Baseball

The latest ballots for Baseball Hall of Fame came out this week, and two names on it a pretty much locks for first ballot entry-Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. Then there's another name that will bring with it a truckload of controversy and speculation, former A's and Cards' slugger Mark McGwire.

McGwire's entry into the Hall will likely be decided on what voters think about that word "steroids" that is now tied to McGwire. Did he or didn't he? Why wouldn't he talk to Congress? Etc, etc.

But, for me, I simply don't think McGwire's Hall of Fame credentials should have anything to do with speculation of steroids. He either is, or isn't qualified based on his on-field accomplishments.

My reason for thinking that way is simple-McGwire has never admitted to steroid use, nor tested positive for use, though the latter might be because steroids were not illegal in baseball at the time.

Yeah, yeah, they were illegal under U.S. law, but there are players in the Hall who was convicted for crimes involving other illegal drugs. Ferguson Jenkins jumps immediately to mind.

But the fact remains-McGwire has never been proven of any wrongdoing, so any speculation whatsoever is unfair and unwarranted. He should be considered on the merits of his career alone, and if you ask me, that makes him a borderline candidate.

The big number is 583, McGwire's home run total, good enough for seventh best all-time. No one with over 500 career dingers has been shut out of the Hall so far, though four of the 15 had to wait a few years past their initial year of eligibility. Add to that the single season mark of 70 he set in what, at the time, was thought to be one of the most exciting summers in the history of baseball, regardless of what clouds may hang over it now. But that ends the positives for Big Mac.

He's a career .263 hitter with defensive skills akin to a large post of granite. He whiffed over 1500 times in 6000 at bats. Other than hit the long ball, not unlike Dave Kingman, what else did he do well? Even his RBI total of 1414 is just 60th on the all-time list.

So the case can be made that he simply isn't Hall-worthy on the merits alone. But I fear that case will never be made, and McGwire's chances rest with the voters' ability to avoid engaging in speculation about steroids. And speculation should never trump clear-cut fact.

Volleyball

Lanchester Blast, a new club volleyball organization, will be holding their first tryouts for girls, ages 10 through 18, in the Octorara School District and surrounding communities. The clubs organizer is hoping to give opportunity to young girls interested in learning the basic skills of volleyball as well as helping older girls improve during their off season.

Four teams will formed as follows: 18-U, 16-U, 14-U & 12-U. Each team will practice one to two days a week and participate in approximately 6 tournaments on the weekends. The season will run January through May.

Tryouts will be held on Dec. 9 from 3-7:3O p.m., with a break from 5-5:30 at Octorara High School. An additional tryout may be held on Dec. 16. There will be a $25 fee for tryouts. The fee for player's participating on a team will be $225. For more information and to sign up for tryouts please contact Amy Mowrey at 610-857-1652. Additional information will be posted on the website as it becomes available at www.lanchesterblast.com.

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