In Major League Baseball, with the latest revelation that another superstar may have been using performance enhancing substances (Manny Ramirez and his 50-game suspension) there is more talk about putting asterisks next to all the power hitters of this era. The exploits of A-Rod, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and more have brought, at the very least, a cloud of skepticism to an entire era of hitters. A cloud that will taint not only their reputations but their places in the history of the game. Some are calling it the asterisk era of baseball.
Well, if one buys into this argument, which certainly has its merits, what about the pitchers who faced these hitters? With the exception of Roger Clemens and Andy Petitte most notably, shouldn't the accomplishments of pitchers like Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina, John Smoltz, Roy Oswalt, Tom Glavine, Roy Halliday and Johann Santana be given even greater credence for achieving remarkable levels of excellence during the "steroid era" of hitters?
While we hear a great deal about diminishing the statistics of hitters in the steroid era, we don't hear much talk about giving the pitchers of this period extra credit for excelling in this era of pumped-up hitters. But they deserve it.
Perhaps this asterisk era of baseball for hitters should also be known as the exclamation point era of pitching - a new Golden Age of pitching - for the dozens of truly outstanding hurlers that battled these enhanced hitters every day. Just as the standard for making the Hall of Fame will be harder for all hitters of this era, perhaps it should be easier for the pitchers who didn't cheat.
Remember, whenever there's a dark side, there's almost always a bright side as well.
To relate this to the corporate world - our world - just as there are companies out there betraying public trust, greedily pursuing their best interests at the expense of their customers, there are companies always working to do right by their customers and the communities they serve.
Some call this a dark era for corporate America, thanks to the bad actions of bad actors in a few bad industries - namely the financial and insurance services, banking and automotive industries. Yet, the majority of industries have performed admirably. They keep their customers first. They run clean, socially responsible businesses. And these companies become integral parts of their communities, which helps make them part of something bigger than themselves. The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group – all their bottlers -- and Nestlé Waters North America are just such companies. Check out their social responsibility efforts.
As lawmakers look to reform regulatory systems, they should focus on the bad guys and not paint all of industry with a broad brush. Leave the good guys alone and let them keep building America stronger. Consumers should look at companies that way too. Just as a few bad ballplayers shouldn't taint every athlete in America's game, nor should a few bad actors in the business world taint all the great companies and brands that continue to make our communities strong and America vibrant. And play ball the right way.
Help our leaders keep perspective, America. We ask that you do as well.