Waning Thursday Ethics Wrap-up, 12/17/2020: Baseball, Football, And The Ripper

Traffic has been sluggish this week. I wonder if the blog is depressing people….I know it’s been depressing me.

1. A confirmation bias classic. I decided to watch the new Netflix documentary about the hunt for “the Yorkshire Ripper,” Peter Sutcliffe, only because Grace and I had been on a Jack the Ripper binge of late, including the well-done (but completely fictional) Johnny Depp film, “From Hell.” I did not expect “The Ripper” to tell one of most instructive tales of how bias makes you stupid as well illustrating as the perils of confirmation bias, but that’s what it does.

Sutcliffe, a Yorkshire truck driver, murdered 13 women and attacked nine others, but police missed him for five years because they convinced themselves that he only killed prostitutes. This, in turn, led the newspapers to name him after Jack the Ripper, the mysterious serial killer in Victorian London who killed and mutilated five prostitutes in 1888. The name, in turn, reinforced the bias that a Jack copycat was whom they were seeking. As a result, women who were not prostitutes and had been attacked by Sutcliffe were ignored when they went to the police.

With their investigation foundering, police officials decided that letters from someone claiming to be the Ripper were genuine—Jack the Ripper also wrote letters to the police, you see—and a tape recording referring to the letters must have had the real killer’s voice on it. So they had a speech expert identify the accent of the speaker, which placed him in a very small area in Yorkshire. Any suspect who didn’t have that accent was eliminated….including Sutcliffe, who was interviewed nine times. By the end of his rampage, Sutcliffe wasn’t killing prostitutes any more.

Sutcliffe was eventually captured by accident. Says one of those interviewed for the project: “No wonder the police couldn’t catch him. They were chasing a mythic Victorian maniac instead of a real man.”

2. Hmmmm...is this better or worse than naming a journalism award after Dan Rather? You know, NFL ratings are down, but not nearly enough. Get this: the latest woke exploit by this completely shameless, pandering, ethics-free organization is that this guy…

NFL outrage

… has been approved for honoring on NFL player helmets during games. Who is he? Why, he’s a martyr and a hero! In reality, Reed was a street hoodlum who was killed while shooting at police. Evidence on Reed’s phone indicated he was involved in two drive-by shootings prior to lives streaming the police chase and his bullet exchange with Officer Mercer, who finally stopped him…dead. Cartridges collected by police from the drive-bys matched the gun Reed fired at Mercer. Not surprisingly, Reed had stolen the firearm from a Texas pawn shop. Never mind, though: to the NFL, he’s a hero:

NFL tweet

I was kidding: this is much worse that the Dan Rather award. [Pointer: James Hodgson, who is on a roll…

3. At least Major League Baseball’s pandering and virtue-signaling can be defended, sort of. MLB, in today’s example of Yoo’s Rationalization, or “It isn’t what it is,” (the 2020 Rationalization of the Year), announced that the Negro Leagues were a Major League. Of course, they weren’t; and just because many players in them were major league caliber and some excelled in the real Major Leagues once the color barrier was broken doesn’t change the past. But, you see, a black career criminal in Minnesota died from questionable causes after a thug cop knelt on his neck, so of course that means the Major Leagues must recognize baseball organizations that were the product of systemic racism as something they were not.

Such is the logic in today’s America.

The Negro leagues had inconsistent schedules and inconsistent statistics, and obviously the play was not to MLB standards. From 1930-1950, the batting average in the Negro Leagues was .308, while the average batting average in the American League and National League was .269. As confirmed by Negro League hitting stars , the disparity was because of the lack of quality pitching depth in the Negro Leagues. One study of 15 Negro League stars (including Roy Campanella and Willie Mays) showed the players averaged .319 in the Negro Leagues but only .271 in the Major Leagues.

Among other confusions, this move by MLB will add the statistics of some 3,400 players from seven distinct Negro leagues that operated between 1920 and 1948 to official records. Josh Gibson, who was sometimes called the Black Babe Ruth, will be awarded the single-season record for batting average because the power-hitting catcher batted .441 for multiple Negro league teams in 1943.

Well, I’d rather see that than have Barry Bonds hold the record for career and single season home runs.

9 thoughts on “Waning Thursday Ethics Wrap-up, 12/17/2020: Baseball, Football, And The Ripper

  1. From my point of view baseball – the MLB version – really began in 1947. The talent level in the Nergo Leagues – at least from my perspective – was 4-A baseball. A sharp slide downward in the talent level once you wander beyond the star and mid-star level. For years the leagues had a few dominant teams and the rest were just resources to be pilfered. Similar in many ways to MLB.

    Statistics is the lives blood of baseball and that will be an issue despite decades of intense research to compile anything remotely legitimate. The irony is it may all come down to “separate, but equal.”

  2. Unless my admittedly limited information is wrong, I don’t see how the Negro League can be statistically competitive since their ballparks were generally smaller.

    • Baseball’s always a plus and minus – if a park favors hitters it handicaps pitchers, so the stats can’t favor all the players in a league.

      They played in a mixed bag of fields – a few owned their own park. Some did play in major league parks, the Homestead Grays used the Pirates’ and Senators’ parks, and I think Yankee Stadium was used a lot, too. Also, there were thousands of good places to play then – hundreds of white minor league teams, semipro industrial leagues, and smaller communities had good live baseball and good facilities.

  3. Re: 2 This reply Tweet says it all.

  4. 3. “Major League Baseball” is a corporate entity and a trademark. It has no writ to designate other leagues major or confer official-ness on statistical data sets. That’s all still subject to argument.

    That said, the “major league” standard being applied does not require equivalence with the National or American League at some specific time. The lower end of “major leagues” is the Union Association of 1884, the Players League of 1890, and the Federal League of 1914-15. These are what other leagues get compared against.

  5. In re: 2

    It seems to me that we have reached the point that the actual quality of human being represented by the martyred “heroes” of the Black Lives Matter cult is irrelevant. There is no crime or act for which a black person deserves to be shot, even in self-defense, in the commission of a felony, or imminent illegal use of deadly force. BLM’s position, and the position of its so-called “allies,” is that there must be a different set of laws for black people or “justice” can never occur.

    So the position of “equal justice” is now an anachronism, replaced by a new definition of “social justice” which includes a return to the time when races were segregated by law and custom, only this time with black people being given the upper hand.

    How far we have come! Segregation, when used to serve this new vision of “social justice,” is no longer a bug, but a necessary feature to realize… something.

    Anyway, the dupes in the NFL could not care less about the “who” of their silly campaign — if it works for BLM and their apologists and serves their virtue-signaling ends, it’s good enough for them. If you expect them to be embarrassed by this, (and I rather expect that deep down, you don’t) I’m pretty sure you will be disappointed.

    But they should be embarrassed, by God.

    • It reminds me how the brownshirts and the Communists would engage in street-fighting during the 1920s in Germany and would declare the dead martyrs to the cause.

      This is why I say that body cameras are virtually pointless. The intent is to keep any black man or woman from being killed by a white person or a police officer, period, regardless of the circumstances. Even in cases where footage is available, there are still debates over whether or not the dead posed a threat, why he couldn’t have been subdued another way and accusations of racism.

      Just as the former groups above constantly moved the bar of what they demanded so that no negotiation was ever fruitful, BLM will never be satisfied until this country is remade with them on top.

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