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Column Feedback

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by pressboxramblings07, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. This is a column I wrote after the Hall of Fame elections. We've been through the local writer writing a more national column ... so we really don't have to go through that again. Give me some feedback and solid criticism. I'm open to everything. Thanks in advance.

    Here goes:

    It was one of the greatest days of my life, walking down the "Hall" at baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

    I was 13, standing next to my father, who is just as big a baseball fan as I am. He introduced me to the game, and here we were, making my biggest dream come true.

    We stopped and read every plaque in the room. I almost broke down in tears when reading the one of my lifelong hero, Mickey Mantle.

    Now here I am today, wondering if that could ever happen again.

    Baseball made this Hall of Fame election about Mark McGwire and other issues that have no business being associated with the game.

    The Hall of Fame is a shrine reserved for mortal beings who looked immortal on a baseball field.

    It's supposed to be for the players who filled seats, shaped the game and were among the greatest to play the game.

    The Hall of Fame is for those we don't have to pass a thought about whether they belong. It's for the ultra-elite, the kings of the sports.

    Now it's about steroids.

    It's about testimonies to Congress, and what happened in the past.

    It's about the court of public opinion guessing whether a player cheated to gain an advantage.

    It's all about coulda-shoulda-woulda's.

    And baseball's to blame.

    Blame baseball for disregarding Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn, undoubtedly two of the greatest at their positions, from receiving life-changing news.

    This election should have been about Ripken and Gwynn, and even McGwire. Blame baseball because it wasn't.

    Blame baseball for putting itself in a position for disaster. All the powers that be took their players for granted, thinking that they would never resort to drugs to make themselves better.

    Bud Selig and Co. forgot we live in a selfish world with an undying love for fame and money. We see people who make those choices every day, athletes or not.

    So blame baseball for implementing its steroids policy two decades late. Blame baseball for not applying any foundation to the continued building of an empire.

    Blame baseball for wallowing in a world of administrative mediocrity, which resulted in the loss and bitterness of sports' greatest fans. Baseball fans are the most loyal and dedicated, and those feelings are going the way of the horse and buggy.

    Selig - and remember, this is the guy who ended an All-Star game in a tie - put the game in this position. He put a dark cloud around every player who played in the "Steroids Era."

    It's embarrassing enough that baseball has a time period called the "Steroids Era." Now, the players and fans suffer.

    Now we actually have to question whether McGwire is a Hall of Famer.

    His career ignited with 49 home runs and the fire grew to a single-season record of 70 in 1998. That year, McGwire and Sammy Sosa revived baseball from the dead and the remnants of the 1994 strike.

    His home runs erupted crowds, and the limelight that surrounded him is more than memorable. Forget his batting average. It's the most overrated stat in baseball and not the reason Big Mac was paid millions.

    Just look at his .588 career slugging percentage. Better than Mantle. Better than Willie Mays. Better than Hank Aaron.

    McGwire was responsible for bringing many fans back to baseball. Now, many of them are gone again.

    For that, blame baseball.

    Blame baseball while fans watched and applauded Gaylord Perry on the mound, his throne for cheating. The thing is, he admitted to it.

    He's in the Hall of Fame, while writers still disregard the Bert Blyleven's, Lee Smith's and Goose Gossage's, who are left wondering why they don't belong.

    Blame baseball for wondering how it should celebrate Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's all-time home run record. Fans outside of San Francisco are in a mostly collective backlash against a record that should be celebrated, regardless of who the player is.

    Bonds may or may not be in this position with a past policy in place. It sure would be a lot more comforting, though, if we didn't have to question greatness.

    Blame baseball for putting writers in the position of questioning morality and carrying out personal vendettas.

    Maybe that's why two writers submitted blank ballots, not voting for either Ripken or Gwynn.

    Maybe that's why Albert Belle - yes, that Albert Belle - got 19 votes to be enshrined next to Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. Maybe that's why someone voted for Jay Buhner.

    It's almost laughable.

    For that, blame baseball.
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