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Sports commentary: Leave it to the reporters

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MLB dumps its problems at sports writers feet

By Mike Forster

  There's a simple reason I'm not a betting man:  I'm no good at it.

Still, I was willing to bet good money on the outcome of the recent Baseball Hall of Fame voting.  I was certain both Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds would be selected for induction into the august body of baseballers.

I was wrong.  My thinking went along these lines:  If what they did had been egregious enough, MLB would have banned them from the game.  That's what happened to Pete Rose for his gambling transgressions.

In spite of a mountain of evidence, charges and (in Bonds' case) a conviction, professional baseball has done nothing to distance itself from the two men.

Those two men just happen to have had some of the most impressive careers in the history of the game.

Rose has not been eligible for induction into the Hall because of his banishment from baseball.

Bonds and Clemens remain eligible.  In essence, what the MLB was telling the voters is:  Any punishment for bad behavior in the Steroids Era can be meted out by you.

The voters, by the way, are members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). 

Baseball writers are also the folk who led the way in pulling back the tawdry curtain back on what became the Steroids Era of baseball.

To do so took a lot of hard digging and good reporting by these writers.  After diligently performing their jobs and shaming MLB into admitting there was a problem, the writers got to see exactly zero players banished from baseball.

Major League Baseball had an obligation to nip the Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) issue when it first arose.  It failed to do so.

The league also had a responsibility to weed out the miscreants, once it became blatantly obvious how much of a problem was on its hands.  Alas, MLB failed there, as well.

It was the journalists who led the way.

Now these same journalists are being told by Major League Baseball, in essence, "Thanks for your work.  Now you can vote for Hall of Fame enshrinement for some of the biggest violators of the Steroid Era."

These journalists now how to spell the word "scorned."

Here's how the voting went this year.

Craig Biggio, who was untainted by any accusation of using PEDs, topped the list.  He has legitimate HOF numbers.  He was marked on 68.2% of the ballots (75% is needed).

Roger Clemens, who is in the top-ten all time in wins and strikeouts, received 37.6%

Barry Bonds, who holds MLB's single season and career records for home runs, got 36.2%.

There's a theory that selectors omitted anyone from the Steroids Era, dirty or not.  I take issue with those voters who left Biggio off their ballots in order to "teach them all a lesson."  

The thinking there goes along the lines of, "Well, these guys may not have been tainted by the performance enhancing drug scandal, but they did nothing to stop it."

These voters have been put in a lousy position.  MLB should have had much stronger responses to the PED scandals.  Now, the writers have the only means at their disposal to see redemption for their work.

 

*****

Seems ESPN has been issuing apologies on Brent Musberger's behalf.

In a nutshell, here's what happened.  Musberger was doing the color for the BCS championship game.  One of his cameramen kept showing the Alabama quarterback's girlfriend sitting in the stands.  She is the reigning Miss Alabama.

Musberger commented along the lines of a) She's pretty and b) Young men should strive to become a quarterback to get such a catch.

Apparently, Musberger's comments riled somebody.  Who, is not quite clear.  I think there were two transgressions.  First, calling a beauty queen "beautiful" crosses some kind of line.  Certainly, Musberger had the sense not to give the slaughter on the football field before him such praise.

Perhaps beauty pageants have changed and there is a new criteria.

Second, we're not to acknowledge that the star quarterback gets the beautiful most charming gal.

Hey, when I was a high school jock, our quarterback had many fair maidens pursuing him.  I, a mere linebacker, dated women who looked like linebackers, alas.

But that's life as a schoolboy.  You grow up and things change.

You meet someone later on, things go well.

And, if you're as lucky as I, the one you marry makes you feel like that star quarterback.