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Steroids could affect Hall voting

Associated Press

Mark McGwire could miss out on making the Hall of Fame because of baseball’s swirling steroids scandal, heightened by his refusal to answer specific questions before Congress, an Associated Press survey showed Thursday.

Barry Bonds would get enough support to make it into Cooperstown, but he’s far from being a shoo-in, according to results from 155 Hall voters polled this week among the roughly 500 eligible.

Only 65 said they would vote for McGwire when he becomes eligible in two years or were leaning that way; 52 said no or were leaning that way and 38 were undecided.

Bonds received 105 votes for election, 25 against and 25 were undecided.

Players need 75 percent of the vote to get into the Hall.

McGwire got just 55.6 percent support from those who gave a yes/no response, while Bonds was at 80.8 percent.

“I will not vote for Mark McGwire,” Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times said. “It’s obvious from his own statements he used some form of performance-enhancing drugs and it’s obvious from his statistics he did not become a Hall of Fame-type player until he did so.”

“Right now I’m sort of sitting on the fence, but leaning toward not voting for McGwire or Bonds because they cheated,” said Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News, a member of the Hall’s writers’ wing.

“McGwire had the opportunity to say something, but didn’t. To me, that’s sort of like pleading the Fifth Amendment and not denying he did it,” he said.

“He had a chance to help himself, help his sport, a chance to help kids and the parents sitting behind him and he just whiffed,” said Jay Mariotti of the Chicago Sun-Times. “It might as well be a guilt admission.”

A true ‘Bee’ game

Things were buzzing at Tucson Electric Park, and that was not a good thing.

Swarms of bees invaded the field and forced a game between the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks to be called after five innings.

“I guess we’ve got to call that a ‘Bee’ game,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said.

The bees literally chased Rockies pitcher Darren Oliver from the mound. He kept trying to go back, but the bees would go after him again. Finally, after a 20-minute delay, he left for good and let reliever Allan Simpson complete the inning.

Oliver said the bees apparently were attracted to the coconut oil in his hair gel.

Ponson hurts hand in fight

Sidney Ponson says he hurt his pitching hand fending off a restaurant patron in a shoving match, the second time in three months the Baltimore Orioles’ right-hander was involved in a fight.

Ponson’s hand was swollen, but the injury was not serious.

The pitcher said police responded to the scene, but he declined to press charges. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department said it could not comment because charges were not filed. Ponson declined to identify the restaurant, and his agent, Barry Praver, said he didn’t know its name.

Francisco to begin season on DL

Texas Rangers reliever Frank Francisco was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right elbow, four days after he got hurt in his first bullpen session of the spring.

A sore shoulder had already limited his activity this spring before he injured his elbow.

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