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From our archives: Baseball ‘role models’ not so exemplary

What we thought: 25 years ago

Published: Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
Tommy Lasorda The manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers caught flak for questionable behavior by two of his players in an Oct. 11, 1988, Gazette editorial.

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following editorial appeared in the Daily Gazette on Oct. 11, 1988.

How to make

cheating OK

Cheating in recent days has taken on a whole new dimension, a whole new glow, a whole new legitimacy. What a message to send everyone, particularly our young folks who – rightly or wrongly – look upon many of these cheaters as heroes, as role models.

First, you’ll recall, we had Ben Johnson, the Canadian runner who was kicked out of the Olympics and stripped of his medal because steroids were found in his system. He is still protesting that he knew nothing about that, but the evidence seems overwhelming – besides, someone around him surely knew.

In short, Mr. Johnson cheated.

Then, only this past weekend, we had the specter of Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Jay Howell being ejected from a playoff game and suspended for, first, 3 days, but later only a couple of games, for using an outlawed, forbidden substance in his glove.

His manager, Tommy Lasorda, protested that the action was unfair and that such a substance had no impact or effect on how a thrown baseball with that stuff on it behaves.

He apparently is wrong about that – but, wrong or not, his reaction is irrelevant. The point is that the substance – in this case, pine tar – was illegal. Period. End of matter.

In short, Mr. Howell cheated.

To make matters worse, however, during Sunday evening’s Dodger-Met playoff game, John Tudor, another Dodger pitcher, conceded that, if it meant prolonging his career, he would “cut” the baseball. This means defacing it to make it do unusual things. He said this without hesitation, without remorse, without excuse.

In other words, he, too, would cheat.

And the announcers – and presumably the baseball world and powers that be – let him get away with it.

As for Mr. Lasorda, he can be heard periodically on interview shows emphasizing how important it is for professional ballplayers to set the proper examples for the young of the land. Then he goes and brushes aside this latest less-than-exemplary example demonstrated by a role model.

And that’s not all.

This is the same Tommy Lasorda who, whenever the television camera is trained on the Dodger dugout, can be seen cursing or ranting and raving with obscenities.

Another exemplary example set by a role mode.

Just how much hypocrisy are we expected to endure?

Then we wonder why so many in the younger generation are growing up all messed up.

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