The Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY.
This is a place normally reserved for who’s who of baseball history, guys like Ruth, Mantle and Dimaggio. It's a place to be revered and a place to pay homage to the great players that made baseball America's past time. Unfortunately, today's top players have done their best to tear down everything that many before them built for more than 100 years.
Now that's not to say that there haven't been scandals in the past. In fact for the longest time, the motto around baseball was, "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin".
From Vaseline to pine tar to corking a bat, each generation has done whatever it took to get a leg up. However, this generation has taken it to a whole new level.
When talking about the greatest players of all time, there is no real answer, simply debate. There are a few modern names that have to be in the conversation. Along with those players I mentioned earlier, you have to put the likes of Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens in the mix. Is Bonds the greatest player of all time? Is A-Rod? Will we ever really know?
The better question and the one that will be asked often and will eventually be answered is: should they be in the Hall of Fame? For me, it's an easy answer. Yes.
Now before you baseball purists freak out, hear me out. The hall of fame is a place where people can go to re-live the history of the game. Whether any of us would like to admit it or not, this is a major era in baseball history.
So here is what I propose, and I'm serious about this. Erect a new wing on the Baseball Hall of Fame, it will be an exhibit of it's own separate from the rest of the building. When you enter through the door, you will see the sign that reads "Steroid Era". This will be a place for all of the players whose numbers say they should be in the Hall, but have the cloud of steroids hanging over their head.
When it comes to who is deemed "guilty or not guilty" that is for people smarter than me to figure out. It could mean that the player would have to fail a drug test, or in the case of guys like Bonds and Clemens, a court of law could decide.
Unfortunately out of sight is out of mind and I don't think baseball fans should be allowed to forget the contributions these players made to the game. If we decide that these players don't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, then my kids kids will never know who these guys were or what they did. By putting them in their own wing of the Hall..they will live forever..as players who may have been good enough..but had to cheat to get there.
Keeping these players out of the Hall of Fame is the easiest solution, but how often is the easiest road the right one?
By inducting these guys into a virtual Hall of Shame their numbers will be recognized, they will be enshrined among the best, but the validity of their accomplishments can be debated for years and years to come. If not, this period in baseball history will simply fade away, and in my opinion that would be the biggest tragedy of all.
Agree or disagree? Your comments are welcome.
Josh Earl – 11 Sports
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