A controversy is brewing in this year's World Series over a smudge on the arm of Detroit Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers, not to be confused with the chicken roaster and faux country music guy. A number of people are questioning whether a smudge on his arm from Sunday's game is actually another substance other than dirt.
I'm not really big on sports, in fact, if professional sports were eliminated tonight, tomorrow I would wake up and not notice any difference. But the year, Wilbur decided he was going to be a baseball fan, and so began to root for the home team, as the song goes, to win the world championship.
"Don't hold your breath," I told him, having witnessed many seasons of disappointing baseball coming out of Detroit. But, oddly enough, the Tigers started winning this year, each time I dismissed it with a "They still have plenty of time to blow it. We are talking about the Tigers, after all."
I don't know how serious the charges against Rogers are, like I said, I'm not much of a sports fan, but what struck me most was a quote I heard attributed to a player for the Cardinals. "If he was cheating and got away with it, good for him."
If he was cheating and got away with it, good for him.
Yes, Americans seem to admire a cheater who gets away with it, but if you're caught, well, just ask Bill Clinton. Yes, cheaters are respected in this country, it's how we got our current president. Everyone cheats, we are led to believe, so what's wrong with it? Look at Ken Skilling and the whole Enron scandal, just another cheat, and when he got caught, denied any knowledge he was cheating at all, while sitting on a big bag of ill-gotten gain. Who hasn't cheated at golf, on their taxes, on their spouse, on their job, or on a test? It's cheating that allows lawyers to prosper, even in hard times.
Now, I know a lot of people who were upset when the Tigers beat the pinstriped prima donnas, the NY Yankees, whether it was because of Rogers cheating, we'll never know, but what this exemplifies is our need to win at any cost. Right and wrong are consumed by the desire not to be the losers. And I feel I have a legitimate gripe, because in the long run, I pay the outrageous salaries of the ball players. Through tax breaks, advertising, and sky boxes for CEOs who, like the Yankees when they lose, earn their salaries whether their company is turning a profit or not, and feel entitled to perks like the best seats in the stadium, the price of baseball is tacked on to every Budweiser I buy*.
I realise sports stars are never good role mdoels, but what does it say about us when we condone practices in one person that we wouldn't in a business partner, just because they happen to play a game. How do you explain this behavior to your kid, if the ask, or do you chalk it all up to "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." This is the mindset of those who would keep us bogged down in Iraq because they want a victory on their record. Sportsmanship and character don't count, because they can't buy you anything worth having.
Baseball, along with mom and apple pie used to represent Americans to each other, Now mom has been replaced by an SUV driving bleach blonde helmet headed MILF, apple pie is now mock apple pie and cheating seems to be America's favorite pasttime.
*I don't actually drink, but am merely using this as an example.