"Nay on all three," said Mike Klis of The Denver Post. "I think in all three cases, their performances were artificially enhanced. Especially in the cases of Bonds and Clemens, their production went up abnormally late in their careers."
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a member of the BBWAA, though I don't have a vote for this year's class because there's a 10-year membership minimum. If I did, I would carefully look at the numbers for all the players and the impact they had on the game.
Then I would crumple up the ballot and toss it in the trash.
That might not be fair to Craig Biggio, another first-timer on the ballot who was never suspected of taking steroids. But he's in the 3,000-hit club, so his time will come.
I like Mike Piazza, too, but if the numbers of others in his era can't be believed, can his? And I don't believe Curt Schilling is a Hall of Famer; his bloody sock shouldn't be there, either.
If this ballot is an uncomfortable one for baseball, Selig and his cohorts have no one to blame but themselves. They were silent as players became bloated caricatures of themselves. They did nothing but cheer as records that stood the test of time were erased in the space of a few seasons.
They and the baseball players' union had to be publicly shamed before even acknowledging that steroids had made the game a joke — much less finally doing something about it.
If you're debating the fairness of it all, consider that the most prolific hitter in the history of the game, Pete Rose, wasn't even allowed on the Hall of Fame ballot because he bet on baseball. Yet McGwire has been on it even though he was an admitted steroid user, and Bonds remains the sport's all-time home run king as well as a nominee this year.
My guess is Bonds and Clemens will one day be in the Hall of Fame. Years will pass and their numbers will become more acceptable as the steroid era recedes into the background.
Let's hope that day doesn't come anytime soon.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
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