Baseball Hall of Fame voting brings out the stupid in many people, especially those people charged with casting the ballots. Amid cries of cheating and ruining the integrity of the game, a loud minority of the voters have made it clear they will never vote for any player who took PEDs.
There are a couple of problems that this loud minority has, but they refuse to acknowledge. For instance, they refuse to vote for Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens because, they claim, those two used steroids, despite neither having failed any kind of PED test, or not having been convicted for taking PEDs.
There has been some idiotic behavior on the part of voters since the most recent ballot came out. There are some voters out there once again claiming that Jeff Bagwell used 'roids, and these same folks are claiming that Craig Biggio used them as well. How do they reconcile these statements with the truth that there's no evidence that either cheated?
They use the eye test and the guilt by association standards. So because Bagwell bulked up and started hitting homers. He's guilty. And while Biggio didn't really bulk up, his power numbers also spiked; ipso facto, they both used PEDs. They were also teammates with Ken Caminiti, Andy Pettitte, and Roger Clemens, thus they must have used steroids.
This extreme stupidity has so far kept Bagwell out of the Hall of Fame, and could possibly keep Biggio out this year. And while this line of thinking is moronic, it's kind of interesting to see if it's going to keep being applied over the next several years, and if it is applied, will it be applied to all eligible players.
Take next year's ballot. Among those on the ballot will be Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, two of the best pitchers of the '90s -- they're also acknowledged as two of the best ever. There have never been any allegations of either of these two taking steroids. Just as there was no suspicion on Biggio while he played. But what makes Maddux and Glavine any different than Biggio?
Both Maddux and Glavine played on teams with Ken Caminiti, Gary Sheffield, and David Justice, who used steroids. Sure, neither Maddux or Glavine looked like they used steroids, but by the unwritten rules being established, neither Maddux or Glavine should be inducted into the Hall of Fame because they are steroid users. And that same argument should apply in about five years when Chipper Jones appears on the ballot.
And if Craig Biggio is supposed to have used steroids because he played with Caminiti, Clemens, and Pettitte, then watching the fools explain why they won't apply the rule to Derek Jeter when he's up for induction is going to be like watching a train wreck.
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Let's look at the list of superstar PED users Jeter has been teammates with: Clemens, Pettitte, Justice, Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Chuck Knoblauch, and the Johnny Appleseed of steroids, Jose Canseco. If the excuse for Biggio is guilt by association, then it must be a without a doubt fact that Jeter juiced, and as such, he can't go into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But the national media and the New York baseball writers will have the vapors if anybody attempts to besmirch the sainted Jeter like this.
The Baseball Writers Association of America needs to stop with the witch hunt. So what if they cheated? Gaylord Perry bragged about throwing the spitter (an illegal pitch) and he made the Hall. Whitey Ford and Don Sutton were also linked to throwing spitters and scuffed baseball. Everybody seems to be okay with this, but that belies the whole integrity of the game argument they have been making. And don't forget about Willie Mays and his use of amphetamines.
Baseball embraced the whole steroid culture of the '90s. Home run hitters were celebrated as saving the game. But now that baseball's dirty little secret has been revealed, all of those who pushed the joy of home runs are backing away and speaking of the evils of the game and the era.
Maybe these lords of integrity should have been as concerned about this whole thing back in the '90s. But obsessing over it now isn't bringing a close to the era. All that these moral scolds are doing is targeting every player of the era with suspicions of being cheaters. Because if guilt by association is enough to tag Biggio as a steroids user, then it's also enough to tag so-called white knights like Maddux, Glavine, and Jeter.