In the past two days we’ve seen two columns from New York newspapers arguing that it’s time to reconsider Barry Bonds and get him in the Hall of Fame:
There’s not a lot of new ground gone over here. Mostly the idea that, now that the federal perjury and obstruction of justice charges against him have been formally dropped, there’s no reason to keep him out of Cooperstown. Color me less-than-impressed, both in terms of the arguments and the idea that it will change anything.
The idea that dropping the charges against Bonds makes a difference requires one to have considered them consequential to begin with. As we’ve argued many, many times around here, the charges were legally meritless, even if Bonds did lie under oath. They certainly had no bearing on his baseball credentials — which are beyond considerable — and little if any bearing on his actual history of PED use, which has been well-documented for at least eight years, mostly in the “Game of Shadows” book. If the PED stuff mattered to you before, the charges being dropped shouldn’t matter now. And of course if they didn’t matter to you before there is no way you didn’t support him for the Hall of Fame in the first place.
As for the prospects: it won’t make a difference. I seriously doubt his support exceeds 40% in the Hall of Fame vote in the next few years. And now that the time on the ballot has been reduced to 10 years from 15 there is even less time in which people can change their minds. I suspect that the anti-Bonds rump which will never change its mind is at least 50% and maybe even more. And of course you need 75% support for induction.
So, it’s a nice idea and one can hope that the best player in baseball in the past 40 years would make the Hall of Fame one day. I just don’t see how anything changed that would make that possible any time soon.