It’s a relief that baseball’s Hall of Fame is still steroid free

Published 7:50 pm Friday, January 25, 2019

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:

  • Steroid abuse kills. There are players who have shot up and 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.
  • Steroid abuse destroys your health. See #1. 
  • 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?
  • Steroid abusers knew what they were doing was wrong. Each took elaborate steps to avoid detection, with a series of mail schemes, cut-outs and shooting up in secret. Nobody did this in public. They knew what they were doing is wrong.
  • Steroid abusers lied. Each insisted that they had not cheated. They lied to teammates, coaches, fans, Congress — the list goes on.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Steroid abusers took away votes, and chances, from honest players, creating an artificial standard for success.
  • 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.
  • 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.