- Rick Reilly, Columnist, ESPN.com
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I'm so pumped up for next July in Cooperstown!
I can't wait to see who's going to be in the crowd at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for new members Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre.
Maybe Mark McGwire will show up? It might be as close as he'll ever get. La Russa managed him for 15 seasons in both Oakland and St. Louis and says he never saw McGwire do a single steroid. Imagine that.
Maybe Alex Rodriguez will attend? He probably won't get in, either. Former New York Yankees skipper Torre says he didn't even notice A-Roid's alleged PED use in the four years he managed him. A-Roid's got plenty of time to go to Cooperstown. He's appealing a 211-game suspension for PEDs. Torre? No ban for him. In fact, he's an executive vice president of Major League Baseball now.
Maybe former Atlanta Braves manager Cox will look out in the crowd to see his old star Gary Sheffield. Probably not. Cox says he never saw all the PEDs Sheffield was taking when he had him right under his nose in the Atlanta clubhouse.
In all, the three managers being inducted oversaw at least 34 players who've been implicated as PED users and never noticed a thing wrong.
You could build a wing with the admitted and suspected drug cheats they won with: A-Rod, Roger Clemens (Torre), Jason Giambi (Torre and La Russa), McGwire, Jose Canseco (La Russa), Melky Cabrera (Torre and Cox), David Justice (Torre and Cox), Andy Pettitte (Torre), Manny Ramirez (Torre with the Dodgers) and Sheffield (Torre and Cox.)
If we get really lucky, maybe disgraced HGH pitcher Darren Holmes will show up. He played under all three of them!
It's just another year in the Hall of Farce, where the codes of conduct shift like beach sand; where the rules for one set of men are ignored for another; where PED poppers can never enter, but the men who turned their backs to the cheating get gleaming, bronze plaques.
Hail The Great Enablers!
La Russa's slipping on the Hall of Fame jersey Monday is the sight that really tested my gag reflex. He did more for juicers than Jack LaLanne. He managed McGwire and Canseco -- the Wright Brothers of the Druggie Era -- for 21 combined seasons. He made millions on their pimpled backs, won his first World Series title on their syringes and built his 33-year managing career on their artificially carved biceps.
Under La Russa, the Oakland clubhouse became a kind of leather-upholstered showroom for creams, rubs and injections that allowed players to work out harder, recover quicker and attack the game like a wolf in a hen house. It didn't change much in St. Louis, either, where he says he didn't notice what McGwire, Troy Glaus, Fernando Vina and Ryan Franklin were doing.
He spent eight hours a day around these guys, eight months a year, and yet he never saw a thing. Maybe he dressed in a different clubhouse?
But he goes into the HOF and those players never will. Maybe he can send them some Instagrams.
Hey, you think any of the three skips will mention how PEDS helped them get to that sunny afternoon in Cooperstown?
Oh, and I can't forget to thank Katalina at Tijuana Pharmacy for all her help. Like my players always said, "We can't get cut without Kat!"
You won't even have to be in Cooperstown to smell the hypocrisy. Even the faintest scent of a rumor of PED use is enough to sink a player now.
Take Houston Astros great Craig Biggio. He had more than enough career to get in, and even though there isn't a stitch of evidence against him, the writers have kept him out because they have a niggling hunch he might've used.
Remember, kids: If you play the game under even a single cloud of suspicion, you're out. Manage it under one? Come on in and pull up a plaque!
Can you imagine this in any other sport? Do you think for a second Johan Bruyneel, the manager of all of Lance Armstrong's cheating, champion Tour de France teams, didn't know what was going on? You figure Bonnie and Clyde's driver just thought they were always running late?
Next month, the writers are expected to vote down McGwire for the eighth time and Clemens for the second time. They're right to do it. Those guys are tainted beyond any reasonable doubt, though Clemens still maintains innocence. But for the expansion error committee to let these three managers in -- unanimously, no less -- after winning hundreds of games with better chemistry is the gold standard of double standards.
If you believe they didn't know, then you'll fit perfectly in Dupers Town.
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