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Thursday, July 25, 2013 12:03 AM


Sports Editor

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Seeing the return of third-base coach Mark Berry to his familiar spot for the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday night was nice.

We all know who the manager is, who the stars are, etc.

Even though we may see guys like Berry all the time when the Reds are at bat, we generally don’t know who they are.

I’ll be the first to admit; I didn’t even notice he was gone until I read about it.

To find out why he was gone — due to grueling chemotherapy and radiation treatments for throat cancer — kind of makes me ashamed of my lack of awareness of my favorite MLB team and them as just human beings.

He had actually played, been a minor-league manager and a major-league coach for this storied franchise for 30 years.

After all, we all knew manager Dusty Baker had his physical struggles last year with a mini-stroke (I wonder why I’d take a special notice of that!) and irregular heartbeat (ditto!).

Cancer — even with all the advances we have made over the years in treating this disease (as one religion writer wrote it and it makes a lot of sense why - dis-ease) still puts a certain large lump in our throats when we see it — is something too many of us in our area have come to know up close and personal.

We know of many who have beaten the disease into remission and we are thankful for that, yet we know many who couldn’t quite do so and we pray for them.

Here’s hoping he receives good news — the cancer is gone and he is in remission — Sept. 4.

Unfortunately, not all the news this week about the National Pastime was good.

Milwaukee Brewer star and 2011 Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun has been suspended the rest of this season and any potential post-season games — without pay, which will amount to a loss of $3.25 million — for, in MLB’s terms, “violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.”

He decided not to contest the suspension — tied with the continuing case involving Biogenesis — after negotiations to limit the damage to this year and not have it carry over.

In essence, he admitted his guilt and decided to man up.

I can give him props for that; I just can’t give them to him for the behavior in the first place.

This is unlike when he fought last season’s suspension due to use of performance-enhancers and had the case overturned by an arbitrator because of what were termed violations of the protocol by the collector of the urine samples.

In other words, it was the same as reasonable doubt in a criminal trial because of the chain of evidence.

I have read some forums regarding this matter and some believe that since he admitted to cheating with this latest suspension, he should have to give back the 2011 MVP trophy (and I assume any bonuses he may have earned, etc.) because he won under false pretenses.

I think there is something to that but at the same time, do we really want to get into this realm?

Do we want to go back and figure out how many hits, home runs, runs batted in, batting average., etc., that a Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire — any member of the Steroid Era that tested positive, for that matter — had because they cheated?

What a mess that would be!

Though I agree that a Barry Bonds, a Sammy Sosa or a Roger Clemens (among others) are under severe suspicion for some legit reasons, do we really want to try and rewrite history?

Perhaps we could have a wing in the Hall — in all honesty, I think ALL these guys will eventually get in as time passes — that notes the questions and facts of what happened.

Why stop there? Why not try to figure out how many “numbers” some former players would have had they not gone to war in World War I or II, like a Ted Williams or some other player that isn’t in the Hall but might have put up the figures had they not served in the Armed Forces during times of war?

If Williams had not served in the Army from 1942-46 (four full seasons) — in his prime — or most of the 1952-53 seasons (he “struggled to hit .318 in 1951), where would he be all-time?

I am sure others are in the same boat.

My head is still spinning when thinking about THAT!


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