By Mr. Met
Staff Writer NFL PRO ZACH
Before the winter meetings and the hot stove come full circle this week I would like to discuss the upcoming Hall of Fame vote and two players in particular who are the most infamous of the “Steroid Era” or generation of MLB. Those two players are of course MLB’s Home Run King Barry Bonds and the scandalous Roger Clemens. Of course the precedent that has been previously set with the Mark McGwire’s and the Rafael Palmeiro’s of the world that any player connected with steroids will not receive the votes required to enter Cooperstown. However, Bonds, Sosa, Clemens, and the rest of this year’s first time eligible list are the first of a large group of players that will litter the first time ballots of the “Steroid Era”. The writers have been pretty consistent so far with not voting these players who did or are speculated to have used steroids in Cooperstown.
The MLB Hall of Fame is unlike none other in professional sports as it is most defiantly the most inclusive of all the major sports. Meaning you truly have to be not great but an immortal player to become a member of Cooperstown and I believe the baseball writers who vote for the players do a tremendous job protecting the integrity of the Hall. When discussing steroids and the “Steroid Era” and whether or not these players should make the hall there are a few arguments to consider. The first I would like to discuss is one that is often discussed in sports talk shows on radios and ESPN or any television network that talks baseball or even discussed among friends for that matter how about somehow recognizing what era the player is from (Steroid Era). One idea that is often discussed is putting an asterisk on the player’s plaque. Another one that has gained steam recently is electing these players to their own section of Cooperstown, an explaining in that particular room or section that these players played during the “Steroid Era” of baseball and what exactly that meant for generations to come. I for one am not a fan of this idea and I believe the writers feel the same way and it is for one reason and that is integrity! In MLB it is important to uphold the integrity of the game it is in the definition of what a hall of famer should be and is the reason why Pete Rose baseball’s all-time hit king is ineligible for a hall vote. Are players who used performance enhancing drugs really upholding the integrity of the game? The answer to that is simply No because they have indeed cheated.
The second idea that I often hear discussed is how much these steroids or HGH (Human Growth Hormone) do really help these players? Do they make that big of a difference? My answer to that is I really do not know. However, what is known is that they are illegal to the sport and they do enhance your performance. Do they make a good player a great player, do they make a subpar player a good player, or do they make a great player an immortal player? To me this can only be known to the athletes and the trainers and staff that are around them daily. The two players that I mentioned before I believe are most representative of this logic. Barry Bonds before he became the all-time slugger and home run king that we know today was a great player already, was he an immortal player at that point well only time would tell but what is known is that he needed steroids or PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs) to achieve what he eventually achieved in the sport of baseball. Roger Clemens I think is a similar story before all the scandals and accusations from former trainer Brain McNamee and friend and former teammate Andy Pettitte there was a very good hard throwing young man who even pitched for the 86 world series team that lost to the Mets. However, he did need PEDs to achieve his immortal status as a player. Were these guys hall of famers before they used I would venture to say yes! But that brings me back to the argument of upholding the integrity of the game, a cheater and make no mistake about it Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, and anyone else associated with steroids are cheaters do not.
I would like to leave you at this ESPN.com recently ran a story where they surveyed a portion of the Baseball Writers of America who vote on the hall ballot and unless they were to change their votes or an overwhelming majority of the rest of the writers have a different opinion it looks like Bonds and Clemens will not be making Cooperstown. At least for now the integrity of this game will be upheld!