When I heard about Tuesday’s Hall of Fame selection, I immediately thought back to my 10th grade government class and one of the first lessons we learned: it is better to vote against 100 good laws than it is to pass one bad one.

I am naturally inclined to dislike just about everything the Baseball Writer’s Association of America (BBWA) involves itself in: from keeping out well-respected Internet writers all the way down to that cute little Website that looks like it was last updated right after the official “Space Jam” page.  Yet, on Tuesday, despite their best efforts, they actually did something smart.  Scratch that.  They did two things that were actually smart.  First, they elected Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven; two completely deserving players.  Secondly, they refused to put anyone else in from baseball’s “Steroid Era.”  

See, Jeff Bagwell should be in the Hall of Fame.  You’ve heard every argument made in favor of him being elected so I’m not going to regurgitate them here.  So does Barry Larkin.  And Tim Raines.  You can argue all you want about steroids, but in my mind, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro deserve election as well.  I’m not sold on Edgar Martinez, but I think he’s probably got a damn good case.  But you know what?  None of this matters.  We can pontificate over whether our advanced liberal view of the Steroid Era is the correct interpretation of that time, or we can kowtow to those who feel they need to take the moral high-ground.  Either way, we’re all right.

The entity that’s wrong is the Hall of Fame, and to a greater extent, Major League Baseball.  For years, they’ve taken the Homer Simpson approach to confronting steroids: hide under some coats until the thing sorts itself out.  In the meantime, the voters have been left unattended to like a gaggle of preteens splashing each other in the community pool.  The only problem is, MLB and the Hall’s plan to let the kids tire themselves out isn’t working.  They’re just getting louder.

Without a mandate to guide the writers, this is a battle that will go on for years.  It’s time for someone to step up and acknowledge a way ahead.  Otherwise, we’re going to keep an entire generation of history’s greatest players from sport’s most-revered society.

Personally, I think MLB’s implicit acceptance of the records achieved during this time tells us everything we need to know: they have no clue about what really happened and they aren’t about to start trying to figure it out.  I also think presuming guilt when there’s a lack of evidence to support your position is nothing short of irresponsible grandstanding.  But until there is some sort of leadership from the powers that be, none of this will matter: the process will remain crippled.

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