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What Do You Think?

July 15, 2007

Editor's note: Each week, The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, www.herald-mail.com. Readers also may submit comments about the poll question when voting. Each Sunday, a sampling of edited reader comments will run in The Herald-Mail.

Last week's poll question was: Barry Bonds is on the verge of breaking Hank Aaron's Major League home run record. In light of speculation that Bonds has used steroids, how should his feat be treated?

"You have to be respected FIRST before an accomplishment is respected. Look at the monstrous differences between the characters of Cal Ripken and Barry Bonds. Cal was never really a big power hitter, but for a shortstop he was. But Cal was never really this super hitter that would drive in run after run or hit home run after home run, but he had TWO very big qualities: He had endurance (he had to, to break the consecutive games record) and he was a TEAM player. Cal could have made TONS more money with another team, but he stayed in Baltimore with his TEAM. Nobody respects Bonds, so they don't care for what he does."

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"Unless it's proven beyond a doubt that he used, there's nothing to argue about."

"When Bonds breaks the record, he should get credit. When it comes to an asterisk, it's a different game today in every sense of the word, in every sport. Technology has improved today's game - from the sports equipment the athlete uses to the nutrition in their diet, from the environment to the turf and lighting, and everything else! It's just not the same game the old timers like Ruth played. Enhancing substances come in many different forms today, for example, sports nutritionalists. The real question is, is it fair to compare today's athletes to yesteryear's athletes' accomplishments? Enhancement food, beverages and yes, drugs, have permeated all sports and shouldn't be recorded with someone who did it without using them."

"If Babe Ruth hadn't pitched for six years, figure out how many more times he would have batted and the number of homers he would have racked up. No one can compare to him no matter how many more four-baggers they hit."

"If Bonds is so unpopular, then why did all the fans vote to have him in the All-Star Game? I agree that there were more deserving players that were left out."

"Bonds is the most arrogant person I have ever known. He doesn't deserve that record or anything else as far as I'm concerned. Take a look at his stance 10 years ago and see the difference. He puts body armor on and stands over the plate to take away the inside and if a pitcher does come inside, then Bonds wants to charge the mound. ... He should learn some values from people like Cal Ripken. Now there was class."

"Has it been proven or has he admitted to using? Even so, were steroids even banned at the time of alleged use? GET REAL! Steroids don't make you connect with the ball ... that is a skill ... an attribute of a pro ball player ... the power was there all along. Look at the career stats! Yes, he could do it with or without steroids."

"Who cares ... it's baseball. Fun to play; almost as boring as soccer or hockey to watch. I can't believe we still consider it our 'national pastime.'"

"It is a shame that the cost to attend a baseball game is as much as it is. People should boycott the games until the price comes down. There is no reason that these athletes make the money they do. They could make a fraction of what they make and still play. No one can tell me that even if they made one-tenth of what they make that they wouldn't still play. Not like they could make near that money doing anything else."

"Hitting on the Major League level has fundamentally changed since the 1970s, when TV broadcasts began changing how baseball fans digest the game and the advertising revenues that television brought to baseball changed how the athletes approach the game. The pitch from Al Downing that Aaron struck for the record was slightly above the level of the 44 on the front of his jersey. Such a pitch would not even be considered a strike in today's game. Another dramatic change in hitting is the outlawing of brushback pitches. In a simpler time, pitchers were allowed to intimidate hitters with what was called 'chin music.'"

"Bonds' personality isn't particularly offensive compared to athletes past or present. Pete Rose was brash, combative and totally unrestrained both on the baseball field and, as it turned out, with his vices off the field. Maybe the only thing that Reggie Jackson loved more that dominating All-Star games or the World Series was Reggie Jackson. Even Ted Williams, though revered for his considerable hitting skill, played his entire career in a love-hate relationship with the fans of the Boston Red Sox."

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