You know what really adds to the already complex and delicate Hall of Fame discussions? The half-considered opinions of former players. We can all safely assume Goose Gossage, a man famous of denigrating modern relievers and injuring himself while fist-fighting one of his teammates, careful sifted through the many sides of the steroids debate, weighing his own experience in an era best known for dedication to physical fitness AND NOT AT ALL cocaine before sounding off on the prospect of suspected steroid users gaining access to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Surely, Goose made use of his training as a medical doctor before asserting that should drug-addled pariahs somehow weasel their way into Cooperstown, he won`t be back to the Hall.
“In that case, I won’t be there,” said Gossage. “If I was a fan, I wouldn’t even show up. You’ve got all the kids in the world watching this. What does that tell our kids, that there’s no punishment for cheating?
Thank you, Goose. I’m so glad that SOMEONE is finally thinking of the children. Goose’s fellow Hall of Famer Jim Bunning goes on to confidently note that Bud Selig would be “by himself” on stage at the induction ceremony as “none of the current members would show up” in a San Diego Union-Transfer piece on the Hall of Fame quandary facing voters this year.
I cannot speak for anyone else but I am shocked — SHOCKED — by this stunning revelation. The great consternation and internal debate must keep Gossage up at night, provided he and his fellow players are able to achieve full REM sleep after a generation of amphetamine use forever altered their brain chemistry.
Look, Goose and his fellow players are free to ignore the sins of their fathers, brothers, and themselves as much as they want. They can pretend their collective noses are clean (literally and figuratively) if it means they can keep prattling on about the integrity of the game.
Gossage goes on the lament changes in his perception of players’ physiology, bemoaning muscle-bound launching moonshots in batting practice to previously unexplored corners of the bleachers. Which is natural. Gossage and his contemporary’s reactions are completely natural. The intersection between a rise in drug use and increased dedication to fitness make the entire situation an ugly one.
Expecting any less from players like Gossage isn’t fair. Just as it isn’t fair to lump all “cheaters” together without much more than hunches and innuendo. Players took things they shouldn’t have and the prevailing opinion suggests it provided unfair advantages – just as player who competed before Tommy John surgeries, laser eye procedures and cortisone injections inevitably feel cheated. When their bodies broke down, they were done. No second acts in American lives, indeed.
Should Gossage and friends to turn their back on the Hall, the only ones who actually suffer are the fans. Again. As always. Principled stances are nice and all but these retired players are well served in remembering exactly who actually gets cheated in the end.