The Intelligent Divorce

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Cheating & Baseball: Who is to Blame?

A-Rod: The Perfect Scapegoat

Alex Rodriguez huge suspension from Major League Baseball is probably deserved, yet I have sympathy for the way he’s fighting back. You see, A-Rod knows there’s a lot of guilt to go around.

Here’s what’s going on.

A-Rod is Not the Problem:

Major League Baseball has a problem, and it’s not Rodriguez or steroids; it’s their credibility. They need to distract us from what’s really at stake, and A-Rod is the perfect target.

Who wants to be a scapegoat for everyone else, even if you’re guilty as charged?  

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Alex is fighting back, and probably has many reasons, including a major financial hit. But, it's my guess that A-Rod's also upset having been made an “example” (albeit self inflicted) for a system that needs to make amends.

He surely knows that all of baseball had a hand in the “steroid era” including the sports writers, the owners, and the players union. They wanted to save baseball from a devastating strike.

A Piece of History:

The 1994 World Series had been cancelled, and the fans had stopped coming. Mary C. Lamia, a Psychology Today blogger put it this way, “You may want such people to be exposed and imagine they experience guilt or have difficulty living with themselves.” Baseball was worried, not about how greedy they all looked, but by fan apathy. Something had to happen.

Enter stage left, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa – and steroids.

Everyone looked the other way as performance enhancing drugs became more prevelant.  In 1994, Alex Rodriguez came into the Major League Baseball, a man of immense talent who wanted baseball immortality (and the contracts that went with it). So, A-Rod played by the unwritten rules: if you can get away with it, good for you. We all win.

Sports Mirror Culture:

Rules count.  Shoeless Joe Jackson never made it to the Hall of Fame because of a cheating scandal. Pete Rose still waits … and waits, after having gambled on Baseball.  In ALL legitimate sports cheating is not allowed, because the magic of a game only happens when we follow the rules. You can’t buy a 28th out, or an extra two minutes at the end of regulation time in Football.

Without rules, competitive sports lose legitimacy.

The same holds with society. If we don’t believe that Wall Street is fair, why invest? If we don’t believe that our politicians have the public good at heart – and not their own wallets – why not revolt? If we don’t believe that our religious leaders carry holiness within, then why go to any church, synagogue, mosque or place of worship? Rules count. They make society work.

Baseball didn’t start it, but it does speak to our wholesale drop in values.

Alex Rodriguez & Yom Kippur:

A-Rod probalby deserves his comeuppance, but he’s also a scapegoat. 

Everyone was doing it, so why not me? 

On Yom Kippur, the most Holy Day of the Jewish year, the High Priest placed all the people’s sins on a scapegoat that was then sent to Azazel, a place where sins could be dispensed. It was as if this one creature could carry, by proxy, all wrongdoings.

Alex Rodriguez may be that scapegoat today because Major League Baseball has decided to clean itself up. It’s about time. The public is tired of the lies in sports, religion, politics and finance. It’s time to clean things up and re-earn our sacred trust.

The leaders of Baseball are as guilty as any of their tainted players. I am talking about owners, sports reporters, the Players Union, and the MLB officials who had it too good and didn’t want to ask too many questions.  We had too many home runs and a bloated stock market for the same reason – cheating and behind the scenes manipulation.

Making a Wrong Right:

A sin requires tribute. His name is Alex Rodriguez.

But, do the guilty ever really pay?

To have rules that work, we need Tsuvah (atonement) or a Mea Culpa from many places.

I have an idea. Since money counts so much, why not give out massive free tickets to fans as an act of atonement. Make amends, clean up the sport from the bottom up and let’s celebrate. Let the owners, the Players Union and the executives take a hit for our wonderful game.

What is money when something as sacred as the honor of Baseball is at stake? After all, many of them had good enough parenting to know the difference between right and wrong.

Alex Rodriguez will pay a price. But, it should only be the beginning.

Let’s see.

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For more on The Intelligent Divorce and Other Relationship Advice from Dr. Banschick see:

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Website: www.TheIntelligentDivorce.com

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Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFE0-LfUKgA

Mark Banschick, M.D., is a psychiatrist and author of The Intelligent Divorce book series.

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