Monday, February 23, 2009

A Spring of Truth

My finger is still healing bit typing is a bit better.

In Florida and Arizona some young men ( and a few old ones) gathered this past week to begin the right of passage known as "Spring Training" for Major League Baseball. My family, being the baseball fanatics that we are will be headed down there late in March (Nicolas plays a tournament down there and we get to work out with the Rockies).

I am very intrigued, as is most of the world, with the unfolding story of Alex Rodriquez and steriod use. The one person pretty pleased with the timing is Barry Bonds who a week before the A-Rod exposure, was confirmed to have taken steriods. In A-Rod's case I find it interesting that the concept of the truth is so fluid. A couple year's ago, he was interviewed by Katie Couric and was asked point blank whether he had ever taken any type of steriod or human growth hormone. His answer, "No." She even followed up and asked if he had ever been tempted by it... Again the answer was, "No." In the last couple weeks the court of public opinion has been hard on this guy for coming forward a few years later and admitting he was indeed taking them in the two seasons before he was offered the largest contract in MLB history. He sits on camera and ESPN baseball guru Peter Gammons asks several lead in questions then gets to the big one recalling what he had said to Couric. DId he lie? His answer is elusive and the great PR guy that has worked with him helps craft an answer that is a non-denial apology (i.e. I did it but am sorry and let's move on) and cycles the conversation back to "looking to the future." As a result of the new alegations other players are seen to be in trouble for lying to Congress. One might get off because he doesn't speak English and might not have truly understood the question (except for the fact that the same Congressman asked it five different times - and this guy had a UN translator).

In the end A-Rod lied and he cheated. As sorry as he is, should it be that easy to move on and basically ignore his actions? I love baseball and there is a tradition to the game that must transcend these very highly paid athletes. It was challenging to sit and watch ESPN and the news reports and try to explain to my boys, who are deeply engrained in the game... that the truth still matters; that integrity still matters; and even with personal grace comes a public judgment that must protect the game and the Truth.

Unfortunately, as with most celebrity truth issues, A-Rod will play; the Yankees will pay his huge salary and fans will eventually forget. As I go stand in front of our Little League opening day ceremonies I pray I can speak to them of the honor and integrity of the game and not feel too much guilt as a grown up... Play ball!

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