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Bill James on PEDs and punishment

12/12/2012

From Bill James Online, an interesting takes that relates to the Hall of Fame, in an article Bill writes "is about finding likenesses in things unlike -- hence, the title."


    In many cases punishment must be linked immediately to the offense, or it has no effect as enforcement. If your dog makes a mess on the rug and you punish him 24 hours later, when you find the mess, this has no effect; thus it is, in fact, NOT enforcement of the rules. If a small child does wrong and you put him in time out two hours later, this has no value as enforcement of the rules, because the child makes no connection. ...

    The Illegal Immigration problem and the Steroid/Hall of Fame Issue are alike in this way: That both of these are cases in which people want to enforce after the fact rules which can only effectively be enforced at the time of the transgression. In 1985, in 1988, in 1991 players were using steroids, and there was absolutely no enforcement of any rule against this (if, indeed, there was a rule against this, which we can debate another time.) Now people want to penalize those players, take their accomplishments off the boards.

OK, I doubt that will change anyone's opinion on the Hall of Fame, but I like the analogy.