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Think Out Loud

Steroid Lessons

Pete Springer/OPB

When he was seven years old, Joe Gullo started sorting his baseball cards in a new way. For Joe, as for so many of us who collected baseball cards, sorting cards was one of the the chief pleasures of the pastime. The possibilities seem endless: by team, by favorite players, by division, and on and on. But suddenly Joe had just two piles: the players he thought had used steroids, and the players he thought were clean.

As Joe’s father Jim writes in the new book, Trading Manny, Joe had arrived at curious age: he still believed in the Easter bunny, but he didn’t believe in Barry Bonds.

Like many young children, Joe had plenty of questions. He wanted to know what steroids really did. He wanted to know why the players took steroids. And, coming from a world of moral clarity, he wanted to know why the adult world seemed to be ignoring cheating.

Eventually Jim figured out a way to answer his son’s question: they’d travel the country together, and he would force the normally tight-lipped men of baseball to talk directly to one of the sport’s younger and most fervent fans.

Do you love baseball? Do your children? What have you told them about baseball’s steroid scandal? How did it affect your relationship to the game — or to your children?

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