Every year, baseball writers get to vote for who they think should get into the Hall of Fame, and every year, it is treated as a deeply important cultural moment.
If a writer has a vote, he can use it how he chooses. If he chooses to explain why he voted the way he did, then it's on him to do so in a way that isn't patronizing or stupid. Some are successful in this vein. Others are Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe.
Shaughnessy won't be voting for those guys who failed tests or openly admitted to steroid use. Fair enough. He also won't be voting for Mike Piazza or Jeff Bagwell, who've never failed a drug test:
Yes, farmer Dan Shaughnessy is gnawing on some straw and sniffing the wind as the clouds gather. "Storm's comin'," he mutters. He can feel it in his bones.
"[Frank] Thomas had a Popeye body, but was never suspected of being a 'roids guy. Lucky him.
This is where we go off the rails. Like Thomas, guys such as Piazza and Bagwell have Hall of Fame numbers and never tested positive for PEDs. But they look dirty. Something doesn't make sense. Thomas makes sense.
This is where it gets unfair and subjective. I don't vote for the PED guys, so it's easy to say no to Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGwire, and Palmeiro. They have positive tests and/or admissions and/or multiple appearances in the Mitchell Report. Piazza and Bagwell have none of that. They just don't look right."
It was later pointed out that not only does Shaughnessy not use real things to make decisions, but he has long used his vague suspicions as the basis for his votes.