Nightengale’s Hanging Chad On Steroid Era
USA Today's Bob Nightengale has a ballot for the MLB Hall of Fame, and he thinks it's time to end the hypocrisy that surrounds the steroid era. But he sounds more like a guy too lazy to do the job expected of him. He says that none of his peers in the sportswriters business can tell for sure who on the ballot may or may not have cheated, so let's not consider steroid use at all.
Let's vote based only on their output on the field. Sounds like a plan at first glance. But, wait a minute. He's a sportswriter, presumably qualified with enough knowledge of the game to cast ballots deciding the best, most legitimate players of all time. So do some research, lazybones. He's taking the easy way out, just like the steroid users.
Take a little pride in your role in the sport you've covered as an adult, and loved since you were a kid. It's attitudes like Nightengale's, and the cheaters who juiced, that are killing the game we love. Shortcuts. The extra work it takes to discern the cheaters from the deserving is what the responsibility of having a ballot is all about. He is casting aside his responsibility, and suggesting other writers do the same, and for the public to accept it, because it's less complicated that way.
For him to suggest that because there might be some undetected use, and some innocents penalized, balloted writers should just disregard potential steroid use and go simply by their stats, or play, ignores the important connection between the possible election to the Hall, and the work it takes to get there.
And it fails to uphold any kind of reverence in attaining the goal of the Hall if the gatekeepers themselves are too tired, bored or fed up to hold these players to the highest standards. Will some get in who may not deserve it? Perhaps. Might you still keep out some players deserving? Yep. Same as it ever was. It's the terms you agreed to when you accepted the ballot.