Today’s owl pellets will run the gamut (or try to) on the subject of the baseball Hall of Fame. As I try to keep this stuff interesting for my non-baseball fan readership, it’s going to cover some transhumanism, some evil corporations, a lot of drugs, sex crimes and, even, drones. Whether your interest is sports or society, I hope there’ll be plenty to interest you here.
It interests me and I give no fucks about the Hall of Fame.
To give you a quick rundown, 2013 is the first year the major players from The Steroid Era (I think of it as the Base Wars Era) are eligible for the Hall of Fame. This probably sounds like a no-brainer to the very casual fan. Keep them out. But it’s a little more complicated than that.
There’s actually a really surprising lack of evidence that steroids even improve performance in baseball or that these guys took them. There’s also the issue of The Steroid Era being just another era in baseball. Equipment changes, drugs and cheating have always impacted the sport.
The longstanding conspiracy by owners, with the co-operation of the baseball commissioner to keep blacks out of baseball (there was no actual rule, it was racist collusion) certainly improved the performance of white players. What enhances performance more? Taking drugs or never facing the best competition? I’m going to say Babe Ruth’s performance was more enhanced by never facing the likes of Satchel Paige than Bonds’ was by injections. What about Astroturf?
Then there was an era where the players all took speed, another one for cocaine, one where the pitching mound was a different height, so on and so forth.
For my part, I think drugs do improve performance and I do think it’s cheating. I also think both ownership and the media, which now sits in judgement, turned a blind eye. Players like Bonds and Clemens belong in the Hall of Fame. Any place that boasts Ty Cobb as a member cannot talk about sportsmanship, fair play or good character as being requirements. He was a psychopath who once beat a black man, almost to death, for looking him in the eye.
Baseball has its dark chapters. The Steroid Era hardly ranks.
The players who are up for induction this year were some of the best, not only of their era, but of any era in baseball. If anyone belongs in the Hall of Fame, they do.
But seriously though – who even cares about the Hall of Fame? Not me. The shit has been crooked and/or misguided since I can remember. It’s hard to disappointed in it.
Anyway, your owl pellets . . .
This Hall of Fame Cycle Came as Bad as Advertised: Getting Blanked provides an overview of some of this year’s Hall of Fame nonsense. Drugs, coverups, hypocritical sportswriters and so-forth. It’s a gory time.
Bill James on Steroids: The Ancient Humans of the Near Future Will Shrug: Noted baseball thinker Bill James weighed in on roids with a surprisingly transhumanist essay.
If we look into the future, then, we can reliably foresee a time in which everybody is going to be using steroids or their pharmaceutical descendants. We will learn to control the health risks of these drugs, or we will develop alternatives to them. Once that happens, people will start living to age 200 or 300 or 1,000, and doctors will begin routinely prescribing drugs to help you live to be 200 or 300 or 1,000. If you look into the future 40 or 50 years, I think it is quite likely that every citizen will routinely take anti-aging pills every day.
Barry Bonds’ HR Record Tainted by Elbow ‘Armor’?: What had a bigger impact on Bonds’ homerun totals: The steroids or the elbow guard? A look at the elbow guard.
Ode to the enhanced: Isn’t everyone somehow enhancing themselves anyway? I’m drinking a coffee right now because I just woke up. So on, so forth.
This Is Your Country on Drugs: On the same tip as that one, a look at how widespread performance enhancing drugs are in America.
JACQUES BARZUN famously said that to understand America, one must first understand baseball. Never has his remark been more accurate. Professional baseball players may be the most vilified Americans using performance-enhancing drugs, but they are by no means alone. Performance-enhancing drugs have become a part of ordinary American life.
If I’m still tired by noon, maybe I’ll have an energy drink.
Everybody gets popped: About Lance Armstrong. Maybe one of the better things you’ll ever read about him. Relevant here because it shows the culture of permitted drug use in cycling and, one can imagine, baseball was pretty much exactly the same. But the players will take the fall.
This shit is Eight Men Out all over again.
A HUMBLE PROPOSAL RE THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME’S J.G. TAYLOR SPINK AWARD: The writers who are sitting in judgement on this drug issue (the same ones who now claim roid use was obvious yet, curiously, never broke the story) and sit up on their high-horses about morality and character and whatnot don’t believe character and morality to be all that important when giving out their own awards.
“Bill Conlin has been a member in good standing of the BBWAA since 1966. The allegations have no bearing on his winning the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which was in recognition of his notable career as a baseball writer.”–Jack O’Connell, BBWAA Secretary/Treasurer, December 20, 2011
Roger Goodell: The Wayne LaPierre of the Sports World: Just in case we think this sort of idiotic, lazy reporting is limited to baseball, a look at the same thing in football. God help us if we think it’s limited to sports.
Military turns to ESPN to help analyze drone footage: By the way, the pentagon is using the video analysts at ESPN to look at drone footage. Is there any sort of moral question there?
On the Headphones: