I've been to baseball's Hall of Fame twice. The most recent visit was just last summer, and it was great to be there with the family. To show them all of the great memorabilia and history and the tributes to the legends of the game.
I'm glad I didn't waste my time during that visit being as conflicted about the Hall as I am today.
I love baseball and love how picky the Hall of Fame has been about who gets in. Football lets a few too many players in. It's not the "Hall of really good" or the "Hall of had some great seasons". This is the Hall of Fame.
So when I look at names like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds and Jeff Bagwell, I think they belong because of what they did on the field.
But then I realize the era these guys played. Steroids were rampant and so many players have been linked the using performance enhancing drugs. And the Hall of Fame is about more than just stats. The rules of voting state, "Voting shall be based on the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."
I hear that and I'm on the curb with a sign. KEEP THESE GUYS OUT! Guys with great stats like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro.
But then I remember who's already in the Hall of Fame. Some guys who weren't exactly model citizens. Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth lead the list, and they're two of the best in the game.
What's the difference between Cobb and Ruth compared to Palmeiro and Bonds? Look at the stats and tell me there's that big of a difference.
Now look at what they did off the field and tell me there's that big of a difference.
The big difference is today's society. The media, the paparazzi, and the internet. Nothing is small these days. Everything's blown out of proportion. Back in the days of Cobb and Ruth, you needed a megaphone to make sure somebody heard you. They had silent movies and they had silent trouble.
People didn't know the trouble those guys got into. You do today, even if they're just linked to the trouble.
In America, it's "Innocent until proven Guilty."
In baseball, it's "Guilty until proven Innocent."
I want the Hall of Fame to be only the elite. To have high standards and be tough to get in. But I also want the players that deserve it to get their due.
And that may never happen, thanks to the Steroid Era of Baseball.