Here we are. Right in the middle of January. A month before catchers and pitchers report at spring training. Or in other words, a month before anything moderately exciting may happen for the Yankees. However, a few interesting things have occured in the last week. The hall of fame voters voted no one into the hall. With a ballot that looked more like the Mitchell Report, the BBWAA had to make some hard decisions. The numbers these players put up were easily the best of that generation, and many of those numbers surpassed the greats of the game. However, those achievements came under the shadow of steroid use and performance enhancers. Though many of these players were never caught using PED's, and some have even been acquited in court (Bonds and Clemens) the speculation of their use has pretty much made the decision for most people. In order to prove someone as a steroid use in court, the courts would need video evidence of the player being injected with a performance enhancer, while verbally acknowledging that he's using the performance enhancer, with at least 3 witnesses who have medical degrees standing by and acknowledging that performance enhancers are being injected into the player, while the player signs a piece of paper stating that he's using performance enhancers, with a notary standing by to notarize the document, and then the player leaving behind his tainted urine and blood samples. Short of this, they cannot prove with certaintly that a player is using anything. However, the public opinion needs far less evidence to be convinced that someone was using PED's. What the courts call "circumstantial evidence" the public calls proof. And for this reason, Clemens and Bonds will always be guilty.
A number of hall of fame players applauded the BBWAA's members vote to keep suspected PED users out of the hall. Some people think these players will eventually make it in, but that the BBWAA was making a statement by not voting them in on the first ballot. In my opinion, I think it would be foolish to keep them out this year, only to vote them in next year. If the baseball world wants to make a statement about the steroid era, it should continue to keep these players out. Until we get to a place where we can reasonably trust MLB's testing policy, and their ability to catch and punish users, I think we need to remain suspicious. MLB has had an uptick in catching PED users of late (Melky Cabrera), but they also seem to have holes in their ability to keep players held responsible (Ryan Braun had his suspension overturned based on a technicality).
All in all, I look forward to the day when I can look at a hall of fame ballot and reasonably expect that its not full of artificially enhanced statistics and achievements.