Marc Daniels' From the Press Box: Mottola's Honesty Speaks Volumes

June 8, 2010

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By Marc Daniels

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - These days when athletes with to discuss something to the media, it usually is some sort of admission. It usually follows the storyline of remorseful player shedding tears while speaking softly and asking fans to understand.

But there is a different path that former UCF baseball star Chad Mottola took. In a recent baseball notes column in the New York Times, Mottola made the following statement about his career: "The only thing I regret is not taking steroids, as bad as it sounds," he said. "I'm not mad at them. I'm more mad at the system that allowed it to happen. Maybe if I had done it, I'd be living the way they're living. But I know the way I played, and I'm not bitter at all."

Mottola was being honest and his brief words speak volumes. Mottola played just 59 games at the major league level with the Reds and Blue Jays. He played 1,801 games in the minor leagues. That my friends is what is called a "career minor leaguer." These days he is the hitting coach for the Las Vegas 51's, the triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

But one can only wonder how many players Mottola knew about or watched go the path of steroids. How many went on to not only play at the major league level but go on to become all-stars and maybe even Hall of Fame players?

It is easy for us to simply think we would never think about taking a substance that may potentially make us better, but when faced with a decision that not only impacts potential fame, but involvs tens of millions of dollars, the choice is no longer clear and simple.

Baseball great Mike Schmidt admits he would have to think long and hard about using performance enhancing drugs if he played in the steroid era. He is glad he did not have to make that decision.

But how many times do you think Chad Mottola looks back and wonders? How many times does he think about if he had chosen the path of others, he might be $20 million richer. He might have been an all-star. He might have been a 20-year player in the big leagues.

The reality is for every Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz or Jason Giambi that admit they took something they were not supposed to, there are dozens, if not hundreds of players never caught, never called out. It doesn't make it right, it just points out Mottola may have been able to use without anyone knowing.

Yet in the end, the former Knight slugger chose the path of never wondering if and when he might be caught and called out. He chose the road that allows him to sleep at night knowing he didn't cheat anyone and most importantly himself. That should be worth something. Shouldn't it?

Knights notes and more: Major props and best wishes to the trio of Jackie Coward, Sheila Paul and Sonnisha Williams. The trio will represent UCF at this week's NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. A top eight finish in any category will give UCF its first outdoor All-American in the sport...Kudos to Chris Duffy and Shane Brown. Both earned All-American honors on the baseball diamond for the Knights...UCF Athletics is offering two great ticket programs for the upcoming football season. Season ticket holders can refer new fans to buy season tickets and donate to the Golden Knights Club and earn points to get great prizes. Ditto for the corporate ticket packages. This plan gives you a chance to reward employees or entertain clients. Again, you earn points to great UCF perks...Conference expansion note to ponder: Imagine what conferences might look like if we started over. Place all schools in one pool and then let everyone reorganize. Trust me, the landscape would be very different. UCF would be sought after by most for all the things we have been preaching for months...Final thought: We did spring cleaning at the house and my wife asked why I couldn't throw out that college football pre-season magazine from 1988. I said I would let her know as soon I knew why I saved it.

Marc Daniels' From the Press Box runs several times per month on UCFAthletics.com. Listen to Marc during UCF football, men's basketball and baseball radio broadcasts on the UCF-ISP Sports Network. Each weekday, Marc hosts "The Beat of Sports" on ESPN 1080 in Orlando from 9-11 a.m.