At some point, “baseball” – and that means everyone associated with it – just giggled and said, “Let those boys do whatever they want…they’re gonna do it anyway.”
Yeah, maybe they are.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t hold them accountable for it five, ten or fifteen years later when the time comes to determine whether or not they should be enshrined in the baseball museum that recognizes the greatest to ever play the game.
I’d hold them all accountable by simply not voting for any of them. How long would I return a blank ballot? I’m not sure, but I have a great answer for the players who bellyache about people not voting for anyone.
It would go something like this:
Them – “How long are you going to go on being a jerk and not voting for anyone?”
Me – “I don’t know. How long are baseball players going to keep using performance enhancing drugs?”
Them – “But we have testing now.”
Me – “Correct. And guys are still getting busted every year.”
Them – “So, answer the question. When will you vote for someone again?”
Me – “When five years have passed with no one testing positive. How’s that sound?”
Them – “Sounds like you probably won’t vote for anyone anytime soon.”
Me – “Correct.”
So, for the time being, I wouldn’t vote for any of those creeps.
And, sadly, that means I wouldn’t put a check mark next to names like Maddux, Glavine and Thomas. It would hurt me to do that – if I had a vote – because I always thought those players were exemplary competitors and representatives of the sport.
But the real truth is this: I have no idea if those guys used steroids or not. My “guess” is they didn’t. But guessing can’t be good enough anymore, because we’ve been fooled too many times. And, even when caught red-handed, baseball players have still lied to us about their involvement. Look no further than the silly excuses Manny Ramirez came up with when he tested positive. Same with Palmeiro. It was as if they operated on a concept of: “The fans are so dumb, they’ll believe anything we say, as long as say it with a straight face or point our finger at the camera and look mad about it.”
Also, keep in mind that Barry Bonds told people time and time again he didn’t use steroids. Supporters of his would claim “Barry never failed a test.”
Bonds, under oath, later admitted he had, in fact, used “the cream and the clear”. He just claimed he had no idea those things were steroids.
Yeah, that makes sense. To an idiot, maybe.
But some people did buy it. And still do.
I never did.
And the more I’m around it, the more I’ve convinced myself that none of them are worthy of worrying about it.
Voting for the Hall of Fame shouldn’t be hard work. It should be fairly easy to do. You look at a player’s performance, you judge him for what he did on the field and what he meant to his team and the game. If he was a GREAT player, one of the best at his position or in his era, you vote him in. If not, you don’t.
Today, in 2013, voting for a baseball Hall of Fame class is incredibly hard work. You have to be a CSI detective to sift through the evidence – published, rumored, etc. – and then you’re always fighting that internal battle of “well, he never LOOKED like he was using steroids, so maybe he didn’t”.
My philosophy is simple: You can’t trust any of them. They’re like 16-year old boys calling your daughter to ask her out to Friday night’s high school football game and a milkshake afterwards. They simply can’t be trusted.
I wouldn’t have voted for any of them this year.
And I probably wouldn’t vote for any next year or the year after that, either.
Oh, and that’s not my fault.
It’s their fault.
I didn’t use steroids, they did.
I didn’t wreck the game, they did.
I didn’t lie to the fans, they did.
Let them figure out how to get into Cooperstown if it’s so important.
They surely figured out a way to cheat and pull the wool over our eyes when THAT was important.