If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say ...
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 11, 2007 3:15PM
We're guessing that The Daily Southtown's Paul Ladewski was following his mother's advice when he decided to submit a blank ballot for baseball's Hall of Fame voting. While many players with Hall of Fame numbers eligible for election were passed over because of steroid allegations — yes you, Mark McGwire — Ladewski decided to just forfeit the whole era.
With the sports world mired in debate about the steroids era and how its players should be viewed in comparison to other eras, of course such a move drew national attention.
Is that was Ladewski wanted? Did he do this hoping that he'd get to have a say about the issue on the national stage? Or was that just an uninteded consequence?
How anybody could pass on voting for Cal Ripken or Tony Gwynn is beyond Chicagoist's comprehension. Those two guys are two of the best ambassadors for the game it ever had in any era — ones who played hard, played every day, exemplified their positions, and believed in loyalty to team and fans over greed (each played for over 20 years, each with one team). Each represented everything a pro athlete should be, on and off the field.
If he truly wanted to indict all players whose careers overlapped the "steroids era," then why not try to help some of the worthy "old-timers" on the ballot, like Andre Dawson or Dale Murphy? If he's going to discount the achievements of more recent players, then shouldn't he take a more favorable look at the stats of those sluggers who put up their numbers without the "juice?" Seems only fair.