Clemens: Not Guilty in Court but does that Really Matter
OK, well Clemens has been found not guilty on all charges essentially because the prosecution built the weakest case in creation, with the weakest witnesses in creation.Brian McNamee was caught lying constantly since his story kept changing so Clemens is found not guilty in court.
Public perception will fluctuate over time –we’ve already seen that.
What really bothers me, and it has for some time, is the absolute double-talk by baseball writers about the Hall-worthiness of players who took steroids/PEDS or “allegedly” took them.I’ve mentioned this in other hubs but today Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News wrote a piece about how the baseball writers won’t vote Clemens into the Hall just as they haven’t any other “tainted” player like Rafael Palmeiro or Mark McGwire.
Time to step back Mr. Lupica.
I like you, I generally like your column but this is the height of conflicts-of-interest for ALL baseball writers, but especially someone like you.You see, Mr. Lupica when you write a book about the spectacular season of 1998 when baseball recaptured America’s heart, essentially about the two biggest baseball players of the time, you shouldn’t get a chance to vote.How much money did you make on your book about the exploits of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in your book “Summer of 98”? We all knew in August of 1998 that McGwire was on “Andro” and by all accounts we all knew what it was (check the SI story at this link) and we continued to root for him and Sammy to chase Maris’ record anyway.Yet you still wrote a book and made money on Mr. McGwire and now you are one of the people voting against him getting into the Hall-of-Fame.
And I’m sure you are not alone. ALL baseball writers made a mint writing about the chase in 1998 and Barry Bonds’ utter destruction of that chase a few years later. I wish the Hall-voting practices were different because all of the so-called tainted players were dominating players their entire careers. Every one of them. Guys like Palmeiro, McGwire, Clemens, Bonds, even players under suspicion like Bagwell and Piazza were always great. They didn’t become great. Baseball is a skill sport – there is nothing you can take from a bottle that will make you throw or hit a curveball better if you don’t have the talent in the first place.
If you were agonizing over players who had visible career shifts I would wholeheartedly agree with you but there isn’t anyone – NOT ONE PLAYER – who is on the Hall ballot who had a complete career shift due to the use of Steroids. Nobody. NOT ONE PLAYER. It doesn’t look like steroids helped all that much since, let’s face it, you can become a whole lot stronger and still not be able to hit a curveball, or a 95 mph fastball, or a slider, or a cutter. If we gave weightlifters and football players a bat and put them on a baseball field, you think they could hit the ball? Let’s let the same group of guys pitch and see what happens.
Steroids will make you bigger and stronger, but it won’t make you a better baseball player.
We know this because it never happened.
There are lots of guys named in the Mitchell Report but there isn’t one guy whose career completely changed due to steroid use. Gary Sheffield was a top prospect, so was Jason Giambi. They could hit the ball very well in college and continued as major leaguers. Palmeiro, Bonds and McGwire were raking the ball as rookies, so were Bagwell and Piazza for that matter.
Clemens may have been found not-guilty and the public may have issues trying to figure out how it feels about him and other players of the “Steroid Era”, but you Mr. Lupica and your friends in the Baseball Writers Association who were making a killing off these guys in 1998, should simply abstain from voting next year when all of these players will be eligible for the Hall-of-Fame. You have no business passing judgment on Clemens or anyone from this time period.
For the record, I think they all belong in the Hall-of-Fame. Clemens and Bonds were world class jerks off the field and weren’t well liked but they were awesome baseball players. McGwire and Sosa have insane numbers and how in the world do you not put in a guy with 500 HRs and 3000 Hits (since there aren’t that many of them to begin with). Bagwell and Piazza were the best at their positions for a long time and have the numbers to prove it. Come next year when they are all eligible for the Hall it will be interesting to see who gets in, but look at the numbers people. Even if you believed the steroid hype, you still have to perform, it’s a very skilled sport.
I welcome all feedback since this will be a season long discussion for baseball fans. Next years Hall-ballot is absolutely STACKED....
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