Cal  Thomas

Why should Major League Baseball (MLB) be immune to the cultural depravity that has touched every area of public life - from politics to religion, from corporate life to personal relationships?

In a report for MLB by former Sen. George Mitchell, America's "pastime" has been revealed to contain its share of cheaters like most other professions.

The Mitchell Report alleges that 89 active and retired players used performance-enhancing drugs, giving them an edge over those who used nothing but their natural born abilities and hard-earned skills.

Is anyone surprised by these allegations? If so, they haven't been paying attention.

Even to the untrained eye it is obvious that the physical characteristics of many of these players could not be attained solely through weight lifting and a high protein diet. But it apparently didn't matter to team owners who needed something to put fans in the stadium seats and attract eyeballs to television screens following the disastrous players' strike in 1994. The consecutive game streak by the Baltimore Orioles' "Iron Man," Cal Ripken Jr. (a Mr. Clean in baseball if ever there was one), would not be enough. Many blind management eyes were turned away from what was going on in the clubhouse and elsewhere, as some players bulked up in order to be able to hit more home runs, which are the gold standard of baseball.

Will the fans care about these things? Probably not. Their expectation that professional athletes be "role models" for their children ended sometime after the notion that anyone can grow up to be president was disproved by the $100 million it now takes just to get into the presidential campaign.

Most of us have become cynical about people and institutions in which we once put our faith. We now think everybody has, or is looking for, an edge. Politicians have lots of edges. Some religious leaders have an edge in private wealth and political clout. Certain business leaders have a huge edge by winning astronomical bonuses after sometimes failing to secure large profits for their companies. Young, blonde females have an edge on cable TV news.

Most people don't believe professional wrestling is legit. Ditto for all forms of gambling, or "gaming" as the gamblers, in their efforts to deceive us, now call it.

The public's attitude seems to be that if Diogenes of Sinope were around today, his lamp would run out of oil long before he found an honest man.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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