Posted: Monday March 21, 2005 2:00PM; Updated: Monday March 21, 2005 3:00PM
As a former minor league ballplayer who is not in favor of government intervention, I thought this was going to be a waste of time. But, following last week's hearings, I'm convinced baseball needs help if it's to survive. The "good-old boy" syndrome kicked in. Curt Schilling must have had amnesia from earlier statements. Jose Canseco said it best: "Based on today's testimony, sounds like I'm the only one who ever used steroids in baseball." I'm also an ex-labor negotiator and I never saw such sloppy presentation and understanding. -- Bob Grenda, Wilmington, Del.
Comments, questions or obviously unfounded criticism? To e-mail Donovan, use the form below.
I see your points, Bob. Schilling backtracked from his earlier statement that steroids were rampant in the game, Canseco flip-flopped, we know about McGwire, Rob Manfred looked like a petulant kid, Bud Selig looked lost, Don Fehr talked in tongues ... just terrible. I do give a lot of credit -- and the benefit of my doubt -- to Rafael Palmeiro, who came out forcefully in his denials and in his statements calling for cleaning the game up. Bully for him.
Who the hell is John Donovan to criticize Mark McGwire? Where is his criticism of the biggest liar of them all -- Barry Bonds?!? You idiotic media people are so racist it's amazing! You're damned liars and morons. Oh, but that's right, Bonds is a black player so you pathetic pieces of crap won't do your jobs! -- Keith Chambers, Licking, Mo.
Oh, brother. Someone asking for more criticism of Bonds? Like we don't have enough? Just goes to show you, you can't please everybody. I got ripped, too, by many readers for a column that said fans are more likely to forgive Jason Giambi than Bonds. For instance...
You have made your dislike for Barry Bonds abundantly clear, so why the comparison between him and Giambi? There are times it seems you go out of your way to insult, deride or criticize Bonds. If the point of your article is to portray Giambi as a good guy who made a mistake, comparing him to someone you clearly don't care for doesn't really elevate him, does it? -- Steve Wheeler, Visalia, Calif.
I wasn't taking sides between Giambi and Bonds. Giambi pretty clearly is a cheater, Bonds only a little less so. As far as who fans may be willing to forgive, and why: Watch how Giambi is trying to smooth things over with fans, and watch how Bonds is not. You'll see.
How long is Major League Baseball going to allow Bud Selig to remain in charge? He along with the steroids are the biggest problems in MLB. -- Dan Oosdyke, Rockford, Mich.
I was a little surprised that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) called for Selig's ouster, in so many words, though it had a little headline-grabbing smack to it. But sorry, Selig haters, ol' Bud's not going anywhere as long as he's making money for the owners. And he is. If that slows down, though, if the furor around this steroids issue grows so much as to where it actually hurts baseball's bottom line ... well, Bud better watch out if that day comes.
Assuming McGwire took steroids and wasn't prepared to lie about it, he was smart to not answer questions on his past. His next step has to be a public mea culpa, which will probably come in the form of a televised, one-on-one interview. If he chooses to stay silent, he gets the worst of both worlds: the undeniable assumption he used steroids without the public sympathy he'd get by standing up and apologizing. America loves a comeback but it hates a coward. Which will Mark be? We'll know in the next few weeks. -- Jason Owens, Boston
Interesting thought, Jason, but I don't think so. McGwire has shown a real knack for staying out of the public eye. Clearly, he's shown a streak of stubbornness, too. I think he's going deep, deep undercover for a long time. We'll see.
I'm sorry, but while I don't condone the use of steroids in sports, I don't feel that Congress has any business investigating this. Who cares that Rep. John Sweeney [R-N.Y.] has "reached a level of intolerance." Then maybe he should stop watching baseball. And the statement from the congressman about Enron -- let's see, thousands of Americans lost their jobs and money over the fraud perpetrated by Enron and MCI's leaders. No one has lost a dime here. With men and women dying every day in Iraq, with the value of the dollar shrinking vs. other currencies, with Russia not seriously looking for all the loose nukes in the former USSR, with privatization of Social Security, with the current administration's blind eye to environmental pollution, we've got ballplayers testifying before Congress? Something's incredibly wrong in that picture. -- Frank Katz, Savannah, Ga.
You know, Frank, drug abuse is a serious subject. But I'm still with you. Congress has to have better things to do than this. You know what, though? Blame it on baseball, not Congress. If MLB had its stuff together and policed itself adequately, Congress wouldn't have felt the need to intervene and wouldn't have had the chance to grandstand.
I don't agree with your McGwire assessment. He was right to not answer the steroids question, and I only wish all the players on the panel (except Canseco, the snitch/loser) had done the same. Who are these grandstanding congressmen to question baseball players about steroid use? Screw them. Big Mac was right not to play their game. -- Dominic Ciafardini, New York City
OK, Dominic. Your opinion is duly noted.
Baseball got exactly what it deserved and the congressmen were far too kind in my opinion. Mark McGwire has always been nothing more than a 'roided-up clown and he proved it on Thursday. Bud Selig has always been a joke and should resign immediately and Donald Fehr is little more than a mob boss desperately trying to cling to what's left of his power. It is obvious now (as it was to anyone with eyes over the past 15 years) that baseball is a joke. Hopefully Congress will act to end this shameful chapter of baseball's past and present. We all know baseball will not do a damned thing about it. -- Robert Brown, Austin, Texas
Well, I certainly can't blame Congress for doubting that baseball will fix itself. Bud and his gang have been pretty bad at self-repair so far. Still, this is what I'd like to see: Continue the testing under the current program. See what happens. As soon as the current testing is done, toughen up the policy by making the punishments harsher and widening the scope of what is prohibited. If by the summer of 2006, usage of performance-enhancing drugs hasn't all but disappeared, Congress can do whatever it wants.
That'll do it for the congressional e-bag. We'll see you when the season starts. Thanks for writing.