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Three Strikes: Selig had better grill A-Rod, Cubs early woes and more

1) Time for Bud Selig's investigators to have another little chat with Alex Rodriguez.Two months after the commissioner's people met with Rodriguez to talk about his admitted steroid use -- Selig had said Rodriguez had "shamed the game" -- they need to sit down with Rodriguez again, this time for the section of the book A-Rod that claims Rodriguez tipped off opposing players about what pitches were coming when he was the shortstop for the Texas Rangers.

The account in the book, written by Sports Illustrated's Selena Roberts, is so detailed and -- as described --so harmful to the integrity of the game that Selig may need to do the interrogating himself. When you go to a baseball game, you need to be absolutely certain that the competition you are paying to see is legitimate and honest -- no matter what the score. That Rodriguez would conspire with friendly opponents for the sake of their own batting statistics is a corruption of honest competition, which has to be the bedrock of baseball.

If the charges are true, Selig will have no choice but to level disciplinary action against Rodriguez. And, worse, Rodriguez, having already repeatedly disgraced himself before fans and the media, will have shamed himself before the people of his own profession.

2) It's too early for the Cubs (10-11) to panic, but check back in another month.The warning signs are ominous. Derrek Lee (six home runs in his past 100 games) is swinging a slow bat, Milton Bradley once again is having trouble even making it onto the field, and Geovany Soto (.111) hasn't looked right since his sore shoulder in spring training. All of those issues have the potential to be long-term ones. So even though the Cubs' starting pitchers haven't missed a start, Chicago is showing some cracks.

3) "Look around baseball," one GM said. "The older teams are the onesstruggling. It's better to be young these days."Thirty-five is the new 40 when it comes to the twilight of careers. Hey, anybody can have a bad month, but among the 22 regulars who played the entire month of April without a home run (minimum 75 plate appearances), these players looked especially old when it came to their power stroke: Brian Giles (38), Bobby Abreu (35, though he can still get on base), Miguel Tejada (35), Orlando Cabrera (34), Carlos Guillen (33), David Ortiz (33) and Adrian Beltre (30). Tejada, for instance, has no home runs in his past 147 at-bats and only one homer in his past 267 at-bats.

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