Editor’s note: Please welcome the latest from Joe Guzzardi. There are still a range of opinions in the steroid debate, and I welcome as many of them as possible here.
I’m going to keep the Hot Stove stoked by returning to the fascinating Hall of Fame debates presented at Baseball Past and Present over the last couple of weeks.
Specifically, I’ll address the upcoming challenge the BBWAA faces regarding the 2013 and subsequent classes that will include suspected and confirmed steroid users. To vote or not to vote—that is their question.
Many of the writers who have strongly hinted that they will vote for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and eventually Alex Rodriguez explain their decision by saying that “during the era” in which they played, PEDs were commonplace.
I’ve pointed out, however, that while PEDs were indeed widely embraced, many outstanding players never touched them. The clean players, therefore, suffer in comparison. “So and so” took PEDs, racked up impressive numbers, earned larger contracts and possibly won post-season awards. “Mr. Straight Arrow” never touched the stuff, finished way down in the season totals and was never considered for the MVP or Cy Young.
No one has expressed this sentiment better than Roy Oswalt. Oswalt insists that admitted PED users like Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte have stained all baseball players.
“I feel like they have cheated me out of the game because of the way they have enhanced themselves but I’ve done it by working out. I feel that going out there natural against those guys that are taking the drugs is not fair to me. They’re already All-Star players and they’re taking drugs. That’s not fair to me. They’re cheating.”
“They may have beaten you in the game where naturally they may not have been able to. It may have cost me a win or my club not getting in the World Series. I don’t think it’s fair from my standpoint.