For the Good of The Game

When Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson was asked today for his thoughts on the suspension of Melky Cabrera for testing-positive for PEDs, Gibson said that apparently the current standards for punishment were not a strong enough deterrent to cheating. Then he made some noise about players and commisioner doing things “for the good of the game.” What does that even mean? What kind of motivation is that? I would think pride would be a better personal motivator than some nebulous impersonal concept like “the good of the game.”

At some point we will each be at the end of our lives. We don’t know when, but I know that I want to conduct myself now in such a way that when I look back, I am satisfied with how I lived. When I reflect on my life, honesty demands I acknowledge the lousy decisions – decisions I am not proud of making. Most egregiously I chose adultery over honesty – not just once, but twice. I paid a steep price for those choices, but I also learned things I am glad I learned. I know that I am making choices today that I will be satisfied with later in life.

It seems the same principle should hold true when an athlete makes decisions about his career. Mr. Athlete, when your career is over you will reflect on your career. Make sure you are satisfied with how you played the game. Win with class, lose with grace, do your best, don’t cheat.

I cannot imagine how Barry Bonds can face himself in the mirror. He was – at one time – one of the greatest players ever. But he cheated in pursuit of a record. He got the record, but he knows he cheated to get it. Mr. Bonds, (Maguire, Cabrera, Clemens, – is it truly satisfying to own a record you cheated to gain? Hank Aaron hit 755 home runs without cheating. That’s the number people remember. He won with class, lost with grace, did his best, and – most importantly – didn’t cheat.

I would think that players should be required to answer this simple question: “if you cheat, are you going to be proud of your choice 20 years from now?”


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