Thanks to a recent attack of righteousness, the Baseball Writers Association of America has cost the city of Cooperstown, New York untold sums of money by not voting anyone into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The city had better get used to it, because if this year’s Hall of Fame ballots are any indication, it will be a while before an entourage of fans descend on Cooperstown to honor a player from their home team.
Of course, the reason why there will be no one inducted into the hall in 2013 is because most of the men who are eligible played during the so called ‘Steroids Era.’ In an effort to punish those who put up numbers worthy of the hall during this period, the baseball writers have used their voting privileges to keep them out. This means that names like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa will not be etched on plaques this year or any time in the near future and their fans won’t be making the trip to Cooperstown. And, whether those in baseball like it or not, the fans will come out to honor these men if they are elected.
The voters will say that it is not their fault that Cooperstown won’t see the likes of Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa and their followers. It is the players who cheated not them. As writers, it is their job to uphold the integrity of the hall by not voting them in. If Cooperstown takes a financial hit then the players should be the ones to blame.
All of this may be true, but the truth is it is easy for the writers to say this now that they have made their money off of these same players. During the entire ‘Steroids Era,’ very few people who covered baseball stepped forward and denounced the players for using them. Most either turned a blind eye towards them or were naïve enough to think that they weren’t a problem even though the evidence was right in front of them.
If not for Jose Canseco and his book Juiced who knows when anyone would have done anything about steroid use in baseball? The denials were so great that Canseco was roasted for writing the book and called a locker room snitch. Meanwhile, everyone from players to management to the media continued to make money off of a tainted product. One that some of us had seen enough of and given up on long ago.
So why is it that the players performances were good enough for the media to make money, but not good enough for Cooperstown to get their share? Why must a town whose biggest source of revenue is hall of fame induction weekend have to look on as no one comes to celebrate? And when will they no longer be held hostage by the baseball writers?
This may be a touchy subject to those who have hall of fame votes. No one likes to be criticized for something that they feel is not their fault. But the truth is if one is a hall of fame voter then they have to look at themselves in the mirror and ask, ‘Did I do everything in my ethical power to report what was happening during the era of steroids?’ If the answer is, ‘No,’ then they have no right to judge the players whom they are voting on.
And the good people of Cooperstown should not have to suffer, because of the sudden righteousness of a few.