Thursday, January 10, 2013

When No One Wins

No one elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.

Such is the sports headline of this mid-week. With the three biggest names in the steroid scandal eligible for the first time, no one got elected.

  • Barry Bonds
  • Roger Clemens
  • Sammy Sosa
Names that made the record books, but with that virtual asterisk next to them.

They used performance enhancing drugs.

Does that mean they should be denied entry? No one has said they are banned, but for the moment that is the consensus. They hurt baseball. They ruined its image.

Personally, I find myself conflicted. Bonds and Clemens are true superstars. They would have been shoo-ins just on their probably pre-steroid record. Sosa is more of a question mark. What are the standards? What makes someone like Ty Cobb, a mean, nasty, vengeful racist by all accounts, one of the premier baseball players of all time and Pete Rose not?

I know there is clearly the side that those elected to the HoF are to be more upstanding and better role models. But again, the antics, drinking, and brawling of a number of superstars revered in the HoF did not- and does not take away from the Whitey Fords or Mickey Mantles.

Where is the line? Faking it? Trying to be something one is not in order to gain fame and fortune? If I were voting, I would probably not have voted for any of them. This year. Perhaps as a message that we know what they did even though they don't admit it. But sometime down the road, before their eligibility runs out, I would probably cast that ballot for Clemens and Bonds. Not my favorite people. but still outstanding athletes without the steroids.

But how do we really know? We still look ahead to the Andy Petits and Alex Rodriguezes. of the future. This is not going away and each will face the future HoF voting in their own ways. Maybe if they come clean? Like Lance Armstrong seems to be heading toward? No easy questions. And the answers are actually even more difficult.

No one won this year. And perhaps we all lost something. Not because of the non-election, but because of the issues that have colored our view of the great American sport.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And, Lance Armstrong??