Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sanctimonious nonsense from Hall of Fame voters

With all the discussion and controversy surrounding the Hall of Fame voting this year, I'd like to propose a new rule: any BBWAA members who were covering the game from the late 1980s to the early 2000s who didn't make a fuss about rampant steroid use while they were witnessing it in clubhouses across the game are no longer allowed to make a fuss about it in their Hall of Fame voting rationale.

I said the same thing this time last year, but it is unbelievable to me that writers who were complicit in the longevity of the Steroid Era through their silence are so incredibly sanctimonious about their votes now that those players are appearing on the ballot.

There's a lot of self-satisfied talk about how the Hall isn't just an honor for players who were the best on the field, but a place for those who were also the most moral and sportsmanlike. It's an admirable wish, but if you're seriously a baseball writer who thinks a violent and racist (albeit incredibly talented) player like Ty Cobb represents the moral and sportsmanlike, even in the context of his era, you should probably take a refresher course in basic baseball history.

Of course, Ty Cobb is an extreme example, but if he was "moral and sportsmanlike" enough to be revered and remembered, who are the BBWAA members to say that players they personally suspect of drug use, or worse, those who just had the misfortune of playing during that time, are unworthy?

It's ridiculous. I don't need baseball writers to teach me about morality, thanks all the same. I want to see the best of the era in the Hall of Fame, and if that includes PED users (and it most certainly does), so be it. Why should some players get the benefit of the doubt, while some get tainted by the brush of their peers?

If a player dominated during his era, if his numbers set him apart from the rest, if he faced the best of his time and beat them, he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Fans understand the nuance of the era, so maybe the BBWAA voters can save the moralizing lectures for their children.

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