Baseball must change today#039;s ugly sounds of spring

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the popping of the mitt, and the sloshing of steroid cream across the body.

Yes, it's baseball season.

Trying to get excited about a new baseball season is being made difficult by all the continuing reports of steroid use. It's so frustrating to listen to the reports or to read the exploits in newspapers, magazines and "tell all" books such as the one by Jose Canseco.

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Frankly, I don't understand what the problem is.

Okay, so Barry Bonds hit 292 home runs his first 10 years and 411 in the last nine, or that he hit 265 during his prime years from the ages of 28 to 33 and has 288 in the last seven seasons from ages 33 to 40, the so-called declining years.

Maybe we just need

to encourage an anti-steroid plan.

Instead of players finding ways to cheat along with their exercise program, institute Babe Ruth's training schedule of 10 hot dogs during the game and then out on the town until 5 a.m.

Once, some opposing players took Ruth out and decided to get him drunk so he would have a hangover the next day and give them a better chance to win.

The opposing players felt miserable the next day and Ruth hit three home runs. Imagine if Ruth would have taken care of himself or at least used steroids.

If baseball outlaws steroids, then only the NFL will have access to them. And if 165-pound shortstops can't hit 25 home runs a year, owners will have to go back to the voters and ask for more ballparks with smaller dimensions. The

taxpayers haven't paid for the other ballparks yet.

Baseball officials say they had no idea steroids were running so rampant. The fact half the team ordered size 8 and one-half sized hats never seemed to be a red flag.

Seriously, I love baseball, but it's so disgusting to watch guys cheat not only the record books but other players who are playing the game clean. It creates an unfair playing field.

Guys like Bonds and Mark McGwire will eventually go into the Hall of Fame with padded statistics while Pete Rose won't be allowed in because he bet on his team to win. His honest records don't matter in the eyes of the voters.

Baseball better clean itself up, if not for credibility at least for the health of the players.

And the youth of this country who need to learn hard work brings success, not a syringe filled an illegal substance.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.