On Jan. 24 the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame added seven more members to the prestigious club in Cooperstown, NY. Vladamir Guerrero, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Jack Morris, Trevor Hoffman and Alan Trammell were among those who were selected to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
However, it is still a slippery slope for home run king, Barry Bonds, and former New York Yankees ace Roger Clemens, who received far below the 75 percent of the votes needed in order to gain entrance
into the Hall of Fame. As most baseball fans know, Bonds was amidst many allegations of anabolic steroid use after a massive body transformation during his career as the San Francisco Giants Left
He would later be indicted on counts of perjury for lying about his involvement in the Bay-Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) scandal. Bonds was charged on all counts in 2011 but later had them overturned in 2015. Clemens faced the same scrutiny after former relief pitcher Jason Grimsley told
federal agents that Clemens had been using steroids throughout his career.
Statistically both Clemens and Bonds are shoeins to be Hall of Fame inductees however, because of their past involvement with performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) voters have blacklisted them claiming
they cheated. Other great hitters of that time period such as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have also
faced the same fate.
I have struggled with this notion for years. Steroids are illegal in both the United States and Major League Baseball. But should the government decide what we can and cannot put into our body? They sure do not stop us from eating three double cheeseburgers off the dollar menu when we know it will clog our arteries. I look at this argument the same way I view smoking cigarettes or drug use.
These are adult men making money to play a game. Their livelihood revolves around throwing and hitting a ball. If they want to take the risk of liver failure, so they can look like Bruce Banner at the plate, that is their decision and who are we to judge them for it?
According to statistics run by the Washington Post, 24 million adults drink 74 or more alcoholic
drinks a week, when the doctor’s recommendation is one alcoholic beverage a night. Yet, we are not
regulating alcohol consumption, which kills far more people each year than steroid use. As long as they are not harming another person I do not see why this is such a major issue.
As for claims of cheating, people do not realize how many athletes use performance enhancing substances every day. Generally, most supplements you find at General Nutrition Centers (GNC) are considered a PED. If you take certain types of creatine it could be considered using an illegal substance.
In this instance, most minor league baseball players are probably on some sort of illegal supplement. Also, those who do not play baseball do not understand how challenging the game is. Bonds, prior to his use of steroids, was still batting consistently over .300 and averaging 30 homeruns a year.
Steroids do not develop the necessary intangibles for the game of baseball such as hitting approach and swing mechanics. Those are implemented through natural skill, relentless practice and mental preparation. Sure, steroids may have increased the velocity on Clemens’ fastball but it didn’t add anymore break to his off-speed pitches or help him locate a fastball on the outside corner in
a 3-2 count.
We want to point fingers at these men because we want sports to be a clean respectful entity. The
reality is, professional athletics care about two aspects, revenue and winning percentage. I am
not saying that steroid use is ethical but their job is to perform at the highest level they can. Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are all great players deserving of a chance to be in the Hall of Fame.
Were they the greatest human beings? Obviously not, but they let Ty Cobb in the Hall of Fame and he allegedly attacked a handicapped fan. The Steroid era was simply just another experimentation in the game of baseball and these players should not be penalized for what many athletes did during the time period.