Fans perception concern for All-Star managers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 4, 2002

NEW YORK -- With all the talk of steroid use this season, the managers for next week's All-Star game are concerned fans might think power displays are pill-induced.

''You hate to think that everybody is going be painted with the same broad brush,'' the New York Yankees' Joe Torre said Tuesday. ''I know when Darryl Kile passed away, a lot of people said, 'You think it was steroids?' only because it was so prominent in the news, and that's unfortunate.''

Ken Caminiti and Jose Canseco, a pair of retired former MVPs, admitted earlier this season they used steroids. Canseco estimated up to 85 percent of major leaguers took muscle-enhancing drugs when he played.

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''Unfortunately, for a lot of different reasons, we're only getting one side of the story,'' Arizona's Bob Brenly said. ''A lot of guys are being lumped into a category that don't deserve to be in that category, and I think that's extremely unfair. If and when testing does evolve, I think a lot of people will be surprised that the numbers aren't as high as has been reported in some fronts right now.''

Baseball players aren't randomly tested for steroids or any other drugs, Management lawyers have proposed testing during recent labor negotiations.

''The thing that is frightening to me for steroids is not the performance factor, but the health factor,'' Torre said. ''And I certainly believe education is probably more important than anything else. You don't want a short-term advantage to affect what the rest of your life is going to be like.''

Interest and attendance has been boosted by the power surge that saw Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs in 1998 to break Roger Maris' 37-year-old record of 61, and Barry Bonds set the mark with 73 last year.

On Tuesday night, players combined to hit 62 homers -- a record for a single day, five more than the previous mark set on April 7, 2000.

Brenly doesn't think the accusations of steroid use will diminish the Home Run Derby on Monday, a day before the All-Star game in Milwaukee.

''It's very apparent as you look at some of the guys that are going to be involved in the Home Run Derby, it's highly doubtful any of these guys are using any kind of steroids or artificial enhancements to increase their strength,'' he said.

Also Tuesday, baseball announced the winners of the Internet voting for the final spot on each team. Atlanta's Andruw Jones won in the NL and Boston's Johnny Damon got the AL spot.

Torre also wasn't happy with talk that players might boycott the All-Star game to embarrass commissioner Bud Selig, whose family controls the Milwaukee Brewers.

The union's executive board is scheduled to meet Monday in Rosemont, Ill., to consider the labor situation, but probably won't set a strike date then.

''You're cheating the fans,'' Torre said. ''This should be a time the fans could come out and see the best in the world. Certainly threatening the fans with what could be happening down the road is bad enough.''

During a conference call, the managers also discussed their picks for their 30-man rosters.

While Torre usually leaves off pitchers scheduled to start on the last Sunday before the All-Star game, he took Oakland's Barry Zito because he is the scheduled starter that dayr. Zito probably will get one out at most, according to Torre.

''If there are three or four guys who pitch on Sunday, I'd love to take them but I really don't want to be responsible for pitching them because it's only one day's rest.''

While Torre is managing the AL team for the fifth time in six years and is used to criticism over the roster, Brenly is a rookie All-Star manager.

Torre already has decided Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki will lead off for the AL and Rodriguez will be among the top three in his order.

''I have jotted down a few tentative lineups on paper, and I really like the way they look,'' Brenly said. ''I wish I could jot down a lineup like that every day.'' The Associated Press