Friday, December 05, 2003

Does the average Fan care much about Barry Bonds testifying before the grand jury in the BALCO case? If I am an average fan, the answer would be no. Oh sure, most of us--if not all of us--believe baseball should be protected from steroid abuse. But it's not a concern that is about the best interest of the game, it's about the best interest of the players. In a sport where so much money is involved, an athlete is not always going to make the right choice. MLB should help those players only have the right choice.

Why doesn't the average fan have much concern for the welfare and integrity of the game? Because most of us played the game at some level and understand that a hormonal boost, artificial or not, is not going to help a player hit a little white blur in a fraction of a second. Nor will it help that pitcher train his body to hit that little white rectangle called a strike zone.

The enhancements probably help in the training process and players are probably stronger, but I still don't buy that the increase of homers is a result of steroids or other enhancements. The extra homers are a result of too many mediocre sliders thrown by a thinner pitching pool. Anyone who watched the post season could see that good pitching still shuts down those artificially enhanced sluggers.

No, fans do not want steroids in baseball. But we don't want them because of Lyle Alzado and other athletes whose lives were cut short because of the price they were willing to pay to give them a perceived edge. But saying that, I am not aghast and mortified thinking the game is in mortal danger of scandal. Instead, I am appalled by the thought that some players are playing Russian Roulette with their health.

Lost in the big news of the Yankees, Phillies and Red Sox moves, the Cincinnati Reds made Dave Miley their manager. Who? Miley has been in the Reds organization for twenty-four years and finished out the season last year after Boone was fired. This time he will have a chance to bring his own team into the season.

If Griffey comes back healthy along with the Reds core of other stars, he could look like a genius. More likely, the Reds will be also rans and Miley is on board to bring along young players. The Reds couldn't afford a high profile manager and instead promoted from within. Good for them and good for him. Anything has to be better than the Boone regime.

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