The * Era
Is Baseball in the Asterisk Era ? (March 15). Yes, when every athlete who takes steroids puts his "ass to risk" in a shortsighted chase of glory and cash. Henry Aaron is still my idea of a champion: He did it with a hammer, not a needle.
MIKE MCCRADY Eugene, Ore.
If a ballplayer used steroids to enhance his performance, instead of an asterisk next to his stats they should use an R. symbol.
JOHN A. ANDERSON Minneapolis
If Barry Bonds has been using steroids, then when he gets off them we surely won't be able to discern the difference in his emotional state. Dr. Gary Wadler, in What Happens When You Stop? (March 15), says the psychological effects of quitting cold turkey are irritability, restlessness and mood swings. Doesn't that describe the Bonds we've always known?
JIM SCHMIEDESKAMP, Naperville, Ill.
If we put an asterisk on today's power numbers, then let's put an asterisk on all pitching statistics for pitchers who threw spitballs before they were made illegal in 1920. In fact, take it a step further and put an asterisk next to all pitching stats before the mound was lowered in 1969. We could end up with a record book full of asterisks: stats achieved pre-1947 (when baseball was all-white); stats achieved when baseball was made up of 16 teams, 20 teams, 24 teams, etc.; stats achieved after the DH was introduced; all hitting numbers achieved at Coors Field; and all pitching stats for Dodger Stadium.
BOBBY MUELLER, Bothell, Wash.
Isn't it possible for a modern athlete who spends 90% of his time devoted to diet, practice and conditioning to hit more home runs than a beer-guzzling, overweight Bambino? What was the home run average per game for the 10 years before the Babe came on the scene? Does he then get an asterisk for exceeding it?
JOHN DODDS, San Francisco
As a former baseball fan who left the game following the 1994 strike, I thought Bud Selig did a great job of sidestepping almost every question that was asked of him regarding the use of steroids and illegal drugs in baseball (So What Can You Do, Bud? March 15). His attitude cemented my nonfan status, since it seems neither he nor the players' union have any intention of doing what's necessary to stop the biggest threat to baseball since the Black Sox scandal.
LARRY CHATMAN McFarland, Wis.
Did Barry Bonds take steroids? Who knows? But some sportswriters should give him the benefit of the doubt and acknowledge that he could have put in some hard time in the gym without taking a drop of the juice.
JESSE COLVILLE, Elkridge, Md.
I find it ironic that in an issue that features baseball's steroid issue on the cover Steve Rushin writes a puff piece on professional wrestling (AIR AND SPACE, March 15). Why weren't Rick Rude, Curt Henning and Brian Pillman mentioned in this column? Was it because these former wrestlers all probably died from the abuse of steroids and if Rushin had written about that, it would interfere with his goal of getting into a steel cage with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania XXX?
STUART A. HACK, Plainview, N.Y.
Mark Bowden says the fans couldn't reach Santa Claus with snowballs at the Vet (SCORECARD, March 15). Not true. The fans pelted Santa Claus with ease because the Eagles played at Franklin Field when that happened in 1968. Later in Philly's infamous history of fanaticism, the Vet fans showed they had great arms when they pounded Jimmy Johnson's hair with snowballs. The shots at Kris Kringle were pure fun. The darts at the Cowboys' coach were mandatory.
DREW MCQUADE, Philadelphia
?We regret the error.