Most writers who feel compelled to send a message to the PED cheats also believe MLB was complicit in creating and promoting the entire era. And nobody -- with or without a ballot -- can argue that everyone in baseball, from the top down, didn't profit immensely along the way. And yet the leagues get a pass. The writers serve MLB's interests by refusing entry to those known or suspected of PED use -- Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza are the most famous hunch rejections -- despite the mounting evidence that writers are the only ones who truly care. Tony La Russa and Joe Torre were voted into the Hall of Fame, and nobody believes they weren't aware of what their best players were doing. Any suggestion that they were completely oblivious to what was happening directly under their noses would seem to discount their value as leaders of men.
I agree with Grantland's Jonah Keri when he says the Hall should be a place where people -- especially kids -- look with wonder at what great things have taken place in baseball. Again, it's not church, as anyone with a working knowledge of Ty Cobb or Gaylord Perry knows.
I also agree with Keri that the voting limit of 10 players, coupled with the moral grandstanding of the voters, will create a backlog that pushes worthy players off the ballot far too soon.
And the solution to the bigger problem, the untenable and growing problem, is simple:
This is what you're giving me, and I will vote accordingly.
By voting strictly on qualifications, the onus falls on the Hall or MLB or whoever else wants to take up the cause of adjudicating the morals of the game. To this point, the evidence indicates that, among the baseball community, BBWAA members are the only ones who seem to care.
It's not a cop-out; it's an acknowledgement that nobody is qualified to sort all of this out in an orderly fashion, and the voters shouldn't be the ones tasked to do it. If you believe MLB was complicit in the steroid era, then why do Bud Selig's bidding for him? Why make it easier on the decision-makers who profited from the boom times?
Vote for those who deserve enshrinement, and think about this moment: Selig standing on the dais with Bonds and Clemens on a beautiful July afternoon in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Standing guard at the gates might feel like the good fight, but it has become a losing, never-ending and ultimately fruitless battle.