I like Ken Rosenthal. Usually, I am in the choir singing along as he tells us his wonderful stories in the church of baseball. Today, I stopped singing and cried out, “WHAT!” To further the metaphor, I made him stop and tell me what the hell was going on. He said it again. I knew I had heard right, but I was hoping, praying that he had misspoken or was making some obscene joke. No, it was true. He voted for Bonds and Clemens for baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Now, as the shock has worn off, I help the nice lady who has fainted back on her feet. Ken explains a message of nonjudgment. That it was a personal struggle to make this choice and a struggle all the way to the mailbox to send in the ballot. A message that the players have been punished enough, that like the “The Scarlet Letter,” the letter “S” is on their records forever and will probably prevent them from ever truly getting into the Hall of Fame. That it was time to stop and let go.
Ken, it was a wonderful article. I know because I read it three times, and you know what else I read was “The Scarlet Letter,” and in end, the “A” no longer meant an adulterer but an angel. Baseball is coming up on a dangerous time. With enough time, people forget the impact this has on the game. It has already happened with Pete Rose. People make their justifications. Do we make some more? Yes, there is no “proof” that anyone did anything.
It’s already happening in the Steroid Era. Bonds is a hitting coach, and McGwire is a bench coach. Without saying a single word, MLB and the teams that hire these guys are saying to young players everywhere it’s OK to break the rules. We will forgive you. If you play good enough, there will be no consequences for your actions.
Ken, I do appreciate where you are coming from. It’s unfair to convict a player of a crime without any evidence. If this were a law case, I would be on your side. But this is not about the law; this is about public perception. The Steroid Era makes it sound like some dark thing in the past, but it is not something in the past. It is a terrible problem NOW. And now it’s a battle, now it’s the Steroid War. In war, it is a constant battle between good and evil, between fair and unfair.
According to Baseball America, there were 6 minor leaguers this MONTH who tested positive for PEDs. More than 30 for the whole year. Ken, you might have conceded a battle, but the war still goes merrily along.