In response to SpacemanEephus' comment:
The purists / historians started the witchhunt. I personally never gave a crap that longstanding records were broken; however, purists did. These purists frustrate me. They are the reason why it took way too long to incorporate instant replay. Bring on instant replay, bring on quest tech (or whatever its called).
"Blah, blah, blah, human element"
Shut up w/ that crap! Getting the call right is more important.
The game doesnt need to be preserved, it needs to be modernized. All these owners are scared white men afraid of change. They proved it when they colluded against Mark Cuban. He would be great for the sport.
These same DBs are the ones moaning about long-standing records being broken. Guess what? You shouldnt be comparing stats across eras anyways. Its a foolish and overly simplistic comparison to begin with!!
But thats the reason why PED use flys under the record in other sports. Because baseball purists started a witch hunt because they didnt want to see records broken. Give me a break.
Allow me to rebutt, as a semi-purist. I agree that the sanctity of records is no basis for a witch hunt. And that a witch hunt is ridiculous since the league and fans everywhere basically provided the needles. However, as a semi-purist, I found the game significantly less beautiful in the 'roid era. The recent return to pitching dominance has made the game whole again. So, THIS should be the reason for The Clampdown. Of course, as we are seeing, there is no way to stay ahead of the PED curve, so it is still going to happen. I have no answer for this. maybe it is better to just let the juice flow and the homeruns sail. But, I much prefer the game when you have to be a real hitter to put 30 out in a year and where pitchers can attack the strike zone without fear of every inside fastball being cleaned out with a 500 foot homerun by every pre-roid-punch-and-judy hitter.
As a baseball semi-purist and amateur historian, I disagree.
What started this "witch hunt" was actually at some point an honest attempt to clean up the game because baseball had reached a point where younger athletes felt steroids, et. were the only way to make it to the majors. However, the media and casual fanbase are the ones I constantly hear crying cheat for one very simple reason - they hate any form of cheating that leads to more home runs. When a layer is caught now, I never hear anyone say "Oh no! This makes him a bad role model who will influence teenagers to turn to steroids." I do hear "Take away his MVP and make him inelgible for Cooperstown!!"
Anyone citing "sanctity of the records has no clue about the history of the game. Baseball records are about the shoddiest in all of sports. I sometimes think fans believe the game was invented in 1869 and stayed exactly the same until Jose Canseco showed up with a syringe.
Baseball records are all over the place with rule changes, culture changes, season lengths, etc. How can anyone really defend the "sanctity" of the records the way baseball keeps them? Rule changes like foul ball strike/not a strike or "last seen fair". Don't these have greater impact?
What about medical adanvancement? Aren't contact lenses and cortisone shots factors in player performance, and advantes Babe Ruth did not have? Where does the line get drawn?
While we are at it, doesn't not having actual playing field dimensions affect records? (The MLB rulebook does have ballpar dimensions. No one obeys them.)
So baseball changes the season length to 162 games, and Roger Maris breaks the single -season home run record. But it does not count because the rule was changed, and he gets an "*". Bob Gibson throw a 1.12ERA and the next season, they lower the mound. No asterisk for Gibson? Oh thats right - not a home run record.
And why does MLB ignore everything before 1900? Or, really, why do they ignore some things but not others. For example, Hugh Duffy hit .440 in 1894. Is this the record? Does Matt Kilroy get credit for his 513 strikeouts in 1886 as a record? Kilroy's season reamins anonymous, somehow less than Nolan Ryan and his mere 383 strikeouts. Sometimes Duffy actually gets acknowledged over Nap Lajpoie's .426, which strikes me as odd because .440 is not "sometimes" better than .426.
Now Cy Young, those 511 wins have been a historic number for a long, long time. This is odd because 267 of his wins came before 1900. So why has Young always gotten credit for his pre-1900 numbers, yet Duffy has not? Duffy FACED Young in 1894. and even homered off him on June 1 of that year. Yet somehow the baseball record book always told me that Young got credit for pitching to Duffy, but Duffy did not get credit for hitting off Young. I hope Duffy did not trash talk Young after that homer.
Duffy "Beat you that time! No You Award for you."
Young "The joke's on you. No one will count it, not back here in 1894. But if you wait for 2 years and hit in 44 straight games, that will count!!"
Ask someone whose record Babe Ruth broke for the single-season HR title. Chances are, the answer will be Buck Freeman, who hit 25 in 1899. This makes for an odd record holder, since Ned Williamson hit 27 in 1884. Why no credit for Williamson? (I have heard his home/road splits are the reason - 25 at home, 2 on the road. Too bad. 27 > 25, regardless of the ballpark.)
Frankly, I do not see the big deal with how if affects the game itself. I used to comapre steroid users to Gaylord Perry, but casual fans constantly told me that was different. Apprenently arrogantly defying the rules of the game to the point of titling an autobiography "The Spitter And Me" is acceptable behavior. But PEDs are not?
Steoids and PEDs do need to go, but not for the records. They need to go because, with new ones being developed all the time, no one knows the long term effects on the body. And having a generation grow up thinking that PEDs are the only chance at living a dream is no position the sport should be in, and potentially risky behavior for teenagers and young adults. There is already a genreation of minor league players who not only believe that, but view PEDs as their last chance.
If MLB wants to rid steroids, etc. from the league, it would be easy. Hit the players at the contract level. Any players testing positive plays out his contract at league minimum salary. No immediate free agency, and all opt out clauses are voided. So if you are 2 years into a 5 years $100mill contract, those last 3 will get you $1.3mill, or about a $58.7mill paycut.
I do think the salary AAV should count against the Luxury Tax, so as the keep testing from becoming an economic strategy. And any forfeited money is donated to a charity to help retired ballplayers who found out the hard way that using HGH for over 10 years causes your eyeballs to fall out at 50.