- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 4, 2009

POINT/COUNTERPOINT

Each week, Nationals beat writers Mark Zuckerman and Ben Goessling debate an issue in major league baseball. This week’s question:Are we too hung up on steroid revelations?

BEN GOESSLING: The news about David Ortiz last week meant we can cross another slugger off our list of clean home run hitters. I’m all for truth and openness, but here’s my problem with releasing this information several years after the fact: All we can do is point out the guys who tested positive since baseball began its testing program. What about the sluggers who got away with it before baseball stepped up and are only outed in tell-all books? We don’t have enough evidence to judge an entire era, so I’m not sure we should be going nuts about getting all the names until we have more details.

MARK ZUCKERMAN: I understand it’s problematic to release the rest of the names from the 2003 tests, but I think it needs to be done. It’s not fair to the players who were clean to be suspected. And it’s not fair to the handful of superstars who have been outed while nearly 100 other players who tested positive remain anonymous. In a way, I think it benefits the players to let it all come out. The more guys who are named, the more everyone will come to accept how widespread performance-enhancing-drug use was. I think fans over time may become more accepting of it.

BG: I think we’re in agreement that there’s no clean (pardon the pun) way to do this. It’s almost impossible to get all the names and put it in the proper context to accurately get a picture of who did what, how much and for how long. If you release all the names from the 2003 list, though, all it does is tell us who tested positive. A guy who had dabbled in PEDs for one year looks the same as a guy who had been using for seven years. I can see the argument for putting the names out there for the sake of knowing them; I’d just like to see it done in a more responsible way.

MZ: Let’s get down to the real issue. It’s not just about who did what. It’s about the Hall of Fame and whether anyone tied to steroids will get in. I will be eligible to vote in 2011, and I want as much information as possible before making my decision. The more names that come out, I believe, the more likely it is that steroid users get voted into the Hall. If 90 percent of the top players of this generation did it, it’s going to be difficult to keep them all out. The only way we’ll ever know that is for as many names as possible to become public.

MLB POWER POLL

Rank, team Record Comment

1. DODGERS 65-40 Record, plus-108 run differential are the best in baseball.

2. RED SOX 62-42 Acquisition of Victor Martinez makes this lineup Manny-era formidable.

3. YANKEES 63-42 Offseason spending meant no moves at deadline, but did they need any?

4. ANGELS 63-40 Look who has the best record in the American League all of a sudden.

5. PHILLIES 59-44 With Cliff Lee, they should with the NL East without much trouble.

6. RAYS 57-48 Series vs. Red Sox will determine whether they can stay in the wild-card race.

7. GIANTS 58-47 Deadline acquisitions make it clear they’re after a wild-card birth.

8. ROCKIES 58-47 One of baseball’s hottest teams, they’re very much alive for a wild-card berth.

9. CUBS 55-48 They might be good enough to win a flawed NL Central.

10. RANGERS 59-44 Catching the streaking Angels is probably their only shot at a playoff berth.

Records and stats through Sunday

AWARD TRACKER

Looking at the front-runners for baseball’s season awards. This week:AL MVP

Joe Mauer, Twins

He has cooled dramatically from the .400-plus pace he was on in June — and you could make the argument, as some Twins fans typically do, that teammate Justin Morneau is having a better season. But the numbers still point to Mauer. He’s second in the AL with a .355 batting average and leads the league with a .426 on-base percentage, .592 slugging percentage and 1.018 OPS.

Others to watch: Justin Morneau, Twins; Mark Teixeira, Yankees; Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox

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