It’s Hall of Fame Weekend for baseball, and no players are being inducted. At least none that are alive! But that’s okay, because the writers were proud enough to elect one of their own in.
After the latest PED news with Ryan Braun last week, there was much hand-wringing among baseball writers, those who have decided they should be protecting the game with their outrage and general accusations, this after they ignored the PED problem from 1988-2003. I wrote this letter and sent it in to the Boston Globe, and as it was never published, I’m sharing it here:
Dan Shaughnessy in his latest column (July 24), like many other baseball writers, seems to perform his best Captain Renault routine when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs in baseball: Shocked – shocked! – to find cheating in the establishment.
Yes, we should criticize and blame owners and players for creating a culture of cheating in baseball. But baseball writers, like Shaughnessy, were present in the team clubhouse from 1988 to 2003, and had access to the players that fans never had. The writers’ jobs were to cover the game, and they were either naïve, willfully ignorant, or purposely failed to fully do their jobs.
Shaughnessy advocated a lifetime suspension for Ryan Braun. Further, he refuses to cast a Hall of Fame vote for any player even suspected of cheating. So players get their punishment. But what about Shaughnessy, who betrayed the fans and the sport by failing to do his job? Should he lose the right to vote for the HOF by failing to fully cover baseball from 1988 to 2003?
If Shaughnessy wants to act like a fan and share in our current outrage, he should take responsibility – and his punishment - for when he helped contribute to the PED culture.
On a follow-up note, I tried contacting a number of writers and asked them a simple (but admittedly loaded) question:
So far, the only one to respond was Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, who responded that they should have the right but should not be allowed to keep their votes private. Still waiting to hear from a member of the BBWAA, though…