Saturday, January 10, 2015
BRANDON MCCARTHY TAKES ON PEDs HEAD ON
I like Brandon McCarthy. I knew very little about him until he came to New York. Then, I approved. He was a solid pitcher for the Yankees in 2014, a breath of fresh air and now, I have tremendous respect for him as well. I'm a fan. He helped me get there.
I'm a bigger fan after reading a fantastic piece he wrote in the Players' Tribune. You know, Derek Jeter's site. It's about PEDs. It's about PEDs users and it's about the Hall of Fame. In short, he wants the writers to consider admitting the PEDs players in the Hall of Fame:
"As it stands, the baseball writers are trying to have it both ways: they are acknowledging the existence of the steroid era by leaving obviously deserving candidates out of the Hall, while at the same time slowly giving them more votes as each year passes. To the Hall of Fame voters it may feel like progress, but to me it reeks of denial. This moral grandstanding under the auspices of being linked to steroids raises the concern that over time the buck will be passed to a younger generation of voters who will bear the responsibility of deciding on the Hall-worthiness of the great players from the steroid era.
The question of whether performance enhancing drug (PED) users should be allowed to gain admittance to the Hall of Fame is one that I’ve thought a lot about. Admittedly, it’s a mess. The ramifications extend far and wide, but I believe the answer is to admit those players whose on-field accomplishments merit it and leave history to be the final judge and jury. Ultimately, I believe the greatest injustice would be to leave worthy players—some of whom are objectively among the greatest ever—out of the Hall of Fame, when there very well may be guys already enshrined who have used performance enhancing drugs. Who knows how many PED users are already in the Hall of Fame? And in the future, who knows how many PED users, who managed to stay under the radar, will join them in Cooperstown? The true shame would be knowing that players who got away with using PEDs were voted in, while others connected to PEDs—either by proof, or worse yet, suspicion—continue to be left out and villainized."
Reading what he had to say... you won't believe what I'm about to write next...
Here's my take, and I've had this unusual change of heart lately. I don't know when the change occurred exactly, but as you know, I have always been angry about athletes who are PEDs users. But this year, as the voting for the Hall of Fame came together, I thought about 2 things;
Why can't Don Mattingly get love from the writers? He was a legit hitter and fielder with 14 years in the Bigs and virtually has the same numbers as Kirby Puckett. What went wrong?
The second thing I thought about were guys like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire. Guys who probably started out clean, made history at many points in their careers and over time, no doubt dabbled in PEDs too.
I watched the way the voting played out this year and last, and looked at it closely and watched players who are probably less deserving in their careers get votes. Votes that probably should have been given to those guys above. Not because of their PEDs use and record breaking near the end of their careers, but for what they did throughout their careers. I can't believe I'm saying this, but it almost seemed like an obvious slight. That's because it was. The reality is... those writers, many of which don't deserve to vote in any election, aren't helping baseball at all even though they act like the moral police.
McCarthy said what many won't about Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds and the Hall of Fame. Something maybe not even you would say:
"It’s not going to be comfortable but sometimes things have to be done. These two guys dominated the game in ways we’ve never seen before."
Think about that. Once the writers start the realize that players less worthy shouldn't get in, sooner or later they'll look at guys like Clemens and Bonds. Sooner or later, they'll think about what those guys did on the field. Over time, maybe doing PEDs, to damage themselves isn't a universal thing, it's an individual thing. Sure, records become questionable, but here's a question for ya? When the hell did writers feel obligated to decide what the fans want?
I know, I know... a cheater's a cheater. But did Roger Clemens cheat 1 time or for 10 years? I don't know, do you? How about Barry Bonds? No question these days his head and build are much smaller than when he played. But when did PEDs start for Barry?
Look, I hate the whole thing. PEDs and baseball is icky, especially when you're trying to raise kids and keep them on the straight and narrow. But I realized something reading Brandon McCarthy's piece. Will this continue for years and years, or will a writer break rank and realize that 354 wins is an automatic vote into the Hall of Fame?
After all, John Smoltz had only 213 wins... and he's going to the Hall.
Opinions change, and while I'm hell bent on making my children understand cheating isn't right, I also was taken by what McCarthy had to say. After all, he's a professional baseball player. He's a peer of these guys and he thinks it may be time.
More importantly, and this is an extension of McCarthy. The Players' Tribune are Derek Jeter's pages. This is a man that's never touched the PEDs issue and never did them himself. Suddenly there's a hot topic like performance enhancing drugs and Jeter, the Editor in Chief is deciding to allow a story about allowing PEDs users into the Hall of Fame. I find that fascinating. After all, Jeter's gotta sign off on that, and he did. Sounds like he took back door advice from BYB. Remember when we wrote JETER'S BIGGEST LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE: SIGN AROD ?
So... the question...
Is it time to let PEDs users into the Hall of Fame? Should a writer break rank? What do you think? Comment... let me know. I'd love to hear what you have to say.
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