Along with Wednesday’s news of Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza being elected to baseball’s Hall Of Fame came the predictable analysis surrounding such near-misses as
David Eckstein Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines. For the SF Examiner’s Jay Mariotti, the only travesty greater than Barry Bonds’ as-yet-unsuccessful candidacy was that the Sultan Of Surly garnered 44.3% of the vote. How dare today’s baseball writers not even come close to honoring Barry Bonds!
Because a younger electorate wants to change the world when it should concentrate on changing its underwear, a movement is on to eventually induct Bonds and fellow juicer Roger Clemens into the Hall of Fame. Is Gov. Jerry Brown, that dubious liberator of Robert Downey Jr. and other felons, now running the Baseball Writers’ Association of America?
Not only is it another reason why the future of sports journalism is bleak, this development disregards the very adhesive that makes sporting competition worthy of our time and interest. That would be integrity, kids. When I was a young writer, I sat in press boxes and cringed as a chemically fueled Bonds shattered the all-time home run standard of the honorable Henry Aaron. I watched as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa staged a phony power duel, how Clemens huffed and puffed and pumped out those strikeouts and victories.
Especially bothersome Wednesday: Some respected veteran scribes have hopped on the Bonds train. I think they do it to avoid being mocked by younger writers, such as one who referred to former New York Times reporter Murray Chass as “an independent online codger” — one who achieved far more success than will the crafter of that lame characterization.
This isn’t about who’s a millennial and who’s a baby boomer and who is somewhere in between. This is about integrity.
What pray tell, did Mariotti do to clean up the game when he was a young (well, younger than today) writer? While he denounces the Mark McGwire/Sammy Sosa HR chase as “phony”, Chet Choppock recalls the columnist as “Sosa’s full time PR man.”