Focus, Jack, focus!
1. Not the World Series, ETHICS! And speaking of ethics…
- What kind of lie is this? Rich Hill, the Dodgers starting pitcher last night who almost unhittable, said in an interview that he “liked” his team’s chances of winning the Series despite being behind 3 games to 1. World Series history and basic math says that the chances are “slim.” He likes the slim chances? Does he really like them? Does he believe liking them means they are more likely to break his way?
Is he just lying to buck up his team and its fans, when he really doesn’t “like” the chances at all, not being, you know, an idiot? Does that make it a “good lie”?
- The Fox World Series broadcast team of Joe Buck and John Smoltz is incompetent. In a potentially game-changing play in which the Boston catcher’s throw attempting to complete a home-to-first double-play sailed past first, allowing the game’s first run to score, the two alleged experts said that there was no interference. Wrong. There was interference, and it was obvious: Bellinger, the Dodgers runner, was on the infield grass rather than the yard-wide running lane to the right of the baseline, which exists precisely for plays like that, when the catcher needs a lane to throw unimpeded to first base to get the out. It should have been called runner’s interference, completing a double-play and ending the inning without a run scoring. Instead, the run scored on the errant throw from Boston catcher Vasquez, and the next batter, Yasiel Puig, hit a three-run homer to give L.A. a 4-0 lead. There was no discussion of the rules and issues involved.
But after the game, over at the MLB cable channel, former Yankees manager Joe Girardi and baseball analyst Harold Reynolds graphically illustrated that the interference should have been called. This is what the Fox broadcasters are paid for: to explain the nuances of the rules and the game to the average World Series viewer, whose baseball acumen is rudimentary. The umpires missed the play, even though as Reynold pointed out, it was called many times during the season. Umpires are reluctant to call interference of any kind during the post-season, because it’s messy, and guarantees controversy and an on-field arguments.
- For an unusual first ball ceremony, former Red Sox-Oakland Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley (Now an ace Boston TV color man, known New England-wide as “Eck”) threw a pitch to ex-Dodgers catcher Steve Yeager as Kirk Gibson stood in the batters box. Gibson, you should recall, hit the famous “The Natural” home run off Eckersley to win Game #1 of the 1988 World Series, after limping to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 9th inning. How many ex-players would voluntarily re-enact their worst moment on the field on national TV? Imagine Ralph Branca throwing a ceremonial first pitch to Bobby Thompson.
Eck personifies humility and exemplary sportsmanship.
- Trump Tweets, Baseball Division. This made me laugh out loud, I have to admit. During the game, the President criticized Dodgers manager Dave Roberts decision to replace Hill with his first baseball tweet:
“It is amazing how a manager takes out a pitcher who is loose & dominating through almost 7 innings, Rich Hill of Dodgers, and brings in nervous reliever(s) who get shellacked. 4 run lead gone. Managers do it all the time, big mistake!”
I wish the President would confine all of his tweeting to second-guessing managers and coaches. It’s obnoxious, but harmless. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, presented with the tweet during his post-game press conference, handed it ethically and well. Steely-faced, he asked, “The President said that?” and responded, sufficiently respectfully, “I’m happy he was tuning in and watching the game. I don’t know how many Dodgers games he’s watched. I don’t think he was privy to the conversation. That’s one man’s opinion.” Roberts was referring to the fact that Hill told him that he might be getting fatigued. Nonetheless, lots of people other than the President questioned Robert’s decision.
It is pure hindsight bias, of course, as well as consequentialism. If the Dodger bullpen had held a late-inning 4-run lead as every previous World Series bullpen had, nobody would be criticizing Roberts.
2. The confiscated handicapped van. [Pointer: Michael Ejercito] Andrea Santiago’s $15,000 van with a customized wheelchair lift was confiscated by the City of Chicago as an abandoned vehicle. She has polio and multiple sclerosis, and the family claims the vehicle was parked legally and obviously not abandoned. This is a Roshomon situation, for the accounts of the city and the family are irreconcilable. Chicago’s Department of Streets & Sanitation sent this statement:
“The Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) removes abandoned vehicles to promote safety and improve the quality of life in Chicago communities. DSS strictly follows the procedures outlined in the City’s municipal code when responding to complaints from residents about abandoned vehicles. DSS places a seven-day notice directly on the vehicle requesting the vehicle be moved and sends a second pre tow notice via certified mail to residents with valid vehicle registration. Owners receive another notice via certified mail after the vehicle is impounded. In each case, vehicle owners can also dispute the validity of the tow and impoundment by requesting a post tow hearing or by filing a claim through the City Clerk’s office. Residents can find more information about abandoned vehicles at www.cityofchicago.org/dss.”
Andrea’s family says that when it saw the city “abandoned vehicle” warning sticker, they “scraped everything off the windows,” put a sign up that said the vehicle was not abandoned,” and left a phone number for my wife so they could call and we moved the van up one spot.”
Well, somebody missed a connection somewhere. The story makes no sense.
Unfortunately, Santiago’s daughter fell into a yawning ethics trap, telling the news media, “It’s just very infuriating. The city to do that, with no regards to who that vehicle belonged to, is sickening. It’s absolutely sickening.”
Wrong. The laws can’t be enforced selectively according to who the law-breaker is. If the vehicle was abandoned under the legal standards, who it belonged to, and how much she needed it, and how hard her life had been, has to be irrelevant.
3. Bingo! From a post titled, “#MeToo movement, we need to talk. Sincerely, a survivor,” by Rhyan Doxey:
I am breaking up with you. Now don’t take this as me not supporting the take down of rapist or that I don’t care about survivors, I just can’t back a movement that has been taken over by partisan politics. Recently, I’ve seen you get behind the overzealous Democrat leadership, desperate to regain a majority in November, by choosing to bring forward a person with an accusation that was based entirely on uncorroborated hearsay and would not even hold up in a court of law. This is in in the same breath of blatantly ignoring other women’s stories that have legitimate evidence but happen to be about a high profile Democrat. The problem is, true #metoo attackers do not discriminate and victims’ rights are not forwarded by ignoring victims because their story doesn’t meet an agenda at that point in time… When I saw the movement get behind this “believe all women” fallacy it only told me that you have now been wielded as a tool for someone to get what they want politically. We no longer look at facts and evidence. We now asking society to blindly believe all women, simply because they are women….You are hurting the movement and survivors as a whole. Not all women tell the truth just as frequently as men. This movement is now living in a glass house. You have now damaged the way the public views sexual assault and those who have the bravery to come forward by using the movement to ruin a man’s reputation and life with no evidence. All for political gain. Democrats have officially exploited the #metoo movement that was started to forward survivor empowerment and ruined a powerful platform that had the potential to truly be used for good.
4. Speaking of those “vital democratic norms”...Barack Obama has become the first ex-President in over a century to repeatedly and publicly attack his successor, something his predecessor, George W. Bush, pointedly avoided as a matter of tradition, fairness and national unity.
5. Mission accomplished! Wait…It is being reported that “The Simpsons” will eliminate Indian-American and Quik-E-Mart owner Apu from its cast of thousands because the political correctness assault on the character as a “stereotype” is more trouble than Mr. Nahasapeemapetilon is worth. So now “The Simpsons” will have no Indian-American characters at all, like most sitcoms. The comedian/activist who initially attacked Apu, Hari Kondabolu tweeted that the rumor of Apu’s apparent demise actually isn’t good news to him: “There are so many ways to make Apu work without getting rid of him. If true, this sucks.”
Good job Hari! Apu in fact DID “work, you just didn’t like him, and now because you didn’t like him, there will be no Indian-American character on “The Simpsons” at all. A better example of allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good would be hard to find.