If You Want Barry Bonds In The Hall Of Fame, Stop Complaining About The Houston Astros
Last night on ESPN, there was a documentary about how Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chased down Roger Maris and each other to set the single season home run records. During this documentary and the ensuing hours, there was a renewed push and debate about inducting steroid users into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The arguments in favor of their induction remain as flawed today as they did when they were first made.
The first argument is this is a museum which cannot just blot out history completely misses the mark. The Baseball Hall of Fame recognizes these records and events. There is no editing these seasons from their record books. No, all that has happened is it was deemed they did not deserve the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Remember, not inducting someone does not mean failing to recognize a period in baseball history or that it makes the Hall of Fame incomplete. For that, just ask Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and the 1919 Black Sox.
The other argument is Bud Selig, the commissioner who purposefully turned a blind eye, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. What was funny about that is Tony La Russa, who really benefited from steroids with players like Jose Canseco and McGwire, was on the Veteran’s Committee which let Selig into the Hall of Fame.
Make no mistake, Selig’s induction was a complete and utter farce. He doesn’t belong there, but then again, for completely different reasons, neither does Harold Baines, who was also inducted by the Veteran’s Committee. Are we now going to argue since Baines was inducted anyone with a 38.7 WAR or better should be in the Hall of Fame?
No, of course not. With Baines, people are willing to admit it was a mistake which should not be repeated. For some reason, people can’t separate that out in their furtherance of their arguments for steroid users.
The other argument brings us to Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Specifically, people try to find a point of demarcation to say when they did and did not start using PEDs, and they then try to say they should or should not be inducted into the Hall of Fame based upon that. Of course, with Rose, the Hall of Fame doesn’t try to parse out when you did or did not cheat because that’s just an absurd exercise to try to push an agenda forward.
Looking at Bonds and Clemens, you do wonder if these same arguments will be rekindled with Carlos Beltran and Justin Verlander, who before the Houston Astros cheating scandal were surefire Hall of Famers. On that note, you do wonder how the same people who vociferously argue for Bonds’ Hall of Fame induction could be so up in arms about the Astros cheating scandal.
If you want Bonds inducted into the Hall of Fame, you are admitting you have no problem whatsoever to ill gotten gains. That is well within your right. You are entitled to try to make arguments in favor of Bonds’ induction including but not limited to the classic arguments of everyone in that era was doing it (overstated), and that even players like Hank Aaron used PEDs (greenies) to achieve their results.
However, if you are going to make that argument, there should not be any arguments made in protest of the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal. None.
Sign stealing is as old a problem in baseball as PEDs. Likely, it has been around much longer. When we go back to Bobby Thompson and the Shot Heard Round the World, the Giants were using their own sophisticated sign stealing operation using the scoreboard lights to indicate to the batter which pitch was coming. In many ways, this is really no different than what the Houston Astros did by banging trash cans.
Another note here is we are learning the Astros were not the only ones stealing signs. In 2017, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were fined for using bullpen phones and smart watches in their own sign stealing efforts. We’d find out when Alex Cora went to the Red Sox, the team took their existing program to the next level. There have been more rumors about the sign stealing process being far more reaching than just these three teams.
Really, when you break it down the Astros sign stealing it is no different than Bonds’ steroid use. The Astros did what others were doing at a higher level to win a World Series. Bonds did what everyone else was doing at a higher level to break the home run record.
If you want one rewarded for his efforts by inducting him into the Baseball Hall of Fame, it is hypocritical to take any issue with what the Astros did. Either you think cheating should be rewarded, or you don’t. If you want Bonds inducted, you don’t have an issue with cheating at all.