Fans React to MLB Report, Few Surprised
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
So all this news has not kept baseball fans away from the game, but some people are disappointed by Mitchell's findings.
We've had local reporters and producers out speaking with fans around the country, and NPR's David Schaper rounds up their response.
DAVID SCHAPER: If Barry Bonds is the poster boy for what is now being called the steroid era in baseball, he's now got company in seven-time Cy Young award winner Roger Clemens. In San Francisco, the city Bonds played in for the last 15 seasons, at a sports bar called Double Play, the news raised eyebrows.
Mr. ALEX ALVAREZ(ph): I think it's getting more intriguing now that, you know, that Clemens is involved and a lot of other ballplayers.
SCHAPER: Alex Alvarez is a trader from Concord, California.
Mr. ALVAREZ: I think it wasn't just Barry Bonds. I think there's - it's a can of worms that has opened up.
SCHAPER: Alvarez says he hopes baseball can quickly get over this scandal. But San Francisco construction worker Jim Dickson(ph) wonders what the fuss is all about. He isn't even bothered by players using steroids.
Mr. JIM DICKSON: To me, you still have to hit a round the ball with a round piece of wood. And the point of contact is probably no bigger than a size of a nickel or a quarter. So I don't see where steroids would enhance that eye-hand coordination.
SCHAPER: St. Louis is where Mark McGwire shattered homerun records in the late '90s. He's been under a cloud of suspicion for years, and he's named in the report. But University of Missouri St. Louis student Jill Hankee(ph) says baseball's commissioner and team owners are tackling the players' steroid problem too late.
Ms. JILL HANKEE (University of Missouri, St. Louis): What are they going to do about it now? They wanted to turn their back all those years, and now they want to bring it up and make a big deal about it. But I don't think there's any way to penalize them.
SCHAPER: Other fans say they too believe owners and the commissioner looked the other way for a long time, because juiced-up players hitting more home runs boosted fan interest, and of course revenue. In a Milwaukee bar called The Harp, Ed Gaddioli(ph) says he's ready to see baseball cleaned up.
Mr. ED GADDIOLI: I'm glad they're taking care of it so that you can go to a game and not have to wonder who's cheating and you can feel good about the team that you're watching.
SCHAPER: In Chicago at Harry Carey's Restaurant, named for the late legendary Chicago Cubs broadcaster, the players named in the Mitchell report angered some fans like Mark Hill(ph) of suburban Evergreen Park.
Mr. MARK HILL: I hope they get what they deserve. I mean, they ruined baseball in a way. So some people don't care about it, but I do. So I hope they get what they deserve. All records removed.
SCHAPER: Thirty-three-year-old Chicago lawyer Terry Quinn(ph) says with all the money at stake, he understands why some players might take steroids for a competitive advantage. But Quinn agrees the integrity of the game is now damaged, and he hopes a better brand of baseball can come back.
Mr. TERRY QUINN (Attorney): I think that baseball got a little twisted in its fascination with the home run to begin with. So in a sense, you know, I would find it pleasing to move away from that. There's a whole lot to enjoy in baseball beyond someone hitting up 450-foot home run.
SCHAPER: But for all the indignation about the state of the game, not one fan said the steroid scandal would change how much they watch or attend ballgames, though some do worry about the impact it will have on young fans and players. Tom Duli(ph) is a high school baseball coach from Melbourne, Florida, tagging along with his wife on a business trip to Chicago.
Mr. TOM DULI: You've got to use it. It's a teaching lesson. There's no doubt about it. So the short cuts lead to a lot of places, some good, but sometimes a lot of bad things as well - and embarrassment, public embarrassment, as we see here.
SCHAPER: Still, Duli admits some of his players may feel not just disappointed but betrayed to find out their heroes may have cheated.
David Schaper, NPR News, Chicago.
INSKEEP: You know, people whispered about the use of steroids as long ago as the 1980s, but it was only in recent years that baseball officials began to respond. You can read a timeline of events by going to NPR.org.