Tomorrow, the results of the Hall of Fame election will be announced. I have this plea to essentially 96% of the people with voting rights:
Either vote Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in to the Hall of Fame or leave them off the ballot.
If 96% can come to an agreement then this will all be over. If they all vote yes, then they will be in. If 96% say “no”, then they will fall off the ballot.
And at this point, I am content with either result.
The thing that I dread is 13 more Januarys hearing the same debate. After this year, Bonds and Clemens have 13 more years of eligibility on the ballot. And the debate won’t go away.
Defenders will point to their elite numbers and the fact that before their bodies expanded, they already had a resume worthy of the Hall.
Detractors will stand pat that their greatest achievements happened when they were clearly on PEDs and electing them in would be rewarding cheaters.
Defenders will go on and on about how we don’t know what steroids really do and how it really affects the numbers.
Detractors point out that the entire era has an asterisk.
Lather… rinse… repeat.
It is like that awkward conversation that will inevitably come up in an extended family gathering. Everything is going nicely and suddenly some twit has to say “So, how about that Obama?” And you KNOW it won’t end well nor will it be resolved.
But political discussions change. Hell, Presidents can’t be in office more than 8 years.
The Bonds and Clemens Hall of Fame debate could potentially stretch for 3 more Presidential terms with NONE of the stats or facts changing.
Let’s put that in context with awkward political topics.
Imagine having the same argument over and over again from the time of Dangling Chads in Florida to September 11, to invading Iraq to the Swift Boaters to Katrina to Scooter Libby to the housing and banking crisis to Sarah Palin’s nomination through the beginning of the Tea Party and the birthers.
That’s a long time. And in THOSE discussions, the players in the drama and the facts debated change.
Not here. Bonds and Clemens have stats frozen forever in time. The pros and cons will never change. And we could have 13 more years of this?
No way. Time for constructive collusion. Time to get everyone together and say “either we put them in or we don’t but let’s solve this now.”
This isn’t an issue like Bert Blyleven where serious statistical analysis forced people (including myself) to reevaluate his Hall of Fame credentials.
Nor is this a candidacy like Jim Rice or Bruce Sutter where sentiment could win the day.
The numbers are there. The PEDs are there. The debate is stagnant yet could last 13 more years.
My sons are 8 years old. They will legally be able to drink when Bonds and Clemens are on the ballot for the last time.
And they may NEED a drink if they have to spend from 3rd grade until their Junior year of college listening to their dad talk about these two players who retired when they were 2 years old.
Make up your mind. I do this with my kids all the time when I hear them at an impasse. I say “You have one minute to work this out.”
So Hall of Fame voters, if they are on 75% of the ballots they are in. If they are left off 96% they are off.
96% of you come to a consensus and this will be over. And no matter what the result is, there will be a sense of finality.
And perhaps there will be a new topic of conversation.
But imagine someone still talking passionately about dangling chads now. That’s what it will be like. THAT’S what we can avoid.