Roy Halladay Doesn’t Want Bonds, Clemens in the Hall of Fame

Ahead of Wednesday’s Hall of Fame balloting results being announced, former Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay tweeted his thoughts on the controversy surrounding Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and their candidacy: he’s against both being allowed in.

Clemens shot back, saying that Halladay’s “strength coach” (likely Brian McNamee) accused him of using amphetamines.

Halladay was brief in response:

Legally speaking, there is no evidence that Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens has never failed a drug test and he was found not guilty on all six counts of lying to Congress. There’s more evidence that Bonds used steroids, but no positive tests. He did test positive for amphetamines, but if Halladay wants to ban players for having used amphetamines, he would need to broaden his crusade to remove Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Mike Schmidt from the Hall of Fame as well.

Halladay’s comment is irksome because he played with PED users during his career. Ostensibly, at one point or another, he was aware of this and did nothing about it. He was teammates with Antonio Bastardo in 2013, when the lefty reliever was named for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. He was given a 50-game suspension as a result. Furthermore, Halladay’s favorite catcher Carlos Ruiz was suspended 25 games in 2012 for using a prohibited stimulant (Adderall) without medical clearance.

Knowing this, it’s hard to take Halladay’s comments seriously. It’d be one thing if he were consistent with all players, but he has been selectively applying his moral criteria. PED use isn’t just an issue when it comes time to get elected for the Hall of Fame; it’s an issue when your team is regularly reaching the post-season as well.

As an aside, this was hilarious:

Halladay’s comment was simply a statement of opinion. It contained no facts or arguments. Somehow, that impacted the zeal with which Miller believes players suspected of using PEDs should be kept out of the Hall of Fame. Nevermind statistics or legal evidence; if an athlete you liked while covering the team says something, that’s what you believe.

Miller’s tweet is a great example why baseball is struggling with young people. According to The Wall Street Journal in October 2013, the average age of a baseball television viewer increased by about 4.5 years  from 2009 to 2013. Kids six years old to 17 made up only 4.3 percent of the national audience. Then you have old guys like Miller tearing down the stars that people around my age — late 20’s — watched and there’s very little reason to keep an interest in baseball. Major League Baseball has been glacially slow in adapting to technology — it still sends lawyers after people for posting Vines and .gifs of highlights — then adds a moral crusade that only middle-aged men care about to create a negative, Luddite feel to the sport. In a way, both Halladay and Miller are culpable in continuing to make this sport less and less palatable to the upcoming generation. In other words: they’re hurting the sport big time.

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30 comments

  1. Bob

    January 07, 2016 07:43 PM

    There was evidence that Clemens used PEDs. The testimony of McNamee is evidence. The syringe that McNamee retained was evidence. The jury felt that that evidence did not rise to guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But that is evidence.

    I think you’re speculating that Halladay knew who was using and when. If you the federal government can’t find evidence of Bonds and Clemens using PEDs as you posit, how is Roy Halladay going to do so? He’s not Dick Tracy. Halladay had no power to do anything to Chooch or Bastardo. Who knows what he said to them in the clubhouse?

    I don’t see Halladay as being morally selective. He is saying that PED cheats should not be in the Hall. He didn’t say they should be banned from baseball altogether. He didn’t say they should give their rings back or have their stats struck. Just that they shouldn’t be in the Hall.

    If there was an outcry of players who said let the PED cheats in, it could change the voters opinion on whether to vote them in. The same works in the converse. It would be silly for Miller to ignore a contemporary of the PED-cheats who will probably get into the Hall’s opinion. If Ken Griffey, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Rickey Henderson come out and says to let the cheats in and Miller changes his mind because of that, would that still be hilarious?

    I think you are really reaching contending that Miller’s tweet is an example of why youth aren’t watching baseball. You have more twitter followers than Miller. I’m unsure if many youths even know or read Miller. I think other factors – some that you highlight – have an impact. But hardly Miller.

    I personally stopped watching baseball for years because of the rampant steroid abuse. Once I felt baseball was on the path to cleaning things up, I came back. I don’t want to see the steroid cheats in the Hall. I won’t watch an NFL game because for the same reasons.

    • Pete

      January 07, 2016 10:16 PM

      Bob, beautifully written. I would add that no one is saying the PED cheats have to give back the extra money they earned from PED-inflated stats either. Denying PED cheats entry into the HOF is such a small, borderline meaningless “punishment”. Why is it so hard for Bill, et. al. to accept this small level of opprobrium for PED cheats?

      And can we please stop with the childish argument that if we cannot identify all PED cheats, then no PED cheats should be “punished”. You wouldn’t excuse a child based on the defense “he did it too while you weren’t looking”; just as the courts wouldn’t excuse a criminal based on the defense that “you didn’t catch all the other criminals”.

      • Tim

        January 08, 2016 12:12 PM

        That may be true about punishing a child in your analogy, Pete. But to connect it more closely to PEDS, if you knew fairly strongly that every kid in the school was doing something against the rules, something that had been tacitly allowed previously, but you only “caught” a handful of them red-handed then I’d say yes, you might well excuse them.

    • Romus

      January 08, 2016 08:17 AM

      Bob….wholeheartedly agree with your point.
      As an aside, with RH coming out like that, it would not surprise me that at some point down the road, if he continues to voice his opinion, he will be getting the ‘Curt Schilling’ treatment form the media.

      • Tim

        January 08, 2016 12:14 PM

        I think the Curt Schilling treatment is more related to his obsession with Nazis and hatred of Muslims than his stance on PEDS, so Doc has a way to go before earning that treatment.

      • Romus

        January 08, 2016 02:28 PM

        Agree, Doc has a ways to go, but remember Curt Schilling started voicing his opinion about the PED guys back when he was close to retirement. I guess now he has moved on and has broaden his horizons to world events.

  2. Eric Hines

    January 07, 2016 10:04 PM

    Halladay manages to express his opinion succinctly at least. And doesn’t drag in a whole bunch of pseudo argument and side issues. This is a great example of why baseball needs more fans who can actually string three related thoughts together. Young or old. Or fans that stick to twitter.

  3. Pete

    January 07, 2016 11:20 PM

    I was in grade school for McGwire’s rookie year and he immediately became my favorite player (so much so that the A’s became my co-favorite team with the Phillies for some years). I was heavily invested as a fan in him and other PED users for many years (see Lenny Dykstra circa 1993) including through the 1998 home run race when I was old enough to go to every game when McGwire and Sosa visited town. These PED users were the stars of my youth and very young adulthood.

    I, for one, have no problem with Miller or anyone else tearing the stars of my youth down. If anything, thinking back to my excitement in 1998 and sitting through interminable rain delays in the hope that I’d see a McGwire at bat now makes me feel like a sucker.

    So please, tear them down.

    And guess what, neither their cheating nor the tear down (from previously complicit journalists) has driven me from baseball. Although I do mourn the loss of the magic of “61”, which I suppose fans just a few years younger than me can never understand. And to be honest, that’s part of what McGwire, Sosa and Bonds robbed from the younger fans: those magical milestones that have all now become forever meaningless (maybe the saber movement would have smashed them anyway).

  4. Dan

    January 08, 2016 02:16 AM

    I can’t agree that the PED issue is “a moral crusade that only middle-aged men care about.” I’m 26, and I’m very uneasy about allowing PED users into the Hall.

    • Tim

      January 08, 2016 12:07 PM

      Fair enough, but I’d guess you’re very much in the minority for your age group.

    • Tim

      January 08, 2016 12:25 PM

      Also, totally serious question, but what about the guys cited above (Mays, Schmidt, Aaron) and many others who were known to use amphetamines to enhance their performance? Are you uneasy about having them in there? Because I used to have a fairly strong anti-PEDS stance, but once I started learning about how widespread amphetamine use was in the game, that was one of the things that started me on the track of not caring, at least personally.

      • Bob

        January 08, 2016 01:01 PM

        There’s a huge difference between the effects of amphetamine on the body and anabolic steroids on the body. Taking Winstrol or Trenbolone increases strength and muscle mass exponentially. Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine don’t add to strength gains.

      • Francisco (FC)

        January 08, 2016 02:12 PM

        PED stands for Performance Enhancing Drugs, not Strength Enhancing Drugs. There are many ways to enhance performance, not just strength. Baseball is a 162 game marathon. Amphetamines give a pretty big boost to focus, concentration and endurance. Arguably, amphetamines may have a bigger overall impact than anabolic steroids by allowing players to last longer and more effectively into a long season. It’s a PED like any other.

        What’s good for the goose must be good for the gander or you are a hypocrite. In that scenario you’re not really anti PEDs, just anti steroids and therefore willfully ignoring the long history of drug abuse from baseball players in the game dating all the way to the 60’s and possibly even further back.

      • Bob

        January 08, 2016 02:44 PM

        Ibuprofen is a performance enhancing drug under your definition. You want to use a very broad definition to encompass things to suit your argument. It’s a red herring.

        It’s not arguable. You are flat out wrong that amphetamines have a bigger impact than anabolic steroids. Go to the gym for three months taking only amphetamines before you go. Go to the gym for three months taking only injections of Winstrol for three months. There is a tremendous difference.

      • Francisco (FC)

        January 08, 2016 03:20 PM

        Again, you’re restricting your definition of performance enhancing to just strength. That’s what you do in the gym, strength training. It’s not the only thing that can enhance performance.

        Your Ibuprofen comment is another straw man because no one is saying it belongs in the same class of drugs as Amphetamines. They are not identified by MLB as a PED. You’re the one with the narrow focus on anabolic setroids to the exlusion of other drugs.

        Your gym comment is also a straw man because no one is arguing Amphetamines will give you increased strength or muscle mass. Amphetamines do things that have nothing to do with strength but give tremendous benefits regarding fatigue and alertness that are beyond the simple effects of painkillers.

        As long as you don’t recognize this salient point no progress can be made.

      • Bob

        January 08, 2016 03:55 PM

        My initial comment dealt with strength. “Taking Winstrol or Trenbolone increases strength and muscle mass exponentially. Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine don’t add to strength gains.” I don’t know how you can read that any other way.

        MLB defines performance enhancing drugs and stimulants differently. mlb.mlb.com/pa/pdf/jda.pdf

        We’re talking about performance enhancing drugs. I think you’re making up a definition and it’s difficult for me to understand your personal definition. You might be conflating stimulants with PEDs.

      • Francisco (FC)

        January 08, 2016 05:17 PM

        No, MLB separates different PEDS into categories. Among them are: Performance Enhancing Substances and Stimulants per the JDA. But those are merely labels, BOTH are considered Performance Enhancing Drugs per the USADA:

        www.usada.org/substances/effects-of-performance-enhancing-drugs/

        Stimulants are listed there. What’s in question though is how much of an effect can each different PED have in baseball performance. While you focus on strength you are missing Tim’s point that Amphetamines also enhance performance in their own way allowing players to push their body beyond where normal fatigue kicks in and starts degrading endurance, concentration and focus. Those effects are very real.

      • Bob

        January 08, 2016 05:25 PM

        How is USADA in volved in MLB?

  5. ...

    January 08, 2016 04:07 AM

    Hi, I’m a guy in that “late 20s” demographic you mentioned, Bill. Well, guess what? I don’t want Bonds or Clemens so much as sniffing Cooperstown.

  6. Romus

    January 08, 2016 08:11 AM

    Please do not distinguish between amphetamines and Adderall…..they are the same along with dextroamphetamines. Not sure they benefit to the increase of muscle/skeletal growth. I was led to believe they increase mental acuity. Basically they are mind drugs.
    PEDs as ergogenic assistance drugs, HGH, beta-2 agonists, AAS, the older anabolic steroids et al, focus on lean muscle growth, quick recovery and endurance.
    They all tend to enhance short term production.

  7. Paul

    January 08, 2016 10:18 AM

    Going along with your last paragraph or so, I made the following point that encompasses so many of the issues with baseball: There are far too many backwards thinkers and not nearly enough forward-thinkers. Look at the guy who won’t vote for any first-year balloters for the HOF simply because Ruth, Mays, etc. weren’t unanimous, so he has made it his journey to make sure no one else is unanimous as a result. That’s backwards thinking. Instead of looking back at mistakes of the past, how about thinking forward and voting on Griffey unanimously and getting it right going forward? This is the same problem that has affected the slow introduction of instant replay, along with all the other issues you’ve mentioned and many others. Until more forward thinkers are brought into the sport, baseball will lag among the young.

  8. Nick

    January 08, 2016 12:24 PM

    Bill,
    Do you have the statistics on whether or not younger people were more interested during the steroid era? Multiple home runs during games and zero recovery time from major stars would enhance the viewing experience for younger people as well. Bonds, McGwire and Sosa helped resurrect baseball after the strike.

  9. Beez Nutz

    January 08, 2016 12:39 PM

    They should just remove any of the guys linked to PED’s from the ballots altogether and have them voted upon by current HOF’ers and peers who played during their era’s respectively (should they want to).

    Too many guys are having their chance at the hall ruined by allowing these players to remain on the ballot and absorb one of the 10 allotted spots voters get.

    • Greg

      January 08, 2016 01:33 PM

      OK, but how do you decide if they’re “linked to PEDs”? Failed test? Rumors? Mitchell report? I could foresee a situation where the BBWAA can actually get sued for libel if they were to, say, remove Jeff Bagwell from ballots and claiming he was linked to PEDs.

  10. Francisco (FC)

    January 08, 2016 02:22 PM

    Let’s be clear on one item. The only reason steroids became a big thing was because it involves MLB’s sacred cow: “The Home Run Record”. If this had been Ricky Henderson using PEDs to break the Stolen Base Record, we would have nowhere NEAR the same levels of agita and internet discussion generated around it.

    • Romus

      January 08, 2016 02:36 PM

      Good point.
      However, there is the case to be made, that Babe Ruth and his propensity for hitting HRs seem to enhance the game into the American psyche back in the 20s and 30s.

      • Francisco (FC)

        January 08, 2016 03:08 PM

        Babe Ruth changed the way the game was played and was monumental in shaping how baseball was perceived and enjoyed by fans. It’s a very important legacy and that’s also how Baseball’s sacred cow was born. My ultimate point is any subject involving home runs and its associated records has always been sensitive no matter what (see Roger Maris and his famous asterisk).

        A big problem is that this passion hasn’t really allowed for reasonable discourse and study into quantifying the effects of all PEDS in an objective fashion. Such study would inform us better of the era in which such drugs were out of control (and not just players but overall, teams and MLB were complicit, heck even the journalists covering the game). It would let us know how much they actually shaped the baseball landscape compared to other factors. It would educate us much better and put things into proper perspective when we need to discuss policies on dealing with drug violations today and of course understand the impact of them on player careers and ultimately their long term health.

        MLB has so far dealt with it not from the front leading but from behind following what’s best for their PR (at least, that’s my conclusion). Minor leaguers can get 50 game suspensions after a second positive test of Marijuana for crying out loud (despite that fact that’ it’s legal in some states and decriminalized in others), Major leaguers don’t get suspensions for it. The difference? the MLBPA. Steroids get 50 game suspensions and Amphetamines get 25 game suspensions. MLB consistently applies suspension in terms of how bad the PR is for a specific violation.

        It’s really a farce. Better than nothing but it’s a system that’s not a product of education and study but PR and hysteria.

      • Francisco (FC)

        January 08, 2016 05:37 PM

        Now I’m starting to think you’re being obtuse on purpose: Amphetamines are performance enhancing drugs, period. They have always been considered such:

        sports.vice.com/en_us/article/a-brief-history-of-performance-enhancing-drugs

        espn.go.com/special/s/drugsandsports/amphet.html

        Therefore any discussion regarding blocking athletes from the hall of fame because of PEDs necessarily will involve a discussion of those ahtletes already in the hall that have used PEDs, and yes: that includes Amphetamines per Bill Baers comment above:

        He did test positive for amphetamines, but if Halladay wants to ban players for having used amphetamines, he would need to broaden his crusade to remove Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Mike Schmidt from the Hall of Fame as well.

        But again, we don’t have good enough data on the quantifiable effects of Amphetamines, Steroids, etc. on performance in the game of baseball. Mostly anecdotes, assumptions and suppositions.

      • Francisco (FC)

        January 08, 2016 05:39 PM

        Oh crap that was supposed to be posted above. Anyways after posting three times it’s clear there’s no way headway possible.

  11. Eric D

    January 10, 2016 04:17 AM

    This is the easiest way to look at it in my opinion. Steroids are Performance Enhancing Drugs, they push your performance past what you can natural physically do without them. Stimulants are Performance Stabilizing Drugs, meaning they won’t make your current ability level higher but they will bring out your currently ability level when you may not have the energy to do so on your own. Basically they allow you to perform at your HIGHEST NATURAL ability more often and for longer while Steroids will actually push your ability level past what you can natural do. Not sure how well I explained that.

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