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Letters / Our readers speak out

A-Rod may still get HR record

Yes, A-Rod cheated. Who is left with a chance to break Barry Bonds or Hank Aaron's home run records in a "clean" way? Maybe one or two players, maybe nobody. This is definitely a harsh blow to Major League Baseball.

A-Rod got away with it for a while, partly because he lacks the massive "Home Run Machine" look that characterizes Bonds' appearance. Bonds was a slender young man back in the 1980s, hardly looks like the same person now as then.

Two or three things may line up in A-Rod's favor, over time (though not to excuse him). First of all, he has admitted it, which neither Bonds nor McGwire has done. Secondly, some will take him at his word that he used the banned substances for three seasons. Though that certainly helped his output during the seasons, who knows how long Bonds has used them -- 10 seasons?

Though perhaps all known baseball steroid users will enjoy asterisks after their home run totals (batting averages maybe?) and those records will not be clean, the matter of degree of usage should be considered, also. A-Rod does not appear nearly as muscular as Bonds or McGwire and weighs noticeably less than either. At 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, he is not much bigger for his height than the average American.

When I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s if a guy wanted to be bigger or stronger, the only option was lifting weights or some form of working out. Hasn't changed much, has it?

Elliott Hume

Clarence

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Honest sluggers down to four

We are down to Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, and perhaps Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez as far as true, honest and real sluggers from the late '80s to the present generation in terms of baseball time, we hope.

The growing list of cheaters seems to grow annually and now includes the names of what we thought were Hall of Famers. . . . Sosa, Canseco, McGwire, Bonds, Palmeiro, Giambi, a couple of big name starters in Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens to add cream to the coffee.

To me the sad part in all this is that A-Fraud has joined Giambi, Andy, Clemens and Canseco in playing for the great Yankee franchise. What has become of the best team of all time. Do they not check things out before signing these overpaid cheaters?

Think about this sad-case scenario. A baby born today who becomes a baseball stat nut in 10 years asks his daddy why the above names with awesome power hitting stats and just as impressive pitching stats are not in the baseball Hall of Fame. What makes it even sadder is when the disgusted father has to explain the awful truth to the lad that they cheated our American pastime, the adoring public and mostly themselves and their future health to gain an edge for personal gain which of course leads to huge financial dividends.

Until Major League Baseball adopts a no-tolerance policy we will never know if the guys today putting up the numbers are future Hall of Fame material or will be the modern-day era cheaters we are all so used to watching since the late '80s onward.

Joseph V. Zanghi

Buffalo

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NHL condones fisticuffs on ice

A recent letter writer's point that fighting in hockey is a direct result of checking is almost as laughable as the statement by Andrew Peters that he is concerned about being a role model for kids. It's my impression that Peters is a nice young man in real life, but the idea that he's a role model as the token tough guy enforcer whose main role on the team is to fight the other team's tough guys is ridiculous.

The fact is, the only reason that fighting occurs in hockey is because it is condoned and even tacitly encouraged by the league's establishment as a means of appealing to certain bloodthirsty elements of the fan base that crave violence. Many, if not most, of the fights are staged and premeditated events designed to "fire up" the team and the home crowd. How is Peters' patented "dancing bear" routine in which he and his fellow combatant will dance around in circles for several seconds before engaging in fisticuffs a "spontaneous" reaction to a hard check?

Pure and simple, all it would take to eliminate fighting in hockey is ejection from the game, just as in other sports. Unfortunately, the NHL establishment winks at and tolerates the elements of thuggery and outright violence in its sport that, unless dealt with and done away with, will continue to relegate hockey to the status of a second-rate sport. Or, as Mario Lemieux said, a garage league.

Mike Scully

Williamsville

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Canisius College needs to step up

Larry Felser's column Feb. 8 was right on the money in his analysis of Canisius College's men's basketball program. It is time for the college to commit to at least being properly competitive.

Larry's examples of comparable Catholic and Jesuit schools that have committed to basketball is telling: Xavier, Marquette, Gonzaga, Boston College, Saint Joseph's, etc., are comparable to Canisius in many ways, and have proven that a smaller Catholic university can not only compete on a national level, but can excel at the highest level of the sport. On a local level, Joe Mihalich has demonstrated that a Western New York Division I program can become a perennially competitive program that can win big games and provide its students, alumni, and fans with excitement, pride, and national accolades.

Twenty years ago, I was on the Canisius College student senate and I authored a resolution asking for the college to commit to competitive college basketball. We cited the very examples now used by Mr. Felser to show that an institution similar to Canisius can succeed (such as Loyola Marymount). But for a brief shining moment under John Beilein, the last 20 years have been a total disappointment, while universities locally and nationally have sped by Canisius. We on the student senate were right then, and I agree with Mr. Felser now. It's time for Canisius to make the commitment to its basketball program that can make alumni, fans, and students proud.

Eric W. Schultz

Lewiston

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Vick's sentence was much too short

I wish to share my opinion of Allen Wilson's column regarding Michael Vick's reinstatement into the NFL. I would hope he never gets to play football again for any team.

His 23-month sentence was much too short and frankly, I don't feel he is genuinely sorry for what he did to those dogs he fought. He was only remorseful because he got caught. Furthermore, he definitely should not be an idol or role model to any young children who so desperately need one nowadays in these sad days of sports where drugs and cheating exist.

I know these mistreated animals were only "property" to Mr. Vick but they were fought and killed cruelly. Maybe Wilson can find a more "positive" role model/idol to write about.

Heidi Maseduca

Buffalo

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Answer Ralph by dropping tickets

Well, fellow Bills fans, a clear message was sent by Ralph Wilson -- three consecutive 7-9 seasons deserves a raise and a contract extension.

Feeling outraged? Yep. Me too. Sure, Dick Jauron's a nice guy. But you know, I am a pretty nice guy, too -- only I am not qualified to be a head coach in the NFL. Most should feel the same way about Jauron, a man who has posted one season above .500 in his career.

Wilson made a horrible mistake when he decided to buy up Jauron's stock at its peak after some early, easy wins against doormat teams. Now he wants you to pay for his blunder and give your hard-earned dollars to buy tickets and see the Bills lose in person.

I have a bold suggestion -- rise up and revolt. Send a message to Wilson and cancel your season tickets.

Ted Knight

Annapolis, Md.

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Jauron doesn't show improvement

The reader who said Dick Jauron has proven throughout his life that he is a winner must have lost track of the last three years. Jauron had three years to prove himself more than some head coaches have had and simply failed. If this person thinks a 7-9 record for three years in a row is a winner he has the wrong idea of what a winner is. This is not even improvement.

In my opinion, the only reason Jauron is staying here is because Wilson is too cheap to get a big-name coach. We also found this out with Marv Levy when it came to the Super Bowl. Levy was on the rebound when Kansas City got rid of him and Wilson got him cheap. Wilson would never pay the real big bucks to get a Bill Parcells here or a Jimmy Johnson and that is why we lost four Super Bowls.

Stanley Marlinski

Buffalo

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Jauron's credentials don't say 'winner'

I couldn't disagree more with a recent letter, "Jauron has credentials to be a winner."

The letter stated that graduating from an Ivy League college, being recommended by Marv Levy, and playing football in the NFL will give Jauron the background to become a winning football coach. But shall we ignore his losing record in Buffalo, or the fact he has had one winning season in his nine years coaching in the NFL? That he was fired from two other head coaching positions? That he has shown a propensity to call the wrong play at the wrong time at the end of games? That he can't seem to master using the game clock to the Bills' benefit?

His playing days as a safety in the NFL have not helped him develop his team's defensive backfield. Jim Leonhard blossomed only after he left the Bills to play for the Baltimore Ravens. Jabari Greer sat on the bench under Jauron, until the two players starting in front of him were injured. Greer quickly showed he was much better than both of them. Donte Whitner, a high draft choice, still has not come close to reaching his potential after three years of work with Jauron.

Phil Malnikof

Williamsville

Send comments to Sports Talk, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240. Letters may also be sent via fax to 849-4587 or e-mail to sports@buffnews.com. Letters should be limited to 250 words and are subject to editing.

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