Ahead of the Curve
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The normally staid and stoic Henry Aaron has become a regular chatterbox.  He could fill-in for Regis Philbin.  I don't think I've heard as much from him the past 40 years as I have the past four weeks.  It's good to open-up, very therapeutic.  I'm happy for Hank.

 

But he picked a couple of real doozies to get all healthy about: reinstating Pete Rose and public disclosure of confidential drug-test results (the infamous 104).

Aaron's advocacy for Rose is based on a long-time friendship.  No one wants to see Pete Rose in pain, but The Hammer's wrong if he thinks his friend's banishment from MLB is about punishment.  It stopped being punitive a long time ago. 

It's about symbolism.  Through his own arrogance Rose became the modern-day symbol of the scourge of all sport:  the fix.  If Charlie Hustler gets a pass, if "lifetime" ban doesn't mean lifetime, where's the deterrent for the next gambling junkie?   

This issue is bigger than one man or the damn Hall of Fame, Tony Kornheiser. 

And don't feel sorry for Rose.  I bet he brings in more than enough cash from appearance fees and autograph signing to provide a nice lifestyle and cover his gambling habit (not helped by the sporting State of Delaware, a day's drive on east I-70 from Columbus).

As to revealing names of the 104 ball players who tested positive for steroids in 2003: Does Aaron really believe the steroid talk will end with their exposure?  It won't.  What it will do is make it harder for players to cooperate with testing if confidentiality is an issue.

The leaking of names is a serious problem.  But the blame lay with the legal professionals entrusted with their secrecy, not with the secrecy itself.  The embarrassment that accompanies each leakage or revelation would be lessened if fans could be completely confident that stars like Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez are currently clean.

I've got two issues Henry Aaron could advocate: 1) Become the first influential person to complain about the suspicious absence of full (blood / HGH) testing in MLB;

2) Work for federal law (& enforcement funds) criminalizing the sale / ownership of pit bull terriers (fencing for current owners).  Call on President Obama for his support so we can have at least one real health reform not filtered through the healthcare industry.

It's strange, but with all the talk about Michael Vick and dog-fighting, the only outrage was about abuse of dogs.  The other victims are the people who come within eye shot of these animals.  In my community a little girl had her nose chewed off.  How many more innocent people have to be mauled (or killed) before America acts?  Help us, Hank.      

Steven Keys

 

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