A Sudden Realization

The good ol’ Getting Blanked crew had a brief editorial meeting yesterday to go over our plan for the off season with the powers that be, and as we started discussing some ideas for specific content centered around Hall Of Fame voting it occurred to me that this will be the last year I’ll give the results any mind whatsoever.

You see, a certain former member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants will become eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2013, and when he’s not voted in by the archaic, moral grandstanding and self aggrandized gatekeepers for Cooperstown, I will be unable to ever acknowledge the existence of what will become far too great of an embarrassment to the game of baseball.

Here is a public service announcement in which Barry Bonds promotes the fund he created in order to help Bryan Stow’s family send their children to college.

When one considers the racists, criminals and even a murderer who currently comprise baseball’s Hall of Fame, it becomes glaringly obvious that there is no moral code of conduct for entry. I realize that there are several allegations against Bonds that suggest he engaged in inexcusably violent behaviour during a career in which he no doubt used steroids to build and maintain his strength. However, as much fun as it might be to exist in a world of black and white dichotomies, it’s not accurate.

Bonds was well known to have donated time and money to a variety of charities and individuals in need during his baseball career. He simply chose not to do it through his public relations firm’s megaphone or in a fashion that pandered to media members who disliked his lack of interest in humouring their requests for quotes.

Again, I don’t bring this up as a means of suggesting that this is why the Baseball Writers Association of America will be wrong when they don’t vote Bonds into the Hall. I mention it in the hopes that it might cause one to reconsider their perception of the man.

If I wanted to make a case for his Hall of Fame candidacy, I might link to this. Or post this:

Or encourage people to watch this:

This is all that one should need to reach decision as to his deserving membership among the best players to ever play baseball.

Comments (59)

  1. So you think that cheates should be rewarded? And yes, he cheated, the commissioner at the time (I believe Fay Vincent) sent out a memo to all MLB teams and personnel that stated that performance-enhancing drugs were banned by baseball – in 1991. So now the question arises as to what you have cheated on – taxes so the rest of us have to pay more? On your significant other? your paperboy – yup, rip off those can least afford it. If you aren’t going to play by the rules, you don’t get the rewards. You will be found out, and I hope to see the posting of it on here, since you are so strongly in favour of cheating. No go cheat a kid selling candy at the door, or the corner store owner tryring to break even. Dustin Parkes, cheater and SCUMBAG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I feel sorry that the world has been such a luge track of slippery slopedness for you. There are many among us who can see beyond dichotomies when reaching decisions as to their conduct.

    And besides this post is considering how his play relates to Hall of Fame inclusion, not getting through some fictional gate that leads into heaven.

    • is it actually true that there was a commissioner’s memo stating that performance-enhancing drugs were banned by baseball in 1991? I’m trying to find a record of such a memo anywhere, but can’t.

  3. Hey look everyone! Not one, but two self-aggrandizing opposite takes.

  4. What? Barry Bonds cheated on his taxes or his paperboy? I don’t understand.

    First of all, there has yet to be any truly indicting proof that he used steroids. Innocent until proven guilty and all of that. But, as Dustin said “he no doubt used steroids”, so let’s assume that is indeed the case, as you clearly have.The reality is that he played in an era when steroid usage was rampant. Yes, he almost certainly did use them, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was at the top of the Majors for a good two decades. Had he not cheated, it’s tough to say he wouldn’t have been equally as prolific, he just might not have broken the records he did.

    I mean, the guy didn’t have a sub-6 WAR season between 22 and 40. If he’d retired or been badly injured in 2000, before the steroid allegations came out, he would have been a hall of famer. So because after he turned 35 he did what the rest of the Majors was doing (HGH), and continued to play at basically the same elevated level (relative to his competition), he doesn’t belong in the hall. Is that right?

    Dustin’s point is that there are plenty of stories of pro ball players who did worse things after they earned their right to the hall (as Bonds had done by the time he was 35), and in many cases while they were playing, who managed to make it in there. But because Bonds, as the poster boy for steroid use, is vilified as representing an entire generation of users (an entirely unreasonable and unfair judgement to be passed upon him), his outstanding accomplishments are ignored and he doesn’t get into Cooperstown.

    While you’re passing this kind of judgement, why not go back through the ages and posthumously reject those swines currently enshrined in the Hall who beat their wives, drank during prohibition, used other illegal drugs (although since MLB’s rules didn’t ban them, I guess they were cool at the time), and any number of other moral and social transgressions as what you describe as cheating (which is a debatable accusation given the environment Bonds played in). We’ll see how many Hall of Famers remain once you do that.

    Great post, Parkes.

    • Something to remember about Bonds in that regard, too: There’s ample evidence that he didn’t even use PEDs until well AFTER it had been established that the de facto league policy was to ignore their use. He started using more than likely because he felt the rest of the league was working with an unfair advantage over him.

      And, on top of that, he was the best player in baseball when next to no one used steroids, he was the best player in baseball when everyone else was using and he wasn’t, and he was stratospheric when he was using along with the rest of the field.

      And, finally, I’ve yet to have it ably demonstrated to me why I should view anyone’s steroid use before testing as a moral failing. It’s a little like holding it against someone for driving 110 KPH on the 401 because the speed limit is 100, despite the fact that no one gets pulled over before 120.

  5. Is Bonds first year of eligibility really all that significant? Didn’t we already go over this with McGwire’s first year of eligibility? How about Bagwell whose connection to steroids is purely speculative? I don’t know what Bonds being left out could possibly tell us about the Hall of Fame that we don’t already know.

  6. And I’m still scratching my head over Pete Rose.

    “Nice hall you have here, I see the man with the second most hits all time, was also guilty of killing someone. Where is the man with the most hits?”

    “Oh, we can’t let him in here…… he’s a gambler.”

    • I think the distinction is that killing someone has nothing to do with the game (similarly racism, domestic abuse, etc.).

      • The point is that people want Bonds away from the hall for moral reasons. By that logic all racists and wife beaters should be eliminated from the hall if that means Bonds isn’t allowed in.

  7. In my opinion voters should only be able to take into consideration players who have failed tests, as this would draw a clear, objective line. Otherwise we get way too far into speculation. For example, Bagwell, Pudge, etc.

  8. Great post. A Hall of Fame without Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, and especially Barry Bonds isn’t a Hall of Fame at all. Not only some of those guys easily deserving, but ARod, Clemens and Bonds could be the greatest at their positions of all time.

    Somebody really has to take the vote away from the ignorant, holier-than-thou journalists (think Christine Brennan of USA Today) and give it to the players. You wouldn’t have any problems like this anymore if that was the case.

  9. I wish there were more Bonds HR videos online…his swing is perfect.

    MLB really needs to get with the times.

  10. isn’t the whole “steroid era” line a convenient narrative to (eventually) purify the cheaters? i don’t have a problem with it, but i’m just saying, people are still coming up with new PEDs and obviously if they help (which HR totals at the very least indicate they can), people – including baseball players – will continue to seek them out. i’m not sure adopting a stance of: everyone SHOULD take PEDs stance is wise for a variety of reasons which should be pretty obvious.

    • Yes, the “PED era” has never ended (and never will end) despite what some baseball journalists will try to tell you.

  11. he wouldnt get my vote. one of the greatest players to ever play the game, no question. but its only a matter of time until they actually prove that he took steroids (and lied about it). sadly, he was probably a hall of famer with or without steroids, but he made the decision to cheat – likely over a prolonged period of time – so theres no way of quantifying how much his numbers were enhanced. bonds in the hall of fame would give him the ultimate mulligan, and sorry, but some decisions you have to live with for the rest of your life. this, i think, is one of them.

    • Even if Bonds broke a rule, which he didn’t, isn’t the penalty for PED use these days a 50 game suspension? Isn’t that enough? Why the lifetime ban from the Hall of Fame?

      • a 50 game suspension is a moot point for bonds right now.

        penalty for steroids at the olympics is disqualification and loss of medal. that seems pretty comparable to being locked out of the HoF.

        i dont like getting all worked up about the supposed “code” of the game, but for me the issue of cheating is an easy one. i despise dishonesty in competition, its just a matter of principle.

        • Except this isn’t the Olympics, this is baseball. They have designated a 50 game suspension as the punishment for taking PEDs and nothing more.

          If you have a problem with “cheating,” though, I suppose we might as well ban all the sign stealers for life, too, then while we’re at it. Or anybody that ever doctored baseballs, took amphetamines, or raised their level of play unnaturally in some other way. How many guys do you think we’d have left in the HOF if we did that?

  12. “When one considers the racists, criminals and even a murderer who currently comprise baseball’s Hall of Fame, it becomes glaringly obvious that there is no moral code of conduct for entry.”

    Quite the straw man you’ve constructed there. The critical difference between being a criminal and taking steroids is that the former is likely to have no bearing on a player’s career.

    For someone so familiar with age attrition I don’t understand why you aren’t more upset about Bonds making a mockery of baseball by putting up a combined 25 fWAR in his peak seasons from age 36-37. Excluding Bonds from the HoF suitably tarnishes those ridiculous numbers and will help to ensure that future generations view Bonds’ rank as the 2nd best player of all time, according to fWAR, with an appropriate amount of scepticism.

    While it is incredibly likely that a steroids-free Bonds would have made the HoF, there is a valid argument that the use of steroids should result in the player forfeiting the right to any benefit of the doubt.

    • If by mockery of baseball, you mean the most awesome, dominant, awe-inspiring offensive seasons of all time, then yeah, I’m right with you.

      • It was his ‘WAR by age graph’ that inspired my use of the word mockery: http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=1109

        Do you really not see anything wrong with his peak seasons occurring after he started using PEDs and in his age 36 and 37 seasons?

        • I see the most dominating offensive seasons of all time and perhaps the greatest example of plate discipline that I’ve ever seen (and will ever see). Something wrong? No, certainly not.

          • The way I see it, most of the pitchers he was facing were on PEDs and most of the hitters on his team (and every other team) were also using something. So why is his performance pegged as the one that “makes a mockery of the game?” Because he was simply that much better than everyone else, because he was that damn good?

            The guy’s the definition of a scapegoat for the self-righteous baseball fans and media.

  13. Fucking eh, BFF. Preach it.

  14. “The guy’s the definition of a scapegoat for the self-righteous baseball fans and media.”

    Some people might use him as a scapegoat. Other people actually think you should be severely punished for using PEDs. Exclusion from the HoF is one of the few ways that PED use can be punished if it is discovered well after the fact.

    Punishment can also be used as a form of deterrence. Without an effective deterrent there will be a player on the margin who refuses to take PEDs on principle who will never reach the majors purely because there are players who have overtaken him through the use of PEDs.

    Assuming wages are a zero sum game throughout the league, then every extra win resulting from the use of PEDs takes money away from every player who hasn’t artificially inflated his performance.

    Bonds is a very visible victim of his own choices. Don’t forget all the invisible players who refused to take PEDs who are the real victims of PED use.

    • Over the last decade, I’ve noticed that people don’t really care about PED users anymore. The only time it ever becomes a story is not when fringe major leaguers get caught, but when guys like Bonds, Clemens and ARod do. They’ve become scapegoats for their era simply by virtue of how good they were.

      I will say that the situation sucks for the guys who never took anything, but punishment is never going to be a legitimate form of deterrence in this area. The majority of athletes are always going to look for the extra edge to become the best at what they do and reach their peak performance level. Who am I to tell them that they shouldn’t?

  15. If Bonds was an average to slightly above average player before he started obviously using PEDs and then became amazing because of them, I’d agree he should be excluded from the HoF.

    But Bonds was amazing long before it’s believed he decided to juice up. IMO, voters should vote for or against the man based on his pre-PED performance.

  16. Well, I think from all of this, one thing is certain: Keith Law used the word “dichotomy” in an article or podcast within the last month.

  17. Hypothetical: Bonds took steroids while steroids were banned. Any different?

    Fact: Bonds took steroids while a majority of players also were and Bonds performed much better. Better steroids or talent?

    I like this article apart from the strawman part.

  18. i did a research paper on steroids impact for my ethics class..people only heard MLB stance on how steroids impact the game.

    others have said it doesnt do as much as they say & there was ADMITTED steroid use in Hank Aarons club house so are we to believe hes clean when he infact had asharp increase stat year and the following year dropped off.

    dont hold it against barry when people ALREADY in the HOF may have done something to “impact” their game as well

    i advise people to go to http://steroids-and-baseball.com/ and educate themselves on the TRUTH of steriods

    • I wouldn’t say that the research in the link you’ve supplied is terrible, but I think you should be a bit more sceptical about its conclusions.

      I don’t have time to go through the whole thing right now, but here a few problems with the research.

      Steroid era:
      “the claim is that PEDs were being used at a slowly but steadily increasing rate (and thus “distorting records”) from very roughly 1980 through the present.”

      The source for this claim is reported to be the Mitchell Report. However, the Mitchell Report makes no such claim. Instead, the Mitchell Report discusses the adverse impact which recreational drugs such as cocaine had on MLB’s reputation in the early 1980′s. The Mitchell Report is consistent with most sources that PED started to take off in 1992 and started to “run rampant” in 1993.

      By incorrectly stating that the steroid era started in 1980 the author is then free to attribute the power spike seen in 1993 to ball juicing. The author then splices the data by ‘removing the artificial jumps’ in the data. This would make sense if the jumps were actually caused by ball juicing, but if it was actually caused by steroids then you’ve just thrown out all the relevant data. Having removed the power spike the author then states that no increase in player power is observed between 1982 and 2005, but of course there isn’t because he’s just removed that data when he decided to attribute it to ball juicing.

      Ball juicing:
      So let’s hope that the evidence for ball juicing is strong, otherwise our author is guilty of a pretty horrendous statistical error. Hmmm…turns out that it is essentially based on one survey which used one ball from each of the following years: 1963, 1970, 1989, 1995 and 2000. It’s the power spike in 1993 we’re really interested in so the first two balls aren’t particularly useful.

      The study found that the balls from 1995 and 2000 bounced 33% higher than the average height of the three earliest balls. The author concludes that the ball was therefore juiced in 1993.

      The first problem with this is that no ball from 1993 has been tested. It isn’t reasonable to assume that a change between 1989 and 1995 has occurred in whatever year you feel like during that period.

      The second problem is that we don’t have any idea what kind of conditions these balls were in. The first two balls were foul balls which were donated by fans. No information is given about the other balls, but it is safe to say that we’re not dealing with a good control group here. The impact exerted on the ball during the game and their storage afterwards could be pivotal.

      The third problem is the sample size. The author ill advisably states the following: “In short, though the sample was small, just five balls, the margins were so huge and so consistent with what major-league power stats urgently suggest that it seems impossible for any intellectually honest reviewer to doubt that the ball has–by what way or ways is not crucial, though several seem apparent–been “juiced” in modern times.”

      No, the study had a sample of five balls which were not kept in controlled conditions. A 33% change in bounce height may seem like a lot, but we’re essentially looking at a relevant sample size of 3 (the balls from 1989, 1995 and 2000). Not only would an intellectually honest reviewer be sensible in expressing doubt that the ball had been juiced, but they would also most likely conclude that there is no statistically significant change.

      • Two things:

        Steroids had been in baseball long before the 1990s (I mean, if they were used in major athletics, why wouldn’t they be used by rich professional baseball players?), several players have said so over the years. Not sure why you’re trusting the Mitchell Report to get something like that right.

        Also, I don’t know about the claims of ball juicing, but the fact that offense has gone down so significantly over the last few seasons makes me think it largely has to do with the baseballs they’re playing with.

        This is a pretty good documentary about steroids in sports if you ever have the time: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/bigger_stronger_faster_asterisk/

        • Firstly, the point I was making had little to do with when steroids actually became prevalent in baseball. Instead, it was a response to the link that Kim posted which contained research claiming that steroids had little to no effect on power production in MLB. The link proposed that the real reason for the power spike seen in 1993 was due to juiced balls.

          The only claim I made was that the author misquoted the Mitchell Report. That misquote was pivotal in the author’s argument that juiced balls caused the power spike, because if you believed the misquote then his incredibly dubious statistical adjustment might have seemed defensible.

          Despite my point not really being about the Mitchell Report, I should add that I was a little shocked about how much better (at first glance) the Mitchell Report was than I had been led to believe. It seems to me that the Players’ Union should get more criticism than anyone else.

          “I will say that the situation sucks for the guys who never took anything, but punishment is never going to be a legitimate form of deterrence in this area.”

          I’m glad that we at least agree on who the real victims are, but what do you propose to do to protect the guys who deserve our respect?

          I would do as much as possible to protect these players. If that means punishment that some people deem excessive for the cheaters then that is a trade off I am happy to support.

          I’m sure there are people who just want to make Bonds into a scapegoat. I am not one of them. I want harsher punishment for every infraction, no matter the level.

          • “The link proposed that the real reason for the power spike seen in 1993 was due to juiced balls.”

            I haven’t done enough research on this topic, but I wouldn’t be surprised if juiced baseballs were a significant factor behind the increased offense (along with PEDs, expansion teams, smaller stadiums, etc).

            “Despite my point not really being about the Mitchell Report, I should add that I was a little shocked about how much better (at first glance) the Mitchell Report was than I had been led to believe. It seems to me that the Players’ Union should get more criticism than anyone else.”

            No, the Mitchell Report was a false show of a report full of gossip that barely gleaned the surface of the real drug issues in this sport, just as MLB wanted it to be. Of active baseball players, only Frank Thomas agreed to be interviewed and most of the names he got came from two guys, McNamee and Radomski who had incentive to talk. It ended up being just as ridiculous and pointless as I imagined it would be when they first announced it. Please don’t give it credibility.

            “I’m sure there are people who just want to make Bonds into a scapegoat. I am not one of them. I want harsher punishment for every infraction, no matter the level.”

            Funny, because I’d like to eliminate punishment altogether (partly because I don’t think it acts as a deterrent at all and partly because I don’t have a problem with baseball players taking PEDs).

  19. Parkes is very good but it’s frustrating to know that his voice is being heard and people are buying into this garbage. Just frustrating. I could go on forever, but really, it’s absolutely useless.

  20. I’m with you. The whole thing is a joke if they don’t let him in. Which they won’t, making it a complete joke.

    By the way, I touched that baseball bat he used to hit that homerun before he hit it. It, and 30 or so other Barry Bonds Rideau Sluggers, were in the trunk of my cousins car in Twattawa on route to San Fran for special delivery that summer.

  21. This is more of a question for Parkes, but if McGwire and Bonds don`t get in via the regular route, do you think the Veterans Committee would also ignore them?

    • I really don’t know enough about HoF voting, but I’d imagine it would take a generation to get over themselves.

      • Assuming its full of former players and managers, I think the Veteran’s Committee will eventually let all those guys in. They’ll recognize how deserving they are.

  22. Who is the murderer in the Hall of Fame?

    • Seriously, I understand and agree with your position re: Bonds but if you’re referring to Cobb as the murderer in this situation then there’s really no reason to believe that Cobb murdered anyone. Lousy guy, sure, but just flat out referring to him as a murderer is more unfair than anything anyone will write about Bonds.

  23. I think it’s ridiculous that sportswriters decide who gets into the hall, let the surviving members decide who else gets in.

  24. In 2004, Barry Bonds registered 373 at-bats. He had so few at-bats because he drew 232 walks — only (only!) 120 of which were unintentional.

    The man was given almost nothing to hit, but more of his at-bats ended with him hitting a hit home run (45) than with him striking out (41).

    Lucky for me, I already don’t care about Hall of Fame voting.

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