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Clemens: Not Guilty in Court but does that Really Matter

Updated on June 19, 2012

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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    • dblyn profile image

      dblyn 5 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      No problem. People seem to forget that baseball (even hockey), isn't like other sports. Being stronger is meaningless without the proper skills to play the sport. Steroids won't change anyone's hand-eye coordination or help them recognize a strike from a ball or even increse the speed on a fastball. If a shoulder isn't built to be a strong arm for throwing a baseball nothing about steroids will change your shoulder or elbow or your wrist for that matter. All of these guys belong in, warts and all.

    • Eric L. Andrews profile image

      Eric L. Andrews 5 years ago from Midwestern United States

      Nice hub and well said. I had this discussion, regarding the hypocricy of baseball writers and those who run MLB, and the steroid era, with my son yesterday. When I was growing up during the 70's, the players took amphetemines like candy to keep their 'edge' and provide energy. It all came out in Jim Bouton's Ball Four book. During the late 1990's, baseball needed an attendance boost after the strike of 1994, which wiped out the playoffs and World Series. The commissioner's office knew about the 'roids. They wanted butts in the seats and television interest. Home runs, and pitchers throwing 100 mph got them to those objectives. Bonds, Palmeiro, Clemens, Sosa, etc. should be in the Hall. Thanks for the insight.

    • pmanpartyman profile image

      Matt Pardy 5 years ago from Rhode Island

      I agree with you that even players who took steroids should be voted into the hall because of numbers alone. It doesn't matter what type of person they are, the Hall is to recognize great players who took baseball to a new level. The problem people have with the steroids is not that you just give them to anyone and it makes them a star player, but when you already have a star player with the skill to hit curveball or a slider and they're taking steroids, it gives them the extra edge and could probably constitute for an extra 10-20 Home Runs each season for a power hitter. You can see it more so nowadays because the best power hitters barely hit over 40 Home Runs, never mind 60 or 70 we were seeing with Bonds and Sosa.