Baseball's New Symbol: an Ostrich

The new symbol for baseball should be the ostrich. As each day goes by since the unveiling of the bombshell Mitchell report on unauthorized and illegal drugs in baseball, each and every segment representative of the sport has put their heads in the sand. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

And there just doesn't seem to be enough sand to go around.

We have an old chum, a barrister (once buying a gift for him in a London shop and identifying the recipient as both a friend and barrister, the shop owner, exuding the classic English art of understatment, quipped: "And he's still your friend!" as if any sane person would befriend, egad, a lawyer), who once reduced all criminal defenses into three, using only nine words, to wit: "(1) I wasn't there, (2) Ain't my stuff, and (3) He be lying."

Baseball's response to the Mitchell report falls into this classic criminal defense strategy.

To "spin" is to put something in its best - or least harmful - light. To spin, gentlemen (and ladies), is lying.

So far, the poster children for the three monkeys in hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil are none other than Commissioner Bud Selig, Union boss Donald Fehr, and, to date, everybody else.

Washing away sin requires repentence, a legitimate, unqualified and remorseful admission of guilt. So far, there has not been one iota, not to mention no jot or tittle, or anything even remotely resembling repentence.

The sport, like the homeless exiles in Rick's Cafe in Casablanca, wait. And wait. And wait.

Bud Selig is not going to repent. He is congenitally unable to repent. Ditto Donald Fehr. And, to date, all the others.

But baseball - and its future - require it. For the sport, those who cant admit guilt have to go the way of all flesh: they have to go. And the sooner the better.

Even those denizens of Congress, masters of lying par excellence, would have no more of Watergate and the Nixon coverup. Even Congress would not yield until a thorough cleansing took place, a cleansing that reverberates until this day.  If even Congress could at least try to clean up its act, what excuse can baseball possibly have?

We are reminded of the German Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer who preached that great sermon during the Third Reich:
"When they came for the Jews, we said nothing. When they came for the liberals, we said nothing. When they came for us, nobody was left."

Will baseball do anything about the rot in its midst? Evidently left up to the inmates in the asylum, no they won't.

Will baseball be forced to do something sometime? Most assuredly. The politicians are already lining up to make hay.

And can the courts be far behind?  The fans at least love the game, or what they remember it once was and what they would like it to be again. Believe us, politicians don't share this love. They love headlines. Politicians have never found a problem they think can't be fixed with more and more laws - and taxes.

What baseball needs is not a legal solution, but a spiritual one. Baseball needs an injection of morality.

Baseball needs a purification sacrifice, but a legitimate and efficacious one - not just a new ritual. Baseball needs a rebirth. It needs to be cleansed.

What baseball needs is an owner, any owner, to step up and say "There will be no abuses, or abusers, past, present or future, on my team. I will not hire, trade for, or keep, any player so tainted. I will not employ anyone on my club who was involved, as a player, a coach, a trainer, a team doctor, in the front office, any place in the organization who has in any way diminished the game or the sport. I can not and will not be silent by action or deed, overtly or by comission or omission. My team will play fairly and by the rules, not only legal rules but by the rules of fair play, by the moral rule. On my team, there will be a zero tolerance rule. We can not remain silent, nor will we do so. Everybody and anybody connected with my team will be required to sign onto these rules and statements. Our rules and statutes and teachings will be written, as they should be, on our hearts and in our minds. Baseball demands nothing less."

To date, baseball, with 30 teams, has no such owner.

And baseball is waiting. And waiting.

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