Jul 23, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff WriterYankees manager Joe Girardi's message to kids Monday night was simple: "If you cheat, you will eventually get caught."
That message was echoed Saturday afternoon when Riverton's Little League all-stars took the field before their 11-12-year-old championship game of the district tournament at the Ron Saban Baseball Complex.
"I will play fair," the players and coaches promised as part of the Little League pledge they recited together before the first pitch was tossed.
I want to believe Girardi and Riverton's Little Leaguers. I really do.
Enter Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun who was suspended without pay for the rest of the season, a 65-game ban announced Monday by Major League Baseball. Braun and others are allegedly linked to Florida's Biogenesis lab and used the lab to allegedly gain performance enhancing drugs.
"This is all B.S. because I am completely innocent," Braun said in December of 2011.
Braun beat the system once when last season's 50-game suspension was overturned by technicalities. The message we seem to hear over and over, especially from cheats like Braun, is, "I'll lie until proven guilty."
Didn't we learn that from Lance Armstrong too?
Kids see and learn this from their leaders.
Way back when, our new high school football coach at the time had us in the gym during the summer, running plays, illegally, with paper covering the door windows so people outside couldn't see in.
Just a few weeks later, the new coach lined up what we all knew was a not-permitted-under-the-rules scrimmage with Laramie High School while we were at football camp. Somehow district superintendent Albert Schultz and activities director Bill Strannigan got wind of it, drove through the night to Guernsey, and put the kibosh to the scrimmage. And, as you might guess, the message that we took from that day was that it is OK to try and cheat, it's just too bad we got caught.
The Little League pledge ends this way, "But win or lose, I will always do my best."
It must be instilled on our youth leaders and coaches that, above all, we will play fair and within the rules. It must be our greatest expectation. It is no excuse to cheat because others are doing it.
Upon hearing the news of Braun's pending suspension Monday, Marlin's pitcher Kevin Slowey reacted this way:
"There are a handful of different things you think about," Slowey said. "First, disappointed that a fellow baseball player would chose to do something like that. It seems that he's acknowledging that he's somehow violated a policy. Second, everybody in the clubhouse, all we really want is a fair and balanced playing field. We're thankful for a policy that clearly is working -- and making sure guys that are choosing not to follow that policy are feeling the repercussions."
I really want to believe Slowey too.But I don't. Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!
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