The Ploys of Summer
Mitch Hanley, senior producer

This week reports came out about baseball’s ongoing steroid scandal, citing lawyer’s statements that both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz tested positive for steroid abuse in 2003. In 2004, these two led the Boston Red Sox to a World Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, crowning Ramirez the World Series Most Valuable Player and Ortiz the American League Championship Series MVP.

This is the second time this year that Ramirez has been tied to steroid use — the previous occasion back in May resulted in a 50-game suspension. Earlier this year, famed sluggers Alex Rodriguez (572 career home runs) and Barry Bonds (all-time home run leader at 762, Hank Aaron 2nd at 755) were outed by the same 2003 report as having used steroids.

Although I do applaud the league’s enforcement of their rules and the suspension of Ramirez for the current year’s infraction, where is the outrage on behalf of the fans? The affects of these damning reports seem to suggest that the fans don’t have a problem with players using steroids. Fans may not like it, but, by and large, they do not go so far as to boycott games. In fact, a report issued in May had indicated just a 4.4 percent drop in attendance from last year for games played in April. But the decline is attributed to the economic downturn.

And after a nearly year-long financial crisis that outed the financial industry’s cheaters and the regular outing of politicians who either cheated on their wives or cheated on their taxes, is there no outrage left in us? Have we established ours as a culture where it is OK to cheat as long as you don’t get caught, and, if you do get caught, just wait for it to blow over? What about those who are out on the diamond playing their hearts out, who are not using steroids. Don’t they deserve our outrage? And when it comes to something as trivial as baseball or as important as an election, what is the best way to communicate our outrage?

So what does this mean for our society? Is this the American way? Do we expect our leaders to cheat in order to be leaders? What do you think?

(photo: Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez at the 2008 MLB All-Star Game. Getty Images/Jim McIsaac)

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