Thursday, September 6, 2012

Clemens, PEDs, and the Hall

With all of the Roger Clemens drama going about, I have to say, at this point I just don’t care anymore. It does have me thinking a bit though. Clemens who, was great throughout his whole career, statistically probably deserved 2 or 3 more Cy Young awards than he received, but at the end of the day, isn’t all of the PED scandal “Barry Bonds did X”, “Clemens did Y”, crap just old news now? I can understand there’s some talk that Clemens is considering trying to dodge the Hall of Fame ballot for 5 more years, but who would really fall for that? Maybe I’m giving the writers association too much credit, but if they think he’s a PED cheat, and shouldn’t get in now, who’s going to up and change their mind in 5 years?

I mean, maybe it will come out that literally EVERY good player from 1989 to 2006 were juicing, and as such there was no actual competitive edge, but lets not kid ourselves into thinking that news will come out any time soon. Lets be serious for a moment though, Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Gary Sheffield, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Jose Canseco, Jose Guillen, Paul Byrd, Jason Giambi, and though he’s probably the only one I believe without any reservations, Andy Pettitte are all steroid or HGH users at points in their careers, all implicated in the Mitchell Report, and that’s okay. Really it made for an entertaining, if somewhat sullied period in baseball, and one day it will be a part of baseball history that we all look back on later in life for better or for worse. The triumphs of the clean greats through this time frame are made all the bigger by the realization that they were pitching against homerun hitting machines, players who made their careers largely, if not solely, on their ability to put the baseball in the stands. Batters as well, the truly gifted hitters of this generation are still great, and arguably stand out all the more for being able to do it clean, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, etc. are virtual Hall of Fame locks, and it’s made all the more impressive by the fact that some of the pitchers they were facing were taking performance enhancing drugs.

The whole HoF argument is the real kicker isn’t it? Who gets in, who doesn’t? Does a steroid cheat deserve to get in? I’m sure there’s a compromise to be had here, possibly announcing that anyone who gets in who has been implicated in steroid use will have that fact appended to their plaque? The Bonds and Clemens of the world can get in just fine, but they will be wearing caps with a big asterisk rather than a team’s logo, a reminder going forward that “They were great, so great in fact that we can’t absolutely justify denying them this honor, but we’ll always have to wonder if they could have done it on their own.”

Alternatively, we could as an entire community of fans say that if you get caught, you’re not getting in, period, end of discussion. You could strike out 600 batters over 240 innings, pitch to a 0.50 ERA for the season, win 28 games, and walk all of 3 batters for the season, but if at any point in your career you are found to have used PEDs, hit the bricks kid, there’s nothing at the end for you.

I’m not particularly sympathetic to the steroid users, I just don’t care anymore. I don’t know how long Clemens used steroids for, he could have used ‘roids from the second he was drafted to the second he retired officially after 2007, he could have taken steroids once in 2000 with the Yanks, maybe the day before he threw half of a broken bat at Mike Piazza? There’s no definitive way to tell, and that’s probably the trickiest part of it all.

Roid Rage, or just kind of a jerk?
With the Hall of Fame ballot looming for some of these guys, do we let the ‘roid users in and justify it as “part of the game’s history”, or do we say to hell with ‘em all, is there some non-boolean way to resolve this? It’s hard to say really.

1 comment:

  1. In my mind, I absolutely let these guys in. But, add to their plaques that they may have used steroids. I'd imagine Bonds plaque would read:
    "Despite the fact that he used steroids, he was one of the most dangerous left handed hitters of all time. Hit 763 HR, including 73 in 2001. Etc"

    Mac's and Clemens' plaques would be similar.