By BILL WATANABE
Baseball player Aaron Judge recently broke Roger Maris’ American League single-season home run record by hitting 62 home runs. In 1961, Maris beat Babe Ruth’s home run record of 60, which was set way back in 1927; it should be noted that Maris and Judge had eight more games than Ruth to play in a season.
As far as I know, Aaron Judge has not been accused of using any performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and it is quite certain that Maris and Ruth did not either. However, the news media has been putting up the names of Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire as the single-season home run leaders. This is irksome to me – because it is obvious (at least to me) those three were using PEDs to enhance their performance – in my opinion, they are cheaters.
The Houston Astros won the 2017 American League Championship against the Yankees and later the World Series against the L.A. Dodgers and then were found to have cheated by stealing signs of the opposing pitchers by using video and other illicit devices. The Astros leadership got some slaps on the wrist but they got to keep their championship. Major League Baseball should be setting a strong case that cheaters should not prosper and take away their championship.
Way back in 1919, the Chicago White Sox were the best team in baseball but some players were tempted to make more money from gamblers if they lost the World Series to a much weaker team. After investigating this scandal, eight players from that team, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was one of the top stars of the game, were banned from baseball for life! In the White Sox case, players were cheating the system and profiting by losing games. However, because of the harsh punishment of a lifetime ban, professional baseball for 100 years has never been tainted by any major cheating since then (except for steroid use and the 2017 Houston Astros).
If you can win a championship by cheating, and only get a slap on the wrist as punishment when you get caught, then it would make sense to keep on cheating. Cheaters should not prosper. Cheaters should not be in the record books. Cheaters should not be in the Hall of Fame.
Houston won the 2022 World Series — I wonder if they cheated?
Bill Watanabe writes from Silver Lake near Downtown Los Angeles and can be reached at email@example.com. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.