Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Modest Proposal

There is a lot of hue and cry over the latest steroid revelations, what it means for the game, and what should be done with MLB's record books.  Roy Oswalt wants the numbers wiped out of the book.  David Ortiz wants year-long suspensions for those who are caught.  Chris Young is talking about how steroid cheats are taking money out of his and other clean players' pockets.  The culture of the players appears to be changing.  The years of complicity between the union, the owners and the users is being convieniently ignored or swept under the rug.  Now, like the NFL, Major League Baseball is doing its best to create the appearance of a clean league...and as we all know, the appearance is what counts. 

What remains unanswered is how to address the Steroid Era in general, and in particular as it pertains to the Hall Of Fame eligibility for the game's greatest cheating players.  It's pretty clear at this point what their fates will be...Mark McGwire is the canary in the coal mine.  If he's nowhere close to getting in, you have to assume that Clemens and Bonds are also out, and that means ARod too.  

Really?  The top two homerun hitters in baseball history (when ARod completes his climb up the mountain) are going to be excommunicated from the game's greatest shrine?  That would be a blacker mark for the game than just about anything else imaginable.  And isn't it totally unfair and arbitrary to put a circle with a line through it over the pictures of those who were caught, while letting others who got away with it sail in scot free?  The whole Era was tainted, and no matter how many names emerge from the Steroids Hunt, I guarantee you that well over half of the guilty will never be revealed.  

So, my proposal: a Steroid Era Wing in Cooperstown.  You walk in, and they're all there, all the sluggers of suspicious build, Jose Canseco waving at you from the front door with a needle in his hand.  One wall has the Sudden Jumpers: Brady Anderson as the poster boy, with a list of players who amazingly rose from Punch and Judy status to 50-HR seasons.  Another has the BALCO timeline.  Over here, we can see the It Wasn't Just Hitters display, with Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, Eric Gagne and friends all puffing fastballs past hitters.  And right in the middle, the plaques for Bonds and ARod.  

They should ALL be in, all the cheats whose numbers skewed an entire era of baseball.  Let them live in permanent glory and infamy together.  Instead of trying to pretend like the Steroid Era didn't happen, like it was a few cheats ruining a game that was clean, let's all be honest about what happened, when it happened, and what came out of it.  Only by understanding the Steroid Era can baseball possibly escape it, and by creating a seperate wing at the Hall Of Fame, that understanding can be enshrined in history.  

1 comment:

  1. I'd take it a chemically-aided step further and take the lead of the old SNL "All Drug Oympics" sketch where athletes are not only forgiven for their pharmacuetical transgressions, but are encouraged to dabble in whatever form of body and brain alteration they wish. The only way to make sure all are judged on a level playing field is to allow them to skew that damn field in any creative manner they see fit. Durabolin? Winstrol? Nitroglycerin? Bring it on! Sure, a few overzealous sluggers may pull their arms from their sockets with particularly titanic home run cuts and the occasional pitcher may prolapse his spine with an overly herky-jerky wind-up, but those hiccups-of-nature are a small price to pay for the confidence we'll all have knowing nobody has an unfair advantage.