The Norman Transcript

Columns

August 9, 2013

Integrity is critical in baseball

(Continued)

NORMAN —

As the sordid drug scandal stories unfolded, eventually the single-season home run record was tarnished. Today there are those who don’t recognize it, won’t accept it, and demand that it be stricken. Sadly, that hasn’t happened.

It’s not just fans who harbor these feelings -- it’s players as well. Take Baltimore’s Chris Davis, the Orioles’ slugging first baseman. He had had 37 at the All-Star break and said his sights were set on breaking the game’s single-season record. He wasn’t speaking about Bonds’ achievement but Maris’. “In my opinion, 61 is the record,” Davis told reporters in New York, “and I think most fans agree with me.”

He’s added four more home runs since then and is on pace to get 62 before the regular season ends. Of course, there are those who are now suspicious of Davis’ torrid run and wonder if he’s benefitted illegally. “I think there’s no reason not to believe in me,” he countered.

Davis wasn’t among the 14 players tied to the mess uncovered at a Florida anti-aging clinic. All but Rodriguez accepted likely season-ending suspensions.

Are they deserving of the honors and awards they won if their performance was enhanced by drugs? Hard to make a case for that.

Take Milwaukee’s Ryan Braum, who was named the National League’s MVP in 2011. Should that recognition stand? A “yes” answer says anything goes when it comes to playing the game. It also sends a tough-luck message to those who played by the rules. A “no” answer said records and honors remain special. Take the case of Southern Cal running back Reggie Bush, who forfeited his Heisman Trophy following an NCAA investigation into improper gifts in 2004 that led to the Trojans getting banned from bowl games for two years.

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