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Question of the Week:   "Jim, when are you going to write about baseball's performance enhancing drug problem? "
From: Ruben Fuentes - Saddlebrook, New Jersey


Jim Bouton's Reply:   "Major League Baseball and the Players Association should assemble a blue-ribbon panel of experts: statisticians, historians, actuaries, logicians, chemists, doctors, coaches, trainers, managers, and the members of SABR (Society for American Baseball Research). Give this panel three years time and a $50 million budget. (A bargain, considering the stakes.)

The panel's goal would be to determine the impact of performance enhancing drugs on hitting, pitching, longevity, etc., for a wide range of players, covering a variety of time-frames. [Note: SABR members may want to adjust the criteria.]

The results would yield a Steroid Adjusted Number (SAN) to be located inside parentheses next to a player's actual numbers. Then only time will tell which numbers belong in parentheses and which are legitimate, just as history eventually removed the imaginary asterisk from Roger Maris' 61 home runs.

And to avoid a continual race against diabolical chemists, all players would be required to submit to regular random blood samples for future reference. Players discovered to have taken the latest PED would pay a huge price - lifetime ban from professional baseball. Why not? Far more games have been adversely affected by PEDs than gambling. So I say, "One roid and yer out!" Just call me Kennesaw Bouton Landis.

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Ask Jim Bouton a question on any topic - from the state of baseball to the state of the union. He's given equal thought to both and is able to say, without hesitation, that they need all the help they can get.

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