Fatherhood inspires Bruce's fight against PEDs

May 19th, 2019

SEATTLE -- For , being asked to serve as the Mariners’ player representative on the Taylor Hooton Foundation Advisory Board was a slam dunk decision.

The 31-year-old Texas native is the father of two young sons, Carter and Max, and he wants them and all kids to grow up knowing how to say no to the peer pressure that comes with deciding whether to use anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.

So Bruce proudly serves this season as the Mariners’ representative in the “All Me, PED free” program being promoted by the Hooton Foundation.

“It’s something I definitely feel strongly about and for me is a no-brainer,” said Bruce, a 12-year MLB veteran and three-time All-Star. “As competitive and high as the stakes are in a game like this, I’m sure there are people all the time that are met with tough decisions and bad guidance.

“So I feel if I can be part of something that helps one kid decide that, ‘You know what? He doesn’t do it so I’m not going to,’ that’s something I take pride in and hopefully I can be helpful with.”

This is the fourth year of the MLB Advisory Board for the program, with 42 players now taking part. The Hooton Foundation is widely acknowledged as the leader in the advocacy against the use of appearance and performance-enhancing substances by the youth of America, and Bruce said its mission extends far beyond baseball.

“When you get a little older, you realize the type of person you are bleeds over into everything you do, whether it's professional or personal,” he said. “I think creating those healthy habits and being true to yourself and treating yourself with respect and making those sound and responsible decisions and having the self-esteem and confidence to not feel like you have to do that kind of stuff is not something that is just on the baseball field. It’s true in all of life.”

Bruce’s message is simple: “Just being yourself is plenty good.”

And he’ll strive to deliver that thought to both his own kids and anybody else who’ll listen.

“I have two boys, and you have no idea what the world will be like when they come of age and start being faced with these decisions,” Bruce said. “But my whole goal as a parent and father is not to make decisions for my kids but equip them with the tools to make decisions and be confident in their decisions. I think that’s huge.

“You’re going to run into peer pressure and the ‘Everybody is doing it’ thing. Sometimes the right thing is not the easy thing, but we want to try to teach them that the right thing is always the right thing.”