It is heartwarming that the three steroid cheaters on the ballot for the first time--Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa--all fell far short of the 75% needed for induction into the Hall in this year's voting. And it's not just that they were cheaters; more than that, they all fell short of the character requirements for induction into the Hall. Clemens is a known jerk, ever since he cursed out an umpire in the 1988 playoffs and then denied it afterwards. Sosa is a known cheater, who had the audacity to claim he only "made a mistake" when caught using a corked bat in a game. Bonds is a known anti-social personality, in a game which thrives on conversation.
But the most fundamental way these three losers cheated the game is that they reduced it to something akin to a slow-pitch softball game, where batters tried to hit a home run every time up. No true baseball fan wants to see this malarkey. (Nor do we want to see this ridiculous home run derby which MLB serves up to us the night before the All-Star game.) MLB shares the guilt here in promoting homers as the be-all and end-all of the game, to the great detrment of a game many of us think is beautiful when played as it was meant to be.
The tragedy of this year's voting is that the one guy who is clearly deserving fell short, that being Craig Biggio. Biggio represents all that is right about the game, and all the skills we look for in a superstar--defense, speed, and batting skills. And he was a "team first" guy, playing three different positions as his team needed. Spending his whole career with the same team is a definite plus here. Not that I begrudge any player the right to change teams if he gets to the point where he earns free agency. But showing loyalty to the team which drafted and developed you is an admirable trait, one in short supply in this "me first"' day and age. The good news is that Biggio's percent of the vote was high enough that he will probably make it in next year.
Holiday Reading from the Archive
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