HBO Sports has sent us an advance transcript of tonight’s Real Sports closing commentary by Bryant Gumbel. Often, Bryant’s words are to the point and tonight, he’s practically spot on.
Here he takes on Reggie Jackson’s recent comments about Alex Rodriguez and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Then Bryant talks about the HoF being a place of honor and not necessarily statistics. And with the Steroids Era players becoming eligible starting next year, Bryant gives voters a warning.
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL
AIRS TONIGHT (7/17) @ 10:00 PM ET/PT
“Finally tonight comes word that Reggie Jackson has wisely decided to pass on this weekend’s induction ceremonies at Cooperstown. You may have seen that Jackson recently caused a stir by suggesting that a variety of baseball notables didn’t merit inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Now, because his judgment was personal and his timing terrible, Reggie has since retreated from his stated views. But here’s hoping that the gist of what he said isn’t altogether lost on the Hall’s voters.
You see Reggie was basically right in contending that the hall should be special and its doors should not be opened just because someone stuck around long enough to collect 3,000 hits or 300 wins. Yes, the numbers are proof of some very good players. But as the former star pitcher Jim Kaat has often noted so astutely, Cooperstown’s supposed to be a Hall of Fame – not a hall of achievement.
If the voters are really so obsessed with honoring guys with the numbers, they’d be wise to start rethinking the exclusion of those megastars linked to steroids, and do it quickly. Because the next Cooperstown ballot will, for the first time, include among others, both the seven-time MVP Barry Bonds and the seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens. And while both men have a suspect past, it’s going to be hard to argue they don’t deserve a bust in Cooperstown. After all, a hall of fame that somehow excludes the game’s homerun king and its most honored pitcher and its all-time hits leader, would really be making a mockery of itself.”
That’s all. Real Sports airs tonight at 10 ET/PT