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Alex Rodriguez Story on 60 Minutes and What Youth Coaches Can do

Anyone who watched the story 60 Minutes did on Alex Rodriguez last night and loves baseball, probably had a lot of the same emotions I did (here is the link to a story about the interview with Tony Bosch http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/chi-anthony-bosch-alex-rodriguez-60-minutes-20140112,0,7102754.story).  The first thing that struck me was the incredible lengths they went through to cheat.  I understand that taking steroids most likely does improve athletic performance, and for an aging athlete who is not used to failure, this may be an appealing option of maintaining or returning to their previous level of performance.



What I do not understand is how someone like Alex Rodriguez can feel good about the accomplishments they achieve under such dishonest pretenses.  If I find a Nobel Peace Prize on the street, take it home, and put it on my trophy case, I cannot feel any kind of positive emotional attachment to that award because I know I didn’t earn it.  In fact, I would feel shame, because I know that the person who did earn it, doesn’t have it.


If a player’s only goal is to make more money, perhaps they can get over the fact that their accomplishments are not their own.  If they literally have no remorse because the only thing that matters to them is money, then the accomplishments are only a means to making more money. If a player has feelings what so ever about his actual accomplishments, cheating to achieve them cannot give one a true sense of satisfaction.


With that being said, it must be incredibly difficult to be a clean player in professional sports (this problem is not specific to baseball) to sit back and watch players who you know are using illegal drugs pass you up for roster spots, get large contracts, and win championships.  I shutter to think about the number of clean players who missed out on generational wealth because someone who was using PEDs got that large, multi-year contract, and they didn’t.


They are the ones who should be commended, but we will never know many of their names. The decision to do it clean is a commendable one, and while they may not have as much success and money as if they had used, they still have their dignity, their honor, and my respect.

I know I cannot control what Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, or Roger Clemens do, but I can help influence the way my players perceive them.  I firmly believe it is the responsibility of youth, high school, and travel coaches to have conversations with their players about these topics.


If we say nothing to our athletes, they see Barry Bonds’ 762 career home runs, Mark McGuire hitting number 62, they see Melky Cabrera signing a multi year deal after being suspended for PEDs.  There appears to be no down side until we talk about the lack of character, integrity, the shame and ridicule it can bring to you and your family.


We may have no control over what happens in professional sports, but we can teach integrity, character, and fair play to our own players, while letting them know the dangers of PEDs.  The reality is almost every kid we coach will never cash a pay check for playing baseball.  Those other life lessons are what will really influence the rest of their lives.  Education about such issues is a great strategy to deter athletes from trying such things and it starts with their coaches and parents.


Be part of the solution.



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6 Responses so far.


  2. Alex Smith says:

    Excellent post. Love the focus on teaching our kids and players the bigger life lesson about character, integrity and knowing right from wrong. As a coach, this is our job.

  3. morris44 says:

    Luckily, for every Arod there are 100 players how have made it to the top the right way.

    I like to discuss with my players major leaguers like Maddux, Sandberg, Ted Williams and Mel Ott as players of average physical ability who excelled.

    My older son was a hugh fan of Bonds and McGwire during their heyday and before we really knew what was going on. After all came to light, he really lost something. He really isn’t even a fan anymore of baseball and that is the worst thing to come out of this stuff.

    • Kyle Nelson says:

      I really hope the ratio is 1 AROD for every 100 clean players. Unfortunately from those I’ve talked to who have played professionally, it’s not that good of a ratio. I kind of fall in the same boat as your son. I still watch the game to learn from the best, but I still don’t trust anything I see.

  4. Jodi Murphy says:

    “I shutter to think about the number of clean players who missed out on generational wealth because someone who was using PEDs got that large, multi-year contract, and they didn’t.”

    Can you imagine being that player? No matter how hard you work you are always going to be behind the cheaters. How long would you be able to hold out if everyone is cheating, and not only getting away with it, being being celebrated because of it?

  5. I’m having a couple of thoughts:

    PED means Performance Enhancing Drugs; Therefor first of all one need to be able to perform. You probably won’t be seeing drugs like these in the level we/I am coaching/training. A-Rod had the skills already to get to Minor/Major League, ’cause PED alone will not have gotten him there. I have to agree with Jodi that others might have missed out by A-Rod’s greed.

    Drugs are drugs! If one cannot stand to be less than marvelous, do not join a competition. Change your attitude instead of your body.

    I am telling the kids on my teams that this man is giving Baseball a bad name, not because he used drugs, but because of the whole circus around it.
    And I feel sorry for Morris’ son: to loose the love for the game is much bigger than a cheating player. There are so much more guys (and girls) out there that play the game according to the rules!

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