SAN DIEGO, January 10, 2013 — For the first time since 1960, the Baseball Hall of Fame will not be inducting any living players into Cooperstown this summer.
Apparently, the sins from the past have not tainted the halls of history for baseball. Two of baseballs biggest stars of recent years Barry Bonds (left fielder for the Giants) and Roger Clemens (pitcher for the Yankees) were eligible for the Hall of Fame this year and yet neither one of them received even close to the 75% votes needed to be inducted.
Unless you have been living under a rock you know that these two men as well as Mark McGwire (St.Louis Cardinals) and Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs) have been deemed “dirty” players and are associated with the “Steroids Era” of baseball.
It is important to point out that there is no conclusive proof that either Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens did indeed use steroids. However, in the minds of many fans, they have been convicted, depending on your perspective of rightfully or unjustly.
So how is this good for baseball? First, let me say that I am not a baseball historian, but I am a fan of the romance that is baseball. Baseball is America’s pastime even though football has claimed to be America’s Game.
The history of baseball mirrors our culture like no other, since its inception in the early 1860s with homemade equipment mirroring the pioneering spirit all the way up until yesterday when the gods of baseball shut the door on anyone entering its holiest of places, Cooperstown’s, because the sins of the steroid.
It’s refreshing that an institution that is designed to entertain its fans and, of course, make money, even though apparently looking the other way when these men were breaking records and creating more money for baseball than thought possible, might have a checks and balance system that will not permit or celebrate the erosion of America’s pastime.
To be inducted into the Hall of Fame a player need to receive at least 75% of the votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America. This year 569 ballots were cast. Some people like Berry Tramel of Berry Tramel’s Blog.com believe there are too many voters in his view, creating an inefficient process:
“…Just cut it down like in football where there are only 46 voters…WAY too many voters, 569 in all. Doesn’t matter if you’re voting for Congress or the Heisman Trophy or Neighborhood Association board. The more voters, the less educated the electorate….Any 10-year member of the BBWAA gets a vote.”
I don’t know if Mr. Tramel is wrong in the argument that having 569 votes is inefficient, but maybe that’s the beauty in baseball and democracy and why baseball and not football is America’s pastime.
Baseball does not need a quick fix. It doesn’t need the pomp and circumstance of having a living playing enter the halls of Cooperstown each year to be considered valid. Because baseball — like America — is poetry in motion.
So thank you, baseball, for taking a breath and reminding us that integrity and hard work is the reason we love you.
Walter is a writer for the San Diego Communiy News Paper group, sdnews.com You can view the archive the Ugly News team at http://www.wazillomedia.com/show/a-week-with-the ugly-news-team/11 Also Walter is the a writer director of a new sitcom called CPA Rockstar starring Roni Lee.
Walter Ruskin’s Ugly News Team is on facebook and UglyNewsteam on twitter
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