We all say we want the truth. It is a must. When someone goes to court of law, that’s pretty much all that’s asked of them. Get into a relationship, what’s the one thing everybody wants? Honesty. Truth and honesty, honesty and truth. They are supposed to go hand in hand. Do we really want the truth? Think about it. Go back to your earliest days of childhood. The idea of Santa Claus was magnificent until some “older” kid in third grade with a brother in fifth grade put other notions in your head. It’s been downhill since.
The man who is, in many peoples’ minds, still the All-Time Home Run King, Hank Aaron praised Mark McGwire for telling the truth the other day. Big Deal. I believe it’s only the truth when there is no other reason, but to tell the truth for truths’ sake, that it counts. Allow me to explain. In McGwires’ case, he is the hitting instructor for the Cardinals. He launched the pre-emptive strike to fend off the inevitable questions about steroids that were certain to come. McGwire didn’t confess because he’s a good guy, or because his conscience was bothering him. He just didn’t want to field the questions. He did wrong, and he knows it. If he had decided to stay out of baseball, there would always be the ambiguity surrounding his feats. Aaron said “I would have liked to see him do it a long time ago, but since he did it, I think he himself will tell you that he’s able to sleep at night and he’s able to look at his teammates.” Oddly enough, Aaron made no mention of the player who eclipsed his career homer mark, Barry Bonds. Bonds has made no such “mea culpa.”
I used to watch “Sanford and Son” when I was a kid. There was a wonderful comedic actress, LaWanda Page, who played Redd Foxx’s antagonist, Aunt Esther in the show. She would come into the junk shop and spout scripture and warn Fred about his “heathen” ways. Aunt Esther would always talk about the truth “setting you free.” The truth never set Pete Rose free. Before he came clean, his indiscretion was gambling on baseball. Later, I had to believe, his sin was lying. He admitted to the gambling, and he’s still considered a baseball pariah. Not condoning what he did, but give me one Pete Rose rather than ten McGwires or Bonds.
I followed the offseason journey of Johnny Damon. The former “Idiot” is now a member of the Detroit Tigers. Detroit signed him after losing Curtis Granderson to the Yankees. Damon got 8 million for the season. I am happy for him. He will help keep the Tigers in the hunt in the Central Division. That being said, does he think we’re the idiots, saying that Detroit was where he wanted to be all along? “I wanted to be a Tiger from Day 1”. Really?? You wanted to live in the city that most embodies the economic struggles of the United States? Crime-ridden Detroit. Financially strapped Detroit. That was your FIRST choice? Just strung along the Braves, Rays and White Sox? After spending the last decade in Boston and New York, Detroit was your dream destination. The truth. That’s all we ask. Do you think Tigers fans are that stupid, they’ll believe you? “Detroit became my first choice when I realized that my agent Scott Boras and I misread the market for an aging centerfielder. Detroit was where I wanted to be from the first day they offered me 8 million bucks.” I could respect that answer.
In the movie “A Few Good Men”, Colonel Nathan Jessep (Jack Nicholson) nearly has an aneurysm telling Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) that he “Can’t handle the truth.” Maybe that’s what a lot of people think. There was a severe consequence in that movie for a non-compliant soldier and I’m thinking it might be a good idea for any and all liars. Code Red.