I am looking for investors.
I only need about $30 million to start, but I have an idea that will fix the problems with the Baseball Hall of Fame that I wrote about last week; while at the same time greatly improving the economy of Switzerland County.
As I wrote last week, the Baseball Writers of America determines which, if any, players will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. These voters have decided their concept of who is worthy of the Hall of Fame and who is not is the only concept that counts. With this power, the overwhelming majority of baseball writers have decided that most players who played during the “steroid era” should not be allowed into the Hall of Fame.
Even if those players never tested positive for steroids.
Even if the steroids they may or may not have used were not “banned” by baseball at the time they were, or were not, used.
In other words: “guilty until proven innocent”.
I think many of these writers are reveling in Lance Armstrong’s revelation that he did use performance enhancing drugs (PED) while winning his seven Tour of France bicycle races. Armstrong had long been suspected of using PEDs while he continually denied using them.
Even before his admission that he used PEDs he was stripped of almost every title and award he earned as an athlete. I take another view – he shouldn’t have been stripped of his titles before his admission – and, he shouldn’t be stripped of his titles after his admission.
The view I take is paramount to my “fix” to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
When Armstrong was suspected of “doping” while winning his seven Tour of France races, he was stripped of those titles. In at least five of those races the title was not awarded to another racer.
The reason? The second place finisher, the third place finisher, and sometimes even the fourth, fifth, and sixth place finishers, all tested positive for PEDs and were disqualified.
In other words, during that “era” of Tour of France racing, PEDs were the norm. And – Lance Armstrong was the best of that “era.”
Thus my idea for Baseball.
First, the Baseball Hall of Fame is simply a museum. Much, if not most, of the display material comes from players who are not inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Pete Rose is banned from baseball. He is not, and may never, be selected as a Hall of Fame member. At the same time, there are several artifacts from Pete Rose’s career that are housed in the Hall of Fame museum.
The same is true of many of the “steroid era” players.
I find it interesting that a player’s glove, bat, uniform, or game used baseball is worthy of the Hall of Fame; but the player himself is not.
I think it is time to develop a new museum that represents the “best of the best” of each “era.” Much like the current Hall of Fame museum, this museum will include memorabilia representing great individual performances, great games, and significant additions to the history of baseball.
What will make the “Baseball’s Greatest” museum stand out is simple – players inducted as “Baseball’s Greatest” will be the best players of their “era.”
The first thing I would do is ask SABR (Society of American Baseball Researchers) to identify each “era” in baseball. I know there would be the “pre-1900,” the “dead-ball,” the “live ball,” the “Federal League,” the Negro League,” and the “pre-integration” eras.
And of course, the “steroid” era.
I am sure there will be more “eras” as SABR breaks down 150 years of baseball.
Second, we would need to establish which players played in each era. In cases where a player’s career included more than one era, we would need to determine the dominant era for that player.
Third, we would ask SABR to analyze the statistics of each player based on the dominate era that player played in the major leagues. (SABR has developed statistical analysis to the point that many major league baseball teams now employ top level executives that are strong in “SABRmatics,” These executives make many, if not most, of their decisions based on SABR developed statistics.)
After that, selection as one of “Baseball’s Greatest” would be simple.
Based on the SABR statistical analysis, the top one percent of players for each “era” would automatically be inducted as one of “Baseball’s Greatest.”
Selection would be automatic.
Pete Rose is one of “Baseball’s Greatest.” So are “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens.
All would be in “Baseball’s Greatest” museum.
While developing statistical criteria that would ensure only the “best of the best,” and more importantly, all of the “best of the best” of each era will be difficult, much of the groundwork has been done for one or more of the many SABR projects.
The real problem will be building a Museum that is appropriate for “Baseball’s Greatest.”
Thus, as I said at the outset, I need investors.
My idea would be to place the “Baseball’s Greatest” museum close to the Belterra Casino. Placing the museum close to Belterra would enhance the number of visitors to both Belterra and to “Baseball’s Greatest.”
As Belterra faces increased competition from casinos in Ohio and the threat of casinos in Kentucky, the addition of a high quality baseball museum will not only minimize its loss of revenues, but should increase revenues.
Many visitors to “Baseball’s Greatest” will also visit Belterra. Many will need hotel rooms and a good place to eat.
And, the reverse is true. Many who visit Belterra will take the time to visit “Baseball’s Greatest.” Add to this, there is a natural draw with the Cincinnati Reds being an hour away and the Louisville Slugger Museum being an hour and a half away.
With the “era” designation, baseball fans and “ethical purists” alike can honor the greatest players of this era – last era – and the next era.
In other words as stated in the movie Field of Dreams – “Build it and they will come.”
And when they come, they will spend money in Switzerland County.
All it takes to build it so “they will come” is a lot of work and a large investment.
I am ready to do the work,
– Mike Cooney