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Friday, February 20, 2009

Bonds Hits a HR in Court; A Rod Strikes Out

A Rant on Athletes
By Norm Kent

The judge presiding over Barry Bonds’s perjury case dealt prosecutors a significant setback late Thursday, ruling that the government cannot use several pieces of key evidence — including documents that tied Bonds to positive drug tests and doping calendars — at his trial, which is scheduled to begin next month.Here is the link to this morning’s NY Times article:
You grow up as a young man idolizing sports stars for their talent and skill and the joy they bring to your hometown. You don't expect to be reading about them getting indicted for lying to Congress or consuming illegal drugs. But then you are no longer a kid. I gave up thinking about athletes as heroes a long time ago. Too many mirror the unfair stereotype of dumb jocks though. I guess that is why it became a stereotype. Vince Scully, George Will, and Bob Costas may wax poetic about the pendulum of society hidden in a baseball game. All the player sees is the next pitch.
How dumb is Jim Leyritz? I mean Dave Bogenshutz necessarily pointed out that he passed 4,000 dui samples since his release, but he was supposed to do that wasn’t he? That is why the testing meter was there, to remind him that if you drink, you do not drive. You are charged with DUI manslaughter. You get a bond and are privileged to be out with your family, who you cherish. You don't months later then get behind the wheel with a breath alcohol level of .05 at 9 in the morning. That is just dumb. It may have been under the legal limit but it was above the common sense line.

As for A Rod’s Young and Stupid defense, which is all he could say, over and over again at his press conference, he looked more young and stupid now then before. You call this coming clean? Who is he kidding? He will leave it for others to judge if he cheated? He secretly shoots himself up in the dark of night, but he did not know if it was illegal? He did all this surreptitiously with a hidden cousin and told no one anytime anywhere? But he did not know it was wrong? He needed college to tell him that. Yeah, that worked for Bernie Madoff and Mark Dreier. Come on, I heard him say he was young and stupid so much it was like the words were injected into him and pushed out by a press agent. The only guilt I sensed was that he was caught and singled out. Everybody else was speeding, too.

No Alex, what you should have said is 'I was like every other athlete seeking an edge, willing to do anything and everything to win at whatever cost. That is what we all do. That is who we all are. I cheated, I lied, I covered up. I now know that is not the way to live the rest of my life, because I have foolishly tarnished myself and the game I love. And I will do everything I can to restore that dignity.'

By the way, that is the way players are and have been since the beginning of time. Cutting a ball with a razor, putting vaseline or spit on it, corking a bat, taking speed or uppers for extra zip, using binoculars behind a scoreboard to read catcher’s signs, wearing stick ‘em on gloves to catch a football in the cold, putting too much pine tar on the bat, raising the mound for your home team, wetting the baselines to slow a fast runner. You name it, and I will tell you a time and place players and owners have cheated to advance themselves and their game. That ladies and gentlemen, is sports.

Treated as heroes, adulated as stars, rewarded as kings, they don’t have anchors or a sense of their place in the spectrum. So they push the envelope at every turn. Maybe it is a breath machine after they retire or a human growth hormone while they are still on the field. They are taught to win at all costs and that is the way they play the game at 26 or 46 years old.

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