This is the definition of integrity on Dictionary.com: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
This is how cheat is defined courtesy of Dictionary.com: a person who acts dishonestly, deceives, or defrauds.
Okay now put your thinking caps on and re-read those two definitions. What is the common denominator in both? Honesty.
So riddle me this. If Pete Rose is being left out of the Hall of Fame because he damaged the 'integrity' of the game, (which I agree with by the way) how in the world can we put anyone who took performance enhancing drugs into the Hall of Fame?
Isn't that cheating? Isn't that a form of damaging the integrity of the game?
Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote a very thought provoking column on why he thinks Barry Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame. You should check it out it's a great read. In fact, here is the link.
In the article Sherman states that he is going to vote for Bonds when the ballot comes out in the Winter of 2012. It's his right, he has a Hall of Fame vote. Joel isn't good at what he does, he is excellent at what he does, but I am going to step in and politely disagree with him. He writes that he is basing his vote on everything Bonds did up until the 1998 season. That's when he said he told a circle of friends that he was going to start juicing because inferior players were using PED's and gaining more fame and making more money than him.
I'm not going to regurgitate the entire article. It is definitely worth your time though.
Well with that logic, can we end Pete Rose's career when he started betting on baseball? Well we don't really know if we can do that, because we don't really know when Pete started his problem. And how could we be so sure that we know when these players who have admitted it started doing them as well? Want proof? How about Manny Ramirez retiring for being on the block for another illegal substance suspension.
Sherman makes a very credible and interesting argument, but these players who took PED's 'cheated' the game of baseball and pelted the 'integrity' of the game with rotten eggs with the same verocity of Rose's gambling problems.
Remember, the common denominator in both of these cases. We go back to the root of the definitions of integrity and cheat. They go hand in hand like pork and beans, cereal and milk, peanut butter and jelly, Kool-Aid and sugar. You get the point.
Think about this for a second. Can you put Bonds' plaque next to Hank Aaron? Is the all-time home run record on his plaque? Is there any mention of performance-enhancing drugs on it? It's a slippery slope.
If Rose is banned for life for being dishonest with us, so should all of these guys who duped us into thinking they were larger than life, taking away from past heroes who were clean.
Follow Chris Shearn on Twitter: @ChrisShearnYES