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The Mitchell Report, released Thursday, linked some of baseball's best players to the use of performance-enhancing substances. So now what?

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig speaks at a news conference Thursday after the release of the report. readers weighed in on what they think Major League Baseball's next step should be. Some readers expressed little faith in the sport, saying, "Let them take all the steroids they want until they blow up." While others came to the players' defense, recognizing the enormous pressure they are under to perform at superhuman levels.

Below is a collection of our reader responses, some of which have been edited for length and clarity.

Ms. Chapman of New Bern, North Carolina
This is no surprise. Too many sports figures have taken drugs to feel human, to get them through the next game. To bring them up to the playing level that they once might have done previously in a game or to do better. It is not only with pills and enhancement drugs, but alcohol has been a problem, too.

Tim Shropshire of Boulder, Colorado
Professional baseball is now firmly classed with the "distinguished" ranks of professional wrestling ... faked, fraudulent & phony.

Chris Cox of Los Angeles, California
What baseball should do now is what is nearly always the best idea when you screw something up: Admit you were wrong, humbly apologize without excuse or blame, and make a conscious and obvious attempt to do better. The damage is done now, and they are going to have to just eat crow for a few years.

Jon FitzPatrick of Fox Lake, Illinois
I do not know what will happen going forward in the MLB. Personally, I think, screw it. Let them take all the steroids they want until they blow up or end up like Josť Canseco where you need to get a shot every morning to get out of bed and function. They know the repercussions of taking steroids. If they do take them, they should sign a waiver that gives half of their salary to kids that need steroids to function on a daily basis. Give the money to children's hospitals or something. That would be the best way to regulate it. These people make way too much money, especially the people that play in New York. Everyone should be fined, all the money should go to children's hospitals for "legal" steroids, and we should move on and set policy and procedure.

Lenny Nichols of Round Rock, Texas
I think all the cheaters should be fired from the game and barred from baseball, just like the Chicago "Black Sox" and Pete Rose. They should not be allowed into the Hall of Fame. The commissioner should resign. Send a REAL message that cheating will not be tolerated.

Cheryl Knapp of Saint Augustine, Florida
As a nurse, I must come to the defense of many of these players. They do what their trainers and management teams say, which includes physicians' advice. During the '80s, when the potential for human growth hormone was being researched, it was touted as a cure for old age. Strom Thurmond was one of its users.

Until every governmental entity can prove they are not abusing alcohol, prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, not cheating on their wives, it is my opinion that "striking out" against the MLB players is just another diversion. Yes, steroid use is rampant and dangerous. I've advised many a sixth-grade class on the effects of steroids. But this is a problem that is best left in the hands of the teams, who should recognize the dangers and protect the interests of the young men under their supervision. And my grandson wants to be an MLB pitcher, and he's very, very good and a southpaw. At 15, without drugs, just good nutrition, he was 6'3" and 165. Let's get serious about real problems like kids who have no access to health care or nutrition.

Benjamin Clark of Wilson, Wyoming
I think the players who used steroids should not receive a penalty but be given a severe warning that if they repeat the use of steroids, they will be penalized by the strictest enforcement of the rules of baseball and the law.

I also feel that CNN and other corporate media need to focus far more attention on the corruption that is going on with our government (especially this administration) as opposed to obsessing on the far less important issue of steroid use in professional baseball.

It's so hypocritical to quote George W. Bush as some authority on how wrong steroid use is among professional baseball players when Mr. Bush is corrupt himself far worse than any baseball player who may use steroids.

John Schofield of Beverly Hills, California
Baseball as a whole is tarnished, not the individual teams or players. The commissioner needs to take responsibility and resign, heralding in a new era. The records and possible Hall of Fame inductions should stand (after all, the hitters and pitchers were implicated) but with a footnote.

Scott Frye of Ocala, Florida
I think Major League Baseball should suspend all players caught from now on (give immunity to prior usage) who test positive for illegal steroids. They should also put a cap on players' salaries to minimum wage, which is all they are worth. They have no idea how good they have it.

Stacey Hensen of Saint Germain, Wisconsin
This has long been an issue in baseball. Not to say this isn't a problem in other sports, but baseball is in the forefront of the steroid scandal. As a mom, I don't want my son to look up to these men that are not only cheating, but putting their lives at risk. I have read way too many articles on young athletes doping up and ending up with severe physical issues or even dying. This is not acceptable behavior. What ever happened to "pure" athletes, you have it or you don't ...

John Hix of Allen, Texas
Throw the bums out of baseball with lifetime suspensions and take away all their records to start over. The drugs were ability-enhancing whether they worked on particular players or not. If a player is banned for gambling, then isn't it even more appropriate to ban a player for defrauding the sport?

Phillip Herron of Tuscumbia, Alabama
I think we should "close the books" on professional baseball and all other professional sports and start a new era with new stats and updated rules across the board. Athletes and fans alike are different now, and the game should somehow reflect that, without forgetting the past and the ones who started it all. I think they should make the fields bigger to accommodate these "super athletes." Make hitting a home run special again. There are all kinds of things that need changing. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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