Wow. Didn't realize it had been almost six weeks since I posted. I've been trying to find something to write about, but much of what I've seen online has been too boring.
At any rate, here's something new. The Mitchell Report just came out on steroids in baseball. And the top name on the list? Roger Clemens.
Huh. Who would ever have thought that a player, who saw a significant improvement in performance when his numbers should have gone down, might be juicing? Assuming of course his name wasn't Bonds?
It's hardly the first time Clemens has been fingered, but it is the first time he's been officially and with solid evidence, named. At least to my knowledge.
Even I have to scratch my head here. I'm not usually one to look for a racist conspiracy of ex-Klanners behind every tree, but it is kinda odd. Black player sees his numbers improve (or at worst, not drop off as they normally do) as he ages, and everyone knows he's juicing. White player sees his numbers improve (or at worst, not drop off as they normally do) as he ages; and everyone shrugs.
So now a couple of the biggest names in Major League Baseball have been officially tainted. What to do....
There will be a lot of discussion about banning Clemens and Bonds (and others) from their place in the Hall of Fame. Normally, I'd be all for it- I still think that Pete Rose deserves to be locked out- but in this case, there's a problem. The steroid problem has been around for years, and everyone knew it. As I mentioned, rumors about Clemens are hardly new, and as for Bonds, everyone knew he was guilty. Ditto for some of the others mentioned.
The problem is, juicing was never looked on with the same sense of outrage as gambling. The owners knew it was happening, but they ignored it, since home run chases and records get fans into the seats. The players knew it, but most ignored it- why criticize someone when you might end up in their footsteps a few years down the road? And the Player's Union ignored it because that's what unions do.
So now the dirty linen is hanging out on the line. My thought is that the players who are named- or the players to be named later- should be allowed into the Hall of Fame, if their careers support it. Clemens was a shoo-in anyway, as was Bonds. Others, perhaps. Even Jose Canseco can make a strong claim to membership. Let them in, perhaps with an asterisk. Or even better, put their plaques front and center in a wing of the Hall devoted to Cheaters. Give them a shot, but make sure that everyone knows their inflated numbers (particularly for those like Clemens and Bonds, whose numbers got ridiculous at the end of their career) were the result of cheating.
Maybe just come right out and call it "the Hall of Shame".
It's too bad it came to this. But everybody knew what was happening, and thus everyone must bear a bit of the blame. Don't sanction those who did it, because they felt it was necessary. Would any of us do the same, if we had the opportunity to lengthen a very very profitable career? Not to mention the fact that inflated statistics mean inflated paychecks.
It's a mess. Baseball had it coming, and they can't play innocent anymore. The Mitchell Report blames everyone, and it should. Now let's just get the game fixed, and prevent it from happening again.
That way, the next time someone cheats, the people in charge will have an easier choice. After a cheating scandal rocked baseball many years ago, they made gambling illegal. Thus when that piece of slimy crap named Pete Rose was caught, there was no difficulty in deciding what to do.
Let's make it just as easy for the future commissioners. Sanction the guilty here, start a serious testing regimen, and make the rules explicit.