The Baseball Writers Association Of America held a meeting yesterday and voted not to form a committee to study the candidacy of suspected users of steroids. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney opines, “my own standard for Hall of Fame voting is based on the presumption that PED use was much more widespread than we will ever know, and that the playing field, among the game’s elite, was mostly equal.” Newsday’s Ken Davidoff voted along with the majority at yesterday’s discussion and taking a similarly rational approach to that of Olney, writes “as voters, we need to take the emotion out of the decision. To treat illegal PEDs with the same intellectual approach as any other matter pertinent to a player’s candidacy.”
Why would we as a group discuss guidelines for illegal PED use – rather than have every voter make that value judgment on his or her own – when we don’t discuss guidelines for closers, or designated hitter, or the merits of on-base percentage versus RBIs?
It is this space’s opinion that, thanks to imperfect folks such as Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, we have a new relationship with our professional athletes. There is less mythologizing, less deifying and – on the other side of the equation – less hating and demonizing.
As proof, we need to look no further than the case of Manny Ramirez. He broke the rules, he served his time and, upon his return:
1. He received huge love in Albuquerque, home of the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate.
2. A flood of Dodgers fans drove down I-5 to San Diego to welcome Manny back to the big leagues.
3. In New York, Manny garnered some impassioned “Oh, I suppose it’s proper to boo him here, right? Now let’s get a Shack Burger” boos.
The only people who looked foolish through this trail were the high-and-mighty types who publicly complained about the lack of vitriol. As if Manny had done something truly horrible, as opposed to simply breaking a rule.