THE WEEK THAT WAS

Jim Rodriguez: Baseball's Hall of Fame needs to embrace everyone

Roger Clemens did not make the Hall of Fame yet again. CultureMap.com

If you’ve ever been to the quaint hamlet of Cooperstown, NY, you know what I’m talking about. In that town is a living, breathing monument to baseball, The National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Soccer may be the beautiful game but baseball is the pure game. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying pure as in innocent. Not saying pure as in without fault.

I mean pure as in the Merriam-Webster definition: “containing nothing that does not properly belong.” That’s baseball. That’s America. The good and the bad of it.

So as the Hall welcomes in six new immortals: Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Jim Thome, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris... I ask where are Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and so on. You see, these guys “properly belong” in Cooperstown.

After all, what is the Baseball Hall of Fame? It’s a museum. It’s a place of education. It’s a place where a Roberto Clemente and a Ty Cobb can be under the same roof. It’s what truly makes America great.

Swing the doors open so Alex Rodriguez can be remembered for his 696 home runs AND his admission of using performance enhancing drugs.

I would build an exhibit explaining the steroid era of baseball. What did ‘the clear” do? What about “the cream?” Tell them about Jose Canseco and his needles. Tell them how it didn’t help guys hit balls 500 feet but how they could now play in Seattle on Wednesday, fly all night to New York and hit two homers on Thursday.

Tell people that from 1961 through 1994 three players hit 50 or more home runs in a season. It happened 23 times from 1995-2008. The top six home run seasons of all-time happened during this era capped off by Bonds’ 73 homer campaign in 2001. The man Bonds passed to be crowned baseball’s home run king, Henry Aaron, never hit 50 home runs in a season.

Tell them Sammy Sosa hit 66, 64 and 63 home runs in a season during this time. This was baseball’s Guilded Age.

Embrace the past so it may not happen again. Let the people know and decide what was real and what was lab built. 

Don’t let them fool you with talk about integrity of the game. That went out in 1919 with the Black Sox and again when the World Series was cancelled in 1994.

I love baseball. I love all of it. The pretty and the ugly. They say that the real penance for guys like Bonds, Clemens and ARod will be exclusion from those hallowed halls. 

Guys like that will never be erased. They don’t deserve to be forgotten. They deserve to be remembered for what they did.. the good and the bad.

In the end, it’s baseball. The pure game.

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The Texans didn't have an answer for Derrick Henry. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Romeo Crennel made a valorous call that might have costed the Houston Texans from winning their second consecutive game on Sunday. Up by seven with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter, Crennel decided to call a two-point conversion following Deshaun Watson's one-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

During the two-point conversion, Watson had a look at an open Randall Cobb, but Titans' defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons got a hand on the ball to deflect the pass. The failed conversion allowed the Titans to take a 42-36 victory over the Texans inside Nissan Stadium. Tennessee scored 13 unanswered points, which included a seven-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown to send the game into overtime.

"I think I would do it again," Crennel said during his media availability on Monday. "You are on the road against a divisional opponent who is undefeated, and if you could get that two-point conversion — you shut the door on them. We had a guy open, but unfortunately, the ball got tipped and we did not make it. I would do it again because it was a good choice."

The decision to not kick the field goal caused somewhat of an uproar, but it is understandable why Crennel made the call. Crennel had faith in Watson to put the Texans in a position to close the game, similar to his 4th-and-4 call during last week's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the end, Crennel's risky decisions could stem from the lack of faith he has in the Texans' depleted defense.

Houston's defense hit an all-time low against the Titans. They gave up a franchise-worst 601 total yards — with Derrick Henry accounting for 212 yards on 22 carries. But despite their struggles against the run, the Texans' secondary were just as faulty. They gave up a total of 338 yards through the air and allowed Tannehill to go 8-for-9 down the field during the Titans' final drive of regulation.

Had Houston's defense made a stop during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Texans could have ended the game 2-0 under their interim head coach.

"I wanted to go ahead and get the two points — I felt like that would have put the game out of reach for them," Crennel said. "If we had gotten it, we would have been in much better shape. But we did not get it. We did not perform well in overtime, and they [Titans] won the game."

Following Sunday's heartbreaking loss, Texans safety Justin Reid said it best, "Had we converted on the two-point conversion, this would be a totally different conversation. So it is what it is."

Up next, the 1-5 Texans will look to bounce back from defeat against the 4-1 Green Bay Packers, inside NRG Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off is at 12:00 PM CT.

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