Baseball fans never forget their first time. Expectations are always high before you get there, but when you do, it is completely overwhelming. You canâ€™t help but get emotional about it. Jerseys strewn all over the place; thereâ€™s never enough time to see and do everything. Day after day, you long to go back…
Yes, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York is one of the greatest places on earth. So why does the subject of its membership seem to bring out only the worst in people?
Year after year, our community struggles with the same arguments: how can we reconcile the perceived strength of â€śpitching like a bulldogâ€ť against simple mathematical equations insisting quite the opposite? How do we judge â€ścharacterâ€ť or â€śintegrityâ€ť against a voting precedent that suggests many of the Hallâ€™s current membership possesses anything but? The truth is: we canâ€™t. And because many baseball writers are a lazy, prideful bunch, weâ€™ll continue hearing the same inane arguments year after year. And year after year, weâ€™ll find ourselves loathing the process more and more.
Major League Baseball (MLB) is entitled to dodge addressing PED abuse and its effect on the game. The museumâ€™s board of directors (yes, letâ€™s not forget — weâ€™re arguing over a museum here) may continue quoting their supposedly prescient bylaws when faced with requests for guidance or clarification. Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) are free to completely disregard these bylaws and remain proudly indignant while promoting their own personal agendas. Baseball fans donâ€™t care anymore; weâ€™re over it.
The best thing fans can do is ignore the entire voting and election process. If MLB is content to passively allow the BBWAA to make a mockery of its history, then fine. If the Hall of Fame is too afraid of ruffling any feathers, so be it. If the BBWAA wants to retain some sort of dictatorship over the entire process, weâ€™re cool with that, too.
These days, most educated (read: â€śenthusiastic,â€ť â€śmoney-spendingâ€ť) baseball fans are armed with the tools to conduct their own analysis and develop their own conclusions about how to properly evaluate players against their modern and historical peers. I donâ€™t give a crap if some hack shovels me some bullshit about how great a pitcher Jack Morris was in the postseason. I know for a fact he wasnâ€™t. The curtain is pulled back: faulty reasoning and revisionist history no longer have a place in this game.
Revered â€śbaseball puristsâ€ť have begun looking back on the â€śSteroid Eraâ€ť with great disdain. Fans who grew up loving Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, and Jeff Bagwell are now being told that period of baseball should not exist anymore because their moral sensibilities were offended. Thus, 1995-2003 didnâ€™t happen. Feel sorry for those people; for they are miserable and sad.
The Steroid Era was a phenomenal time in baseball. For someone who has watched baseball religiously for over 20 years, I can honestly say the 1998 and 2001 campaigns were two of the greatest seasons in baseball history. What took place during those two years will most likely never happen again in our lifetimes. They also occurred during a time when PED usage was rampant throughout the game. But does that mean we should forget about those seasons entirely?
You know what? I donâ€™t want an answer to that. I donâ€™t need MLB, the BBWAA, or the Hall of Fame telling me how to feel about the game I love or the players I have enjoyed watching for nearly two decades. And frankly, I donâ€™t care what they think. Neither should you.
For once, playing the waiting game has worked out for the Washington Nationals. Adam LaRoche is back in the fold with a very reasonable two-year dealÂ that includes a mutual option in 2015. The good news for the Nats is that LaRoche’s signing means the return of last year’s offensive MVP; a team leader who contributes middle of the order power and excellent defense at first base. The downside is that this is likely the end for “The Beast,” also known as Micheal Morse. Morse came out of nowhere in 2010 in limited duty, surprising the Nats with power (15 HR) and patience (.352 OBP). Morse followed this up with a career year in 2011, finally fulfilling the promise he showed when he was a White Sox farmhand back in 2000. Unfortunately, Morse’s injury in early 2012, coupled with the resurgence of LaRoche and the trade for Denard Span earlier this winter, makes him expendable. In a perfect world, the Nats would find a place for the defensively-challenged Morse, who can still hit (when healthy) and is relatively affordable at about $7M in 2013. Alas, given his salary and the market shortage of power bats, it is unlikely we’ll be seeing Beast Mode during “Take on Me” this summer. That alone is enough to make us frown.