Baseball Intelligence(B-IQ): January, 2016(#53)

“It ain’t cheating if you don’t get caught!”

Questions of Integrity?

Currently there is talk that Peyton Manning has taken illegal drugs in order to regain his quarterbacking greatness. Pshaw! It is incredulous and comes from Al Jazerra of all places!! It is ridiculously easy to start a rumor and cast aspersions on any player, person, or institution using all the social media available to the dim, infirm, and cowardly!

Cheating, however, has become the nouveau “strategy” of those who must win at any cost. In sports, the last ten years have seen a tsunami of cheating. The “roiders”(Canseco to A-Rod), Lance Armstrong, Reggie Bush, John Calipari, Maradona and the “Hand of God” play, Tim Donaghy(NBA ref), Rick Petino, the Patriots(Spy Gate) with Brady(Deflate-gate) and Belichick…this does not even include the many athletes who have cheated on their wives or their income tax! If you look back at Bobby Jones(the iconic golfer) and his deep sense for the integrity of the game, you can see how far our sports morality has sunk. Once, Bobby was leading the US Open and found himself in the bushes. Upon address, the ball moved and nobody but Bobby witnessed the infraction. He immediately told his playing partner and added a stroke. As it turned out, he lost the Open by a single shot and the tourney director gave him an award for his honesty. His comment, “Why not give everyone who has not robbed a bank one as well!” Today, that just will not happen. When caught or “allegedly” charged with cheating, the athletes of today rationalize the malfeasance with the usual rationalizations: “You need to cheat in order to win!”, “Everyone is doing it” and even, “I do not consider that cheating”. Our moral compass is askew and the lack of integrity is rife in sports at all levels…even t-ball!!! The Patriots and others have made cheating an integral part of their overall game plan, and continue to go unscathed in terms of punishment or real retribution!!

Baseball has had more than its share of scandals and cheating. The most infamous case was the 1919 White(Black) Sox. That “throwing” of the World Series led to a number of players being banned from baseball, and Commissioner Landis trying to retain the game’s integrity. However, since then there have been too many instances of flagrant cheating as well as more subtle ones; still the cheating has continued!!!!

The corking of bats(Belle, Nettles, Sosa, Cash, Hatcher, Otis), doctoring of the grounds(SF soaking the base paths to stop Wills, the “moving fence of Bill Veeck, etc), the Gaylord Perry “wet and/or greasy ones”, sanding or nicking the ball(Whitey Ford, J. Niekro, Sutton, Kevin Gross), and even the obvious spitters of Preacher Roe, Sal Maglie and Lew Burdette. There is still discussion as to the stealing of signs by the Giants(Herman Franks with a telescope) in the 1951 playoff final when Bobby hit the SHOT!!! Heavens, it may all have started with Ty Cobb intentionally spiking defenders or John McGraw holding onto the runner’s belt as they turned at third base!! The hidden ball trick, the “3-ball walk”, the skunk in the outfield” or the clever “sleeper/rabbit” play seem fairly tame compared to all of the above…but, still cheating!!

The integrity of sports is not considered sacrosanct nor has it really ever been…the few real “losers” will always cheat…the Tonya Hardings, the CCNY type-teams, the Bossard family, Panama Lewis, Rosie Ruiz, Ben Johnson, Dora Ratjen, Mike Tyson(the bite), Danny Almonte and his dad, the Spanish Paraolympiad team, and the big cheat(and liar), Pete Rose will always rear their ugly heads and think winning makes you a winner. It does not, and it ruins the true value of hard competition and giving it your best on an even playing field!

Sadly, despite public uproar and the bad taste in everyone’s mouth, cheaters do prosper as many of them continue to “play the system” and do despicable things. The Belichicks, Caliparis, Roses, Larry Browns, and other repeat offenders, are still able to get another job and maintain their questionable demeanor because the rest of us and their employers really are the enablers of the cheating! The “theft” of sportsmanship and pride will continue as long as WE accept it and until WE stop it!!

THINGS to do in January: TIME FOR EYE EXAM #1! NOW!!! PLEASE do it NOW!!

1. Time to begin the PREPARATION for the 2016 season: Just Do It! NOW!!!!

2. Set your goals for the season: Write them down and work on them daily.

3. Time to start throwing: each week 3-5 times with the basic mechanics and attention to detail.

4. “A NEW year and a NEW time to follow your dream” FAW!!!! WNM!!! YOLO!!!!!

Book of the Month: The Three Year Swim Club, Julie Checkoway. The true story of the young Hawaiian indigents that became Olympic swimmers! Work harder.

Movie of the Month: 30 for 30: “The Day the Series Stopped” The 1989 earthquake that ended the 3rd game..wow

Please use AMAZONSMILE through our website: EVERY penny counts!! Thanks for helping others!! WNM!!