America’s national pastime is baseball, right? It might be more of a "past" time than pastime as football has long since eclipsed baseball as the most popular sport here in the states. That being said, I do love it. But much like a child that misbehaves, you don’t love it any less, you just have to hang your head in shame and accept them for who they are. Well, baseball kind of continues to do that to us, the hardened baseball fan. It’s not like football doesn’t have its foibles. Michael Vick and his dog-fighting rings; yeah, he killed and tortured dogs and did his time and is back to playing football (even though what he did is unforgivable). Ray Lewis killed somebody, and I don’t think he missed a game. But baseball has something worse than killers and animal cruelty -- they have dopers.

By comparison, baseball’s bad behavior seems to be a little more self-inflicted than involving others. Now that Alex Rodriquez has become the new poster child for doping, surpassing Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa, I want to remind you that his actions involved him and only him. If he breaks out into a steroid-enhanced rage and hurts somebody, then I’ll change my line, but until that happens it’s really a victimless crime. But, nonetheless, a crime (at least by baseball standards), so for that you must be suspended, which saves the Yankees at least $25 million this year. Before you think I’m a Yankees fan defending a Yankees player, let me say that although A-Rod wears Yankee pin stripes I by no means consider him a Yankee. Far from it actually. In the early 1990s, the Yankees had a player called Andy Stankiewicz -- they called him Stanky the Yankee and he played for two seasons, coming off the bench a lot. I consider him a Yankee more than Rodriguez.

If you think I’m defending baseball players for doping, I’m not. There are rules, and those rules state that you can’t take performance-enhancing drugs to play the game. Yet players continue to take performance-enhancing drugs to play the game. What does baseball do about it? Very little, unless you keep doing it and act like an idiot until for some reason our congressional body gets involved (that is a different topic I could spout off about ... why Congress feels the need to weigh in on sports). The pieces to the puzzle are fairly simple to assemble; this is not rocket surgery (combine rocket science and brain surgery for that joke). By day, I’m a radio DJ, and I have rules to follow. One of those rules clearly states that while I’m broadcasting, I cannot consume alcohol ... so guess what I don’t do while I’m on the air? Ding, ding, ding ... you guessed it; I don’t drink! Pretty simple, right? There’s a rule, I like my job, so I obey the rule, because if I don’t I’m fired, then I, too, won’t be able to collect my $25 million salary, which after taxes is more like a few thousand dollars, but you see what I’m saying.

I guess the upshot for all of this would be this -- baseball, after much prodding, has finally come down to doing what it should always do if they really feel strong about this whole doping issue. Fire them! A-Rod got a full season suspension, 162 games, and I’m sure that the Yankees will do everything in their power to make sure he never darkens the club house again. As far as the others, I’m a fan of striking their records from the books, which would mean Roger Maris still holds the single season home run record and Hammerin’ Hank Aaron still has the career record of 755. But, so far, baseball is allowing those records to stand. So if you’re going to allow those records in, then you have to allow Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame. What the hell is up with that?

Fish is the morning talent on Classic Hits 92.7 FM. He also offers up his opinion on-line at www.whatda hell.net. E-mail him at fish@wk vt.com.