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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Say It Ain't So Joe

I’ve worked in sports radio, known professional athletes and practically grew up in a major league ball park but I guess I have to come clean. I don’t get major league baseball. I don’t mean the game itself. The game I get just fine. I can translate a box score into English with the best of them (I actually had to once for a grade in college – but that’s another story.) I mean Major League Baseball as an entity.

Controversy has hit the big leagues. I’m not going to bother with a list of names here (mostly because the entire list is STILL not available and those who have been named can be found in news stories all over the internet.) But there’s an impressive list of baseball players that have tested positive for steroid use. Steroids have been a banned substance in MLB since 1991.

We have a report that shows positive tests for steroids of 86 current and retired players. A few of those names have come out in the press and I can’t help but think that when and if the rest of the names come out, we’ll be looking at a list that will look familiar to anyone who has seen a list of recent MLB record holders. How can these records even be considered if they were set by someone who for all intents and purposes cheated to get there?

Supposedly, MLB is so against rule breaking it has a “permanently ineligible” list. Anyone who violates or tarnishes the integrity of the game gets added to the list. Joe Jackson (of the World Series winning 1917 and the infamous 1919 White Sox) has the stats that would have put him in the hall of fame long ago if not for his being on the ineligible list. Jackson was acquitted of aiding in the fix of the 1919 Series in a court of law in 1921, yet he still remains on the list.

The guys we know used a banned substance that directly affected their performance, most of which are lying about using it, are or will be eligible for the Hall of Fame. They guy who was found innocent of any wrong doing 88 years ago is not. What’s wrong with this picture?


  1. People are selective about applying their ethics, that's what. They might think that Joe Jackson is so long gone that it doesn't matter whether he's eligible or not, since he'll clearly never play again. But with all the importance that this establishment hangs on its Hall of Fame criteria, it would be nice if they were at least consistent about following/enforcing the rules. (But I guess this is what happens when an entity answers mainly to beer distributors as its advertisers--they're happy as long as their customers are buying their product in large quantities, so they're not leaning on MLB to change its ways--MLB's failure doesn't reflect on them!)

  2. Sad but true. Maybe they should ask Pete Rose how he feels about the inconsistency of rule enforcement!