My thanks to Tom Verducci for the important article on steroids
in baseball (Totally Juiced, June 3). By ignoring the potential
for long-range health problems in the service of shortsighted
greed, both players and management have forgotten that baseball
is more than just another business or entertainment product.
Major League Baseball holds a unique national trust. The use of
illegal drugs threatens the fundamental integrity of the game. I
hope there are players and front office staff with enough
appreciation for the history of the game and enough concern for
its future to step up to the plate, tell the truth and put a
stop to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
THE REVEREND DR. BRUCE T. DAVIS
Newtown Square, Pa.
I'm worried about the future of the game that I have loved since
I was five years old, and the health and welfare of players who
can't think past their million-dollar contracts.
As a strength and conditioning coach working with high school
athletes, I have to deal with the issue of illicit steroid use
on a daily basis. I have a difficult enough time convincing my
athletes of the dangers involved without your magazine
publishing an article praising the advantages of these drugs.
Yes, you did mention some negative side effects, but very few
compared with the potential benefits of using steroids. You
quoted one athlete as saying that he doesn't consider steroid
use a mistake and another saying that if he were back at the
beginning of his career, he might consider using steroids. How
do you think that will affect my young impressionable athletes?
DAN HUFF, Lodi, N.J.
June 23, 2002
Usually the worst your cover can do is make my favorite team
lose. This time it made me lose faith in baseball.
RYAN DUFFY, Chicago
Please schedule a CATCHING UP WITH column on Ken Caminiti in
2012. That should make for very interesting reading.
STUART WEISS, Los Angeles
Babe Ruth achieved his records on a steady diet of sex, booze and
fatty meat products. Baseball needs to return to its roots for
statistics to have any relevance.
RICHARD PRESTON, Fort Collins, Colo.
When I played high school baseball, steroids were being taken.
When I played junior college ball, steroids were being taken,
and now as I play NCAA baseball, steroids are being taken. I've
seen it firsthand wherever I've played, and I have never been
tested, nor have my teammates. Players are looking for the extra
edge just to be noticed by pro or college scouts. In 2000 I
played against a pitcher, now in the major leagues, who gained
at least 15 to 20 pounds in the year and a half it took him to
get through the minors. We high school and college players know
it's going on, and we're trying to get to the same place many
steroid users already are, so why wouldn't we do it? Some of us
don't, and many of us will never get there.
As a father of two boys, I can now add juiced-up baseball
players to my list of hurdles to overcome when trying to teach
my kids to just say no.
RICK FELLENBAUM, New Holland, Pa.
Perhaps the blase users who accept steroids as another part of
the game and see human growth hormone as the next big thing
should track down two back issues of SI: the cover story
tell-all from Lyle Alzado (July 8, 1991) and the issue with his
obituary (May 25, 1992).
BRIAN HARRISON, Quincy, Mass.
Martina and Mom
Your story on Martina Hingis (The Seven-Year Itch, June 3) is a
heartbreaker. When her own mother questions her character,
Martina has to feel she has no worth as a person other than what
she gets from her accomplishments on a tennis court. Her mother
and other hangers-on are set for life thanks to the miracle that
is Martina's talent. Denying young athletes the unconditional
love they are entitled to and forcing them to support hosts of
"family" is very close to child abuse and distressing to behold.
CAROLEE PASTORIUS, Alexandria, Va.
Another terrific, insightful piece by S.L. Price. Melanie
Molitor, Martina's mother, blames Martina's father's genes for
Martina's lack of character, laziness and spoiled attitude.
Melanie, before you pillory Martina's father in a public forum,
you might want to check your approach to child rearing. If
Martina does lack character, a lifetime of being spoiled rotten
may have something to do with it.
PHILIP ALLUM, Apple Valley, Calif.
Wrestling with the Elements
The real story about Rulon Gardner (Feet First, June 3) is not
that he survived a night out in the cold, but that winter in
Wyoming can kill anyone who's not prepared. I know dozens of
backcountry skiers--all smaller and weaker than Rulon--who would
have had a better bivouac simply because they routinely carry
matches, a parka, extra food, a shovel, map, compass, etc., none
of which were with Rulon and his snowmobile.
ANGUS M. THUERMER JR., Jackson, Wyo.
I have a new hero--Pat Tillman--who traded himself to the real
patriots (SCORECARD, June 3). May God protect all of our
fighting men and women and bring Pat back to the NFL intact.
PETE LEE, Roseville, Calif.