The Bleacher Report released a blog, by Anthony Witrado, predicting the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame snubs. Who will be on the outside, looking in this year? Former Red Sox starting pitcher Roger Clemens is perceived as a lock for at least this year.
While discussing the Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens issues, Witrado made it pretty clear that neither man has a shot. “We are nowhere near either of these players being elected—Bonds received 34.7 percent and Clemens got 35.4 in 2014—so predicting when it might happen is pointless. It won’t be in 2015, and that is what we are concerned with for now” (Witrado).
Even if you are not a baseball fan, you would have had to live in a cave not to hear at least something in the last decade concerning these two men and performance-enhancing drugs. Without rehashing the scandals too much, let us put it this way: even though Bonds broke the career home run record, set by Hank Aaron, all you need to do is walk into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. You will see Aaron has an entire room devoted to his achievement, while sitting on a small table, covered with a bubble of glass, you will see the helmet and scorecard of Barry Bonds to mark his impact on the game. A more clear asterisk was never made better. For Clemens, nicknamed ‘Rocket Roger’ in his days with the Red Sox, his retirement in 2007, after 24 seasons in Major League Baseball at top-ace caliber numbers should have guaranteed him a place in the hall. Clearly, there is more to baseball than numbers to everyone else who love the game.
Clemens may need to wait even longer, if some of the committee members have it their way. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), a separate entity changed the election rules in 2014:
"“Going forward, the maximum years of consideration for a player who meets that criteria is now 10 years. Candidates would then move to the Era Committee system for review in perpetuity.” – BaseballHall.org"
It is now easier for the committee to exclude a player from the hall forever, as they only need to wait it out from the media for 10 years. The BBWAA could simply make a point of postponing Clemens’ catharsis until a decade later, just to add suspense to the embarrassment. Yet, even if his case is reviewed, there is no guarantee of an overturn, considering that there would have to be a comparison to other players still waiting to get in. The numbers would have nothing to do with that comparison, making it a strict question of morals.
Disclosure will also be paramount. Members of the committee will have to follow a code of conduct and sign a registration to be able to vote from now on, and “the names of those BBWAA members casting Hall of Fame ballots will now be made public with the election results; however, an individual’s ballot will not be revealed by the Hall of Fame” (BaseballHall.org). The media will be able to publicly question and assess each voter’s decisions, even if the ballot itself is not disclosed. By a process of elimination, or trust, anyone voting Clemens into the hall will eventually be discovered. Who will be the voters wishing to be known as the ones responsible for allowing players with PEDs into baseball heaven?
Morally, should we judge people who used drugs to maintain their way of life, or enhanced it (no pun intened)? Would we not do anything we could to keep our families happy and our dreams alive? We should pause from this line of questioning, as we should also remember one thing: players taking PEDs, when they were outlawed, took a job away from a man who played clean. In Clemens’ case, he hung around for years after they were banned, which likely took multiple spots away from other pitchers, who did not need PEDs to play. Clemens took a spot that included money that was to be distributed to other players and their families; instead, it went into the wallet of a man who likely cheated to get it.
Some people would say that the world is a cruel place and one must corrupt himself to survive it. Without denying that logic, instead, ask why Clemens then feels the need to be in the Hall of Fame. If money and success are everything, and moral codes mean nothing, then why does he need the recognition of others? He got his money, his time on the mound, and the applause of millions for over two decades. That is not enough?; he needs our love, too? Clemens should forget the pat on the head from the BBWAA, a group of people he clearly did not care about when he played. A good thief can get away from the law, but a great thief can live with his actions. Otherwise, he just looks sloppy.
** If you want more details about the BBWAA, go to www.bbwaa.com