Fix Opinion Sports

No Cooperstown For Baseball Cheaters


By Eli
Clemens was acquitted this week of all six counts of lying to Congress about his
steroid usage in 2008. He is also on the Baseball Hall of Fame’s ballot this
year – for the first time.
Many stars
will greet him in his chance to be awarded baseball’s highest honor.
Among those
tagging along for the ride to Cooperstown are Jeff Bagwell, Alan Trammell,
Edgar Martinez and Don Mattingly.
They also
include such hitch-hikers as Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio
(well, of course I’m partial to the Astros, being from Houston), and Curt
slugged 449 homers before retiring after his powerful swing gave him arthritis.
Trammell, Mattingly, and Martinez both have more than 2,000 hits and 1,000
RBIs. Biggio has 3,000 hits and the not-so-dubious record of being hit by a
pitch more times than any other batter in the history of the game. Schilling struck
out 3,116 batters and won a playoff game while fending off an injured, bleeding
ankle. Piazza had more than 400 homers.
Photo illustration by Kiernan Majerus-Collins
What about
Bonds? Besides his ego, brashness and penchant for hitting homers, there’s his
magically swelling his head to the size of a pineapple.
And how
about Sosa, with 609 homers to his name?
Lastly, what
about Clemens, who managed to skirt past any alleged steroid usage with the
help of lawyer Rusty Hardin, after recording 4,612 strikeouts, third-most of
any pitcher in the history of the game?
Well, those
last three, which I strategically grouped into a separate paragraph, all have
been the recipients of numerous allegations that they used steroids during
their careers.
Clemens’ steroid usage may not be quite as certain anymore, given that he was
acquitted on charges he lied about not using them, the evidence still points to
his using them.
questioned about voluntary steroid testing, Sosa ended an interview with that
legendary sportswriter Rick Reilly. Bonds’ head can’t be explained without
mentioning steroids.
Many are
debating whether steroid users should be admitted to the Hall of Fame. Opinions
are generally mixed, with some saying “Sure!” others saying “First the Cubs
will win a World Series.”
Then there’s
I believe
anyone who feels steroid users should be willingly admitted to the Hall of Fame
ought to be strung up by his toenails and left hanging from them like a bat in
a cave.
Why do I
feel so strongly about this?
steroids even once in the world of cycling is enough to garner a two-year ban
from racing. The International Olympic Committee disqualifies any athlete who
uses them.
But Major
League Baseball just hands down a rinky-dinky 50-game suspension – and even
that is a relatively new penalty.
Baseball greats Johnny Pesky,
Dom Dimaggio and Bobby Doerr
at the Baseball Hall of Fame
in Cooperstown in 2005.
MLB’s lenience
compared to other sports should be balanced out with a harsh stance taken over
steroid usage in the Hall.
It’s unfair
to other players who played cleanly, with no banned substances used of any
kind, to add to the Hall those who looked for every loophole in the book and
used it to their full advantage. It’s also unethical, and for a liberal such as
myself, ethics and fair play is the name of the game.
not playing fairly.
Nor is
dodging every question asked of you about using steroids, or claiming you were
given something by your trainer you thought was flaxseed juice, or not having
the cojones, so to speak, to admit the truth for fear you’d damage your
already-suffering reputation.
Pitcher Andy
Pettitte has my respect because he admitted that he used steroids, and he
regretted it. That’s all it takes for my respect to be regained.
If we can’t
agree that steroid users should be barred from the Hall of Fame like otherwise
fantastic players such as Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson (unfairly, in the
latter case), then perhaps we can compromise with this: Any steroid user
admitted to the Hall of Fame gets an asterisk to place by his full records.
records set during seasons in which they juiced are removed and they receive
joint records played ‘cleanly.’
For example,
if someone played for 10 years and juiced for two, those 10 years’ statistics
would receive an asterisk placed by them, and the two he juiced in would be
removed from those 10 and clean records would be held jointly, side-by-side
with the asterisked records.
If he hit
500 homers total and 427 cleanly, he would see something like this in the
record books: HR – 500* (427).
represents both sides of the story, while of course, not pleasing everyone.
We certainly
don’t live in a utopia, folks, but we can make do.

1 Comment

  • The first South African winner of the Comrades in 7 long years, was tested positive for banned substances recently, and was stripped of his title. While this is rather embarrassing to South Africans, and very sad, I am inclined to agree with you. After all, there is a reason these substances are considered banned.