Blogging right through questions about steroid use

February 10, 2005|By KEVIN COWHERD

WITH THE new season almost upon us, here's how Major League Baseball might handle the recent steroid controversy in the FAQs section of its Web site:

Q: My favorite team's center fielder was a trim 6-foot-1 185 pounds last year. Now he's the size of a Winnebago and can probably bench-press one, too.

Could he be on steroids?

A: No. His remarkable growth is due to improved nutritional habits - mainly lots of salads - and renewed diligence in the weight room.

You should stop being so paranoid.

Q: Our 7-year-old approached a well-known player for an autograph after a game. The player jumped in his Lexus SUV, pulled a bat from the back seat, and threatened our son. Then he smashed the windshield of our car before driving away.

Is this an example of so-called 'roid rage?

A. No. Like all of us, major league ballplayers experience stress in their lives. Perhaps the player had just had an argument with his wife or girlfriend.

Or perhaps he had just heard from his agent about a lucrative endorsement deal that fell through.

Why does everything have to be a big cover-up with you?

Q: Former major leaguer Jose Canseco has written a book in which he alleges that 80 percent of major leaguers are on steroids and that such big-name players as Ivan Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez used to shoot up steroids together.

Is there any truth to this?

A: No. Jose Canseco is a lunatic, right up there with people who receive radio transmissions via their teeth.

Steroids, steroids, steroids ... why don't you sit back, have a beer and enjoy the game?

Q: Season home run totals have risen dramatically over the past decade, while at the same time such sluggers as Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi have been linked to investigations into steroid use.

Isn't this more than just a remarkable coincidence?

A: No. Various factors that would explain the surge in home runs include - apparently we have to go over this again - improved nutritional habits among players and weight-training.

Oh, also: the ballpark lighting is better for night games.

Let it go, will you?

Q: Under baseball's new policy, players caught using steroids for the first time will be suspended for 10 days.

Doesn't this seem like a mere slap on the wrist?

A: No. If a player makes an innocent mistake and experiments with steroids for seven or eight years and wins a bunch of home run titles and signs a number of lucrative contracts that total in excess of $120 million - and then fails one miserable little urine test - why should he be made to suffer for the rest of his life?

Who are you working for, anyway? The FBI?

Q: Mounting evidence suggests more and more young athletes - some high school age - are using steroids because they see their big-league role models getting rich and famous smacking towering home runs.

Doesn't baseball bear some responsibility for the myriad health problems these youngsters will face for the rest of their lives?

A: No. Don't even go there.

You really should lighten up.

Think about taking up yoga, meditation, something like that.

Q: Some insiders suspect many big-leaguers will report to spring training noticeably lighter than in the past, as they wean themselves off steroids in preparation for the new drug-testing procedures.

If Barry Bonds checks in at a lean 175 pounds, is this confirmation that his recent phenomenal home run totals came while he was bulked up on steroids?

A: No. Bonds, like many aging athletes, is watching his waistline and has embraced both the Atkins and South Beach diets this winter.

What do you do for laughs - stare out the window and wait for the black helicopters?

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