Hall Of Infamous

There are moments when Tyler Kepner of the New York Times drives me a little crazy. Maybe my reactions in the past resembled those we witnessed last week in Yankee fans as they went foaming mad over Eric Ortiz’s theoretical proposition of the 2011 Red Sox outdoing the 1927 Yankees. Not that I didn’t agree with the responses, especially with Jane Heller who smartly(as always) asked how any team could possibly run with those Yankees when baseball has changed so much and the competition is vastly more proportional in the 21st century.What I find most interesting is the implication by other tirades that no one dare tread on the sacred ground of Yankee history. Thou will be struck down, my son, by a wrathful god.

I digress, but tell me where is the the sense of history in that organization when the plaque for a controversial owner is several times the size of the cherished greats. I mean that word in all sincerity. Cherished. Ruth and Gehrig were awe inspiring players. I say give them monuments the size of the jumbo screen at the new stadium.

Back on track: my votes, if I had them, on the HOF ballot would look like this

Blyleven and Alamor, sure.
Larkin
Bagwell
McGwire

amd_mcgwire.jpg                                                                                     Algee/AP Photo

This brings me back to Tyler Kepner’s article in the TImes yesterday, “Suspicions Shouldn’t Shut Door to Hall” in which he supports Bagwell. But I think Tyler goes a good step further with an argument that felt like reading a short story in which the events of the protagonist’s life are eerily similar to one’s own.

“Testing for steroids, with penalties, did not begin until 2004. A lot of pitchers used them, and so did a lot of hitters. We have to accept that steroids are a part of baseball history, the way we accept the statistics from the segregation era, when players never competed against African-Americans. Of course, not all players in the recent past were steroid users. But the common ground for all players is the fact that their workplace did not test.” For future ballots, that means I will vote for Palmiero, Alex Rodriguez, and Manny Ramirez.

This beautiful game, a child’s game played beautifully by men, is still just that, a game. When I visit the Hall of Fame I see its gleaming surface and its glaring underbelly. But if it isn’t still a game, then throw me under the express bus on Route 88 on the way to Cooperstown.

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