The subject is current because Roger Clemens just beat the rap of lying to Congress, and fans and writers are consumed, yet again, with the issue of the Hall of Fame and steroids. Both Clemens and Bonds will be on the next ballot.
I limit my discussion to Bonds because I better understand his case, and if I write about both of them, I may need 1,000 pages.
...Let’s examine some arguments fans make in favor of putting Bonds in the Hall.
Apology No. 1
Athletes are merely entertainers, so who cares if they took (or take) performance-enhancing drugs?
Sure, some rock performers, to name one category, have used drugs. Their drugs of choice, as far as I know, are recreational drugs, not steroids or human growth hormone to give them a competitive advantage. (I am not condoning recreational drugs.) Baseball players work in a game where people keep score, publish daily standings, hold a postseason. Rock performers aren’t even competing in the way baseball players compete.
That means baseball is more than entertainment, or it’s a different kind of entertainment from music. A baseball game asks a question — Who will win? A rock concert does not ask that question. Steroid guys like Bonds — and I believe he knowingly was a steroid guy — violated the spirit of competition and changed the game for everyone to promote their own glory. If Jimi Hendrix took drugs, he did not change the nature of music.