To the Editor:

Once upon a time, some 60-odd years ago, I was a baseball fan. It was a time when we called baseball players “heroes,” before we really knew the definition of the word. And yet, fielders showed up for every game, pitchers occasionally pitched complete doubleheaders, and all were available to sign autographs free for kids after the game was played.

As television came upon the scene, so did money—big time! This changed America’s pastime forever.

No longer did the average players earn 50 or 60 times the wages of ordinary Americans, but were being paid much more—almost 1,000 times the pay of an ordinary worker. By that time, my interest in the game started to wane.

It should be no surprise to anyone still interested in baseball today to witness the expected results of the Mitchell report on steroid use. Why did players use these substances? For money—to hit the ball farther, to throw a ball harder, to run a little faster or to negotiate a better contract after their improved performance.

I abandoned the game with the baseball strike in 1994, when both sides minimized the impact on fans of the game in pursuit of wealth and greed. I do not regret my decision to leave what was once a wonderful game.

James D. Cook
Streamwood, Ill., Dec. 14, 2007

Note from KBJ: You don’t abandon your children when they do wrong.