If Hall of Fame voters don't know who they should vote for, what good are they?
This year's ballot contains possibly the most controversial collection of names we'll ever see.
There are some all-time greats, like Bonds and Clemens, who will forever be followed by a black cloud of suspicion, since pretty much everyone suspects that they've used performance enhancing drugs.
There are some pretty damn good players, like Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell, who haven't been proven guilty, but still are under suspicion because of the era in which they played.
There are guys whose numbers put them right on the cusp, like Craig Biggio and Rafael Palmeiro, but whose careers don't exactly scream "Hall of Fame." There's the added twist that Palmeiro was suspended for PEDs right after wagging his finger at Congress claiming that he would never disrespect the game in such a way.
There are others, like Curt Schilling, whose overall numbers aren't necessarily mind-blowing, but whose postseason heroics might get him inducted at some point.
Many BBWAA members have gone on record, letting everyone know exactly whom they're voting for, and whom they've chosen to exclude. Like the insufferable Murray Chass, who has decided that he'll only vote for Jack Morris from now until next year, when he falls off the ballot. After that, he'll relinquish his vote.
Then, there are guys like ESPN's Howard Bryant, who is in such a self-righteous haze that he simply can't decide who is deserving or who isn't, so he sent in a blank ballot.
Chass, in his diatribe, says that "the steroids issue has made it impossible to conduct a rational vote and cast a reasonable ballot. No matter how a writer votes or on what he bases his decision whom to vote for or not to vote for, his reasoning has to be flawed and open to challenge."
Thankfully, Chass will be giving up his vote soon, because this is exactly the type of human being that we DON'T need casting a Hall of Fame vote.
If you are so afraid of criticism that you can't bear to have people challenge your reasoning, then you don't have an opinion worthy of such a high honor. You don't deserve a vote.
If, like Howard Bryant, you feel that you have an "inability to reach a comfortable verdict on a colossal mess that for years no one wanted to take responsibility for and that isn't going to get any less complicated as time goes on," then you don't deserve to have a say.
Keep in mind that Bryant's blank ballot is more than just NOT casting a vote for certain players. His blank ballot is a vote AGAINST everyone on the ballot. Despite the fact that Bryant admits that he doesn't know who exactly did or did not take performance enhancing drugs, he was still willing to submit a "no" vote for everyone on the ballot.
It would have been better if he had simply not submitted a ballot at all. Then, that would at least not lower the percentages for some of the players who have committed their entire lives to being the greatest baseball player that they could possibly be, and lower their chances of being honored.
I have my opinion on who should and shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. I can justify my opinion with a cogent argument that details exactly why I feel the way I feel. Right now, since I don't have a vote, my opinion doesn't particularly matter.
My belief is that the Hall of Fame should do exactly what Major League Baseball did to PED users. Celebrate them, honor them, and completely ignore their obvious sins. If Barry Bonds is in the record books, holding one of the most prestigious records in baseball history, then he should undoubtedly be in the Hall of Fame. Period.
If you have an opinion that is in direct contrast with mine, and completely disagree with every premise that I could possibly present, that's fine. If you feel strongly that PED users shouldn't be considered for the Hall of Fame, and you have your personal reasons for that, then I respect that, and more power to you.
If, however, you have no opinion either way, and can't muster up the moral courage to take a stand one way or the other...
Well, I hope you don't have a vote.