Some baseball ethics musings on the night of the All-Star Game:
1. Why is MLB going ahead with letting Pete Rose take a bow at the All-Star Game? This made sense–barely–when it was announced, since Pete is a hometown hero despite being a rest-of-the-world slime-ball. But after that announcement, it was revealed that Rose had bet on baseball as a player, thus rendering all of his statements to the contrary the lies they were. He should have been banned from the game just to make sure this latest revelation of his sliminess adds something to his punishment.
2. The best ethics controversy of the 2015 season’s first half? This: Washington National pitcher Max Scherzer was one strike away from a perfect game, leading the Pirates in a 6-0 win, but hit Jose Tabata with a pitch to make it “only” an-hitter. A perfect game is 27 consecutive, outs, and the most difficult feat in baseball. Tabata had fouled off four pitches, before he was hit on the elbow. Many believed that he that Tabata allowed the ball to hit him intentionally, just to wreck the masterpiece. This violates one of the “unwritten rules” of baseball, which are ethics rules. After all, any perfect game could be ruined the same way, and the pitcher is powerless to stop it. This is correctly deemed to be unfair to the pitcher, the fans, and the game.
Real rules also are involved. A batter hit by a pitch is supposed to be awarded first base only if he attempts to avoid a pitch or doesn’t have an opportunity to avoid it. If the ball is in the strike zone when it hits the batter, it should be called a strike, according to the Rule Book: “If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched.” (Rule 6.08(b).)
Thus home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski could have awarded Tabata a ball to make it a 3-2 count if he felt Tabata should have gotten out of the way.
Using computer technology to exceed the voting limitations of Major League Baseballs (sloppy, naive, badly-conceived) on-line voting rules to elect the American and National League All-Star teams, some Kansas City hackers managed to flood the virtual ballot box with enough votes to elect four Royals players to the squad (after a brief, frightening period when it looked like they would elect eight). Two of the starting Royal All-Stars, shortstop Alcides Escobar and catcher Salvador Perez, are clearly bogus victors who owe their slots and bonus provisions to the cheating ways of a couple of computer savvy fans—or, perhaps, a couple of assholes who distorted the vote, weakened the team, lessened the quality of the game and forced deserving players off the team because they could, to puff up their little pigeon chests with hacker pride.
Every year, MLB hold a supplemental election to let the fans choose among five candidates in each league who have impressive records but haven’t made the All-Star squad. That one is online only, and unlike the main vote, there are no limits to voting. With typical sensitivity (I don’t think the MLB’s leadership could define what cheating is with a gun at their heads), the brass ignored the obvious fact that someone in Kansas City was making a travesty out of the process, and paved the way for him/them/it to do it again. Sure enough, the one Royal on the list of candidates for the final slot, 3rd baseman Mike Moustakas, is leading the early returns. There are already six Royals on the team, not counting the manager, Ned Yost. Of course, MLB could have avoided this obvious problem by leaving Royals off the American League’s final five. Naaaa. That would make sense. Continue reading
Nineteen year-old De’Andre Johnson was kicked off the Florida State team after “The Tallahassee Democrat” obtained a video showing Johnson punching a young woman in the face in an altercation at a bar in June. He has also been charged with battery. Johnson’s lawyer says that woman was taunting him with racial epithets and hit him twice before he punched her.
Lawyer Jose Baez told NBC News that Johnson “tried to deescalate the situation” but the woman “kneed him in the groin area” and “took another swing before he retaliated.” “It wasn’t until she struck him twice that he reacted,” Baez said. “But he is very regretful that he didn’t turn around and walk away immediately.” Baez added, however that his client “makes no excuses for what happened.”
The video above does not seem to support Johnson’s defense, but never mind. After the Ray Rice episode, no football player who lays a hand on a woman in anger will be able to avoid severe punishment. All athletes, and football players particularly, are on notice that as far as hitting women goes, it is strict liability unless the men’s lives are in danger, and maybe not even then.
But hypothetically, I’m curious. Racial epithets are fighting words. If a black athlete punched a white man, even a much smaller white man, after racial abuse and a knee to the groin, there would probably be no charges filed, and not much criticism either. How different, if different at all, should the ethical judgement be if the individual engaging in the abuse is a woman? What if she shows no signs of stopping unless she is physically stopped? What if she looks like this…
Or. say, THIS…
Or even this…
Hope is over six feet tall, you’ll recall and is rumored to have a penchant for striking people off the athletic field.
Thus your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this:
Is it always unethical for any male athlete to punch any woman in a situation not involving the male’s mortal peril?
ADDENDUM…lest we forget: what if the woman is this former Olympic medal winner…
From the Washington Post:
Efforts to lure the Washington Redskins back to the District have come up against a potentially insurmountable challenge: the Obama administration’s objections to the team’s name.Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser this spring that the National Park Service, which owns the land beneath Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, was unlikely to accommodate construction of a new stadium for the Redskins unless the team changes its name.
Jewell oversees both national park land and America’s trust and treaty relationships with Native American tribes.Her decision not to extend the District’s lease of the RFK land badly hinders Bowser’s bid to return the Redskins to D.C. — and boosts efforts to lure the team across the Potomac to Northern Virginia.
It is also a blatant abuse of government power and an insult to the spirit and intent of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Continue reading
Another example of how the acceptance of cheating is seeping into American culture is being played out in the Major League All-Star Game voting. The American League squad supposedly elected by “fans,” will be announced tomorrow, and what the results will show is…
…that Major League Baseball, like the federal Office of Personnel Management, depended on technology with out comprehending technology, displaying unethical incompetence and harming those who had no choice but to trust it,
…that technologically adept computer dorks decided to rig the vote, harming the game, the sport, and deserving players, and
…that Major League Baseball is pretending there is no problem to minimize PR damage, its proven disastrous approach in other cheating scandals, such as the steroid infestation of the ’90s.
The ineptitude of the sport here is beyond belief, especially since this has happened before. Continue reading
The one-handed foul ball catch made by Chicago Cubs fan Keith Hartley was all over the web and cable TV yesterday. If you missed it, here it is:
Nice catch. Of course, it interfered with the ball in play, keeping Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from making the catch. In most circumstances, Hartley would have been thrown out of the game.
That’s the least that should have been done to him. He endangered his son—twice.
How quickly people forget that a fan in Boston is still recovering from a near fatal encounter with a shard from a broken bat that sailed into the stands during a game at Fenway Park, causing many baseball-hating pundits to call for netting to protect fans at field level. (This is how the Barn Door Fallacy works, after all.) I hate the idea of the netting, but there is no question that the seats near the action can be perilous. I once had access to season tickets by the visiting team on-deck circle at Baltimore’s old Memorial Stadium, and foul balls were whizzing by my head several times a game. I’m talking about line drives, not pop-ups, like the one Hartley caught.
To be blunt, his baby could have been killed. Continue reading