The National Baseball Hall of Fame electees will be announced on Jan. 22. with the induction ceremony to take place on July 21.
And just like clockwork, the question surrounding Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens has been brought up once again: Should Bonds and Clemens be considered for the Hall of Fame despite being connected to performance-enhancing drugs?
While this won't answer that question, there are signs that the ice is thawing out on a discussion that has been capped for a long time. With 182 ballots revealed, MLB.com's public ballots show huge support of Clemens and Bonds. And Ryan Thibodaux, as well as his team, who track the ballots notice an upward trend between the two controversial stars.
"We've noticed all six of [MLB.com] voters voted for Bonds," Thibodaux told NBC Sports Bay Area. "Overall, Bonds and Clemens look like they will see a rather small increase in their vote percentages this year."
With 180 ballots revealed/~43.7% of the vote known:— Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs) January 16, 2019
Rivera - 100%
Halladay - 93.9%
Edgar - 90.6%
Mussina - 81.7%
Schilling - 74.4%
Clemens - 73.3%
Bonds - 72.8%
Walker - 66.7%
Vizquel - 36.7%
McGriff - 36.1%
Manny - 26.7%
Rolen - 20.6%
Helton - 19.4%https://t.co/8ISx82oWgM
Thibodaux also said we shouldn't get used to those high percentages located next to Bonds and Clemens, they will more than likely fall to the 60-percent range once other large outlets like ESPN reveal their voters' ballots.
"They typically do relatively poorly on these late-arriving ballots," Thibodaux said.
Then, Bonds and Clemens will likely fall even further as more and more ballots are revealed. That's standard.
It can cause some concern for Bonds and Clemens supporters, knowing this may be how it'll be until the two run out of chances. They only have a few more opportunities to get elected, but there is still hope.
"Every year, new voters come in who reach 10 years in the BBWAA, and older voters who haven't covered baseball for 10 years lose their vote. Bonds and Clemens do very well among the younger, newer voters, and poorly among the older set."
This may not be enough to have them hit the 75-percent mark, but it will be close.
Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter for MLB.com, and a Hall of Fame voter, did indeed vote for the Bonds and Clemens on his ballot -- and he's done it for the last three years since he was given the chance.
"Bonds is the best player I ever watched play, and Clemens -- if not the best pitcher I've ever watched pitch, he's certainly in the top three," Feinsand told NBC Sports Bay Area. "And yes, there's a lot of circumstantial evidence that each of them used PEDs. but at the same time, they both played in the testing era and never tested positive."
Jon Morosi, also of MLB.com spoke to KNBR on Wednesday saying something similar.
"I voted for Bonds and Clemens, as I have every year,” said Morosi. “For now, at least, my policy regarding players tied to PED use remains unchanged: I do not vote for players suspended under MLB’s drug policy from 2005 to present, but I support the best-all-around players from the complicated era that preceded it.”
Could the demographics of the voters be the ultimate say in whether these players under the dark cloud of steroids get voted in? Perhaps.
What we do know is the steroid era happened -- we don't necessarily know when it started and who did and did not participate in being exposed to the PEDs -- but the voters continue to speak.
Whether or not anyone is listening is another thing.