Planet News Views

Friday, April 14, 2006

Getting Past Controversy To Baseball Fun

By Scott McLean

Sluggers changing teams is always interesting, but this year anything positive about the home run race is welcome, especially as the baseball brouhaha over steroids threatens to tarnish the game's image.

It's not easy to be an optomist these days, but my suggestion is to follow your favorite team, the great rivalries and the player statistics.Just seeing Mike Piazza, the former New York Met, hit home runs in a new ballpark is cool. (If you don't like a writer who can't separate his writing from his favorite team and player, then kindly skip down a couple of paragraphs.)

Piazza plays for the Padres now, which isn't the same as playing for the New York Mets (Win!Win!Win!), but it's still a lot of fun for Piazza fans.Some people predict San Diego will climb in the standings this year, and since the division isn't the strongest, anything is possible.

Ah but the Mets are looking good...At least they are off to a strong start.

The Mets starting pitching is solid, with Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine potentially giving them about 20 wins apiece.The acquistion of slugger Carlos Delgado was a great move, who along with David Wright and Carlos Beltran provide plenty of power in the Mets lineup.Okay, you can look again, because now I'll return to reality.

The Mets will have to be at their best most of the season because they are in the same division as the Atlanta Braves.Great pitching is the reason Atlanta has won so many division titles. This ballclub has the some good hitting, too. Andruw Jones is the best home run hitter in the National League.

I know you are asking, Scott, don't you know Barry Bonds is going for the all-time home run record and in a matter of weeks will have more home runs than Babe Ruth, and possibly more than Hank Aaron by season's end??? Of course I do. But he's not going to hit 50 homer this season, especially as he has struggled so far.

The home run race is not as exciting as it used to be, and the steroids controversy has much to do with it.Fans seem to be split over what to do about players who take steroids, which really amounts to cheating because it can make players more muscular, stronger and enable them to hit the ball farther, which means more home runs.

Baseball is not just about the long ball, although who doesn't love to watch the baseball go over the outfield fence. Talk about excitement! But the pitchers duel is fantastic, too.

And talk about those rivalries, especially since interleague play started... I'm thinking of when the Boston Red Sox play the New York Yankees, with all their history, sluggers and tough pitching.

Anyway baseball fans, have a good season and enjoy the games.


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