Rob Manfred was up in Bristol, Connecticut to speak with ESPN baseball writers and reporters, so expect to see a lot coming out about those meetings in the next few days. The first thing, from Jayson Stark, is fun.
Stark reports that Manfred would advise Hall of Fame voters not to “surmise” that certain players used performance-enhancing drugs unless there is “credible evidence.” He notes that, yes, with someone like Barry Bonds, there’s a lot of evidence, so that’s not big deal. But he goes on:
“The guys I’m concerned about are, there are players out there who are talked about where there is literally nothing. They have nothing, other than, you know, ‘He looked like X.’ Trust me, from somebody who spent a lot of time doing it, you can’t decide whether or not somebody was using steroids, based on what they look like. That is not enough evidence to make that determination.”
That describes Piazza and Bagwell, the two current Hall of Fame candidates who have been the subject of most of that kind of speculation by Hall of Fame voters.
Odds any Hall of Fame voter’s mind is changed on this: about zero, I’d say. The people who vote this way long ago decided that they are Defenders of the Sacred Hall, not reasonable actors, and good sense like that which Manfred is offering here will not deter them from their quest.