May 13, 2006

Classic no excuse for Orioles' woes

In his column Tuesday ["Classic takes its toll on O's players"], The Sun's Rick Maese suggested that part of the reason for the Orioles' struggles this year is that 11 of their players competed in the World Baseball Classic.

Over the past eight seasons, the Orioles have become masters at excuses. In fact, it's probably the only activity in which they have exhibited any significant skill.

A few years ago, the late-season collapse was explained by the fact that they had a young team and that the players got tired because they were not prepared for a 162-game season.

The next year, the same players showed they were just as inept even with a year's more experience. Last year's excuse was a classic, as the Orioles blamed their collapse on the presence of Sidney Ponson, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro in the clubhouse.

Clearly, those guys were put there by the Dark Side of the Force ... certainly not Orioles management.

Mr. Maese should leave the excuse-making to the pros in the Orioles' front office and concentrate on the simple reality that after eight seasons of abysmal results, the Orioles do not win because they do not have as many good baseball players as other teams and are not willing to acquire them.

Ken Gelbard


No question: Ruth was best of all time

By the time this is read, it's possible that Barry Bonds will have tied or surpassed Babe Ruth's career total of 714 home runs. What he will not have surpassed, or even approached, is the Babe's standing as the greatest player in the history of the game.

One of the primary Hall of Fame criteria used to judge a player's worthiness for entry is: How dominant was he in his era? The beauty of that question is that it eliminates all of the variables that affect the raw numbers.

Ballparks may be smaller, the mound may be lower, there may be nearly twice as many teams playing, it all doesn't matter. Everyone during his career plays under the same conditions.

There are many numbers that could be used to show beyond a doubt that Ruth dominated his era more so than any player ever in any sport, but I'll use just one. In 1927, when Ruth set the record of 60 homers, which stood until 1961, he hit more than any other team in the league!

That is unmatched dominance.

Someday, Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez may raise the bar on career home runs, seemingly without the benefit of artificial enhancement. But even then, when the question is asked about who was the greatest of all time, the answer will still be Babe Ruth.

Sig Seidenman

Owings Mills

Aaron, Bonds pale compared to Ruth

What's all the fuss about home runs? Babe Ruth hit 714 in 8,399 at-bats.

The Babe's career total is being chased by Barry Bonds, who has been to the plate over 800 times more than Ruth. There is also the controversy that reminds me of the DuPont commercial - "Better things for better living through chemistry."

Sure, Hank Aaron had 755 home runs, but he also had more than 12,000 at-bats. How many homers would the Babe have had with 12,000 at-bats?

So don't tell me who the home run king is. I refuse to listen. There is only one Sultan of Swat - and that's Babe Ruth.

George L. Darley Jr.

Glen Burnie

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