By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Jan 14, 2014 at 5:34 AM Photography: David Bernacchi

It may come as a surprise, but the recent baseball Hall of Fame vote has a distinct level of importance to baseball fans in Milwaukee.

No, there weren’t any Milwaukee Brewers either voted in or not voted in.

But Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were, once again, denied admission, almost certainly because they’ve been linked to the use of performance enhancement drugs.

Perhaps you may wonder what that vote has to do with Milwaukee. The answer is simple: Ryan Braun.

Assuming that Braun continues to put up the kind of numbers he has, he is going to be a logical candidate for admission to the Hall of Fame. It’s the place great baseball players go, and Braun has been, and will continue to be, a great baseball player.

But he is a self-confessed (we think) user of some performance enhancing substance. Whatever he took, it was banned by baseball.

So when his time comes what’s going to happen?

If the present day pattern continues, Braun is going to be denied because he used drugs.

I just think, however, that this kind of rigid rectitude smells like a pack of fish gone bad.

Bonds is, without a doubt, one of the greatest to ever play the game. Clemens may well be one of the top two or three or four pitchers ever. And Braun may well end up with statistics that send writers everywhere to their lists of superlatives.

But instead of getting into the Hall, we get these self-aggrandizing statements about how some writer won’t ever vote for someone who played during the steroid era.

This is part of the whole atmosphere of purity about baseball, the people, writers included, who think there is something sacred about this game. They portend that baseball is truly not only THE American game but also THE American way.

But they ought to take a look at the game. Almost a third of the players in the major leagues were born outside the United States. If you are looking for a sport where almost all the players are natives of the U.S., then football is your sport. This is also the only country where real football is played.

I think we should bring some honesty back to baseball.

It’s not a religious experience to be guarded by guys with pens. It’s a very popular sport. And the best players should be in the Hall of Fame.

That includes Bonds and Clemens and, yes, Pete Rose.

And when his turn comes, it also should include Ryan Braun.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.