Dale will be here at the top of the hour! Keep sending in your questions!
Dale is here!
Hey Murph, you're the commissioner for a day. What changes would you make?
I would get rid of the DH first, but I do not think that is the topic today! If I had unilateral power, I would have a zero tolerance policy for positive drug tests, because we have zero tolerance for gambling and it sends a strong message to players and that is the precedent. This is an issue that concerns the health of the players as well as future young athletes and the integrity of the game. I think such a policy would go a long way in helping us address the problem of performance enhancing drugs.
Dale, where do you draw the line between gamesmanship and cheating? Is stealing signs cheating in baseball?
To me stealing signs is not cheating. There are rules spelled out in the rules of baseball on what cheating is as far as equipment and what you put on the ball (foreign substances) and to me stealing signs is taking advantage of what the other team is giving to you. It is not hard to disguise what sign you are giving as a catcher, and if you are going to give it to the other team than I do not see a problem with the team taking it. To me that is something the other team should be able to take care of. If you are going to tell me what you are going to do than I see no problem with taking advantage of that. Using performance enhancing drugs this is not bending the rules, it is breaking the rules; it is not in the spirit of true competition.
Dale - You were my baseball hero growing up, idol if you will. I am proud to learn of your iWontCheat foundation and its overwhelmingly positive message. I wonder, have you gotten any negative feedback from current-day athletes in any sport? Thank you for taking the time to read my post and best of luck!
I have received no negative feedback. Really the overall and overwhelming feedback from everyone has been very positive. We have talked to the NBA and MLB, and they are interested in what we are trying to do. And whenever I do an interview we get a few people asking what they can do to help in the area. We will in the future pursue athletes to help us get this message out. We think that would be a great help to us. But we have not received any really negative comments from any current athlete.
Heard your comments regarding steriods and who is really hurts (high school and college athletes) and couldn't agree more. Do you think it will take a high profile death of a H.S. or college player caused by steriods to really bring attention to the issue and hopefully clean things up?
My feeling is that there is an underlying movement to help solve this problem before we do have any situations like that. We have had situations already where people have suffered greatly with their involvement with steroid abuse and performance enhancing drugs; and we do not want that to happen anymore.
Hi Dale, thanks for taking the time to chat with the casual fans. During the "steroid era", do you suspect pitchers were just as guilty as hitters of using?
Yes, pitchers and position players have used steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. I feel for sure that it happened. At first I did not think of pitchers because of the bulk they would put on, but when I found out that one of the advantages of steroids was the ability to recover quickly, I changed my mind. The other thing that is not discussed with bulking up is that it is not just the arms but the legs as well, and we all know that great power is generated from the ground up, in sports. I think we focus on the upper body, and my suggestion is to look at the legs. The more power in the legs the farther you can hit the ball and the harder you can throw the ball.
First of all, you are my favorite player of all time and I have named my youngest son after you. Do you think some players cheat because they feel if they don't they won't make the majors because others are cheating to move past them?
Well first of all, I am honored to share my name with your child, thank you for that honor. And yes, I do think that athletes look at other players around them, and if they know they are taking steroids it makes it really tough for them to not take steroids, because they want to keep up. That is the battle we face with young players, they see others using them and they think that is what they have to do to excel and compete, and it is not true. There are plenty of great athletes not using steroids and there are legitimate ways to improve as an athlete.
What percentage of major league players use some sort of pharmasuitical performance enhancement, in your opinion?
I am assuming we are talking about all forms of performance enhancing drugs, and it would be impossible for me to put a figure on that, but I will try. I think when it started in the mid-80s most of the teams did not have anybody taking steroids, except the problems with amphetamines has had wide spread abuse since the 60s. My feeling is that the use of amphetamines has gone down and the use of steroids has gone up. But I still think that the steroid percentage per team is still pretty low. Maybe a few guys per team. The problem is the perception that most baseball players are a part of this, and it influences our young athletes which is very dangerous. We should find out more with the Mitchell investigation. But to me it is not about going back and looking at who did it; I am more concerned with stopping it now. I do not think that looking back on who did what ten years ago solves anything. We need an open honest dialogue with players right now, in order to solve this problem.
Do you think Alex Rodriguez is capable of surpassing the Barry Bonds' homerun record and do you have any suspicions of A-Rod using steroids and or not?
Yes it looks like he is on pace to surpass Bonds. I do not have any reason to suspect Alex Rodriguez at this point. One of the problems with baseball right now is that everyone is getting lumped into this issue. The reason I came to my conclusion about Barry and others, is the amount of circumstantial evidence against them and what others have said about them; and I just do not put Alex in that group. To use a legal term, and I am not a lawyer, so maybe I am not using it correctly, there is the preponderance of circumstantial evidence that is out there that forms my opinion. And again this is not a personal thing about Bonds or others. My concern is how do we stop it? I think we can make great strides to stem this tide of abuse with a zero tolerance policy. I am speaking out on this subject not because of my feelings on Barry Bonds, I will tell you my honest opinion on him and the record if you want to know them, but my greater concern is how do we stop this problem. We need to solve this problem as we move forward in baseball. To me speculating about the past does not help solve the issue. Bonds gives us an opportunity to talk about the issue, but this is not about him, it is about the overall problem in sports. Barry is the guy who is starting the conversation, but lets not lose sight of the message we are sending to young kids in all sports. We need to stay focused on this big issue; and I think one of the best first steps we can take is a zero tolerance policy.
Thank you to ESPN and the fans for this chat! I feel like this is a subject where we cannot just let athletes do what they want, because it is affecting our young athletes. With the I Wont Cheat Foundation we are trying to make young people aware of the health risks that result from using performance enhancing. I appreciate the chance to voice my opinion, and I hope to chat with all of you again soon!