What do Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez have in common? They have all been accused of using performance enhancing drugs. Sports Illustrated also listed over 100 baseball players suspected of using steroids.
With spring training beginning for Major League Baseball players, the talk of "juicing" one's self has surfaced again. The latest one to be named is Alex Rodriguez. "A-Rod" recently admitted to using the "juice" after previously denying any usage on a nationally televised news program. He is one of the greatest home run hitters and the highest paid. While he was "enhanced" A-Rod became the American League Home Run Champion, the Most Valuable Player and received a Gold Glove award for his defensive prowess.
Bud Selig, Major League Baseball Commissioner said, "What Alex did was wrong and he will have to live with the damage he has done to his name and reputation. While Alex deserves credit for publicly confronting the issue, there is no valid excuse for using such substances, and those who use them have shamed the game," (FOX Sports News, AP Feb. 12, 2009).
Rodriguez is a naturally gifted player, so how much better the enhancement made him, no one will really know. But, the negative light is still out there on him as well as on several other players. Some writers have referred to him as A-Fraud.
Why do players feel that have to "cheat" and lie in order to succeed in baseball or any sport, for that matter? Is it really satisfying to win when you have an unfair advantage? Have you ever won some contest by cheating? You know in your heart it wasn't a true victory. There have always been those who will cheat to gain an advantage. But, it is a very hollow victory when a player has to cheat in order to win.
The Bible condemns using unjust weights or deceitful balances designed to get more and give less (Deuteronomy 25:13). That principle would also apply to taking unfair advantage of others in any transaction or contest. And, the Apostle Paul adds this, "And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules." (2 Timothy 2:5).
Major League Baseball like any other competitive sport pits the best of the best against each other. To "juice" one's self to gain an advantage is just plain wrong and needs to be more closely monitored so that everyone plays fair and not deceitfully.
For GN Magazine, I'm Gary Antion.