The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on October 20, 1991 · Page 132
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October 20, 1991

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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 132

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Sunday, October 20, 1991
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J-4Readers' Views the Cincinnati enquirer Sunday, October 20, 1991 Forum Amend Constitution to force Congress to live in real world Boors: Baseball's shame ly when his signature sets and he discovers that someone else is being paid more. CONTINUED FROM PAGE J-l best seem to be foaming at the mouth." Sure, there are still a few like Texas Rangers nitrhpr Nnlan Rvan. or the Phillies' Dale Murohv. or more money and increase the debt, also like the rest of us. It may seem diabolical, but it just could get this country's leaders into a most unusual place for them the real world. PAULE. SIECK 1660 Emerald Glade. Readers' views Congress will discover the enormous cost of compliance that the rest of us have always known. Second, since they will have to balance the budget to stay in office, they won't be able to spend Andre Dawson of the Chicago Cubs, or Orel Hershis-pr nf thp DrvWrs or Dave Stewart of the Oakland A's, all of them high-class gentlemen with an abiding sense of decency. But they almost seem line anaenro-nisms these davs. Dudley Do-Rights in an era of Snidely Whiplashes. What is the enduring popularity ot tieia ot ureams if not a call for a kinder, gentler ballplayer the type who would never call himself "Prime Time" (as did Atlanta Braves nonentity Deion Sanders) or try to squeeze money from fans by dispensing his wisdom on a 900 number (as did Canseco)? TO THE EDITOR: As the peoples' contempt for the U.S. Congress grows ever more ominous, we read about many initiatives designed to limit congressional terms of office. The argument most offered against such limits is that good people get thrown out with the bad. The argument most offered in favor is that the members of Congress have declared themselves both above the law and above the people whose money they extort. It seems to me that there is a way to handle both issues by the following two amendments to the Constitution: Amendment 1: The Congress shall be subject to every law it has passed. Amendment 2: Except during time of declared war, no member of Congress maybe elected for the next term following a fiscal year of budget deficit. With the passage of these two amendments, at least two things will happen. First, being subject to its own laws for the first time, "7 shmilA he one of the too five (oaid plavers) in the name, mavbe No. 1. But (at $3 million per season) I'm not close to that. Five or six guya are making more on my own team. And some other guys are making $2.8 million or $2.9 million. What s the amerencer itsjusi another thousand dollars." Rickey Henderson, on his spring holdout Ignore, if you will, Henderson's poor arithmetic. Instead, ask yourself: How did baseball come to this? How did it reach the point where an MVP "My wife started hopping around, and I can 't get her to stop. She 's on top of the bed flexing right now and showing me her muscles and all that stuff. ...She looks like a monkey trying to impress me. But I'll tell you what. She's pretty built. Yep." Jose Canseco, talking on his 900 phone-in line Can we fairly expect them to be any different? You take a boy with athletic talent and begin coddling him in Little League. You teach him early that he will be forgiven for poor behavior because he is someone special. You ignore his indiscretions, cheer his heroics. And we're surprised when Rob Dibble hurls a ball at the fans? By the time he is a young man, he is earning a CEO's salary. Someone is there to carry his bags, book his hotel rooms, bring food when he's hungry. And we're shocked when Mike Marshall stages a one-day strike because the Red Sox won't pay a parking ticket his wife got at the stadium? The player's daily routine centers on being cheered or heckled by thousands of spectators. Adoring sycophants want his autograph even pay for his autograph. Perhaps, if he is good enough, people will shell out $8 to hear him describe his wife's body into a tape recorder. And we want Jose Canseco to act like a normal adult? It wasn't always this way. Sure, there were braggarts and showboats in other times and other sports. Joe Namath wore white spats and guaranteed victory. Muhammad Ali declared himself The Greatest and wrote poems to humiliate his opponents. But their acts seemed at least partly a put-on, a bit of buffoonery designed to sell tickets. Today, there is no humor, only hubris. Even players from the humblest of backgrounds adjust easily to the pampering that is extended to major-leaguers. Recently, a talented young player was commiserating with a reporter over how tough it must be for the average worker to make ends meet. And how much did the player think the average worker earns a year? "I don't know," he said. "About $100,000?" would openly consider loafing during games unless his employer tore up an existing contract? players and coaches in the majors and minors." Is it mandatory that the Reds have to be first in everything? That's not realistic. I realize the Reds have not done well this season and have many faults and problems, but I'm getting tired of the continued personal attacks on Marge Schott. I don't know of any male club owner who is subjected to the same type of constant criticism. FREDA FAULKNER 409 E. Vine St. Reading. Thomas hearings As the dust settles on the Thomas confirmation hearings, I am left disturbed by the growing trend of allowing our political agenda to be shaped by political spin doctors, who play fast and loose with the truth in order to further their agenda. It was clear the political witch doctors were using Anita Hill's story, which may or may not be true, as a vehicle to destroy Clarence Thomas. They presented their story in 60-second sound bites on the nation's airwaves. This kind of approach to furthering political aims is a slap in the face of the American people and to the principles of our nation. Congress is an institution as good as the people who serve in it and before it. Laws and presidential appointments must rest on the truth, and those who go before Congress are obligated to tell the truth. It is a disgrace to all that politics is a dirty word in this country. It is something we should take pride in and participate in as our Constitution guarantees. We should condemn those who have taken our system of government away from us, and we should do all we can to ensure that this government of the people, for the people and by the people shall not perish from this Earth. GREGORY D. DELEV 1142 Birney Road. Mom's magazine In response to Sally Hauer's letter "Working Moms" (Oct. 3), there is an excellent publication out there for you. It's called Welcome Home and is "for the support of smart women who actively choose to devote their exceptional skills and good mind to the nurturing of their families." It's my favorite magazine. Write to Mothers at Home, 831 OA, Old Courthouse Road, Vienna, Va., 22182. KIM BUSH 2615 Briarcliff St. "Hey, the maggots are here. Come on in, maggots." Bob Ojeda, to a pack of reporters the crown, a recreational area similar to Fountain Square, connected to it with a bridge, a piece of visual art in its own right. Such open recreational space would revitalize the downtown in a manner no other suggested usage could match. I appeal to our city officials: Let us not build a city for today, but for tomorrow. We have a unique, onetime opportunity to create not a building, but an open window to our future. JOSEPH M. GROMADA 3688 Kroger Ave. Book bans Mary McDonald's column "Is Little Red Riding Hood Corrupt?" (Sept. 18) really made me think. I, being in middle school, am, in a way, a secondary victim of book banning. I do not understand, and probably never will, why great classics such as The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain) and the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood have been banned in some places. These books, which I have always loved, should be cherished. They will be shared by millions of adults and children. Why would a bottle of wine sticking out of a basket encourage me to drink (Little Red Riding Hood)? The answer is that it wouldn't. Do you think that seeing my mother drink a glass of wine every now and then will turn me into an alcoholic? There are some things in the world that are truly bad. Why don't we concentrate our efforts on those things, instead of worrying about what books are doing to our children? ALEXANDRA VEITCH Seven Hills Middle School 5400 Red Bank Road. The answer, of course, is money. You will find no argument in this story that today's players are overpaid. After all, they fuel a multibil-lion-dollar industry. They draw in 50 million fans a season. They attract the extravagant broadcasting contracts. And considering that millions of American boys grow up aspiring to be big-leaguers, it seems fair that the 650 who make it each year reap the rewards. Rather, the problem is the way baseball determines their salaries. Collective bargaining has created a three-headed monster of a system that categorizes players by seniority. Young players have no bargaining power and must accept what the club wants to pay them, starting at a $100,000 minimum. Mid-career players go through a salary arbitration system about as comprehensible as trigonometry. And veterans earn the right to free agency, a chance to sell themselves to the highest bidder. The result is a caste system dividing players into the very rich and the very richer. It spurs young stars to see red while less-talented veterans take home the green. So much for the all-for-one era of Jack Armstrong. Armstrong is the promising young pitcher who held out in March when the Cincinnati Reds refused to increase their $215,000 salary offer. "I'd rather work on a tuna boat for $30,000 than let the Reds continue to add injury to their insults," Armstrong said. Apparently, he never considered that few fishermen earn anything approaching $30,000. Armstrong ultimately took the $215,000 before investing in Dramamine, but his outrage was hardly unique. This spring, relief pitcher Rob Dibble looked at the Reds' $475,000 offer and said, "If they don't pay me what I deserve, I'm going to become a pain in the ass. Maybe I'll have some unexpected medical problems that will keep me out. If they're going to keep treating me like a dog, I'll be a dog." Responded Reds owner Marge Schott, "I like Rob. But Rob is a little baby so""otimes. I could spank him." Get in line. "This is a business, but players take it personally," says Phillies general partner Bill Giles. "It boils down to them saying that if you don't cave in to their demands, you don't respect them, you don't appreciate them, you don't wa.it them. What other industry bargains that way?" And what other industry has such a public payroll? Chances are, even your closest friends don't know what you earn, but baseball players might as well wear their salaries on the backs of their uniforms. "Look, I love the money, don't get me wrong," says Montreal Expos pitcher Ron Darling. "But I don't like how it puts us under a microscope. It used to be that you were just a bum. Now you're a rich bum." Do we feel sympathy? Obviously not. It has come to this: Money has become baseball's primary measure of greatness, the manner by which fans judge players and players judge each other. Find a happy baseball star, and chances are the ink is still wet on his contract. He becomes depressed on Maybe the media are to blame. Maybe the problems began when journalists stopped portraying players as gods and began exploring more than just how they played. Maybe Ty Cobb was as boorish as Barry Bonds (history suggests he was), and Bob Feller as ill-tempered as Roger Clemens (unlikely). If Babe Ruth were a Yankee today, would the New York City tabloids ignore his drinking and sexual escapades? Just as movie stars and former first ladies have become targets for personal scrutiny, so, too, have ballplayers. A nation that once winked at peccadilloes is now offended. The rich and famous are not so much on a pedestal as on a carving tray. Anita Hill Anita, you have opened a can of worms. Now that the show is over, you'll spend much time alone, out of the spotlight no cameras, no crowd; just you, with time to think. Time to ask yourself: Why? You have not only hurt Judge Clarence Thomas, but you have also hurt yourself. A hurt you can't live down. Why did you do it? FLORENCE HARRIS 1214 Gilsey Ave. "I signed up to play baseball. I didn 't sign up to be anyone's role model." Wade Boggs, on life Lucky for us. Boggs, a tremendous talent, became a national scandal two years back when his mistress portrayed their extramarital relationship as a road trip to Sodom and Gomorrah. Did the Boston Red Sox third baseman abdicate a responsibility to lead a model life? Has he helped turn baseball into a game from which we want to shield our children? Perhaps not. But players owe something to baseball and its fans. Unfortunately, that responsibility seems largely forgotten in a sport overcome by temper tantrums, money-grubbing and petulant behavior. Athletes are heroes. That is their job. Capital-gains tax Jeff Greenfield stated (Oct. 4), "And the president still says the key to our economic fortune lies in cutting the capital-gains tax, whose benefits would flow overwhelmingly to those earning over $200,000 per year." He had better check the Department of Treasury to get the facts: 75 of taxpayers who report capital gains have incomes less than $50,000 per year. An excellent example is a couple who paid $20,000 for a house in 1950. In the meantime, improvements amounted to $20,000. They felt reassured that this was an excellent investment and would help considerably in seeing them through their old age. In 1990, the home was sold for $110,000. Capital gains amounted to roughly $30,000. Inflation amounted to over 80. They were actually paying taxes on a loss. Why aren't we apprised of this by the media and our politicians? WILLIAM C. BECK 201 E. Church St. Oxford. Real problems The Thomas hearings were just another attempt to sidetrack the real problems of our country: the terrible national debt that won't be solved if we don't take care of our own problems instead of granting financial aid to the world; the terrible waste and greediness of our elected politicians (taking taxpayers for a ride with huge pensions, free parking, free medical and dental care, fixed parking tickets, No secrets Question: What is the best way to get a message to each and every person in the United States? Answer: Tell your message in strictest confidence to the Senate Judiciary Committee. BARBARA THOMAN 8225 Indian Hill Road. Ask teachers Complaints have been voiced about the absence of blacks and women on the Buenger Commission, but I am wondering why we have not had a commission of teachers. Would we look to business executives exclusively if the services offered by medical doctors or lawyers were being evaluated? Are all our teachers merely unskilled hired hands? If our public education system has serious deficiencies, I want to hear from the teachers. They are the professionals and they are the ones who face the problems of educating our youngsters every school day. Are they free to give their best to our children? If not, why are we not consulting them and considering their complaints and ideas? Should not the newspapers and TV be paying at least as much attention to the teachers as to the Buenger report? LAURENCE G. WOLF 610 Foulke St. Attack on Schott "Guilty until proven innocent," but you've done it again! Marge Schott has been tried and convicted. Your article "Reds' Hiring Hit; Number of Blacks Embarrassing" (Oct. 11) does not contain one positive statement concerning Mrs. Schott. You take a statement by Tim Sabo, a man fired by Mrs. Schott, and treat it as an accepted fact, even though the case has yet to come to trial, and then proceed to print negative criticism by Frank Allen (NAACP board president) and Councilmen Dwight Tillery and Tyrone Yates. The article states that "the Reds rate in the middle of the pack of baseball franchises for black etc.); millions of dollars in overpay ment on government contracts; savings-and-loan and banking crisis, insurance scandals, robbing So cial security trust fund, etc. Mentors CONTINUED FROM PAGE J-l general. Said Reba Keele, an organizational behavior expert at the University of Utah: "I'd be very surprised if men didn't pull back." Few important politicians have made a successful Washington debut without at least one mentor. Dwight Eisenhower was an obscure staff officer until he was boosted by his associations with Gens. Douglas MacArthur and George C. Marshall. Jimmy Carter had Adm. Hy-man Rickover, the advocate of nuclear submarines. Lyndon Johnson attached himself to a series of surrogate fathers: President Franklin Roosevelt, House Speaker Sam Rayburn and Georgia Sen. Richard Russell. Networks of former aides As the proteges move on and up, they join growing and mutually supporting networks of former aides. Among Washington's most influential are those of Brady, Secretary of State James Baker, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Secretary of Education William Bennett. On Capitol Hill, in federal judges' chambers and in the executive agencies, bosses and aides forge ties like those of front-line soldiers I as they toil together, gulp meals on the run, share inside jokes and the exhilaration of important events. The proteges view their ties to their mentors as a career asset. And typically they put a great deal of effort into keeping those ties strong. Career drawing card The importance of these relationships may help explain some of the behavior of Anita Hill. Her critics have questioned why, if she was sexually harassed by Thomas, she called him over the years, sought meetings with him and praised him in the company of his friends, as witnesses testified. But to an ambitious woman, a powerful and like-minded sponsor is just about the greatest career drawing card that she could have. And a woman might consider such a relationship even more precious than a man would, since mentor-ships are much rarer for them. They are more unusual partly because powerful men tend to attach themselves to younger ones who remind them of themselves at an earlier age, said Ann F. Lewis, a former Senate aide who is now a campaign consultant in Boston. Powerful men are wary of taking women on, too, because they worry about the gossip: They know Congress evidently doesn't know how to solve these problems or doesn't care. As far as the Judge Thomas hearings, what about a people will talk if they are seen frequently with young women and particularly if the appearances are late at night and in distant cities, as they often are. Professor Keele said that she fears powerful men will now be leery of taking on young women protegees for several reasons. The men, she said, may worry that they may not really grasp what kind of comments or actions constitute sexual harassment. Reflecting on Hill's 8-year-old charges, they may worry about what they may already have done intentionally or unwittingly long ago. Setback for women "They may say to themselves, 'Do I have to spend my whole life being afraid?'" she said. "Even people with the best intentions might become cautious." One of the risks for women in such circles is that almost no matter what they do, there will always be gossip about romantic ties, Washington observers noted. "There will always be raised eyebrows," said Washington lawyer Adamson, husband of Edith Holiday, who was part of Brady's network and now is secretary of the Bush Cabinet. t City's crown With Fountain Square West structures razed, I am more convinced than ever that our city needs and deserves to annex this area to Fountain Square. The space is a window into our city's heart, opened to allow Fountain Square, and our city itself, to breathe. The demolition project has also opened a window for our city officials, a window of opportunity to embellish our downtown in a manner to benefit future generations. A central square serves as the heart of many of the world's greatest cities, but our present square is woefully inadequate, sometimes too small even for workday lunch crowds. We can now create a central gathering place that befits our international reputation as a city that cares about its citizens' quality of life. I don't pretend to be a city planner, but I offer a use for this valuable block: Below ground, a parking facility. Atop this, a collection of one-story shops and bistros to attract browsers and shoppers and serve the workday population that keeps the city alive. Finally, as f h hearing on the senator from Mas sachusetts Ted Kennedy? JOSEPH DOYLE P.O. Box 12512 Letters Send to: Readers' Views, Enquirer Editorial Page, 617 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45201. Limit letters to 250 words or less, and include your name, address and phone nuniber.

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