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Life Lessons in 2009…courtesy of Major League Baseball

March 31st, 2009 · 1 Comment

Back in February of this year, A.J. Perez’s wrote a column in USA Today about A-Rod and steroids and cheating in MLB.  There has been much written on this topic before his article and it will be an ongoing debate for years to come about how to compare the records of these decades to those of a day when performance enhancing substances weren’t part of the game…or of life, for that matter.

Most notably, however, was how much it saddens me to realize that the old saying I had learned as a child from my father, “winners never cheat, and cheaters never win” is a life lesson that is no longer taught to our children.  Lost in the hoopla about A-Rod’s doping and the fact that he’s now part of MLB’s asterisk club (including Bonds, Clemens, Giambi, Pettitte, Canseco, McGwire and well over 100 others) is the notion that cheaters don’t win or, more importantly, that cheaters are LOSERS.

Giambi played ball for the Yankees after his admission. Pettitte is still beloved by fans in Texas and NY. Clemens retains all of his records and still has a shot at being elected into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY someday.  Rodriguez still has all of those millions of dollars in the bank and millions more to come.

What kind of message does this send to our society?  How are our children supposed to know what is right when we ignore, make excuses and even praise those who do wrong?  Has our society finally become so jaded or desensitized that we’ve given up on expecting accountability and punishment for crimes against fairness, truthfulness and honesty…the hallmarks of our country’s values when we were the great nation during the time of the “greatest generation?” 

Is one form of cheating more acceptable than another and have we now become so desensitized that we’re willing to tolerate it?  How is it that Pete Rose has been banned from baseball for life for betting on baseball while hundreds of current players are rewarded with big contracts and sponsorship deals while cheating in baseball today?  None of today’s cheaters have been banned from baseball and I’d bet a million dollars that their doping and artificially enhanced performance has wrongly won more baseball games than Pete Rose’s betting ever did. 

The bottom line seems to be money. It’s always about the money, right? I heard the following argument from one of my buddies, “If someone’s making a buck or two on something as harmless as popping a few pills and playing better ball, then they should just make it legal for everyone in sports and then no one would be cheating and everyone would be making good money.” Yeah, right.  Let’s just give up on expecting people to play by the rules and allow everyone to cheat.  That would surely solve all of our problems and send a wonderful message to our kids.


Tags: Authenticity · Rants

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Kevin // Apr 1, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Well said, but there is more to the steroids issue and the larger message that needs to be relayed to our children and that is what steroids can do to a human later in life. That is the real reason for the ban. If it was just about performance enhancement without the negative affects later, heck, why not take advantage. I used to eat Wheaties as kid because I believed the commercials — I only later realized the reason I didn’t make the major leagues was actually due to my lack of talent. The message has to be made clear why steroids are banned as opposed to vitamins or protein supplement. The message has to be less about gaining an advantage, in my opinion, and more about how it messes up your body and mind later in life.

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