We can celebrate the induction of relief pitcher Mariano Rivera into Baseball’s Hall-of-Fame, as well as a pair of solid starters, while the veterans chose another reliever and designated hitter. They missed their chance to bring in a pair of defense studs, but at least they denied the steroid abusers a spot in the HoF, saving baseball from unfathomable shame for at least one more year. 

Heading into the vote, I had been reading my son the Mariano Rivera story, learning about his humble origins, and his desire for perfection as well as being a good teammate and class act. Zach committed to focusing on accuracy in pitching over speed, with good results this fall, as a result. Rivera’s unanimous vote is well-deserved.

We also had the good fortune of meeting another new inductee, Lee Smith, two years ago. He posed for a picture with us, even though it wasn’t on the agenda, chatted with Zach, and encouraged him to become a pitcher (“Ladies love the pitchers” he advised my son). All Smith did was become the all-time saves leader for his time, pitching in the two toughest places for an RP: the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox, before each broke their own World Series curses. 

Halladay and Mussina were strong, durable starters, while Martinez was a consistently good hitter. Baines doesn’t belong in ahead of Dale Murphy or Fred McGriff, but I trust the players on this one.

However, one thing I couldn’t stand was seeing were those sportswriters crowing about how Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens belong in the Hall-of-Fame. The moment the league allows this, the league ceases to be anything worth watching. Here’s why.

  1. Steroid abuse kills. There are players who have shot up who have died. The election of steroid abusers will unleash a wave of young athletes who will risk it for fame and glory. Critics will deny this. They also have nothing to say at these kids’ funerals.
  2. Steroid abuse destroys your health. See #1. 
  3. Steroid abuse is illegal. Currently, players will be suspended a lot of games for steroid abuse. What’s one of them to say when they see a player get rewarded with a spot in Cooperstown for doing the same thing?
  4. Steroid abusers knew what they were doing was wrong. Each took elaborate steps to avoid detection, with a series of mail schemes, cut-outs, shooting up in secret. Nobody did this in public. They knew what they were doing is wrong.
  5. Steroid abusers lied. Each insisted that they had not cheated. They lied to teammates, coaches, fans, Congress…the list goes on.
  6. Steroid abuse inflated statistics. We can’t tell an honest home run or strikeout from a dishonest one. Ignore the arguments that said they only did it for a year or two..
  7. Steroid abuse votes are inconsistent. Why are some abusers getting a lot of votes, and others with similarly inflated numbers are being shut out? Writers condoning such actions can’t even be honest with themselves about who should be punished or not.
  8. Steroid abusers took away votes, and chances, from honest players, creating an artificial standard for success.
  9. Steroid abusers get to keep their millions of dollars. All they are being denied is a spot of honor in that New York museum. And they can’t stand it.
  10. For every parent, who wishes their kid to play the sport, drug-free, the admission of Bonds, Clemens, etc.  is a nightmare, proving that the sport values short-cuts over hard work and talent.

Luckily, some sportswriters, veterans, and these relievers managed to “save” the sport for one more season. I pray that America’s Pastime can stay that way, and not give in the temptation to reward cheaters for their illicit actions.

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Image credit: a fair use parody of the logo for Major League Baseball created by LikeTheDew.com – original via Wikipedia.

John A. Tures

John A. Tures

John A. Tures is an Associate Professor of Political Science at LaGrange College in Georgia.  He writes about international politics, elections, sports, and the War of 1812.