Hall of Shame, 2013

Various astronomical and religious/ cultural beliefs, particularly among the Mayans, may predict this to be my final blog today, on 12/21/12.  Chichén Itzá in the Mayan peninsula, is currently seeing a 40% rise in tourism, compared to previous years.

So this countdown to the apocalypse, and the end of the world, was worth a look on the History Channel. It illuminated an advanced civilization, from their history, religion, astronomy, and and cultural perspectives, before being  torn down and destroyed by the conquering Spaniards

Truth be told: recovering from the flu is a great reason to be a couch potato, along with spending all day going through a week’s recordings of “Mike and Mike in the Morning,”  “PTI,” “Chicago Tribune Live,” “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” and my usual “Law and Order” shows.  That doesn’t even count falling asleep to any given episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” every night.

But reading Phil Roger’s vote for Roger Clemens getting into the Hall of Fame (HOF) truly got me thinking how maybe the Mayans knew something was right about our civilization ending today.

Since 250-900 AD, one can say that  Mayans knew it would come down to this: that Major League Baseball writers would be faced with such difficult decisions regarding steroid and / or performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in their votes for Hall of Famers.  So ending the world today would be much easier on everyone, given that these records, which were made to be broken, have simply just become broken.

The Congressional Mitchell Report stated a list of 129 players linked to steroids and/ or PEDs, including sixteen admitting use, forty-seven implicated by others, and twenty-seven being suspended. It’s worth your reading, especially during the Bears v. Cardinals game this Sunday.

Right now, on the HOF ballot for the first time with Clemens, are Bonds, Piazza, and Sosa.  These players lives, and use of PEDs, have been written about, ad nauseum. Their lives, accusations, and questions about how their records increased each year their bodies appeared even larger than their egos, have been exposed in the media, on TV shows, newspapers, blogs, and books, with a “he-said, he-said, she-said” mentality.

Only McGwire, now on the ballot for a 7th time, and a batting coach with the Dodgers, makes no excuses.  Say what you will about his HR season records, kudos to him for coming clean.

Nothing surprises me about Sammy.  Ever since his “corked bat” incident, only Cub fans would be so forgiving.  Palmeiro, on the HOF ballot for a 3rd time, denied his use in front of Congress, but was ultimately suspended for 5 months from baseball with conclusive evidence, leaving the game in 2005 with PEDs on his back. He hit 569 HR’s and 3,020 hits.

And Hawk Harrelson said it well in the booth, a few years back, when none other than Hank Aaron was visiting during an inning of play.  Harrelson greeted Aaron, on the air, with words describing him as the all time-record holder for most home runs by any major league hitter, “in my book.” Aaron was gracious, as usual, and merely smiled.

Bonds was convicted for obstruction of justice, but not PED use. Through BALCO, he reported he was given flax seed oil and creams.  Right.  I go to my local organic produce store for my flax seed and natural body creams.  Don’t you?

Frankly, I’m delighted the SF Giants won two World Championships in 2010 and 2012.  And interestingly, Bonds had no part of either team, the latest being with Romo, Posey, Affeldt, and Sandoval: teams built on pitching and defense.

So Phil, I get what you’re saying regarding having no specific “direction” of how to handle your picks with the so-named, especially with “575 votes…(and) 575 standards.”  And I appreciate your telling us you’ll vote for “Clemens, Biggio, Schilling and Piazza…(and that)….We really don't know enough to make the pre-steroid guidelines work in the post-steroid period.”

Yes, I get it that some have been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. But truth will always be in the eyes of the beholder, without video or audio or DNA evidence to say otherwise.

No – I’m not a sportswriter. I’m a fan: big time. Since sitting shot-gun in my father’s taxi-cab on the south side, listening to every Sox game on the radio. And learning how to play ball at 5 yrs. old, when my brother put a mitt in my hand. And going to the sandlot city park on 87th and Jeffrey, across from Chicago Vocational School every day or night we could, to play pick-up games. Yeah, I was the only girl, always the pitcher or SS. Aparicio and Nellie were my role models, watching double-headers on Sunday with my Dad.

But the Hall of Shame is where these players belong.  Shame on them for even raising our doubts about their abilities in their elder years.  Shame on them for lying under oath.  Shame on those who colluded.  Shame on us fans for encouraging and cheering, when these records were being broken, yet whispers were already being spoken.  Shame on the HOF Board of Directors for not giving sportswriters clearer guidelines on how to approach the records of these players when voting. And Shame on the record books for continuing to list these players as THE record holders, with or without the recommended asterisk next to their names.

I’ll take Frank Thomas any day, or Hank Aaron, or R.A. Dickey, or Buster Posey.  The work ethic is something I learned early on. And that’s what these men represent.  Work hard, play hard. Not just for show. Not just to build new stadiums.

Several prominent representatives of the Mayans of Guatemala disagreed that the world ends today on 12/21/12, or in the Mayan calendar, called b'ak'tun 13. Ricardo Cajas, president of the Colectivo de Organizaciones Indígenas de Guatemala, said this day only represents an end of one cycle of humanity and the beginning of a new cycle, which "supposes changes in human consciousness".

I’d like to think this Mayan belief does impact baseball sportswriters’ votes, in how they begin to consider a ballplayers’ ethics, regarding his place in Cooperstown. We are no longer in the pre-b’ak’tun13 era, but rather in this new Mayan post-era.

So get with the program and change your human consciousness. Or in my south side tongue, if you're gonna do it, do it right. At least I think my Mayan friends would agree to that.

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