Baseball has a BCS controversy.
No, it’s not whether there should be a playoff for a national championship; nor does it have anything to do with Boise State and its ridiculously blue field; it’s the Hall of Fame fate of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa.
The magical trio landed on the Hall of Fame ballots on Wednesday. While voters have had five years to ponder their fate, we guess many haven’t come to a decision.
I say don’t let them in.
Almost any long-time baseball fan can describe themselves as a “romantic” and the integrity/history/stewardship of the game is not only important to longtime fans, it’s just plain important. A game that does not often move with a brisk pace, in the 21st century needs to keep its integrity above all else.
These men blatantly cheated the game. For personal gain. Think Black Sox scandal – (allegedly) throwing World Series games for personal financial gain. You might say our modern day “Steroid Sox” were trying to win, but I would tell you there is not a shred of evidence they cheated at this game to win; they cheated to hit or throw the ball harder than the next guy; to break records; to recover quicker than the young pitcher who just got his first cup of coffee in the majors. Nothing in their actions points to winning, but rather making the back of their baseball cards pop. And to gain a couple of extra seasons. Legacy.
You might argue that these players had Hall-of-Fame talent before they cheated. I counter that argument by acknowledging that you are probably correct. But answer me two questions:
- When was it that they “started” cheating;
- How can you be sure? Show me the evidence that they were Hall-of-Fame bound.
Maybe Bonds would still crush 550 home runs. But maybe he may have gotten injured, lost bat speed, and played uninspired ball due to a mediocre contract and only hit 325 home runs.
Clemens was a monster in the weight room, in the best shape of any player of his time, you will tell me. I will also tell you that Lance Armstrong was the greatest athlete-philanthropist of his time. Both men were just distracting us from the real story.
You can never tell me how good these men could have been. To me, they created that problem, and it’s not up to me to look into some kind of reverse crystal ball. It’s my job to watch the games, not guess how they would have turned out, if, when, and how things were different. They knowingly violated the rules of the game.
All of that adds up to this: When it comes time for Hall of Fame voters to cast their ballots, and their pencil hovers over the names “Bonds,” “Clemens” and “Sosa,” they should do what this cowardly trio could not: Just Say No.