I need to get this off my chest. With the Hall of Fame ballot results to be announced this week - many writers have been discussing their selections and with their votes how they feel about steroids.
What has gotten me worked up most is the attitudes of normally bright and logical people like Joe Posnanski who becomes illogical and hypocritical when it comes to steroids.
In discussing Jeff Bagwell - Posnanski opines:
I think my e-migo Craig Calcaterra has made this point on Twitter, but I’d like to also make it as strongly as I can: I’d rather a hundred steroid users were mistakenly voted into the Hall of Fame over keeping one non-user out.He doesn't see that this thinking leads to the exact opposite results. You let in 100 steroid users and their numbers keep clean players from getting proper consideration. You let in a Mark McGwire and you make it harder for a Fred McGriff or Don Mattingly. Posnanski makes a case for Kevin Brown without once mentioning Brown was named in the Mitchell Report for taking human growth hormone and Deca-Durabolin. At the same time he takes shots at Jack Morris. I guess if Jack Morris had improved his numbers by taking steroids then he'd have a better shot in Joe's book.
The hypocrisy drips from his choices.
Fred McGriff and Mark McGwire - he votes No on McGriff but he votes Yes on Mark McGwire! Even if you think McGwire just used steroids for the last 3 seasons of his career (yeah right) then that's 3 seasons in which McGwire made $30 million and hit 126 HR. If for the last 3-seasons of his career McGriff used steroids to hit just half of those HR that McGwire got over his final 3 years then McGriff has well over 500 for his career and is probably in the Hall. Even more insidious though is the fact that McGwire used steroids to secure contracts bigger then what McGriff ever came close to making. The $11 million McGwire made for his final season was 34% more than McGriff ever made in any one season in his career. So not only did McGwire cheat to get paid - his cheating now screws clean players like McGriff's chances at the Hall of Fame as well. That's too much to swallow.
To take it one step further - if you buy what McGwire is trying to sell Posnanski about using steroids just to heal from injuries then what about a player like Don Mattingly? What if Mattingly had used steroids to extend his career? Would that have made him a Hall of Famer? I know you can't play this what if game but at the same time you can't reward a player like McGwire for cheating to get what was denied to a Donnie Baseball. Put another way - Posnanski's thinking on steroids is 0% logic and 100% bullshit.
Rafael Palmeiro - Posnanski has the balls to compare Palmeiro to McGriff:
McGriff: .284/.377/.511You know what this comes down to - clean player who will be kept out of the Hall of Fame versus dirty player who would have been in Hall of Fame if he didn't get greedy and come back for one last season. Boo-freakin-hoo for Joe Posnanski who feels bad that he has to vote No on Palmeiro.
I am slightly surprised that Posnanski didn't go full-jackwagon when it comes to steroids and make the case for Jose Canseco.
One argument that really bugs me is the "he was a Hall of Famer before he started using steroids" argument. This is normally used to defend Barry Bonds. Well what about a player like Dale Murphy? He was a Hall of Famer in his prime - what if he started taking steroids at the same time as Bonds? Is he a Hall of Famer now? What if Bonds never took steroids? Does he break down like Murphy?
Two discussions on Twitter really set me over the edge on the subject of steroids.
A number of baseball writers were doing an echo-chamber re-Tweet-athon about how fans don't care about steroids and the Hall of Fame and that it was just the writers making a big deal of this. They have a point but they miss the forest for the trees. People are stopping to care about the Hall of Fame but it is precisely because of steroids.
The other Twitter discussion which pissed me off was the uber-smug King Kaufman knocking Jim Rice as not being Hall of Fame worthy but granting he was at least not a mediocre player. Jim Rice is the poster child for players whose accomplishments have been harmed by comparison to steroid cheats. It was nice of King Kaufman to say at least Rice wasn't mediocre. I'd like to return the favor. King I don't think your writing comes close to being worthy of Sports Illustrated good but I think at least you could hold your own at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.