Monday, March 12, 2007

Nothing in This World is Truly New

I know I've done a lot of sports post of late, so here is another. Maybe the next one before I head out to Winston Salem will be about the state of North Carolina ripping us off again.

I just finished reading Eight Men Out and while reading it kept creeping into my mind that the 1919 betting fix of the World Series is a lot like the steroid scandal that is attacking baseball right now. Back in the early 1900 betting took place very where including in the stands. Finally someone thought hey lets fix the world series. The White Sox can't loose! Well because ball players were indentured servants for the owners of the teams. Charles Cominsky was considered one of the worst, he payed his players less than any other team, yet his profits were increasing every year. Finally someone realized that took advantage and started to wheels rolling and next thing you know the mighty White Sox lost to the Cincinnati Reds.

Flash forward to the 1990s. Baseball was still suffering from the effects of a lockout. Baseball was slowly dying and no end was in sight. Next thing you know guys are hitting balls into the stratosphere and two guys Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were breaking Roger Maris single season home run record. Players were getting bigger and the ball went farther.

Here's where the two events start mirroring each other. Everyone knew that there was a problem with betting and 'roids, but MLB was trying to keep it quiet. Comisky was afraid of loosing his team and revenue, while Bud Selig was afraid of baseball loosing revenue and becoming irrelevant. 1920 the "Black Sox were taken to court and found not guilty, but Kenesaw Mountain Landis, finally stepped in and "rid" baseball of these bad players. Baseball increase its penalty of taking performance enhancing drugs.

With both cases it seems like no one is really being punished that needed to be, back in Black Sox era the gamblers were never really charged and escaped unscathed. Today the players that are the biggest culprits are either still playing or have gone into seclusion and will probably never have to face the public for bending the rules for personal gain.

It's amazing how two incidents almost a hundred years apart look a lot a like.

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