'Roid' rage

NONE OF US is perfect. Some of us lack superior intellect. Others are short on social skills. Still others feel the need to overcompensate for—how do I put this?—inadequacies in the genital area. Me? I lack clear sinuses. From the time I was a lad, my head's been filled with mucus. People are always asking if I'm sick; I say my name, it sounds like Ben Mulatto.

This is where steroids have come in handy. My allergist prescribes nasal spray with a steroid that inhibits the overproduction of snot. I snort the stuff, my phlegm recedes, and I can enunciate again. It's a veritable miracle of modern medicine. And technically, the spray contains a potentially harmful substance that's banned in football, basketball, and many other professional sports.

Baseball is not one of those sports. When admitted steroid junkie Jose Canseco retired from the game earlier this year, he alleged that 70 percent of the hitters in baseball go through the substance like they go through bats. Since then, others have come out of the woodwork, estimating that anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent of the nearly 800 players in Major League Baseball are on the stuff. Media hounds have treated the issue like Watergate, openly wondering if steroids ruin the "integrity" of the game. Fans, feeling they've been duped, are up in arms as well—a recent ESPN poll indicated that an overwhelming majority thinks steroid use should be banned in the major leagues.

The irony, of course, is that these judgmental fans are the very ones to blame for widespread steroid use. For years, fans have complained that the game is too slow, insisting that "chicks dig the long ball" and that home runs are cool. In response, players who lack the natural skills to hit the ball out of the park have turned to unnatural substances to give them the edge. With the help of these drugs, players are bigger, bolder, and badder than ever before. It's no surprise that the last few years have been the era of the home run.

However this steroid issue is resolved, Mariners fans should look at their schedules and rejoice. Reports indicate that most major leaguers get their 'roids from Mexico when they visit the San Diego Padres, whom the M's play June 14- 16. Perhaps Mike Cameron and the rest of the underachievers can sneak south of the border on their day off. If steroids aren't the key to helping the boys hit at home, at least they'll give the team less snot.

Matt Villano


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