MLB: Payment is Due For the Steroid Era
The results are in for the 2013 MLB Hall of Fame class. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Mike Piazza are some of the names mentioned for induction in the aforementioned class. Bonds is the major league’s all-time home run king with 762 home runs. Clemens is regarded as one of the greatest pitchers of our generation, with seven Cy Young awards on his resume. Sosa electrified crowds in his quest for the single season home run record in 1998. Piazza is regarded as the greatest offensive catcher of all-time.
Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, and Piazza are some of the biggest names in recent MLB history. All should have been elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. To use baseball vernacular, collectively they’re 0 for 4 regarding Hall of Fame induction in 2013. This is because of their collective link, rightfully or wrongfully, to performance enhancing drugs, or PEDs.
Baseball fans will always have their suspicions about who has used steroids. It can also be reasoned that MLB turned a blind eye to alleged steroid use because of fans’ renewed captivation with the sport. Bonds, while surly at times, was baseball’s most feared hitter. He was capable of incredible displays of power, swatting home runs seemingly into different area codes. Clemens was an intimidating figure on the mound whose fastball regularly clocked in at well above 90 MPH.
MLBdidn’t care about steroid use. That’s because fans started to care again about the sport called “America’s Favorite Pastime”. When Sosa and McGwire were chasing history, you cheered. When Clemens reigned supreme on the mound, you cheered. When Piazza went deep, you cheered. And, as much as many didn’t want to, when Bonds chased and eventually made history with his home run prowess, you cheered again.
Many will say that PEDs aided in the production of the players mentioned. For that, these players could pay the ultimate price by not getting inducted at all. Their tremendous accomplishments have yielded nothing except the opportunity for their grandchildren to see them on some sports station’s oldies’ highlight reel. In the case of Clemens, his alleged PED use earned him two World Series titles as a member of the New York Yankees.
However, their link to PEDs, correctly or incorrectly, won’t give Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, or Piazza the one thing they really want: respect. Induction into the MLB Hall of Fame guarantees that respect. That’s something I’m sure they would gladly trade their money, fame, or championships for. It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this. However, baseball has enjoyed resurgence (read: profits) within the sport since the steroid era came to light, so it appears to be a sacrifice allegedly worth making for all involved.