Last week as the Baseball Hall of Fame ballots were being revealed I couldn't help noticing that some writers around the country and, most importantly, on ESPN were taking a decidedly softer stance on allowing PED (Performance Enhancing Drugs, for the non-juiced layman) users into the Hall of Fame than in past years. When referring to known abusers like Bonds and Clemens they would say things like "players who have been linked to steroid use.." and then just lump those two in with players like Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza who have never been found in a growth-hormone clinic ledger by the FBI or had a tainted syringe with their DNA on it associated with them. For anybody who has done even remedial research, Clemens and Bonds are guilty of systematic steroid abuse over a long period of time. Period. Case closed. Bagwell and Piazza are guilty of nothing but Popeye forearms and some back acne. Big difference.
What really jumped out at me is when one reporter on ESPN said, "Lots of people have been calling for reforming the process for how people vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame" Really? I'm a big baseball fan and I don't recall "lots" of people calling for reforming the voting process for the HOF. Certainly not enough to warrant a lead story on Sportscenter with the NFL playoffs in full swing.
Then it hit me: what do powerful people and corporations do when they are found guilty of breaking the rules and therefore have trouble getting what they want? They hire lobbyists to alter the public dialogue and then simply CHANGE THE RULES to their advantage. Powerful people changing the rules is as American as apple pie and a shoddy heath care system. It is the way of the world. Why would the Baseball Hall of Fame be any different than Wall Street or Washington, DC? Or rock n roll for that matter. Remember when Rolling Stone magazine gave Mick Jagger's totally unlistenable solo record "Goddess in the Doorway", FIVE STARS?!? Yeah, nothing fishy there.......
Certainly Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds would have the motivation, the ego and the means to get a couple of known sportswriters in their back pocket to lobby on their behalf. Successful athletes are made of money and not used to taking "No" for an answer. (See: every successful athlete.) $50,000 would go a long way for a sportswriter and, let's be frank, many people who cover sports are jock sniffers of the highest order in the first place. They would be honored to come on board and help out. I mean, congressmen were asking Clemens for his autograph before his ill-fated testimony on Capitol Hill. (Which dumb jock Roger Dodger requested and got as a favor.)
Unlike greasing a politician's palm, I'm pretty sure this would all be legal, if not exactly ethical. Who cares if Barry wires some cash to a sportswriter in Miami, chalks it up to a consulting fee, and said writer then makes a big stink about the injustice of it all: "Oh the humanity, this is a joke. Bonds and Clemons and all the PED guys are getting a raw deal. I'll just give my vote away." Sounds like a well thought-out public relations strategy to me.
I guess we could just let everybody in, steroids be damned, but I just can't see assholes like Bonds and Clemens standing at Cooperstown making an acceptance speech still claiming they never used performance enhancing drugs, thus treating all us fans, fellow players and legit Hall of Famers such as Maddox, Glavine and Thomas like a bunch of f-ing jerks (as they say in "Goodfellas").
And while I'm at it, Buster Olmey complaining that TEN votes aren't enough for him on his ballot is beyond absurd. Prioritize, MOFO. Didn't this nerd ever have to make a mix tape or a playlist? There just isn't room for everybody. If Buster had it his way, seventeen players would all go into the Baseball Hall of Fame this August because that is how many he wanted to vote for on his ballot. Reminds me of the scene in Princess Bride were Prince Humperdink doubles the guards outside the castle. Just silly. The induction ceremonies might look something like this..
OK, Buster, if we are going to change the voting process for the Baseball Hall of Fame I have one minor request: please give Pencilstorm a vote. Here is my ballot, and I don't need ten......
Greg Maddux, Craig Biggo, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines.
Everybody else waits another year, particularly those lying dicks Bonds and Clemens. Though I suppose I could be persuaded to change positions in time for 2015, wink wink, nudge nudge. (This space available…..for a price.)
Colin Gawel owns Colin's Coffee, writes for Pencilstorm, plays in the band Watershed (which you can read all about in the best selling and acclaimed memoir "Hitless Wonder") and is a life long Reds fan. He steals most of his writing style from Bill James but nobody seems to notice.
* In fairness to Mick, while "Goodess in the Doorway" is truly "Dogshit in the Doorway" as fellow Stone Keith Richards once famously quipped, Jagger's previous solo effort "Wandering Spirit" - produced by Rick Rubin - is really possibly the best Stones album since "Some Girls." A clip from each record below.....you be the judge.
Five Star Dogshit..
"Don't Tear Me Up" from the excellent Wandering Spirit.