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 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.

Cagey Question

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.--Ed.

A Coach Who Cared

Thank you for reminding me why athletics are offered at the
scholastic level (Running for Their Lives, March 15). Jim White
guides his Mexican-American student-athletes, inspiring them to
excel in the classroom and on the field of competition. Sports
are about relationships: coaches and players, fathers and sons,
and teammates working together for the love of each other. Thank
you for the reminder.
Brian Winkelman, Fort Campbell, Ky.

Running for Their Lives is such an inspirational story, it
brought tears to my eyes. But I need to know what happened to
Javi Medina, the runner who led the team in Coach White's final
Donna Voorhees-Waltz, Roebling, N.J.

--Javi will graduate from McFarland High in June and start college
in the fall.--Ed.

Reilly's Time Trip

You made an error in Rick Reilly's byline last week (The Life of
Reilly, March 15). His name should have had an asterisk next to
it. There is no way he could have written such a brilliantly
creative, politically powerful column on the future of baseball
and performance-enhancing drugs without being on some mental
Dan Forer, Encino, Calif.

Rick Reilly's 2054: A Steroid Odyssey paints a somewhat rosy
picture of what the future may bring, but it seems a lot more
likely that by 2054 those kids will prefer to head south from
Cooperstown to Oneonta, N.Y., and the National Soccer Hall of
Fame, where they can hear about how their hero Freddy Adu led the
United States to its first two World Cups.
Mike Leister, Indianapolis


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