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MARCO ISLAND — Former baseball stars Mike Schmidt and John Kruk joined Orioles manager Buck Showalter to add spice to the Baseball & Barbecue at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort on Saturday night.
The event was to raise funds for a new softball field for Seacrest.
Kruk, a three-time All-Star, has two young children going to Seacrest, but his interest in helping Seacrest have their ball field at the school came from his small-town roots, in Keyser, W.Va.
Where he grew up, the baseball team had to play off campus. He thinks having a softball field at the school will add to the interest in the sport at Seacrest.
Kruk hit his stride while playing in Philadelphia, where he was named to the National League All-Star team three times.
Schmidt played his entire career in Philadelphia. He was named MVP three times, leading the Phillies to a world championship in 1980, and was named the World Series MVP. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995.
Showalter was the first manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who went 65-97 in 1998, their inaugural season. The next year he led the Diamondbacks to a 100-win season.
He joined the Baltimore Orioles to finish out 2010. His first full season was rocky, going 69-93 in 2011, but he righted the ship in 2012 as the Orioles reversed their record to 93-69, getting the Orioles into the postseason for the first time since 1997. The Orioles were defeated by the New York Yankees in last year's divisional series,
In an exclusive interview, the three talked about the game in which they spent many years playing or coaching.
With the heated discussion of performance enchaining drugs (PEDs), Kruk, an ESPN baseball analyst, commented.
"From an analyst side I don't like it," he said. "From a realistic side, there are a bunch of guys who think they need it to compete."
Alex Rodriguez again is in the news for PEDs. He has admitted using them in the past.
"When you have been great and your stats start slipping, sometimes you change it up," Kruk said. "Some want to say 'kick them out of baseball.' Pretty soon you will be kicking them all out."
In talking about those who have been shunned by the Hall of Fame voters due to PEDs, or suspicion of using them, Kruk said it hurts baseball.
"Look at the numbers for (Sammy) Sosa and (Mark) McGwire (who were linked to using PEDs)," Kruk said. "Maybe the Hall of Fame should have a 'Steroid Era.'"
Schmidt is not so sure "how I would have handled it during my career. I'd like to think I would make the right moral decision. I understand how those things can happen. Right or wrong, it is not for me to say."
He and Kruk are concerned that the baseball writers who select those enshrined in the Hall of Fame may be too cynical. Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza, eligible for the first time this year, did not get enough votes. Biggio has never been mentioned in PED discussions, while Piazza has denied any use.
"They both have the credentials and will get in," Schmidt said. "What about next year, are the writers going to vote in Greg Maddux? Can they doubt him?
Kruk also named Maddux, who both say should be a shoo-in along with Tom Glavine, another Braves stalwart. Both are eligible for the Hall of Fame next year for the first time.
"It seems today the writers are saying 'How do you know they didn't,'" Kruk said.
In speaking of PEDs, Showalter said, "You can't be naive. There is a lot of pressure. If you are in the Dominican Republic and getting $1 an hour to cut sugar cane ... there are reasons why they are tempted."
For the Hall of Fame, "Let those people make those decisions," he said.
Bottom line is Showalter wants fans to trust the game.
Schmidt talked about his day, when he entered the Hall of Fame.
"I was very humbled by the whole thing," he said.
"I thought, 'Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig,' it was surreal, me being on the stage. All of a sudden I was one of them."