Posted: Wednesday April 5, 2006 3:15PM; Updated: Wednesday April 5, 2006 3:58PM
Carlos Beltran is among the many stars brought to Shea Stadium by GM Omar Minaya.
Al Bello/Getty Images
Tom Verducci will answer select questions from SI.com users in his Baseball Mailbag.
Why is it that the sports media keep saying that steroids were not against MLB policy before 2002? The 1991 memo Baseball's Drug Policy And Prevention Program clearly states that steroids were against the rules. -- Pat Kelly, Chicago
You're right. Many in the sports media have done a terrible job in mischaracterizing (some intentionally) the disposition of steroid use before 2002. Baseball's own MLB.com, for instance, has written that steroids were "legal" in baseball then. Right. They were so legal you wouldn't dare say publicly that you were using them and they were so legal you were breaking the laws of this country by using them. The memo circulated in 1991 by commissioner Fay Vincent said, "The possession, sale or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance by Major League players and personnel is strictly prohibited ... [and those players involved] are subject to discipline by the Commissioner and risk permanent expulsion from the game.... This prohibition applies to all illegal drugs and controlled substances, including steroids...."
I'd remove McGwire and all his records from the Hall. It's pretty obvious what he, Bonds, Sosa, et al did, and their deeds should not be rewarded by baseball. In McGwire's case, I'm sorry that there is an air of legitimacy to his numbers, but to set the record straight and make sure this era never repeats itself, he has to take the fall as well as Bonds. -- Don Harris, Baltimore
McGwire is not in the Hall yet. He goes on the ballot that is mailed this December. I don't think he's going to be close to the 75 percent of the vote needed for enshrinement.
If the Giants start off the year awful and are out of contention early, do you think any of Bonds' teammates will take a swipe at him through the media? -- Jim, Worcester, Mass.
No chance. You have to understand that the thin-blue-line mentality in baseball is extremely strong. Former players such as Andy Van Slyke and Turk Wendell may do it, but you don't see active players being critical of active players very much.
What's your take on the "it's not fair to single Bonds out" argument? In my mind, Bonds engaged in activity that he knew perfectly well could cause him to be singled out if he were caught. He knew the rest of the players weren't going to stand up and say, "Yeah, I did it too." Of course he and the few others are going to be singled out because they're the only ones against whom there seems to be incontrovertible evidence (at least the only ones against whom it's been public). My question is, why shouldn't they be singled out and shunned like the gutless, career frauds that they appear to be? -- Billy, Austin
As far as the investigation goes, Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield should all be under scrutiny based on Bud Selig's repeated references to BALCO. Those are the only active players with known connections to BALCO. As far as the public arena, Bonds was singled out when he hit those 73 home runs and won those MVPs, too. You're going to get a level of attention and scrutiny that is commensurate with your status -- good and bad. And I agree that any steroid user forfeits the right to complain.
What is the perception of Mets GM Omar Minaya around baseball? Are people impressed with his job performance with the Mets or do they feel that the team's turnaround has more to do with the payroll advantage the Wilpons gave him and didn't give to the previous team's GM? -- Mohammed Omar, Bronx, N.Y.
Omar has a very good reputation around the game as a guy who has a scout's pedigree and who is very proactive in terms of deal-making. He also connects well with people, which has served him well, like a top-notch recruiter, in the free-agent field. Of course, people in baseball know the Mets have made his job easier with money, but making good use of it is not guaranteed. If there is a knock on Minaya, it is from people who think he has sacrificed too much in the way of player development to turn the team into a winner now. He's very willing to trade prospects. But that philosophy exactly dovetails with where the Mets are right now, as they launch a TV network and in the next couple of years start selling expensive suites to their new ballpark.
Do you think the Brewers can contend for the World Series in the next few years? -- Chip Schurfeld, Quincy, Illinois
Milwaukee can win 82-86 games this year, which puts them on the cusp of the wild card. I don't see enough front-line starting pitching just yet to see them in the World Series.