Any fan of baseball, including writers with votes for the Hall Of Fame, should have been rooting for contemporary inductees in this year’s ballots.
Unfortunately, it did not happen.
For all that baseball has gone through over the past 15 years – the steroids scandals, the overpaid salaries, the empty ballparks late in the season, and the perceived decline in popularity versus football and basketball – it could have benefited greatly by providing a theater for deserving players, ones who will most likely make it in future years anyway.
For now, the message is loud and clear: McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Clemens and Palmeiro don’t get a Hall pass.
But Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza, two impactful players who lasted a very long time, should have made it this year. Tim Raines and Jack Morris are two players from a generation prior that should also have made it.
This is not rocket science. The statistics for these four players are phenomenal. And postseason records, in the case of Morris, should be part of the equation when looking at his career.
Baseball pundits want to debate numbers and stats. Maybe this keeps things about the HOF interesting. The problem is that while they are debating, baseball’s marketing misses the mark. This summer’s ceremony won’t be worth much on the sports calendar of events.
The pundits are holding the HOF hostage to punish the game, but really they are punishing themselves. By pushing the game further away from themselves, they are also pushing it further away from the sporting public.
Baseball’s attraction as a sport will live on, but where it fits in the modern sports panorama keeps slipping. Baseball, and in this case baseball writers, should stop shooting itself in the foot and give itself a break.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com