Ryan Chartrand

To act dishonestly or practice fraud.

This is the definition you will find when looking up the word “cheat.”

This is a word that has gone hand-in-hand with professional sports over the last several years. This weekend, we may have hit a new low when discussing cheating and how it relates to professional sports.

Steroids have been a recent controversy in Major League Baseball. They have plagued the game for the past two decades. It took Congress getting actively involved to get the ball rolling, and to baseball’s credit, it created a system to eliminate steroids.

Everyone around baseball feels the stiff penalties and embarrassment that would follow anyone who is caught. Everyone agrees that this will not happen overnight, but feels baseball has taken the proper steps.

On Sunday night, during Game 2 of the World Series, Detroit Tigers pitcher Kenny Rogers was caught having some sort of foreign substance on his hand, which he claimed to be dirt. He washed it off after the first inning and continued to dominate the Cardinals for another seven innings.

You might be thinking no big deal, when’s Game 3? Well, I beg to differ. Trust me, Rogers is no better than any individual that has ever disgraced the game by taking steroids.

Rogers has been putting on one of, if not the greatest, postseason performances that baseball has ever seen. In his three playoff appearances in 2006, he has been a man among boys.

He has now pitched 23 scoreless innings and is four away from the all-time postseason record. This is very un-Rogers like – he has been as useless in the postseason as crosswalks around campus.

With millions of cameras at the World Series, Fox was able to figure out the reason he has been putting up these godly numbers. Cameras caught him with a yellow substance on his hand that appeared to look like pine tar. Rogers played it off like it was just a little dirt, and said he didn’t even know it was there. This is quite unbelievable coming from a man who has been pitching in the majors for almost 20 years.

“I lick my fingers before every pitch and would know immediately if something was on my hand,” said former Cal Poly ace Garrett Olson, who is now a member of the Baltimore Orioles’ Class-AA affiliate, the Bowie Bay Sox. “To me, that’s a bush-league comment coming from a guy with that type of experience.”

By applying pine tar to his pitches, Rogers would be able to create more movement because of its slippery and sticky texture. The rule states that a player cannot intentionally put a foreign substance on the ball. Unless the pine tar just magically flew out of the sky and landed on his hand, it’s obvious that the act was intentional. If he was caught, he would not only have been removed from the game, but suspended for the rest of the series.

Then ESPN showed a video clip from the previous two series where the same magical yellow blemishes appeared on his throwing hand. Is this some sort of coincidence? I don’t think so.

So it looks like Rogers has been using pine tar all postseason and having success by cheating.

Rogers is a fraud and doesn’t deserve any accolades for his recent success. It’s sad that nothing will happen to him because besides the video, officials really have no proof.

Baseball is a game of failure. It’s a game where the No. 1 overall pick in the amateur draft may never make it out of the minor leagues. Getting three hits every 10 at-bats will make you an all-star. Mainly because of reasons like these, players will do everything in their power to gain an advantage.

In a game that has worked so hard to clean up its image, it’s guys like Rogers who should set the example. With his clout and experience, Rogers should be an example of how hard work and “a refuse-to-give-up attitude” can pay off.

Sadly, the phrase, “America’s Past Time” can’t be used synonymously with baseball any longer. In a game that is predicated on numbers and records, let’s all hope another record doesn’t fall to a player like Rogers.

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