Pitchers and catchers report! Maybe A-Rod can take up golf...

T.D. Hayes.jpg

Ah, spring training starts this weekend. Yes, hope springs eternal, even for a woeful Mets fan like me. Of course the ritual springtime melodrama of the crosstown Yankees is usually enjoyable for me--practically a season highlight, lately--except that with the "A-Roid" revelations (who knew?!) it's all getting downright disgusting. Alex Rodriguez is the latest, but also the biggest and one of the least convincing steroid penitents in the majors. Don't get me started--I'll say something I'll have to apologize for, too.Instead, check out this story in this week's NYT, "For Golfer, Wrong Ball Turns Into Right Move." It's about a worker bee golfer on the PGA Tour, J. P. Hayes, who turned himself in during a qualifying tournament when he discovered he inadvertently used a ball not approved for play.

He called officials from his hotel room for a mistake that no one else had noticed, and that probably would not have been uncovered if not for Hayes's admission.He said he never considered not turning himself in because it was a standard of the game that golfers called penalties on themselves, even those that would result in disqualification."And I would say that almost, I would hope, anyway, that 100 percent of us play by those standards," he said.

A guy like Hayes, who is always on the bubble and risks his livelihood with such an admission, says "I am certainly not any kind of hero for what I did."I'd disagree with him there, even though other pro athletes have lowered the bar. Apparently others think he's deserving, too and he has received five unsolicited exemptions that allow him to play in tournaments he would otherwise have missed, including this week's Pebble Beach Pro-Am. I'm no golfer--my brother does more than enough for the whole family--but T.D. Hayes could get me interested. Bravo.

David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.

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