There is a very conspicuous absence from Major League Baseball this year - one that has been a constant since 1986, one that has been the center of controversy, hype and grandeur.
That's right, baseball is sans Barry Bonds.
The all-time home run king with 762 career dingers is out of work.
Many believe that collusion is at play. After all, last year, at 43 years of age, he hit 28 home runs in only 340 at bats. He could surely help an American League team as a designated hitter, right?
For the record, I am not a Barry Bonds fan and never have been. However, doesn't it seem a bit strange that there isn't one team willing to take a chance on Bonds this year? Collusion? Bud Selig conspiracy? Or just not worth the hassle?
Usually by the trade deadline, the contenders are separated from the pretenders (insert Bucco comments here). If Bonds isn't signed by then, I expect Donald Fehr and the players union to launch a full scale investigation.
Perhaps he'll find that you usually have to sleep in the bed you made.
A great lady, a great fan
The recent passing of Marcia Rabold, after a long and courageous battle with heart-related problems, significantly reduces the number of really great Blair County sports fans.
Whether it was following the basketball careers of her daughters, Becky and Julie, in the late 1980s and early 90s or just lending moral support and a kind word to many of today's local athletes, Marcia was a unique individual.
From personal experience, it's becoming more difficult to be a rational sports fan at any level of competition. That, unfortunately, makes it so much tougher to be an athlete.
The spirit of athletics is intended to teach valuable lessons to those who participate as well as to those who watch.
Marcia Rabold understood that.
She never questioned coaching decisions that affected her own children, never berated officials and truly enjoyed seeing athletes from either team having success.
That outstanding sense of fair play and positive reinforcement was a huge component of her personality.
People genuinely appreciated the type of person Marcia was, and I can honestly say that I've never heard an unkind word uttered about her.
She will be greatly missed.
(Editor's note: The writer is the head girls basketball coach at Hollidaysburg Area High School).
Sports teaches life lessons
In a recent article, Mandy wrote in about rewarding all kids who play little league sports. I disagree.
I have raised two boys, and being a man myself and relating my life to theirs, I was very upset when women got involved mixing sports and feelings. When you teach a child something from the beginning, that is how they remember it. If we reward all teams with trophies, pins, ribbons and certificates, even when they lose, what are we teaching them? What will the kids want to strive for if everyone gets rewarded? You have to teach them from the beginning that there are winners and losers. That is life. That is what competition is all about. It makes us want to be better at what we do.
Boys/men are competitive. It's inbred in us. Rewarding everyone is taking that away. What's the purpose to play a sport if there are not winners and losers? When they get into high school it's all about winning. What happens to those kids we protected from the beginning who all are rewarded? Our children are open-books from the beginning. We need to teach them, not protect them from real life. I am not saying recognition is not good. A job well done is good.
I don't believe its their feelings that get hurt, but the mothers whose child didn't get that trophy. Would a man write an article like this? Probably not.