Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hall of Fame, who is to blame?

Greetings from San Francisco, arrived today with the USD Toreros for tomorrow night's game against USF.

Seems fitting I'm in San Francisco, while the news of no players getting into baseball's Hall of Fame comes out.  The spotlight has shown on all of those "suspected PED" users, including Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa.  None of them received more than 38 percent of the vote.  Clemens was the top guy of the group and Sosa was last.  It was the first time since 1996 that nobody was elected, and the eight time its ever happened. 

It's hard to feel badly for these guys.  I thought that early in their careers Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were going to be Hall of Famers, no doubt.  But they allegedly surrendered to temptation, seeing everybody else cashing in with big numbers and big contracts, why shouldn't they?   Nobody was being suspended for something that was never "illegal" in baseball.  Then there's the case of Sammy Sosa.  I covered him with the Chicago Cubs from 1999 until he was traded after the 2004 season.  This was a guy that all of the sudden had become a home run hitter.  He wasn't early in his career.  He was bigger and the ego ballooned along with it.  Steroids weren't his only problem, his attitude and a "me first, team second" philosophy made him a target of his own teammates.  When the Cubs were taking off in 2003 and Sosa was on the DL, he was outraged that he wasn't THE guy.  When he came back, his timing was off, and he resorted to corking his bat.  He was busted when the bat shattered and the wine topper came flying out of the bat.  Sad.  

What a mess this has created.  Many current Hall of Famers have been outspoken about keeping the "cheaters" out of Cooperstown.  Some have expressed shock over the outcome of the voting.  Some BBWA writers were adamant about keeping the "users" off their ballots, some were proud they voted for some of these guys.  Bottom line something is wrong.  Who is to blame?   

Nobody is benefiting from any doubt.  If you played in this era, you are looked at a bit differently.  

You have to start with the steroid era itself.  Baseball in general seemingly turned a blind eye to the problem when Sosa and McGwire were battling it out for home run supremacy in baseball back in 1998.   It was great for the game.  A game that needed something great after canceling the playoffs and world series in 1994 because of the players strike.  Fans were angry.  All seemed right with the game though during the battle and nobody really cared why.   So who do you point the finger at?  MLB?  The players that allegedly used?  The teammates that saw it going on and did nothing?  It's easily shared.  Curt Schilling, who like him or not, actually made some good points today after the voting was announced.  He told ESPN's SportsCenter that it was "fitting" that nobody got in.  He went on to say on ESPN:
“If there was ever a ballot and a year to make a statement about what we didn’t do as players -- which is we didn’t actively push to get the game clean -- this is it,”  “Perception in our world is absolutely reality. Everybody is linked to it,” Schilling said. “You either are a suspected user or you’re somebody who didn’t actively do anything to stop it. You’re one or the other if you were a player in this generation. 
“Unfortunately, I fall into the category of one of the players that didn’t do anything to stop it. As a player rep and a member of the association, we had the ability to do it and we looked the other way, just like the media did, just like the ownership did, just like the fans did. And now this is part of the price that we’re paying.” 
I don't often find myself agreeing with Schilling, but he makes some sense. 

Some are blaming the voting process itself.  Forget the "issues" surrounding some of these guys, but some would like to see a change in the voting process.  There are members of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) who were formerly "beat writers" that haven't covered baseball in a long time, in some cases over 10 years, that still get a vote.  How out of touch are those guys?  Newspapers aren't the only game in town anymore.  Many are not surviving the new age of readily available information on the internet.  The "beat guys" are not confined to just newspaper writers anymore.   Some of these esteemed writers saw fit not to let, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Harmon Killebrew, Jimmie Foxx and Cy Young into the hall on their first ballot.  Seriously? 

I may be biased in this regard, but there are no broadcasters who regularly covered or cover teams, or national network broadcasters that are given a vote.  These are people that traveled with teams, and never missed games.  I would like to see the senior broadcaster from each team, somehow figure into the mix here.   Are you telling me that Vin Scully shouldn't have an opinion that counts in the voting? 
Another question to ponder is what does this mean for next year's class of first timers on the ballot?  Guys like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina and Frank Thomas are on in 2014 and you could certainly make a case that 2 or 3 of them belong in on a first vote.  

But the bottom line is these guys with the steroid label are going to find it tough sledding in the years ahead.  Some have said that with Bonds and Clemens each getting around 37 percent of the vote, after a few years, they may eventually get in.  I say, if they get in, Pete Rose should be there before them.  He finally admitted to gambling on baseball, and has done his time away from the game.  But if the all-time hits leader isn't in, why should those guys be?  

Again, this is just my opinion, and I'd be curious to hear yours.

Chargers New GM:

The Chargers ended their search for a new GM, and I must confess I don't know much about Tom Telesco.  He spent the last 15 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, most recently as the team's Vice President of football operations.  Telesco had a hand in selecting many of the young players that helped the Colts reach the playoffs this season.  

To hear some more from Telesco, check out Darren Smith's Mighty 1090 interview with him from earlier today.  Just click here.   Darren is one of the best interviewers in our business.  

Alright, don't forget that Thursday night at 6:45 on the Mighty 1090, I'll have the call as the USD Toreros face the USF Don's in West Coast Conference basketball.  Join me!

Have a great night!



  1. I agree with you, Andy, especially about Sosa. There is a perfect example of how stats don't tell the whole story. Even without the steroid name blackening, I wouldn't root for Sosa for the Hall. I don't know how many times I saw Sosa in situations where all he needed to do was move the runner and the Cubs had a win. Instead he was up there swinging for the fences, no matter what the game situation. Perry Johnson

  2. I'm of the opinion of accepting the "steroid era" for what it was, a time where everyone turned a blind eye to something that retrospectively was obvious. I don't hold it against the players and don't want to see the game suffer because of some misplaced sense of rightness.

  3. I am of the opinion the player's union can share some of this blame too. Now, I know it is the job of a union to protect its members. However, if a member is doing something illegal, and they stand up for them, what does that say about the union? Some things are bigger than the players, like the integrity of the game. For years there was no drug testing because the union protested. I'm guessing because they knew many of their members (read: superstars) were juicin'. Now, they are seeing the results of that stance. I am totally OK with none of these guys getting in.
    As far as baseball writers go. Some of these guys are idiots. Some of these guys didn't vote for Tony Gwynn or Cal Ripken because they played during the "steriod era". These are the last two guys any reasonable observer of baseball would suspect of PED use. If that's their philosophy, lets just remove them from the voting process all togehter. Their ballots are probably going to come back blank every year. What's the point of even issuing them one?