The New York Times made a bold statement today. Or maybe it was just an attention-grab — a way to stake claim to some of the NYC front page chatter that’s been centered around the New York Post’s many ridiculous covers lately. Either way, it’s notable.
The front page of the Times’ sports section today is almost entirely bare. At the top of the page, underneath the Sports Thursday heading, are the words “Welcome to Cooperstown.” Below, there’s nothing but white space.
Take a look:
The lack of content below the headline is, of course, commentary on the fact that zero players were inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame this year. And that’s no mistake. In what the Times called “the most resounding referendum on the legacy of steroids in baseball,” voters decided to deny players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa (each with Hall of Fame credentials on paper, but the dark cloud of steroid rumors — and facts — above his head) entrance into the hallowed Hall.
This year is the first that Bonds and Clemens have been on the ballot and they may eventually sway enough voters to gain admission into Cooperstown. The fact that the two players, arguably the best to ever hit and pitch, respectively, aren’t slam-dunk, first-ballot Hall of Famers is very telling, though. The bitterness that baseball fans — and baseball writers, in particular — feel as a result of the steroids era remains strong.
It probably doesn’t help that both players aren’t exactly known for their cozy relationship with the media, either.
Bonds, baseball’s all-time home run king, got barely more than 36 percent of the vote — well short of the 75 percent he’ll need to get in the Hall. Clemens, holder of a record seven Cy Young awards, did slightly better at nearly 38 percent.
Clemens posted a message on his Twitter account, saying that he isn’t surprised by the result:
This ———–> twitter.com/rogerclemens/s…
— Roger Clemens (@rogerclemens) January 9, 2013
Bonds remained silent.
Two players on the 2013 ballot, Craig Biggio and Jack Morris, received nearly enough votes to get into the Hall. Biggio got 68.2 percent in his first year on the ballot and Morris got 67.7 in his 14th year.