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Wednesday, December 24, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 3/16/2005

Selig appearing at hearings will polish his image

From the opening of spring training to Opening Day, commissioner Bud Selig will meet with as many players as he can and talk with them about baseball's new steroid policy.

Selig would sound like a hypocrite if he didn't make a legitimate effort to publicly address the scandal that has rocked his sport.

If, unlike some of his famous players, he didn't insist on attending tomorrow's congressional hearing on steroids.

For those of you who believed that Selig would be a no-show, think again.

Selig Selig
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After turning down an invitation to appear before the House Government Reform Committee on steroids, Selig finally relented.

Why Selig had a sudden change-of-heart doesn't matter. There could be a million different reasons why he waited until the last minute before deciding to testify before Congress.

As long as he answers all questions truthfully, Selig will take giant steps toward re-making his image from a do-nothing commissioner to that of a strong leader.

We'll see the normally camera-shy Selig as we've never seen him, presenting his case to the American public.

In the mad world of professional sports, Selig's unwavering support of his players is good business.

Selig and his players want the steriod scandal to go away. They want fans and the media to believe that the game of baseball is still pure.

Selig and his players are living in a fantasy world.

There's no way to take performance-enhancing drugs completely out of baseball. But that doesn't mean baseball can't re-gain our trust.

Players will always find a way to circumvent the rules. However, Selig shouldn't be so immersed in protecting the "integrity" of the game that he doesn't feel compelled to protect the players from themselves.

Look, I'm not saying that all baseball players use steroids. That's ridiculous. But even if only a handful of players are guilty, it's enough to seriously jeopardize baseball's credibility - unless Selig convinces us otherwise.

Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa embodied everything baseball wanted in a power hitter.

Baseball and its fans wanted to return excitement to the game following the 1994 strike. Baseball and its fans wanted tape-measure home runs.

McGwire and Sosa provided all of that during the summer of 1998 and perhaps something much worse.

McGwire vs. Sosa - baseball's most exciting single-season home run race since Roger Maris vs. Mickey Mantle 37 years earlier - will now be remembered for allegations of steroid use by McGwire and Sosa.

Given the chance to appear before Congress this week, McGwire and Sosa both took a called third strike.

Selig can gain our respect simply by acknowledging the truth, by admitting that some of baseball's greatest power hitters used performance-enhancing drugs en route to setting single-season home run records.

Selig can't take back what happened in the past. What's done is done. However, those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.



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