Tomorrow, Chicago area beat writers will take a break from giddily transcribing wacky Ozzie Guillen quotes and consuming smoked pork products to sit down and finally figure out what to do with all these roided up baseball superstars. Because, you see, baseball writers hold the key to the hall of fame and if baseball players want to be forever memorialized in Cooperstown, they had better kowtow to the writers every desire.
The Chicago chapter of the BBWAA is actually having a meeting to consider the creation of guidelines that will change the entrance requirements for the hall of fame. Sit back and think about this for a second: a small subset of the voting populace might decide to rewrite the enshrinement rules to reflect their own views of what a 'clean' baseball player is. Egos gone wild, indeed:
It's that kind of uncertainty that prompted Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander to ask the Chicago chapter if it could discuss the issue during this weekend's Cubs-White Sox series at U.S. Cellular Field.
"The guidelines used to be so simple: stats, longevity and star power. It's all been trumped by performance-enhancing drug use and drug use suspicion," Telander said Tuesday. "Part of me says it's not fair we have to make these determinations, but we do."
No, you don't. No, you don't. No, for the love of all that is holy, you DON'T! Just vote in players for being great and being popular and making baseball more awesome. Stop thinking that performance-enhancing drugs are somehow conceptually different than the amphetamines that your childhood heroes used to get them through the madcap 1960s. Stop thinking that you need to enforce a false veil of morality to protect the freaking children. And please, stop thinking that every player who used steroids is as despicable as Jose Canseco!
(Chicago BBWAA president Paul) Sullivan said he is not in favor of guidelines personally, fearing it would raise too many other questions. Cocaine was a problem in the 1980s, would the guidelines extend to those players? Dave Parker, one of the players implicated in the Pittsburgh drug trials, is currently on the Hall of Fame ballot. He received 81 votes this year.
But the idea is worth discussing, Sullivan said.
"It's possible we can't come to any decision. That's quite possible," Telander said. "But I'd sure like to try."
I'm bashing my head against the wall right now, just wishing I could ignore all this noise and wishing that baseball writers would finally get demoted to voting for the hall of sandwiches and that an independent pentavirate of George Will, Colin Powell, Fay Vincent, Joe Posnanski, and Darryl Strawberry could select the HOF members.