The first day of the NCAA Tournament is my favorite day in sports. But I couldn't enjoy it this year because of the steroid testimony that took place on Capitol Hill.
In case you've been locked in your home for the past few weeks, a number of current and former Major League Baseball players testified before the House Government Reform Committee.
I watched, captivated. This whole "steroid scandal" has been interesting for a number of reasons.
The hearings had all the makings of a Hollywood production. It had the big name players - Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Sammy Sosa, Bud Selig and Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) - and legislators postponed the superstars' testimonies until nearly prime-time.
McGwire, who all but convicted himself in the court of public opinion, didn't want to talk about the past. It was all but an admittance that the former Oakland A's and St. Louis Cardinals slugger was juiced.
Then you had Canseco, a new-age Joseph McCarthy, weasel around and talk about how he hopes children aren't abusing steroids even though he says in his book that steroids can help an athlete.
What interests me most is the supposed impact the use of steroids has on youths.
I went to area high schools and asked some players how they felt about the topic.
Evans pitcher Brad Freeman said he was deeply troubled by the steroid controversy.
"I grew up a huge baseball fan," Freeman said. "I looked up to all those guys. I collected their baseball cards. I loved McGwire and (Barry) Bonds. It hurts to find out they were phonies."
Freeman made it clear steroids were never an option.
"Heck, if anyone can look at me, they know I'm not taking them," he said. "I can't even hit it out of the infield.
"Even though I knew those guys were probably doing them, I never once thought that was something I needed to do to succeed," Freeman said. "If that's what I needed to make it in baseball, then I wasn't going to make it. Life is too important to throw away."
Evans pitcher Hank McCladdie agreed.
"You just can't do whatever an athlete does," he said. "You have to have more sense than that."
Whether high schoolers would admit to using steroids or knowing others who did is debatable.
One thing is not. They will not be influenced by the steroid users or the ongoing witch hunt.
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