09 January, 2007

A Travesty Is About To Happen

In just a few hours the baseball world will announce the names of those who will be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer. Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripkin, Jr. will most certainly go in on their first ballot, and rightfully so. However, Mark "Big Mac" McGwire will most likely not be joining them. 18 months ago he was a shoo in to be elected in on the first ballot. Then came that fateful day when Congress convened a Kangaroo Court and McGwire refused to admit he used steroid when he played the game. I for one do not blame him. Did he? Probably so. But we must remember that they were not a banned substance when he played the game. Baseball did not begin testing for them until 2002; which happens to be the year after the man retired from the game. A man should not be held responsible and charged with doing something that was not against the rules at the time he played. If you want to apply the standard of justice that is being used to condemn this man to the entire sport, then we have got to go back into the Hall of Fame and remove a host of other players. In the early days of the game of baseball, it was not illegal to apply a foreign substance to the baseball. Today it is. So, shall we go back and decide that those who threw spitballs and grease balls must be removed? Of course not. It was the standard of their day. There were guys who we know did things to doctor their bats years ago. This is why rules were established, but those that did so prior to those rules are not penalized for their tactics. It is just as wrong to deny Big Mac his rightful place of honor in the Hall, and he deserves to be put there on the first ballot. But we have a group of baseball writers who never had the talent nor ability to play the game but somehow think they have the right to be judge and jury over this man (and others).

He most likely will not make it in today, which is a terrible shame, but Mark McGwire deserves to be there and in my book he is. How quickly we forget the thrill of watching him hit balls like no one ever did before and at a pace no one ever did before or since. How quick we are to forget the summer of 1998 when Big Mac, along with Sammy Sosa took a sport that was ready to be buried in the eyes of the public after the labor strikes, and they place the game back in the spot light, not only of a nation, but the world. National and International news carried daily videos of the great home run chase. Those two men literally saved the game of baseball. And how do we thank them? By taking cheap shots and pushing them into obscurity. Neither of these great players are even allowed the spotlight and fame that they deserve. It is a shame.
But what we see happening to Mark McGwire is a shadow of what has happened in our legal system here in America today. No longer are you innocent until proven guilty. You are judged before the trial ever begins.

A nation of sports writers may have forgotten Mark, but I haven't. You were great. You deserve to be there, and I am certain that in a year or two you will make it, but I apologize for the moronic manner in which these men cast their ballots.

Thank you. Not only for 1998, but for a career that was just incredible. This fan appreciates you very much.

1 comment:

Reish said...

If the "voters" keep Mac out of the Hall of Fame using whatever critera they are currently using; then they should use the same regulations when Bonds is up for the Hall of Fame and keep him out too. The Hall is for GREAT players and will never be complete until Rose is in there and several others.