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

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

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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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.

Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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