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Hall of Fame voters can dish it out, but can they take it?

On Wednesday, the Baseball Writers Association of America will announce its most anticipated Hall of Fame vote in a long time, maybe of all time. It's expected that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the most dominant everyday player and pitcher, respectively, of their era, will not get enough votes. It's not even expected to be close.

The reason is easy enough to understand. Bonds and Clemens, despite their immense baseball talents displayed over two decades, were likely steroid users for relatively small parts of their careers, despite Bonds being convicted of nothing except jibber-jabbering under oath and Clemens not convicted of anything at all, even though a longtime personal trainer testified and a longtime former teammate had stated they had first-hand knowledge of Clemens' use of performance-enhancing drugs.

This is all familiar ground, and no doubt many have had enough of it, securely settled on their own opinions and don't care to slog through it again.

OK. Fair enough. This isn't an attempt to change anyone's opinion or to argue on behalf of or against Bonds or Clemens.

Instead, it's an attempt to challenge the voters, the writers, many of whom can pontificate as if divinely inspired. They can dish it out. But can they take it?

These are the writers who supposedly "covered" Bonds and Clemens, if "covered" means getting to watch too many games for free from the sterilized comfort of the press box and playing the role of locker-room stenographer, faithfully reporting every pregame and postgame banality from those friendly to the media, and every snub from those who weren't.

Instead of "covering" Bonds and Clemens and the many other stars of the so-called steroid era, the baseball writers should have been uncovering the biggest sports scandal in some 40 or 50 years, which was unfolding, season after season, right under their eyes.

Instead, they and baseball executives, including commissioner Bud Selig, cheered the

McGwire-Sosa home-run duel in 1998 and all the inflated power numbers (both pitching and hitting) that followed.

Then, former American League MVP Jose Canseco blew the whistle with a tacky memoir. For his trouble, Canseco was vilified as a rat, a mercenary, a muscle-bound dimwit, a pariah.


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