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01/13/2014

The Baseball Hall of Fame's other problem

I was notified today that I am back as a member of the Baseball Writer's Association of America. In only 10 short years, I will be voting on the Baseball Hall of Fame.

76driessenHere who is getting in on Mac's watch: Dan Driessen, Cesar Geronimo, and and a bunch of other guys whose rookie baseball cards I own and need to incease their respective value.

This assumes I am not fired by then. Or devoured by flesh-eating zombies, although a case can be made the undead may be better suited to vote for the BHOF than some of the living members who currently carry that distinction.

Herein lies the problem with voting for the North America's best professional sports Hall of Fame - fewer consider it a distinction any longer, because the player does not put enshirenement above his own bank account.

From the commissioner's office down to the people who cover the sport, the business of baseball has replaced the game of baseball. The money grab element of professional sports is now a necessity, and a virtue.

When the only consequence of PEDs is not being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but minimal affect to your bank account, Cooperstown doesn't stand a chance in such a scenario. 

Pete Rose looks crushed that he is not in the Hall.
Barry Bonds appears not thrilled with it, but the money he made during his career certainly has made getting over the lack of votes he receives a bit easier to handle. He made the trade, and for him he could easily justify acquiring guaranteed eternal wealth over eternal glorification in a museum.

In this interview between 60 Minutes and Biogenesis Country Club founder Tony Bosch, who really brings the fun on Alex Rodriguez, it's more apparent than ever that most of the players respect the money they make from the game than the actual game itself.

The respect of the game actually lived for many decades, but once the money got crazy it changed. Baseball is a game, but Major League Baseball is a business; like any business, whether it's moving stocks, cheese burgers or DVDs, it exists for profit. For the first time since the BHOF opened, it now is dealing with the trillionaire candidates whose careers are marked not just by the suspicion of taking PEDs, but the priority of making a generation's worth of wealth for their families.

This year's HOF voting was marked by the likes of Dan LeBatard selling his vote to Deadspin, and a host of other self-glorifying moves by voters ostensibly as a move of protest, or simply to be recognized.

Side-Front-Baseball-Hall-Of-Fame-MuseumSources familiar with the voting procedure fully expect the look-at-me votes to only grow worse in the future. Also expect some type of re-consideration of those who are allowed to vote. Just don't expect any drastic changes any time soon; this is baseball, where change comes only slightly faster than Congress.

What the Hall is dealing with now is not just the Big League player who took PEDs, but the start of the Big League player who pursued cash above all else up to and including his potential enshirement in Cooperstown.

Twitter @MacEngelProf
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Comments

Michael Goulding

I agree 100% Mac. But what then of the thinking of writers/voters who withhold a candidate to make a personal statement? Craig Biggio not being voted because one writer would only vote for Jack Morris. And is it really accurate that Joe DiMaggio was not a first ballot selection?

Davidmar

How can you have the all-time leaders in hits and all-time home runs excluded from the HOF? How can you exclude an entire generation of players because they played in the steroid era? How is it that there are players/managers/owners currently in the HOF that were documented racists, drug users, and organized crime participants? Pick out most names in the HOF and somewhere you can find a scandal along the way. It's not like MLB hasn't lived with the steroid issue for a long time, but they were tardy in acting on the problem and now they have a big-time mess on their hands. I'd say do what pro football does and let them in based on their accomplishments on the field. I can't stand A-Rod and hope his suspension next year sticks, but there are plenty of his type already in Cooperstown. The precedent has been set. It makes no sense to exclude guys like Pete Rose unless you throw out Ty Cobb, and that isn't going to happen. You can't make the argument that one was any better of a person than the other.

Dan Driessen and Cesar Geronimo in the Hall? Uhhh, right.

Rob Tentoy

At this point, I no longer care what a bunch of overpaid adult athletes do. If they wanna use drugs, who cares?

Just make any player that played after 1997 ineligible for the "classic" Hall of Fame and start a new HoF for the Juice Era.

And stats? Freeze all records at 1997 and the Juicers get their own record books.

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