The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

August 9, 2013

Drugs, gambling and baseball

MADISON COUNTY — There was talk that Alex Rodriquez would get a lifetime ban from the game of baseball for taking performance-enhancing drugs.

There is a ton of evidence that he took performance-enhancing drugs. Does that mean he should be given a life sentence?

Only if you understand what baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s version of a life sentence is.

I can think of only two players who have been given a lifetime ban from baseball: Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose.

Shoeless Joe was booted in 1919, and there is a compelling argument that before Pete Rose is admitted back into baseball, Shoeless Joe should be admitted first.

Because the alleged crime was committed 95 years ago, there’is not much of a constituency clamoring for Jackson’s enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

That brings us to Pete Rose.

Pete, age 72, has been out of the game for 24 years. If he is going to get in the Hall of Fame while he is still alive, they need to get on with it.

Drugs are illegal across the United States, where almost every state, expect for one or two like Utah, allow some form of gambling, be they casinos, lotteries or sports betting. Thousands more bet on baseball online and offshore.

Drugs should be before gambling when it comes to a lifetime ban. They talk about maintaining the “integrity of the sport” by keeping Pete Rose away from the game, yet they allow casinos and lotteries to advertise during televised games and with signs inside the ballpark.

How many times have you seen a baseball player do a public service announcement to warn against gambling addiction? I am thinking almost never.

Being truly concerned about gambling means cutting major league teams off from gambling money.

Bud Selig thinks he can let baseball take the gamblers’ money, do nothing to help problem gamblers and think that banning a star, from a different era, will ward all gamblers away.

I’m 54 years old and grew up in the Cincinnati area. I got to see Pete Rose play at his prime, but few younger than I got that opportunity. I wonder if anyone playing baseball today ever saw him play? If so, how can Pete’s lifetime ban be scaring anyone straight?

If you don’t count the nonstop ads for Viagra and Cialis, drug dealers don’t pump money into major league baseball teams. But there was a time when drugs were extremely important to Bud Selig’s bottom line.

During the steroid era.

In 1994, during Selig’s early years as commissioner, a baseball strike crippled baseball to the point where a World Series was not played that year.

Attendance plunged 20 percent the following year. Operating revenue was cut from $1.87 billion in 1993 to $1.2 billion in 1994.

Revenues came back in 1997, as Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr. geared up for a home run chase that eventually allowed McGuire and Sosa to break Babe Ruth and Roger Maris’s home-run records.

I was one of those who paid extra money to see McGuire and Sosa. I was cheated, like millions of others.

I thought I had paid to watch exceptional baseball players, like Ken Griffey actually was. Instead, I was watching two hopped up guys, hit home runs that they would not have hit otherwise.

I want my money back. Or at least donated to an anti-drug program.

Baseball is promoting a very strong message: Drugs help you play better.

Performance drugs must work or so many superstars would not be taking them. Bud Selig was for drugs when he needed them and now that revenues are up, he has decided they are not a good idea. Tossing A-Rod out of the game as an example would make me feel better if they forced the Yankees to take the rest of his salary and donate it to anti-drug programs.

It seems like the college sports model is fairer. You cheat, your whole team loses.

A policy like that would show me that the drug problem is being taken seriously by major league baseball.

It’s easy for Selig to portray banning Rose as a noble cause instead of what it is: a personal vendetta. If Selig was actually serious about stopping gambling, he would allow Rose to come back and talk about how he has sinned.

I look at A-Rod and Pete Rose as victims of Bud Selig. A man more intent on putting on a show than actually solving baseball’s problems.

Don McNay is the bestselling author of Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You Win the Lottery. In the updated edition of the book, McNay talks about his father's gambling relationship with Pete Rose.

 

1
Text Only
Lifestyles & Community
  • Brandon-Sears-c.jpg Beef Cattle Association field day is Thursday

    Make plans to attend the Madison County Beef Cattle Association field day on Thursday from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The event will take place at the farm of Dr. Eugene Bowling, 1437 Barnes Mill Road in Richmond. Signs will be posted.
    This meeting qualifies as a CAIP educational component.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 04.23 JessaTurner1.jpg Eat local and eat with the seasons

    This week marks the 44th anniversary of Earth Day, and what could be more important to our survival than clean air, clean water and clean food?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amanda-Sears-c.jpg Proper care enables planting of Easter lilies

    Did you receive or purchase an Easter lily? If so, be sure to treat it right and you will be able to plant it outside this spring.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lisa Adams.jpg 4-H Camping Season Nears

    Hopefully, we have seen the last of the snow for the year, so now is the time for young people and their parents to begin making plans for an annual summer ritual, 4-H Camp.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick-Ham.jpg These things cause me concern for the future

    I was just thinking the other day about things that are happening in this country that do not bode well for the future.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WP_20140419_001.jpg Cruisin’ with the Oldies

    With the sound of classic songs wafting through the air Saturday, hundreds of people took advantage of the summer-like temperatures and turned out for the Kirksville Community Center car show.

    April 21, 2014 9 Photos

  • 04.18 Food .jpg It’s egg party time

    I love this time of the year because eggs really do go down in price during the Easter season. I have some new recipes on how to fix eggs besides the coloring part.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 04.18 Steaks.jpg Where’s the beef?

    Today, the American consumer has more money to spend on the widest variety of foods than at any other time in our history.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4.15 Eggstravaganza 1.jpg Easter bunny's ‛eggbeater’ will fly eggs to Richmond

    Who knew the Easter bunny could fly?

    Skeptics can come to the Easter Eggstravaganza in Richmond’s Irvine-McDowell Park on Saturday to see for themselves. However, the bunny still doesn’t fly in bad weather. But on Monday, temperatures in the 60s with partly cloudy skies were predicted for Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick-Ham.jpg We old folks have unique experiences

    A friend sent this to me by e-mail, and I thought my readers would enjoy it.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results