The Absolute Worst Of The Terrible Arguments For Putting Barry Bonds In The Hall Of Fame

815-Baseball-Hall-of-Fame-CEvery year at this time, I issue commentary on the “steroid-users in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame” controversy. I’m not going to disappoint you this year.

Today the Hall will announce who the baseball writers deemed worthy, and, as usual, the acknowledged steroid cheats with Hall of Fame statistics will be resoundingly rejected. I don’t feel like revisiting this subject in depth again right now: I have done so before, many times. However, yesterday I nearly drove off the road listing to MLB radio commentators Casey Stern and Jim Bowden, supposedly baseball experts, give their reasons for voting for the entire range of steroid cheats, from Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire to Roger Clemens and the despicable Alex Rodriquez.

Baseball’s Hall of Fame, alone among the sports Halls,  includes ethics in its criteria for entry: a player must exhibit sportsmanship, integrity and have been a credit to the game. The average sportswriter who votes for candidates is about as conversant in ethics as he is in Aramaic, leading to an endless debate involving every rationalization on the list and  analogies so terrible that they melt the brain.For example, I constantly hear and read that the evidence that Barry Bonds used steroids is “circumstantial” so it is unfair to tar him as a steroid user. Such commentators don’t know what circumstantial evidence is. Criminals can be justly convicted beyond a reasonable doubt by circumstantial evidence, which is also known as indirect evidence. Direct evidence, if believed, proves the existence of a particular fact.  Circumstantial evidence proves facts other than the particular fact  to be proved, but reason and experience indicates that the indirect evidence is so closely associated with the fact to be proved that the fact to be proved may be fairly inferred by existence of the circumstantial evidence. There is direct evidence that Bonds was a steroid-user, but the circumstantial evidence, as the well-researched book “Game of Shadows” showed, is so voluminous that it alone is decisive. Literally no one thinks Bonds is innocent of using steroids. [You can read my analysis of the case against Bonds here, here, and here.]

Stern and Bowden, however, claim that it is unfair to refuse the honor of Hall of Fame membership to suspected steroid users because it is inevitable that some players who used steroids and were never caught or suspected will make it into the Hall, if there aren’t such undetected cheat in the Hall already. Continue reading

Disaster Ethics: The D.C. Naval Yard Shooting

Twelve dead? This is great---we can make another push for gun control!!!"

“Twelve dead? This is great—we can make another push for gun control!!!”

About 10 minutes from where I live, unidentified gunmen have killed 12 people (one of the gunmen is also dead) in an unexplained rampage. The facts are still being sorted out, and at least one shooter is still at large as I write this, but already two predictable examples of unethical disaster and crisis response have been on display:

1.  Reflex anti-gun tragedy exploitation

Apparently from now until the Second Amendment is but a distant memory, some Democratic politicians and anti-gun zealots will use every gun-related tragedy as a springboard to lobby for more regulations, and the facts be damned. At this point, we have not been told why the attack took place, who the shooters were, whether it was a terrorist act or not, whether the killers were Americans, whether or not the weapons were obtained illegally and what kind of guns they were. Never mind: interviewed on the radio, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congress’s non-voting member, immediately pointed out that with all the guns that are available in this country, it should be no surprise to anyone that tragedies like this occur. I’m sure she would have liked to have been able to claim that global warming also played a part, except that it is a cool day in Washington. Continue reading