© John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
On Wednesday, ESPN broadcaster Matt Vasgersian joined Gary & Larry to discuss all things Baseball Hall of Fame, including the entire Barry Bonds/Roger Clemens scenario.
When asked about where he thinks players like Bonds and Clemens stand with the Hall of Fame voters and how that will affect future votes, Vasgersian was optimistic.
“(The committee is) softening on both. The longer we get into the PED era, the more complicated this becomes,” Vasgersian said. “At first it was easy to draw your line and say, ‘Anybody who gave a positive test after the protocols were put in place lost their right to go to Cooperstown.’ That still gave you a chance to say, ‘Alright, Bonds and Clemens, who by the way never officially tested positive for steroids, that all happened before the protocols were put in place.’ But there are going to be guys coming up that ran a foul of those procedures after they had been established.
“To make it even more complicated, they’re guys that we all like,” Vasgersian went on. “Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz have both been linked to this stuff. Both of those guys were great players, and both of them were well liked, unlike Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa, who kind of disappeared and were mercurial at best with fans. Everybody loves Alex and David… and that’s why you have to stop being judge and jury here.
“Moving forward with Bonds and Clemens, I think it’s impossible to keep them out.”
Vasgersian also commented on whether or not he thinks leaving players like Bonds and Clemens is hurting the Hall of Fame as a whole.
“Sure it is,” Vasgersian said demonstratively. “Depending on your definition of Cooperstown, some define it as a museum that’s just meant to commemorate the game, the way it was played throughout history. It’s to document the game. Some feel like it’s this very high honor that you have to earn with the combination of God-given talent, hard work, and perfect behavior. Well forget about the perfect behavior component, because there are plenty of bad guys in the Hall of Fame. A steroid user probably isn’t as villainous as some of the guys in there who never use PED’s, but ran a foul of society in some other way. We have to stop being judge and jury.
“We get so sanctimonious on this topic and I always go back to the NFL,” Vasgersian explained. “(If a player) gets a pop, it’s a four-game suspension. Forget about that in baseball; when there’s a PED pop, everybody takes offense, and the guy has a scarlet letter on his chest for the rest of time… but there’s a double standard for sports fans who don’t care if their NFL stars juice up, but they take offense when it’s a baseball player.”
The rigidity and esteem that the writers imbue on their vote is the exact reason that players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens aren’t in the Baseball Hall of Fame already, and while their vote percentages have been trending upward, with only three years remaining on the ballot for the both of them, when it’s all said and done, they may find themselves on the outside looking in.
To listen to Matt Vasgersian talk about this and more with Gary & Larry, listen from the beginning here: