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Will Major League Baseball turn Hall of Fame weekend into PED-Fest?

Jul 18, 2013, 9:15 AM EDT

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Buster Olney’s column today speculates about whether Major League Baseball will use next weekend’s Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown as a vehicle to promote its get-tough stance on Biogenesis:

The Hall of Fame ceremony in Cooperstown will be held next weekend, in a year in which no recent retirees will be inducted, and if Selig makes his announcement of suspensions before Friday, he will be guaranteed three days of almost uniformly positive response.

Olney — who to be fair, is one of the most rational and reasonable guys around when it comes to PEDs and the Hall of Fame — correctly observes that if Major League Baseball were to announce suspensions before next weekend that there would be three days worth of old timers nodding their heads and patting the league on the back for doing the right thing and suspending players. It’s way better to have Hank Aaron out front defending the league, the thinking goes, than Bud Selig, and it would provide a P.R. bump for the league.

I can see the logic there from MLB’s perspective, but I question whether the league is truly willing to risk that bank-shot going in so cleanly. I can just as easily imagine Biogenesis newsmaking at the time of the Hall of Fame inductions being a big P.R. black eye. Because for every quote from a star of yesteryear patting the league on the back, there will be just as many things written — bad things and good things — trying to combine an inductee-free Hall of Fame induction and the Biogenesis news into a narrative about how baseball has lost its way, is irrelevant, is tragic and on and on. People love to pile on baseball during its marquee events — mostly people not familiar with the day-to-day of the league — and this would give them a big fat target.

A source I spoke with a couple of weeks ago who is familiar with the Biogenesis investigation suggested that Major League Baseball itself is wary of having the Hall of Fame events overshadowed by Biogenesis news. It’s possible that the league changes its mind on this. It’s possible that Selig gets on the freakin’ podium in front of the Hall of Fame and announces anti-PED justice. But I kinda doubt MLB wants to make that kind of news at that particular time. After all, it’s one thing for the story to be floating around like it is now but it’s another thing altogether for MLB to actively make a new news story regarding the suspensions just as things get moving in Cooperstown.

The league is historically awful at P.R. coordination when it comes to these things, but I don’t think it’s that bad.

  1. voteforno6 - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Or, they could just not make any decision. MLB is exceptionally skilled at that.

  2. onbucky96 - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    How many players in the 60′s and 70′s used “Greenies”? How many of them are in the Hall of Fame?

    • mybrunoblog - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      Greenies, Amphetamines, uppers, caffeine pills whatever you want to call them. The idea that these drugs could compare to what steroids do to an athlete is ludicrous. If greenies were comparable to steroids why didn’t anyone routinely hit 50, 60, or 70 homers during the 1970s or 80s? Gee, steroid use became popular from the 1990s through the mid 2000′s when offensive numbers were off the charts. Coincidence?
      Mike Schmidt was absolutely right. Greenies were performance enablers not performance enhancers.

      • rbj1 - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:45 AM

        Amphetamines are also currently banned under the JDA. So those players would get suspensions under the current regime.

        I don’t mind coming down hard on users from 2006 forward, as a new set of rules was in place. But enabling is enhancement; if you are dragging in a day game after a night game and you take a greenie, your performance is enhanced.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 18, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        If greenies were comparable to steroids why didn’t anyone routinely hit 50, 60, or 70 homers during the 1970s or 80s? Gee, steroid use became popular from the 1990s through the mid 2000′s when offensive numbers were off the charts. Coincidence?

        Let’s assume your assumptions are true, that steroids allowed players to get huge and hit tons of HR. So with that assumption, why did Bonds only hit 73 HR once, and never hit more than 49? Did he only take steroids that one year, or did he take some bad ones the other year?

        Rumor was that 50% or more players were on steroids during this time. Let’s knock that down to 10%. Why did only Sosa, McGwire and Bonds hit more than 60 if steroids help you hit so many HR?

      • paperlions - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:29 PM

        Bullllllll shit!

        Listen to anyone that has used greenies describe their effects and there is no way you can walk away thinking they were “performance enablers”, whateverthehellthatmeans.

        Comparing amphetamines to caffeine is the acme of willful misrepresentation. That is akin to comparing steroids to a protein shake.

      • louhudson23 - Jul 18, 2013 at 12:49 PM

        This continued false equivalency gets sillier each time some one throws it out there. The record book does not lie. Whatever the benefit of greenies,it did not have the effect on the record book or the fundamental nature of the game,the way that steroids (coincidentally??) did,Same for benefits of steroids for pitchers,whatever they did for pitchers,we did not see an explosion of 100+ mph hurlers,or make 3 foot drops on curve balls common to three starters per staff. And that offensive steroid effect ,while epitomized by the freak show of Bonds,McGwire and Sosa, extended far beyond those three in changing the way the game was played,defense was valued and pitchers were handled….

      • nategearhart - Jul 18, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        “Whatever the benefit of greenies,it did not have the effect on the record book or the fundamental nature of the game,the way that steroids (coincidentally??) did…”

        Seriously, dude? Babe Ruth’s home run record was broken during the “Greenies era”. Steve Carlton and Nolan Ryan putting up STUPID numbers of strikeouts per season happened during the “Greenies era”. Look at the record books closer.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 18, 2013 at 4:52 PM

        This continued false equivalency gets sillier each time some one throws it out there. The record book does not lie.

        Then answer my question. If so many players were on steroids, for such a long period of time, why did only Bonds, McGwire and Sosa break 60 HR, and why did Bonds only break 50 once?

  3. BigBeachBall - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Needles. It hurts so good.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      You should know by inflating your own head.

  4. alexo0 - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    To announce suspensions before the HOF induction would also shine a huge light on the fact that no players were inducted into the hall this year, something I feel MLB is kind of embarrassed about, or at least should be.

  5. myspaceyourface - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    All in or All out. Bud’s a Dud. He would rather punish a few high profile players than admit it was a league wide problem.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      It was a league wide party while it was happening, and Bud was a willing hostess. Only after the hypocritical revisionist outrage did he and the press begin to consider it a problem, but by then the drugs were already taken and the players couldn’t go back.

      Imagine if Jaywalking were suddenly deemed a capital offense, and the police reviewed thousands of cameras to see who they could catch. Sure, we all know we are not supposed to do it, but it is nearly universal and there is currently tacit approval from those in authority. Would the future moral outrage damn us for not knowing, in our heart of hearts, that it was wrong at the time?

      The players have some culpability, but these players start out as kids who are frequently under-educated and desperate to fit in and appease MLB culture and administration. If they were getting a sly wink and a pat on the behind for the PED use then, how can the institution turn around and throw the book at them now?

  6. sdelmonte - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    I would just wait till December and take care of everything between the seasons. But then I was not hired to do PR for the league.

  7. makeham98 - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Pete Rose can address the situation from the cardtable he’s setting up in Cooperstown for the weekend.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      You got it Ham. And he will address it for the very low price of $20.00 per statement.

  8. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 18, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    Too late. That has already happened for the past three or four years.

  9. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    It’s way better to have Hank Aaron out front defending the league, the thinking goes, than Bud Selig, and it would provide a P.R. bump for the league.

    Playing Devil’s Advocate, what if the league does this, and the suspensions are overturned? Would the league get blasted for this, or would it be like the Braun situation where everyone still congratulates the league and continues to blame the players?

    The latter, definitely the latter…

    • banpeds - Jul 18, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      The only player with any balls to appeal will be Bruan and he will not have a leg to stand on when every other player accepted thier suspsension, including AROID. They got Bruan on PEDs use back to 2008.

  10. chip56 - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    “Because for every quote from a star of yesteryear patting the league on the back, there will be just as many things written — bad things and good things — trying to combine an inductee-free Hall of Fame induction and the Biogenesis news into a narrative about how baseball has lost its way, is irrelevant, is tragic and on and on. ”

    My guess is that the only person who would write that narrative has a name that rhymes with Dreg Alcaterra.

    • nategearhart - Jul 18, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      You’re saying Craig will write that baseball is toast because of all the steroids? Because that’s what that quote says someone will write.

      • chip56 - Jul 18, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        No, I’m saying he might write the whole “the only thing about steroids that are ruining the sports are the talking about steroids” narrative.

  11. chip56 - Jul 18, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Incidentally – the fact that no one was elected because of writers protesting or speculating on PED use by many of the players eligible will, in and of itself, cause induction weekend to be overshadowed by steroid talk.

    All that announcing the biogenesis suspensions does is change the conversation from use to enforcement.

  12. skarfacci - Jul 18, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Only in pro sports can you go back in time 10 years in some cases. And justify “holding somebody accountable.” Total crap.

  13. dirtydrew - Jul 19, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    The H o F is already a steroid fest with Nolan Ryan and Cal Ripken enshrined. Not to mention all the amphetamine users from the 60′s and 70′s. Might as well let Bonds and Clemens in. They were users, but they were the best of a generation full of users. It’s not cheating if EVERYBODY did it.

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