Rip the band-aid off. Dive in head-first. No regrets. (Base)balls to the walls. Pick whichever phrase you want, but Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz should both be elected into the Hall of Fame in their first round, along with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and, ultimately, Mark McGwire.
Let me clarify, I am not predicting what will happen come to Hall of Fame election time. I am, however, going to justify what I think should happen. Here is what it comes down to: it is not about being fair, it is about being the least unfair.
We have to establish the advantages of steroids for what they are. Steroids allow for faster muscle repair, therefore quick muscle growth. They do not, however, magically make the user good at baseball overnight. In order for steroids to enhance skill (by way of quick muscle growth), there must already be skill present. This is an important ground rule to set because it is vital to acknowledge Rodriguez, Bonds, Clemens, Ortiz, and McGwire are insanely talented even without steroid use. Bonds in particular had a hall of fame career even if you do not count his years in San Francisco. But regardless, muscle repair beyond the natural rate of which is in fact an advantage.
Is it unfair that certain players excelled under steroid use in such a way that set them above and beyond their peers? Yes, of course, it is unfair. Do you want to know what is even more unfair? Letting Bud Selig in the Hall of Fame after creating and allowing the steroid era.
Do you know what else is unfair? Baseball exploding in popularity, generating unreal amounts of money, and creating so many more jobs, and then not letting the horses who did the heavy lifting see the fruits of their own labor. This is the most insulting form of scapegoating. To me, this stab-in-the-back is even more unfair than the advantage given to players on the field.
We cannot just pretend that some of the greatest performances ever played on a Major League Baseball field never happened, especially when the commissioner in charge at the time period gets to sleep at night with his own plaque in Cooperstown.
I believe it is reasonable to assume that if any of the flagship steroid users get elected into the hall, it would be David Ortiz for the sheer reason of him being the most likable personality. A-Rod, on the contrary, is not just unlikeable but was sacrificed as the scapegoat of the entire steroid era (rather unfairly in my honest opinion). If this happens, I would wholeheartedly consider it an unfair outcome as well. Not only is it unfair, but I would consider it the worst-case scenario that will light the baseball world on fire.
The most logical conclusion: let them all in. I do not have faith that this will happen, but the only way to end the annual bloodbath debate is to just end the debate entirely.
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