Baseball's Hall of Fame ballot came to the house last week, a little late due to a new online registering system that I at first resisted becoming part of, but acquiesced eventually because, well, I wasn't quite ready yet to completely drop out of the conversation.
But I'm getting close and I'll tell you a few reasons why.
I'd like to think that Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio never dabbled because they seemed like good guys who seemed to work hard. I would love to believe Mike Piazza's rags to riches story as a late-round draft favor to Tommy Lasorda who made good – no, great – and thus dismiss suspicions about how that story might have been aided by what apparently was a common practice of his day.
And what of that practice, a practice that Major League Baseball seemed to wink at when guys like Lenny Dykstra and Kevin Mitchell and Dave Hollins suddenly found power in their swings that had never existed before? There are so many players from the 1980s and 1990s who escape our scrutiny because their careers were less than Hall of Fame caliber, players who have found their way into coaching, managing and even media jobs at the Major and Minor League level?
They escape our scrutiny for the most part. But the names up for the Hall of Fame? With each passing year, the debate gets as dirty as the uniforms they played in. And the sanctimony of at least some voters who see themselves as Holy Sees becomes, at times, unbearable.
Do I think Roger Clemens would be a Hall of Famer without any help? Absolutely? Barry Bonds? Probably. Sammy Sosa? Probably not. Should I simply vote that way, since their names are on the same sheet of paper that John Smoltz's is?
That's what I don't know. What I do know is that, either way, it doesn't feel right. The only thing I know for sure is that I wouldn't want to be admitted -- or kept out of -- the Hall this way.