The commentary by Phil Sheridan (Jan. 10: “Hall of Fame voters don’t grasp reality”) about the Hall of Fame voting is as sad as the state of baseball’s integrity. I really don’t know what he is trying to say except that (Barry) Bonds and (Roger) Clemens should be in the hall in spite of their “questionable” usage of steroids. Sheridan is saying that since all steroid users have not been detected that those who got caught shouldn’t be penalized. What a ridiculous statement.
I applaud the Hall of Fame voters for finally making a statement that steroid usage will not be tolerated. As with gay rights, marijuana usage and other controversial issues, a stand has to start somewhere. Right now statistics in baseball, the measure of ballplayer’s value and greatness, are meaningless because stronger steps need to be taken.
Commissioner (Bud) Selig, who has buried his head in the sand except where it makes money for the owners, needs to ban players’ records when linked to steroid usage. Clemens’ nine Cy Young trophies should be taken away like Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France victories. Bonds’ MVP trophies (and) home run records should be stricken from the books; same with (Sammy) Sosa, (Mark) McGwire, Alex Rodriguez and the rest of the cheaters. (Roger Maris’) sixty-one home runs should be the record to shoot for (in a single season), as (well as Hank) Aaron’s career total (755).
How to stop the cheating? Well, adopt the Olympic testing program. How about putting in all player contracts that if they are caught using steroids that all monies they have received be repaid with one-third going back to their employer; one-third used to reduce the cost of tickets (the fans should be entitled to something); and one-third to charities. If you want to take things further, players not only take drug tests throughout the year but lie detector exams. Finally, any player caught cheating should be banned for life, no exceptions.
Ignoring or condoning the wrongs that have been perpetrated is just pushing the problem under the rug. Eventually you will have to “clean it up again.”
As a final gesture before Selig leaves office he should use his considerable powers and influence and clean up baseball now.