writers try to tell us who they "think" took
steroids and who didn't. Remember, there was no testing during the heavy part of the
Steroid Era and players got a good heads up before it was coming. Really, only the dumb
ones ended up getting caught.
Sorry, but the sports writers didn't know how many guys were on steroids during the
era and they are not entitled to the "suspicion" thing now. Jose Canseco probably wasn't
far off when he said that more than 70 percent of the players in the game were on the
juice. Many think Ken Griffey, Jr. was never on steroids when he played. How does
anybody know that? Was it just because he was perceived as "The Kid" and the face
Andy Petitte was listed in the Mitchell Report (which was a joke, too) and he admitted
he used PED's to get back from injury and "help his team." Petitte seemed to get a free
pass from the media because he was simply a nice guy and a born-again Christian. The
fact of the matter is, he was a cheater. Using a PED to get you healthier faster is cheating.
Petitte got a free-pass while Clemens got hammered because some trainer with not a lot
of credibility ratted him out. Clemens never failed a drug test and unlike Petitte never
admitted taking PED's. The Rocket has more than 150 wins than Schilling, 1,000 more
strikeouts, and seven more Cy Young awards and Schilling gets a higher-percentage of votes?
Schilling was a gutty, brilliant pitcher, especially in the post-season, but he's no Roger
Clemens and he'd be the first one to tell you that.
Clemens and Bonds won't get into the Hall of Fame in my lifetime, which is probably
going to be around their lifetime, too. Nope, they never failed a test or even had to take
one during the early part of the Steroid Era. Yet, they get treated by the voters like they
weren't as good as Omar Moreno and Andy Hawkins.
Pizza admitted taking Andro and he's close to getting in. Clemens never admitted to
taking anything nor failed a drug test, but got ratted out by his trainer. He only has a
slightly better chance of getting in than me. The experts say, "Clemens must've been
on something. He was throwing 95-mph when he was 43-years old." Yeah, so was
Nolan Ryan, but many of the sports writers want to attribute that to being country
boy strong and just a physical freak. Right. Whatever they say.
That's what the Hall of Fame voting has become: throwing darts blindfolded and one
big mess. The records in baseball have become meaningless, which is a shame.
The saddest part of it all is the kid going to his first game and asking his father what
the Steroid Era was and how it affected the game. Dad would need a doubleheader
to explain that one.