Admittedly, I used to hold the concept of the Hall of Fame in the highest esteem. When I was a kid reading as much about baseball as I possibly could, Hall of Famers were flawless demigods from a thousand years ago who pitched comets and swung bolts of lightning.
My parents took me on a pilgrimage to Cooperstown when I was in fifth grade, and I dutifully took pictures of the plaques for Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and personal favorite Ty Cobb. As recently as a few years ago, I vowed to be in Canton when Dan Marino was enshrined into the football Hall.
As have many of my stances, my position has changed quite a bit over time. MarinoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s big day came and went; I never even made the conscious decision that it was too much of an effort to make the trip from New Jersey. I spent a couple days in Springfield, Mass., for a prep basketball tournament last winter and declined to check out the Basketball Hall, though I drove by it several times. (It was really cold outside.)
The baseball Hall, in particular, seems more and more laughable to me, a morality-soaked tug of war between old school Murray Chass types and new-age Dave Cameron-ites. Omar Vizquel is probably going to make it to Cooperstown, while Barry Bonds probably wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know.
Plus, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve gotten to know a few baseball Hall of Fame voters, and though some are sharp, by no means does that apply to all of them. One in particular, I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rely on to vote on what I have for lunch. For the most part, I tend to laugh off most Hall of Fame debates Ã¢â‚¬â€œ that donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t involve Bonds Ã¢â‚¬â€œ as the harmless rantings of fans, and fans with press passes.