No Hall of Fame for You

Piazza might have to wait for a posthumous induction.

Piazza might have to wait for a posthumous induction.

I’m sure Joe or another author on Mets Today will have an opinion on this, but here’s my $0.02.

So, the baby baseball writers got their bottles.  The paragons of perfection and arbiters of all that is moral kept everyone out of the Hall of Fame this year.  Yes, there will be no HOFers in 2013.

We know now that anyone who played between 1990 and 2003 is guilty by association.  That includes former Met Mike Piazza, who fell well short of the 75% required for HOF induction (57.8%).  His candidacy was apparently hurt by indications of (of all things) back acne, as reported by Murray Chass.  As an Italian male, I can vouch for the fact that back acne can occur WITHOUT taking steroids.  Marty Noble recently said the lack of hair on Piazza’s back indicated that he used steroids.  I respect Mr. Noble, but this isn’t exactly a smoking gun.  Also, sensationalist author Jeff Pearlman cited unnamed sources that claimed Piazza told several trusted reporters “off the record” that he tried steroids.

Well, as long as unnamed sources and trusted reporters said so…

Given all this, it’s actually surprising that Craig Biggio (who led the vote with 68.2%) got as much of the vote as he did, since he had a similarly scurrilous accusation leveled against him by Pearlman.

Even everyone’s favorite grinder didn’t make it, Jack Morris, would have had the highest ERA in the HOF had he been inducted (3.90).  But that’s OK because he’s a winner!  And he’s clutch!  But he only got 67.7% of the vote.  Does that constitute “pitching to the scoreboard?”  Maybe if Biggio got 90%, Morris would have had 89%.

Tim Raines fell short with only 52.2%.  There’s no explaining this travesty except maybe the old goats of the BBWAA hate the fact that he’s the darling of the saber crowd.

What it boils down to is that the baseball writers enjoy wielding their power.  They often don’t induct a player on the first ballot because they feel there is a difference between a Hall of Famer and a First Ballot Hall of Famer.  I don’t recall enjoying the First Ballot Hall of Famer wing last time I was in Cooperstown, however.

In any event, it’s possible that Biggio, Piazza, and Jeff Bagwell will be in the HOF within the next two years now that the writers have had a chance to show those players who’s really in control.

Then again, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina, and Jeff Kent will be on the ballot next year, so this year’s crop may have to wait to be voted on by the Veteran’s Committee.

Paul is a freelance writer, blogger, and broadcast technology professional residing in Denver. A New Jersey native, he is a long-suffering Mets fan, a recently-happy Giants fan, and bewildered Islanders fan. He's also a fair-weather Avalanche and Rockies supporter. In his spare time, he enjoys the three Gs: Golf, Guitars, and Games.
  1. The King January 9, 2013 at 8:19 pm
    Disgraceful. No other way to put it. As for Morris, Mussina, and Thomas–give me a break. Speaking of breaks, isn’t it time a guy named Rose got one?
  2. Joe January 9, 2013 at 8:33 pm
    “baby baseball writers got their bottles”

    The average fan disagrees on this issue too, it is not just a matter of power hungry writers. They have the power but their votes here reflected a serious split of opinion overall.

    Players for years sneered at better testing largely for $$$ & now it’s coming to roost. ‘wah’ indeed. If Piazza is kept out forever, come back to me. A message sent this year? BFD.

  3. argonbunnies January 9, 2013 at 8:50 pm
    Ehn, there’s 14 years left for more evidence to come to light on these first-timers. If I were a voter, I’d be happy to wait. Of course, I would have waited on every candidate since 1999, the year Nolan Ryan was inducted.

    Seriously, if any pitcher today was decent in his late 30s and then suddenly great in his early 40s, throwing at least as hard if not harder, much of it after moving to a ‘roid-heavy Rangers team… The ‘roids accusations would be instant.

    Hall of Famers since Ryan:
    – Carlton Fisk caught 271 games in 1990-1991, his age 42-43 seasons
    – Eddie Murray, Paul Molitor, and Ozzie Smith all stayed extremely productive up through age 40
    – Dave Winfield put up a huge age 40 season in his one year in Toronto
    – Cal Ripken was somehow able to recover from wear and tear and injuries quickly enough to take the field every single day through age 37
    – Rickey Henderson played on the ‘roid-fueled A’s, led the league in steals at 39, played till 44, and never cared how anyone else thought things should be done
    – Roberto Alomar suddenly developed power in his early 30s, then fell off a cliff the second he moved to a new team with different strength coaches
    – Barry Larkin hit twice as many HRs in 1996 (33) as in any other season except one (20 in 1991)

    Seriously, what are the odds that none of those guys ever juiced?

    “Great players can stay productive longer” makes sense when you talk about Willie Mays needing a decade of decline just to make it down to the level of other major leaguers. But in the last few years, post-‘roids, it’s been common to hear that the Normal Aging Curve has been reinstated, where 34 is the new 37, and 37 is the new 40. Were Ryan, Fisk, Murray, Molitor, Smith, Winfield, Ripken and Henderson all exceptions? I mean, not one of those guys was Willie Mays.

    • Joe Janish January 9, 2013 at 11:32 pm
      Agreed. As I wrote earlier this week, EVERYONE is under suspicion. I have similar questions about Ryan, Alomar, and others.

      Writers who think they can vote for one and not the other based on an “eyeball test” and/or because one player was somehow implicated and another one wasn’t are kidding themselves.

      This issue is a mess that is going to stay a mess for a long time.

    • argonbunnies January 11, 2013 at 5:55 pm
      I just discovered that pitching guru Tom House, who Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson both credited for their late-career success, was a steroid pioneer, saying in 2005:

      “We were doing steroids they wouldn’t give to horses. That was the ’60s, when nobody knew. The good thing is, we know now. There’s a lot more research and understanding.”

      • Joe Janish January 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm
        House made similar statements earlier, before there was an internet to keep track of them. There was a tiny faction of MLBers back in the 1970s who studied what the Russians were doing in training their Olympians — though, most of it had to do with lifting weights and plyometrics (until the late 80s, using weights was taboo in baseball). Nolan Ryan, Brian Downing, Tom Seaver, and a handful of others were among the few who were known to engage in weight training. Whether any of them took it a step further in following the Russians is anybody’s guess. But bottom line is, Jose Canseco was not the first MLBer to “experiment” with PEDs.
  4. argonbunnies January 9, 2013 at 9:03 pm
    Here’s an idea:

    Every modern HOF candidate should go to the HOFer they respect most — Aaron, Schmidt, Seaver, etc. — look them in the eye and say, “I hate the idea of ‘roids in the Hall as much as you do, and I swear on my children’s lives that I never used.”

    Then Aaron/Schmidt/Seaver can “clear” them for election and the voters can vote based on on-field performance.

    • NormE January 10, 2013 at 1:37 am
      Argonbunnies, I’d like to take your proposal a step further:

      Set up a committee of, say, ten HOFers to vote on HOF membership with 70% being the minimum needed for entry.
      Let the members of the committee decide who is worthy of joining them in the HOF.
      After each year one member of this committee selects his replacement for the following year.
      This revolving door insures new blood on the committee.

      I’m sure there are other ideas for changing the way HOFer’s are selected. All I know is that the vote by the baseball writers has become a joke. Just look at some of the names who received votes this year.

      • argonbunnies January 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm
        I like the idea of using HOFers for exclusion rather than inclusion. If HOFers vote players in, we’ll get all sorts of older players who were “feared” but don’t have the stats to back it up, like Rice, Dawson, Sutter, Gossage-

        Oh. Never mind.

        Yeah, good call.

  5. Walnutz15 January 10, 2013 at 8:47 am
    Could have seen this outcome coming for Piazza from hundreds of miles away.

    Not surprising.

  6. Dan B January 10, 2013 at 9:09 am
    I don’t know who did PEDs or who didn’t. But I question why the players who didn’t use it didn’t step up and pressure their union to stop allowing players to destroy their own bodies. And the writers who took a stand, why didn’t they say more 15 years ago? They road the coat tails of increased popularity of baseball into higher paying jobs doing cable shows, books, etc… but now they are finding religion? This whole thing is just so messy.
  7. pjm January 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm
    You claim Jeff Pearlman cited unnamed sources. MLB 1st Basemen Reggie Jefferson was named as a source in Pearlmans book. “He’s a guy who did it, and everybody knows it,” says Reggie Jefferson, the longtime major league first baseman. “It’s amazing how all these names, like Roger Clemens, are brought up, yet Mike Piazza goes untouched.”
  8. Dan January 10, 2013 at 9:42 pm
    Simple solution- ban everybody from that era because either they did steroids, or were aware of others doing it and did nothing to stop it. That would certainly get everyone’s attention, and be fair. Are there any who tried to do something about it, and have a realistic shot at the HOF?
    • Joe Janish January 11, 2013 at 12:18 am
      I vaguely remember Curt Schilling speaking out at some point, but I don’t know if it was while he was still playing or afterward.
    • quinn January 11, 2013 at 8:02 am
      A ban may also deter some current players from trying. If a true ban on an era because of PED’s were to occur there would have to be atleast some ripple effect on how clean the game is going forward.
    • argonbunnies January 11, 2013 at 5:06 pm
      Frank Thomas spoke out against steroids while still an active player, but after the bulk of the era had passed.

      I don’t think there was a single MLB player rocking the boat during the 1998 power showcase.

      I’m hearing now that the biggest anti-steroid stance was taken by Rangers union rep Rick Helling. I guess allowing 33 HRs per year for six years (1998-2003) will motivate you.

      • Joe Janish January 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm
        As much as I love Frank Thomas, it’s hard to eliminate him from the PEDs discussion — mainly because there was no testing, but also because he was an outstanding football player at Auburn (just missed, by a year, of being a teammate of Bo Jackson). I’m not saying that playing at a big-time football means that a player absolutely did steroids. Rather, it’s almost a certainty that playing football at Auburn meant Thomas (and Jackson) was at the very least exposed to steroids at a young age — hence, raising suspicion.

        I hope and want to believe The Big Hurt (and Bo) never did PEDs. But it’s impossible to know for sure since there wasn’t any testing.

  9. argonbunnies January 11, 2013 at 5:52 pm
    In 1998, the word “steroids” wasn’t even in the vocabulary of baseball discussion.

    By 2002, Bud Selig is calling steroids “a huge problem that needs to be dealt with swiftly” even before Canseco estimates use at 85% of players and Caminiti guesses “at least half” in this SI article from that June.

    Does anyone remember the tipping point? I’m trying, and all I remember is that in 2001, Barry Bonds hit 73 HRs and it wasn’t that big a deal. First, no one thought it would last — we’d been watching Bonds for 15 years already, and he wasn’t that kind of hitter. Then, after he got into the upper 50s, it was simply weird. No one got into a “chase for the record” frenzy because we’d just done that story 3 years ago. By the time Bonds got to 69, that he’d pass 70 was a foregone conclusion. There was no suspense.

    Did we all subconsciously know something fishy was going on here?

    Meanwhile, Sammy Sosa hit 64 HRs and that also wasn’t a huge deal. Maybe we were getting inured to homeruns. Maybe breaking Maris’ record 6 times made breaking it once seem less special. Maybe that was disappointing, and finally gave us an incentive to try to explain what was going on, now that we weren’t ecstatically celebrating it.

    Also, McGwire was way more likable than Bonds, so the fun factor of the whole “HR record” thing went way down.

    • Joe Janish January 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm
      I don’t know about anyone else, but “steroids” was in my vocabulary as an athlete going back to the 1970s, when we heard about what Eastern Bloc communist athletes were doing — as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others. Playing HS and NCAA sports in the 1980s, I was very aware of steroids, and saw many athletes using them. Remembering back, I’m certain that I had many discussions with other baseball players about Jose Canseco and the fact he and his brother Ozzie were “obviously” doing steroids.

      For me, the “tipping point” came in 1996, when Brady Anderson hit 50 HR, Todd Hundley hit 41, and Steve Finley hit 30 — and there was a huge article in SI about Finley’s “new training regimen.” After seeing that, and seeing no one even mention steroids (everyone always talked about “creatine”), I didn’t think MLB would ever address the issue. It took the blatant circus freak shows of Sosa / McGwire / Bonds to get people’s heads out of their asses.

      • argonbunnies January 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm
        Makes sense. I’m sure some people were thinking “steroids” from way back. But the national conversation shifted drastically during a 3-year span, and I’m trying to figure out how that happened. In that SI article, Caminiti says he doesn’t think steroids are bad, and assumes that all the fans care about is seeing 500-ft HRs. I think this means that, in 2002, the health issues and the fan disgust were not yet big parts of the discussion.

        Maybe it was just the writers vs Barry Bonds…

        • Joe Janish January 13, 2013 at 1:43 am
          The Caminiti article brought the issue to the forefront, and it was followed by news of the suicides of Rob Garibaldi and Taylor Hooton — and, eventually, Caminiti’s own death in 2004.

          My theory of the steroid issue snowballing so quickly into the public spotlight follows the old saying “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.” PEDs were in pro baseball for at least two decades before 1998, but kind of under the radar. Then everyone hogged out on them, the freak show began, and it was absolutely impossible to continue ignoring the traveling circus. Only so many 185-lb. shortstops can turn into 225-lb sluggers over one offseason before people start asking questions. And it was reasonable to believe a player could break the HR record with, say, 63 or 64 HR, but when the record gets obliterated in a year when a dozen guys hit 45+ HR — well, it was just silly, it was Nintendo baseball.

          Think about that: 13 players hit 44 or more HR. In comparison, no one hit more than 38 in 1976; last year, there were 6 who got over 40, and only Miggy Cabrera had as many as 44. MIggy wouldn’t even have cracked the top ten with that output.

  10. Nicky A January 12, 2013 at 1:19 am
    This whole steroid discussion is utterly ridiculous and an exercise in shameless egotism.

    Let me make this easy, LET THEM ALL IN. The same way you let all those other guys in, even though they had their own advantages unique to them in their own eras.

    Baseball has changed over the century and a quarter it has been played. There was the 19th century era, the dead ball era, the live ball era, expansion era, free agency era, and what some refer to as the long ball era, others refer to the steroid era. Steroids isn’t different than any of those other particularities when you look at it in this context.

    Steroids make you hit homeruns the same way that bigger ballparks make you hit a triple. The top ten of the singles season triple’s record belong to players playing in the 19th century, and two players in the 20th century before 1925. Were they extra speedy back then? Or did the bigger ball parks help them in a way that players after 1925 didn’t benefit from?

    Raised mounds, smaller mounds, scuffed balls, spit balls, pitchers high on LSD, greenies, black and latino exclusion, should we put asterisks near everybody’s name in the Hall of Fame because they had advantages another era didn’t?

    And don’t forget medical advancements and physical training improvements. Maybe because a doctor can perform Tommy John Surgery that didn’t exist for most of baseball’s history we should disqualify every recipient of the procedure.

    Let’s make it much easier than that, let Bonds in not because he hit 762 homeruns but because he was the most prolific hitter of his era (steroids notwithstanding) just like Chief Wilson was the most prolific triple’s hitter of his era (bigger ballparks not withstanding). Let sports writers do their job and explain away the meaning of each era, each record, each player, till eternity JUST LIKE THEY ALREADY DO! Let father’s teach their son’s about the wonderful history of baseball instead of preaching to them about why steroids is so different than the “thin air” park advantage in Coors field. Both are performance enhancers, both are artificial inflaters(the weather is not artificial, but having a team in that city is). Do we deduct stats from a Rockie’s player? Or we do we say, “Yeah Helton hit .300, but he was playing a mile high!”

    Lastly, look at what this has turned us into. We’re implicating players just because some other player said to a reporter “yeah I saw him do it”. No trial, no evidence, just another guy saying “yeah”. It’s egotism, shameful, disgusting egotism.

    • Joe Janish January 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      I think you have it backward. Egotism is not what causes people not to vote someone into the HoF. It’s a matter of trying to figure out whether or not players were competing fairly. That’s the point of competition — to see who is better. When one athlete unnaturally improves his body using illegal drugs, it’s cheating.

      The egotism is in those who receive the votes. There zero need to identify players as “Hall of Famers” — what is the point, other than to feed a player’s ego?

      Here’s a similarly simple idea: stop the vote. No one gets voted in ever again. Problem solved.

      • Nicky A January 13, 2013 at 1:42 am
        Joe listen to yourself! Stop the Hall of Fame? It’s a marvel of the sport, a celebration of the talent over the years.

        There’s nothing sacred about it until self-aggrandizing sports writers said there is. The players don’t vote for themselves, how can they be egotistical?

        The writers who vote arbitrarily decide who goes and who doesn’t. Listen to this, this is disgusting behavior by a human being. An article on ESPN, following this year’s Hall vote, I can’t find it now, I’m pretty sure it was written by Matthew Berry, he goes on a rant against steroid users and then basically says he didn’t vote Jack Morris in, even though he VOTED FOR HIM BEFORE, because he “wasn’t feeling it this year”.
        You see? The all glorious sports writer decides if the mortals beneath him shall be enshrined in the Halls of the Fame, and if he isn’t “feeling it”, then let Jack Morris toil in the last year of eligibility, let him turn like a pig on a roast.

        This isn’t about steroids, it’s about man’s pathetic need to feel better about himself at the expense of others. Don’t stop the vote, that’s crazy. Vote em in like you voted in the spit ballers, the bat corkers, the ball scuffers, and all the rest of the so called “cheaters”. Put Rose in too.

        • Joe Janish January 13, 2013 at 1:49 am
          Nick, I hear myself loud and clear. I didn’t say stop the Hall of Fame, I said stop the vote. There are enough players in already, and we now have the internet to remember everyone else. No one needs to go to Cooperstown to find out who was Barry Bonds – they need only do a Google search.

          If you want to lump ball scuffers, spitballers, and bat corkers in with people who inject themselves with artificial hormones, then we can’t go on with the discussion — the gap between our interpretations of “sport,” “competition,” and “integrity” are far too wide.

      • Nicky A January 13, 2013 at 2:02 am
        So educate me, I’m younger than you and I love sports. I don’t understand why the competitve advantage of scuffing a ball, which wasn’t against the rules for a while, and then it became against the rules is different than the competitve advantage of steroids, which likewise wasn’t against the rules until it was.

        Isn’t weight lifting an artifical advantage that many generations of ball players didn’t have?
        Isn’t modern surgery an artificial advantage that others didn’t have?

        Was Barry Bonds not the greatest player of his generation? Wasn’t Manny Ramirez one of the most dominant ball players of his generation? Melky Cabrera isn’t, he used steroids. Mike Jacobs isn’t, he used HGH. Andy Pettite wasn’t, he used HGH.

        All we need is a new metric to judge who is great and who isn’t, Rafael Palmeiro has gaudy numbers but we know they’re inflated, and his overall game is not deserving to be called a great. I’d argue similar for Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, but not Piazza, certainly not Bonds. Those are Hall of Famers whether they get voted in or not.

        What am I missing?

        • Joe Janish January 13, 2013 at 2:59 am
          For one, using steroids without a prescription is against the law. Scuffing a ball, in contrast, is merely against the rules of baseball.

          Secondly, using steroids remarkably change body chemistry. Anabolic steroids change hormonal balance; for one, they can create more testosterone — unnatural levels of testosterone. There are many textbooks written on the subject. The bottom line is that steroids are generally only prescribed to people who have problems like anemia, because the side effects are unnecessarily dangerous – depression, baldness, abnormal hair growth, shrinking of genitals, birth defects, cancer, etc. — do I really have to explain why people should not be taking steroids? Are you playing with me? Do you really not know?

          Lifting weights doesn’t do anything “artificial.” The human body has certain limits, and if one works hard enough in the weight room, he/she will reach a ceiling. Surgery doesn’t do anything “artificial” — it merely returns an athlete back to where he/she was before. Unless you’re talking Steve Austin, astronaut. Steroids, however, allow people to go above those ceilings of human limitation.

          Steroids can turn a singles hitter into a homerun hitter, a 87-mph fastball into a 94-mph fastball. They make some athletes superhuman.

          Some of the players you mention — Piazza included — may not have even made it to MLB if not for using steroids. Others may not have played as long as they did without them. How do you think Todd Hundley hit 41 homers one year? Luck? How did Brady Anderson hit 50? How did Roger Clemens reverse his natural, downward trend in his early 30s?

          Hey, if you want baseball to be similar to the WWF — just have it be something entertaining to watch, then fine. Personally, I like it being a game played amongst men who are playing “on the level” and competing with the physical limitations that make us all human. Otherwise, we may as well build robots to play the game.

        • Nicky A January 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm
          I respect your arguments Joe. I don’t want steroids in the game, either have it for everybody or have it for nobody. WWF analogy is very apt, because that’s what the 1998 season felt like in hindsight, and that’s why Bond’s chase was a far more lifeless experience. My issue is our reaction to this.

          The game changes whether you like it or not. This is not the first change to the game. Medical advances, weight training, rule changes, demographic changes have changed the game over the generations just as much as steroids have. Your right, steroids cannot be used because they are illegal unless used for medical purposes, by why are we scapegoating players and not the league or the owners, or even the fans who still watch the game?

          Steroids are NOT illegal to use, like most illicit substances they are illegal to possess and transport unless for legitimate medical purposes. Just like it’s not illegal to use marijuana, but illegal to possess and traffic marijuana. It’s an important distinction because it is again taking blame away from players and putting them on doctors and/or club owners who are the true guilty parties in all this.

          Your not wrong, but I think in your anger your taking this way too far, as are most people in the sports universe. Steroids happened. Heck, they’re still happening. It’s a new world, STEROIDS HAPPENED. You can’t take away the records, you can’t take away the stats, so your solution is to deal with it in bitterness and hate?

          They told ball players, don’t get caught but if you take this your going to be a better player and your going to make millions! It’s not illegal for you because I got a doctor to do it, your club owner doesn’t give a shit, Bud Selig doesn’t give a shit, and you want to blame the player for this? Even the fans hooted and hollered for said players with unprecedented enthusiasm and support. Lotta Mark McGwire jerseys were sold, a lot of Alex Rodriguez jerseys still being sold.

          That’s my problem with this, that’s why I blame egotism, your scapegoating players and acting like there is a way to scrub out the last twenty or so years. There isn’t. Bite your lip and get used to it, shaming players isn’t going to take away what happened, you want a steroid free game? Go to the Pee Wee leagues. You don’t get to be the judge of what the game is or what it becomes, very egotistical for anybody to think so.

        • Joe Janish January 13, 2013 at 4:25 pm
          I can’t possibly bite my lip. Again, it has zero to do with egotism, from my perspective. Are there journalists out there who are leaving players off the ballot for the wrong reasons? Sure. But not all journalists are trying to “make a statement” or prove how powerful they are.

          No matter which way you slice it, there were some players who were “on the level” during the PEDs era. For me, that’s why you can’t vote in the cheaters. Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that Fred McGriff was 100% clean through his career. Looking at his numbers and his consistent performance, he’s a Hall of Famer. But when you compare what he did to what the roided-out beasts were doing, it’s not as impressive. So if you vote in Bonds, McGwire, Piazza, etc., you’re essentially telling McGriff, “hey, Crime Dog, when you were doing the right thing? Well, turns out that was the wrong thing — you should’ve been cheating along with the others, because we’re honoring the cheaters.”

          Keeping players out of the HoF is not erasing 20 years of baseball or pretending that steroids in baseball didn’t happen. It’s entirely possible to acknowledge something without celebrating it.

          Look at it this way: would anyone vote Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin into a “World Leaders Hall of Fame”? Of course not. But the Holocaust happened, and Stalin murdered millions of his own citizens. Both of those evil men are in the history books — but we don’t celebrate them. I realize this is a wild comparison and there’s nothing similar between cheating at baseball and killing people — but trying to drive home a point.

        • Nicky A January 13, 2013 at 7:00 pm
          Joe again, I respect that you represent a very valid sentiment. I’m not defending cheating, but I don’t think this is a situation that is as cut and dried as cheating. How can it be called cheating if it wasn’t against the rules?

          My issue goes back to HOW we are handling the fallout and the ongoing dilemma of PED use.

          The problem is how do we determine who is who in this era? I forgot who it was, but some people put the statistics around 85% of PED users in the MLB. 85%! Think about that. Is it accurate? I don’t know and that’s my point. You can’t say for certain that McGriff never took an injection of HGH to help him heal, or a test shot during spring training to give him a boost during his workouts. We don’t know how long Arod was juicing for, or how many seasons Manny Ramirez was on the juice. At least agree with me that no matter how well we know a player, we have no idea what they are doing in the training room. Derek Jeter, perfect example, no one anywhere suspects him of PED use, but how do you know he never used HGH (which has commonly been used to help injuries heal rather than build mass). In fact, I think it’s awfully suspicious he has stayed so healthy in his career. Hmm. I wonder.

          The approach we are taking now is one of bitterness, and spite. I think it is the wrong approach. We ought to have a new metric that deflates some of the numbers based on historical norms, and then we can decide who is worthy of the Hall and who is worthy to be celebrated. Common sense will tell you Bonds is a Hall of Famer despite your distaste for what he did. If he cheated, then maybe 85% of the rest of the league cheated with him! Funny they didn’t all become homerun champs.

          Bonds is worthy of celebration not because he cheated, but because he was a prolific ball player, the best in his generation. Not everyone who took PEDs can say that! Denying him a spot in the Hall is basically punishing him for WHAT HE WAS ALLOWED TO DO.
          Article 5 (or whatever is) is being used arbitrarily by sportswriters, it should be more clearly defined. Bonds was convicted of lying to Congress, so don’t vote him in based on that, but you can’t say he compromised the integrity of the game by doing something that wasn’t against the rules and, quite possible, everyone else was doing it.

        • Joe Janish January 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm
          The argument that “it wasn’t against the rules” is one of the weakest that continue to be repeated — not just by you, but by too many others.

          If you look in the MLB rule book, there is absolutely nothing preventing anyone from wielding a knife or a handgun. So, by your interpretation of PEDs use “not against the rules,” it would be completely OK for a baserunner, who is stuck in a rundown, to pull out a gun and shoot a fielder dead in order to land on a base safely. Or, for a runner barreling into home to pull out a knife and stab the catcher in such a way that he drops the ball. Here’s another, less lethal one: there’s nothing in the rules about outfielders wearing jet-packs on their back — but does that mean they’re allowed to use them?

          And closer and more realistic to the point, a long time ago MLB suspended players who tested positive for cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and other drugs. They didn’t include steroids at that time because they weren’t aware of steroids being a problem. The spirit of the rule, however, was that players weren’t allowed to illegally put drugs in their bodies – and unless someone had a prescription (to my knowledge, David Segui is the only one to make such a claim) for steroids or HGH, then it was illegal and going against MLB’s war against drugs.

          Previously you corrected me by stating PEDs weren’t illegal to use, but merely illegal to possess and transport. Could you explain to me how one can use PEDs without using them? I don’t think that even David Blaine can pull off that magic. It is and was against the law to purchase, sell, possess steroids without a prescription. Federal law trumps baseball rules in every state — ask K-rod, who learned that baseball players are in fact subject to laws against assault, even when it happens in the warm, insulated environment of a MLB ballpark.

          So you and all the others posing this argument is wrong — just because something is not specifically addressed in the MLB rule book, doesn’t mean a player is “allowed” to do it.

          If in fact it wasn’t against the rules, why are all of these players remaining mum on the subject of using PEDs? Why aren’t players like Bonds coming out and saying “Hey, you didn’t say I couldn’t use them, so EFF you!” ?

          Finally, as for your Derek Jeter / we don’t know who did and who didn’t argument — that’s EXACTLY my point. We don’t know. And I agree — Jeter, Mo Rivera, and every single MLBer who played from 1990-2005 is under suspicion.Therefore, everyone is presumed guilty. Therefore, suspend the vote.

          Why in the world MUST we continue to identify players as “Hall of Famers”? For what? Why? Singling out an individual for outstanding performance goes against all the values of a team sport. Players, spectators, kids who play baseball all should better understand that baseball is a team sport. If one wants individual adulation, then play golf or tennis or some other one-on-one sport.

        • Nicky A January 13, 2013 at 11:48 pm
          It sounds like picking hairs. It seems like you have a problem with the Hall of Fame itself, that’s fine, but this is not about the HOF, it’s a fascinating story about how players got thrown under the bus by their leagues, and more interestingly, by their own fans.

          At the end of the day, everybody knows they weren’t supposed to do steroids, but when everyone was doing steroids, nobody did a thing about it. It was beneficial to the player (he got paid millions for his superior performance), to the club owner (his club had a star to draw tickets), to the commissioner (tv ratings went up), and the fans lapped it up. Now you want a refund on the past 20+ years because you can’t believe McGwire and Sosa were “cheating” when they were crushing more baseballs than any other two players in the history of the game?

          Something I think your missing Joe, nobody cares. Nobody REALLY cares that baseball has steroids in the game, same way nobody cares PEDs are in the NFL, even after the silly testing program they slipped in after the bullshit in baseball blew up. I still watch the game, you still watch game, all your followers and everyone else I know still watch the game. I know they’re a bunch of juicers, but me and a million other people who criticized the PED controversy at the water cooler the next day still WATCH every inning just like we always did. Ratings are relatively stable year over year, “scandal” after so-called “scandal”. This political nonsense, of denying HOFers their rightful place is just drama by egotistical people who either need to hate on others, or need to drum up controversy to justify their positions (sports writers).

          As much as you care, (and sports doesn’t exist without people who care as much as you or I), as much as you care Joe, it’s not your sport. It’s going to change with or without you. Are you going to accept it or are you going to keep beating this bush until you get tired? You can’t have a refund, you can’t have blood.

          I’d like to end my own point of view with the prediction that this will eventually slip away, the steroid story will get old (if it isn’t already), the new people failing tests will eventually just be a passing scroll on the SC crawler, people will eventually go into the HOF, and guess what? Steroids and other PEDs will still be a part of the game whether you like it or not, because that’s the age we live in.

          Final thought Joe?

        • Joe Janish January 15, 2013 at 12:23 am
          You have a very different perspective from me. I care, and I know many others who care. Specifically, I know that parents care and amateur coaches care. In addition to blowing my hot air here, I’m a baseball instructor for kids, teenagers, and college players, many of whom are hoping to play pro ball some day. Some of them have a legitimate shot to do so (a few of them are already there). So while it may be true that the average fan, or the fantasy baseball player, or the SABRhead don’t care, I can tell you — FOR CERTAIN — there is at least one faction of the population that cares very deeply about PEDs in baseball. I regularly provide counsel to young men and parents regarding PEDs, and it’s rarely a simple or easy conversation. What IS easy is to sit in a chair watching the game on TV, a far distance from the reality of the participants — the human beings who play the game — and make judgments and voice opinions. Far too often, PEDs use leads to depression and health problems that are irreversible — in addition to getting one banned from participation.

          I appreciate your visiting MetsToday, presenting your argument, and willingness to go back and forth with me. However, it seems that you and I are arguing from principles and experiences that will have a hard time finding middle ground. It’s akin to arguing politics or religion.

          Baseball can change without me, that’s fine. As long as I’m involved in baseball in some capacity, I will continue to protect the athletes who care about their bodies and care about the fundamental integrity of competition. Health and happiness are hard to attain when one cheats — be it at baseball, checkers, or anything else in life.

  11. Nicky A January 15, 2013 at 1:42 am
    Always a pleasure, I follow up my Mets news here and appreciate your insights as someone who is involved in the game far differently than I am as a casual fan. Keep up the good work on the site! And finally, for a shout out to the old Shea stadium games, “sometimes I feel like sticking my head out the window, and screaming at the top of my lungs… Let’s go Mets! Let’s go Mets Let’s go Mets!”
  12. John January 18, 2013 at 5:44 pm
    Where does Pearlman get off breaking journalistic code of conduct releasing off the record conversations (not the first time he’s done that), and they lambast players for using streroids. Neither should be condoned, but Pearlman should not be the one to point his finger.