Based on the way fans have voted with their feet and remote controls in this age of (mostly) full disclosure, most quit caring sometime ago. In that sense, the people who cast ballots for the Hall of Fame are throwbacks, determined to defend a standard that applied when they began covering the game, but is hardly as unambiguous today. The truth is that rules have always been bent. Check out how many scoundrels of different stripes are in the Hall already, from Ty Cobb to Tom Yawkey. That tells you how the voters decided things in accordance with the prevailing attitude.
Now we know how performance-enhancers work, along with a growing sense of how to use them, even if the claims their being "safe" sounds more like a prediction than a guarantee. Yet you can't watch a game without taking in a host of commercials that promise some pill or other will enable you to do something better. Athletes might be the last group of people left in our society who can't bring them to the workplace. That will change in a few years, too. Then Clemens and Bonds and a few of their sidekicks from this year's class won't have to spring for a ticket to visit the game-worn jerseys, baseballs and assorted other artifacts they've already sneaked past the guardians of the moment.
Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/Jim Litke.