Darren Rovell reports that the Hall of Fame is losing money due to dropping attendance. After reporting — and dismissing — some of the Hall’s own explanations for its financial troubles, Rovell says what he thinks is going on:
But none of those reasons is why the Hall of Fame is suffering.
If the stars, who were caught using PED’s, aren’t being inducted, people aren’t going to show up. It’s that simple.
Look, I’m always near the front of the line to yell at the Hall of Fame and its voters for making silly decisions, but this can’t possibly be the reason, can it? Mark McGwire is really the only Hall of Fame worthy player* who has been kept out due to PEDs. OK, so that’s one induction ceremony a couple of years ago. All of the others who look to be blackballed — Clemens, Bonds, Sosa, Palmiero — aren’t even eligible yet so their absence cannot be the reason the Hall has suffered.
Not that the Hall has necessarily distinguished itself in terms of its baseball choices in recent years. I’d like to think that inducting Buck O’Neil like they really friggin’ should have would have made for an amazingly well-attended ceremony. And of course, if Bert Blyleven had been inducted I and literally dozens of my fellow members of the Bert Blyleven Truther’s Brigade would have gone up to Cooperstown to it all go down.
But museum finances are a lot more complicated than that. The Hall of Fame is a very private and fairly secretive institution and, really, we have no way of knowing the real reasons why it’s having trouble making ends meet these days.
*Spare me the “McGwire wouldn’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame even if he was clean” argument. Sure, there’s a statistical case to be made, but if you don’t think the writers wouldn’t have voted him in on the first ballot but for the steroids stuff, you’re dreaming. I’ve yet to believe any actual voter who has cited that as the reason for not voting for him these past couple of years.