Is this what we want -- a Hall that attempts to pretend that players who just happen to hold some of the greatest records in the entire record book are now invisible to the naked eye?
If we do -- if that's what we really want -- OK, fine. But I, personally, am really uncomfortable with that. I know I'm not alone.
And I hope the people who run this sport and the people who run the Hall understand that one of these years, they're going to have to explain what happened in the PED era somehow. No matter which trail through the wilderness they blaze.
A century from now, aren't kids as likely to ask their dads why Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (and Pete Rose, for that matter) aren't in the Hall of Fame as they would be to ask why they are -- if, by some miracle, those men are ever elected?
I'm sure it feels convenient now for everyone in Cooperstown to pull down the shades, hit the mute button and shovel some more snow off the front steps while the writers bear the brunt of this onslaught. But the Hall can't run from this topic forever.
Sooner or later, someone is going to have to deal with this issue in an honest, up-front sort of manner -- a manner that will allow future generations to comprehend the awkward way in which the Hall of Fame has dealt with this generation.
And you know what? Sooner would be a more excellent choice than later.
A year ago, after a very different election, I wrote a column pleading for a long, serious, national conversation about the Hall of Fame. I'm still waiting for my invitation to that chat-fest. But while I wait, the defining questions remain:
What do we want the Hall to become -- a museum of history or a shrine only to players who we'd love to pretend were both icons and saints?
What should we do about what is becoming the Lost Baseball Generation -- the greatest stars of a tainted era? Don't we need to figure out, sometime soon, where they fit in the real story of baseball history, as opposed to some make-believe narrative that erases them from JumboTrons everywhere, only to have them keep lurching back to life?
I'm as grateful as MLB commissioner Bud Selig is that we've just had an election that ensures that Induction Day 2014 will be a lot more fun-filled than Induction Day 2013. But that doesn't mean there aren't staggering issues that someone needs to deal with.
This just in: Ballot gridlock doesn't only take its toll on this sport's favorite outcasts -- Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and Palmeiro. If that's what the pooh-bahs-that-be believe, they haven't thought this through.
We're talking about Curt Schilling (who watched 54 votes disappear) and Alan Trammell (who plummeted by 72).
We're talking about Larry Walker (who took a 65-vote fall) and Lee Smith (who endured one of the most precipitous tumbles in history -- 101 votes).
Ten years ago, players like them -- players who dangled on that fine line between Hall of Famer/not Hall of Famer -- had enough breathing room on this ballot to get the serious look they deserved.