Lessons of the Tulowitzki Jersey Fiasco

Troy Tulowitzki is the superstar Colorado Rockies shortstop, and has been since for nine years. He has been named an All-Star four times,won two Gold Glove awards and two Silver Sluggers; he is widely regarded as one of the best players in baseball. Last weekend was Tulowitzki jersey night, with 15,000 lucky fans getting a Rockies purple jersey with the home town hero’s name on the back.

Here is how the the jerseys looked…

His name is spelled T-U-L-O-W-I-T-Z-K-I...just like it sounds, in fact.

Tulo jersey

Observations:

  • Imagine the number of missed connection, lazy employees, ignorant contractors and negligent supervisors that had to be hard at non-work for this to occur. The level of collective lack of diligence and competence is staggering.
  • And the Colorado Rockies, who allowed it to happen, disgraced themselves, and have no one to blame but their own mismanagement.
  • If this happened in the Obama Administration, no one would be fired.
  • This is the kind of head-exploding incompetence that causes space shuttles to explode, planes to crash, websites not to work, businesses to fail, and Congressional Budget Office projections to be nothing but wishful thinking. Incompetence costs billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives every year.
  • The only ways to address this problem, a human one, and an ethics one,  that has afflicted civilization for centuries, is…

1. Assume that incompetence will be a factor in every large project or enterprise.

2. Never trust anyone who hasn’t proven that they are trustworthy.

3. Build a culture that encourages and rewards competence.

4. Make sure that there are certain and appropriate consequences for incompetence.

  • If the organization is so large or the project so complicated that expected and predictable levels of incompetence will all but ensure disaster or failure, it is unethical to pretend otherwise, or cause others to rely on a level of performance that cannot fairly be relied upon
  • Thank goodness Troy’s name wasn’t Yastrzemski…

 

6 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Sports, U.S. Society

6 responses to “Lessons of the Tulowitzki Jersey Fiasco

  1. Arthur in Maine

    Let’s stipulate all of the above. I disagree with none of it.

    And let’s accept, for better or worse, that:

    1) 15,000 people got a free shirt – one which actually has GREATER value because it proves you were there when a classic fuckup was made, and…

    2) Those shirts might actually be worth a fair amount on eBay. So the recipients have definitely come out ahead.

    Not defending. Just pointing out… oh, what’s the specific Ethics Alarms term? “It could have been worse.”

    Thankfully, not that I’m excusing it, this ethics fuckup has upside all over it.

    Would that they all did.

  2. Steve Holland

    “Make sure there are certain and appropriate consequences” … everywhere but in the judiciary???

    Care to revise your position on absolute judicial immunity?

    • Read up on “ethics conflicts” and utilitarianism. You can’t be as unsophisticated as to misunderstand the issue, can you? From King’s standpoint, the result is absolutely unjust and inappropriate. From the perspective of maximizing the freedom of judges to make decisions without fear of civil suits, the 6th Circuit made the right call. It’s a lose-lose choice, and ethics is full of them.

  3. wyogranny

    To complete the circle of incompetence he could change his name.

  4. Neil Dorr

    Jack,
    What is this recent obsession with your head spontaneously erupting your grey matter? You’ve made that joke at least 4 times in the last few weeks. What’s more, if that’s the reaction you have to everything you read or hear about that’s at odds with your perspective, I’d argue you’re not giving them enough due consideration. Violent rejection of ideas is the root of ignorance because it speaks to a lack of empathy for another perspective. It’s the same trigger that causes people to attack “nerds” because they’re afraid of their own ignorance or, if you’re a cop, shoot first in a “threatening” situation.

    This is exactly the kind of thing I was pointing to the other week when I bemoaned how bile-filled your posts have seemingly become. I understand “Alarms” differs from the Scoreboard as it’s adheres to less rigorous standards of consideration and editing, but that’s part of the problem. Much of what you write is composed mid-aneurysm and ends up coming out as angry, aphasiatic (why isn’t that a real word?) nonsense. More to the point, you usually end up softening your rhetoric in subsequent digressions. I feel like some of your postings should be treated like letters to former lovers. Fill them with as much bile as possible, then sit on them a few days and then re-examine whether they’re worth sending.

    Also, frankly, it’s just gross (especially when you use glib euphemisms like “brain shrapnel”).

    • It’s not an “obsession.”—you missed the context. A “Kaboom!” is a designation on Ethics Alarms of self-evidently absurd and extreme examples of undebatably unethical conduct. I would argue that every one of them–they are all listed here—are not reasonably debatable, but are useful to ponder as examples of the state of ethical conduct in society. They are listed here.

      Obviously, the use of the device is restricted to extremes, so this— “What’s more, if that’s the reaction you have to everything you read or hear about that’s at odds with your perspective, I’d argue you’re not giving them enough due consideration.”—is both unfair and unwarranted. This is August, and there have been exactly 16 “Kabooms” in 2014, or a little more than two a month. They include blatant lies, outrageous sentences, startling stupidity, offensive hypocrisy and stunning incompetence. It’s a high bar. It expressed the fact that reading about these things make me want to quit and hurl myself out the window. For a while after launching the designation, I always included an asterisk to remind new readers what the KABOOM designation means, as I did here, when I was amazed to read once again that supposedly intelligent pundits were attributing Kennedy’s assassination to “right wing hate” on the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death. He was, as we know—right?—killed by an unstable wannabe communist. I will take your critique as a good argument for reinstating the practice.

      This, Neil: “Much of what you write is composed mid-aneurysm and ends up coming out as angry, aphasiatic (why isn’t that a real word?) nonsense.” I take as an insult, especially with out any support for your blanket contention. My posts are seldom angry, because I am seldom angry. You picked this post to register this complaint—go ahead: show me where it slides “angry, aphasiatic nonsense.” You can’t, because it isn’t. It is beyond belief that a professional baseball team, in a community where much of the public has heard and read a local star’s name repeatedly for 9 years, could let that happen. This requires mass incompetence by dozens of people, if not more. Where’s the nonsense? Not in the post.

      Here is the meat of the piece: go ahead, prove your accusation:

      Observations:

      Imagine the number of missed connection, lazy employees, ignorant contractors and negligent supervisors that had to be hard at non-work for this to occur. The level of collective lack of diligence and competence is staggering.

      And the Colorado Rockies, who allowed it to happen, disgraced themselves, and have no one to blame but their own mismanagement.

      If this happened in the Obama Administration, no one would be fired.

      This is the kind of head-exploding incompetence that causes space shuttles to explode, planes to crash, websites not to work, businesses to fail, and Congressional Budget Office projections to be nothing but wishful thinking. Incompetence costs billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives every year.

      The only ways to address this problem, a human one, and an ethics one, that has afflicted civilization for centuries, is…

      1. Assume that incompetence will be a factor in every large project or enterprise.

      2. Never trust anyone who hasn’t proven that they are trustworthy.

      3. Build a culture that encourages and rewards competence.

      4. Make sure that there are certain and appropriate consequences for incompetence.

      If the organization is so large or the project so complicated that expected and predictable levels of incompetence will all but ensure disaster or failure, it is unethical to pretend otherwise, or cause others to rely on a level of performance that cannot fairly be relied upon

      Thank goodness Troy’s name wasn’t Yastrzemski…

      Let’s see—the first statement that the amount of imcompetence required for this to happen is stunning. Gee, is that angry Neil?
      How about the second? The Rockies are NOT responsible? Is this “apasiatic?”

      Let’s see…the next statement is designed to remind people that while this case is trivial, on the whole, the kind of incompetence it represents is deadly and often disastrous. That’s a fact, son,and 100% appropriate in an ethics post, as well as germane. Now show me the anger and nonsense in the enumerated items. Go ahead—you made the complaint.

      Does the next sentence offend you, Neil? “If this happened in the Obama Administration, no one would be fired.” Too angry? It is dead on true, and makes the point that the absence of accountability at the top is mirrored throughout the culture. Worth noting.

      Now go ahead–show my how the enumerated items are angry nonsense.

      Then the penultimate statement: “If the organization is so large or the project so complicated that expected and predictable levels of incompetence will all but ensure disaster or failure, it is unethical to pretend otherwise, or cause others to rely on a level of performance that cannot fairly be relied upon.” Wow, I’m just ranting on that one, right?

      Ah, maybe it was the Yastrzemski joke that horrified you. See, I’m from Boston, see, and Yaz, for 23 years, was the equivalent for Boston and the Red Sox of Tulowitzki—and Yaz’s name, unlike Tulo’s, is NOT spelled like it sounds. Get it? Yet never, in 23 years, did the Red Sox dare to misspell his name, because, you see, they give a damn, and know that the fans wouldn’t tolerate it.

      The tone of the Kabooms! are especially not angry in most cases–just exasperated. Should I NOT be exasperated that a school punishes a teacher for using an accepted term for a homonym because someone might get the wrong idea due to their own ignorance? I work hard to make all the posts clear, emphatic, substantive, honest, unbiased, entertaining and provocative. If you feel you can do a better job, I urge you to try. If you don’t like the blog, nobody’s making you read it. But you can keep this kind of personal, unsupported, carping to yourself.

      And there is nothing the least bit euphemistic about “brain shrapnel.” What do you think it is a euphemism for?????

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