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…. Who do you believe?

So after months of crying doom, after thousands of articles proclaiming the end of honest competition and the herald of brazen cheaters, after countless polls telling us that fans are really, really upset about the scourge of steroid users in baseball, here's what Seligula had to say yesterday:

We're off to a remarkable start. I'll predict we'll set an attendance record, given what I've seen in preseason sales and what I've seen in April, which is generally a horrible month. I feel good about a lot of cities.

That's right. Baseball is on pace to shatter the single season record for attendance, not just for individual clubs like the Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees, Marlins and Devil Rays, but across the board, the whole league is on the upswing.

And that's pretty interesting, because I've always felt that people vote more honestly with their dollars than they do with their ballots. Writers like Murray Chass have been telling us for months now, how upset fans are over the 'scandal' of steroid use in the big leagues. Writers like me have been telling you its a headline scandal, a trip back in time to the days of yellow journalism, of William Randolph Hearst, who never let a thing like the truth get in the way of a story. And now, baseball fans have told you who they believe.

Verducci, Chass, Lupica, Olney and the rest of them have it all wrong, have had it all wrong the whole time. They've been telling us that they'll expose the cheaters, don't worry, we'll protect the integrity of the game. Our response? Yeah, right. Baseball fan

s know, deep down, what a cheater looks like. We know Canseco and Caminitti aren't the tip of the iceberg, they are the iceberg. We know that most baseball players aren't using steroids, we know that a lot of baseball players aren't using steroids, we know that a few baseball players might be using steroids, speed, vaseline, whatever. We know, because we know people.

People cheat. We see cheaters everywhere, all the time. We know that most people don't cheat, but some do. Most of the time, it's a bad apple here, a bad apple there. But that's not a story. That won't sell papers. Extra! Extra! Read all about it. A couple of ballplayers are cheating!

No, that won't do. It's an epidemic! As many as 70% of baseball players use steroids! Ken Caminitti said so. OK, maybe not 70%, but at least 30%. Yeah, Jose Canseco told me. Oh, only 5-7% tested positive? Oh, well, you know, those tests can't be trusted. The number is much higher. An anonymous source told me. Some guy told some other guy that Barry Bonds is using them. Really? Oh, yeah, I saw it on ESPN last night.

Fans know, we're don't need some ridiculous poll to tell us, we don't need Dan Patrick acting like Joseph MaCarthy. Here's a question: If the MLBPA is so overwhelmingly in favor of stricter testing, why do you need it at all? If 95% of the players want to see cheaters exposed, how many could there really be actually cheating? Are you trying to tell me that there hasn't been 5% of baseball players cheating in some way or another forever? If you believe that, you're naive. If not, why is it such a big deal now? Because it sells newspapers, that's why.

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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