Return To”Field Of Dreams”

Field of Dreams2

Baseball had a rare PR triumph earlier this month when it held a regular season game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox in the Iowa cornfield diamond that was the setting for the cult movie favorite “Field of Dreams.” The TV ratings were the best for any regular season broadcast in 16 years. That’s amazing, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Despite rumors of its demise, baseball still has a cultural bedrock of tradition, nostalgia and history unmatched by any other sport, professional or amateur. So many Americans would not tune in to a baseball game if they didn’t still have a flicker of affection for the sport, and if your argument is, “Yeah, but that’s just because of the movie,” the movie wouldn’t have become iconic if a lot of people didn’t care about baseball. As Terrence Mann said,

Now my confession: I’m not a wild fan of the film, nor that scene. The scene in particular is unforgivably stagey and artificial: it’s right out of the (much better) book, “Shoeless Joe,” and not even the great James Earl Jones could make it sound like anything but a recitation. I got annoyed, during the hype for the game broadcast, with “Field of Dreams” being repeatedly called “The greatest baseball movie.” I don’t regard it as that; I think it just barely makes the top five, and I could be talked out of ranking it that high.

For good reasons, many baseball writers, fans and bloggers have criticized the film over the years, and not just because it is shamelessly manipulative. But it is that. Baseball writer Craig Calcaterra, a vocal debunker of the film, writes,

“I will fully admit that a story about a father and son repairing a longstanding rift over a game of catch — with or without the magical realism elements — could form the basis of a MAJOR chills moment in an absolutely fantastic movie. The problem, as I’ve said in the past, is that “Field of Dreams” does not earn its chills moment. It is lazy in that it does not sketch out the dispute between Ray and his dad in anything approaching realistic terms — it’s dashed off in the rushed intro with almost no details — and it does nothing to explain why Ray’s moving the Earth and the Heavens to bring his dad back to that ball field is so important or why it serves as the “penance” Ray must pay for whatever reason. With no buildup or backstory, there’s no payoff.”

But worse, for me and others, is the slipshod handling of baseball history. “Shoeless Joe” Jackson was not innocent of taking a bribe to throw the 1919 World Series, he was guilty. He was not a thoughtful, wise-cracking Ray Liotta, he was just north of being a moron. He batted left-handed, and famously so, not right-handed like Liotta. When Frank Walley’s character, a magically reincarnated and youthened old ballplayer named Archie “Moonlight” Graham, whose single appearance in the major leagues was in 1905, is nearly beaned by a close pitch, he says “Hey ump, how about a warning?” Umpires didn’t warn pitchers for throwing at batters in 1905, and not for more than a half-century after that. Sloppy.

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Ethics Verdict On The Public Marriage Proposal Disaster…

Good. Perfect. I love it. Condign justice exemplified!

And cheers are due for the young woman for having the courage to say no. Maybe now this selfish and unfair grandstanding stunt, yet another disgusting outgrowth of the cell phone revolution ,will start to die out. Nobody should feel sorry for the jerk who was rejected, but we should all sympathize with the woman whom he embarrassed. She ducked a metaphorical bullet, though.

The so far unnamed creep popped the question in front of a crowd of fans at a Worcester (Mass.) Red Sox home game on Thursday. The scene was also broadcast to the entire park on a giant screen. The allegedly romantic gesture prompted cheers until the stunned object of the proposal put her hands over her mouth and shook her head “no.” “I have to go,” she said, and left the scene with him still on one knee. For the second time this week, “The Simpsons'” Nelson Muntz’s trademark response is called for:

haha

Naturally, since nothing can be trusted these days, there are theories that the whole thing was staged. Family members of the couple were in the crowd, however. It appears to have been a genuine fiasco, not a fake one.

Let the episode be a lesson to any other abusive suitors who think it’s acceptable to make a private moment public to force a desired outcome.

[You will find other EA stories about unethical marriage proposals here.]

Saturday Afternoon Ethics Picnic, 6/5/2020

Giant ants

And what’s a picnic without ants?

June 5, the day before D-Day, is another date chock full of ethics history. It doesn’t count, but Ronald Reagan died on this date in 2004: I was just thinking that the Great Stupid would have killed him. In Presidential history, this was the day, in 1888, President Grover Cleveland vetoed a bill that would have given a pension to war widow Johanna Loewinger, whose Civil War vet husband died 14 years after being discharged from the army. He was discharged a little less than a year after enlisting for what the army surgeon’s certificate called chronic diarrhea. Loewinger received his pension until he cut his throat in 1876. When Johanna applied for a widow’s pension it was denied; his suicide was not considered to be caused by his military service. Johanna argued that the death was part of the insanity triggered by his war service, and appealed to a member of Congress to petition Cleveland with a bill. But the President declared all previous inquests into the former soldier’s unfortunate death to be satisfactory. Mrs. Loewinger got no pension.

I always thought this was gutsy of Cleveland (or something), since he had paid someone to serve in the Union army for him after he was drafted. But there were bigger ethics landmarks on June 5:

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The Murder of Megan Montgomery And The Death Of Journalism [Corrected]

-megan-montgomery-jason-mcintosh

Here is the NBC News headline: “The state of Alabama took his gun away. When authorities gave it back, he shot and killed his wife.” Here is the sub-head: “Alabama authorities took his gun away after a violent domestic incident. Nine months later they gave it back, and he used it to shoot and kill his wife.”

And this is what readers don’t learn until, (let’s see) 17 paragraphs into the story:

“On the night of Feb. 23, 2019, [Megan] Montgomery and [Jason] McIntosh got into a physical altercation at their home. Fellow officers from McIntosh’s department responded to a 911 call from McIntosh, who reported that Montgomery had a gunshot wound. According to the responding officers, Montgomery said she had grabbed McIntosh’s duty weapon with her right hand for her own protection. The two began to struggle for the weapon. Montgomery, 5’8″ and 135 pounds, was shot in her upper right arm. McIntosh, 6’4” and 225 pounds, told the responding officers that during the struggle he thought Montgomery had his cell phone in her hand. According to the report, McIntosh said it was only when the gun went off and the bullet hit his wife that he realized they’d been fighting over a gun. Because McIntosh was a police officer, the head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) ordered Special Agent Vince Cunningham to investigate the incident….Cunningham took McIntosh’s firearm as evidence. He interviewed Montgomery on Feb. 26, 2019. She told him that during the incident “she was afraid,” according to the investigative summary written by Cunningham…The ALEA summary says that when Montgomery was asked if the shooting was an accident, she said yes. The summary also says that the officer who took Montgomery to the emergency room told Cunningham that when doctors asked Montgomery what happened, she told them, “He shot me.”….The district attorney did not file charges, concluding in a letter there was “no evidence of the commission of any felony offenses by either Mr. Mcintosh or Ms. Montgomery.” The DA left open the possibility that the City of Hoover could file a misdemeanor offense against either one of them. That never happened. Meanwhile, McIntosh was repeatedly texting ALEA Special Agent Cunningham asking to get his gun back, according to documentation reviewed by NBC News. McIntosh claimed he needed the gun to get a new private security job….Though he had used it as a duty weapon with the Hoover Police Department, the gun was his personal property.”

That is all material information necessary to understanding the tragic incident, isn’t it? Indeed, if the story is really intended to let readers know what happened and why, that part of the story needed to be part of the narrative, right at the beginning. Instead, the reporters set out to spin the facts to maximize anti-gun rights sentiment. An estranged wife with a history of physical altercations with her husband was shot and killed by him after an earlier incident involving his gun, after she had filed for divorce, after a restraining order, and after he had been given his gun back by the backwards state of Alabama. Outrageous! How could that happen?

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Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/17/2021: No Good, Good, Good, No Good, and Good

Some baseball ethics notes in italics, since a lot of you don’t care:

  • The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) issued Major League Baseball an overall grade of C+ , with a B+ for racial hiring and a C for gender hiring. (There was nothing about competency and qualifications hiring, for some reason.) The report also praised MLB’s decision to pull the All-Star Game from Atlanta, proving that the organization is a partisan political group using “diversity” as a prop. Baseball should pay no attention to TIDES whatsoever. It is the Southern Poverty Law Center of sports.
  • There was a wonderful example of why baseball needs robo-umps in Wednesday’s game between the Red Sox and the Twins in Minneapolis. At a critical moment in a tie game with the bases loaded for the Twins, Sox pitcher Matt Andriese struck out the last Twins batter for out number three, ending the threat. The umpire, however, said the ball had been fouled into the dirt before bouncing into the Boston catcher’s mitt. The video showed that the bat had missed the ball by several inches, and no foul had occurred. When Red Sox manager Alex Cora came out to protest, the home plate umpire, also the crew chief said, “There’s no way I’ll be over-ruled on that call.” What he apparently meant was that the other three umpires would back him up even though he was obviously wrong, and after briefly caucusing, that’s what they did. Cora was thrown out of the game. Luckily for the umpires, Andriese struck the batter out with next pitch, so the mistake and cover-up didn’t matter. Moral luck!
  • Also Twins related: Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons issued an articulate tweet about why he was declining to be vaccinated like his teammates, after considering the risks. He tested positive 24 hours later. Also moral luck!

1. NOW you’re telling us???. At 6:57 pm on April 15, I stumbled across this:

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Someone Please Explain What’s Going On Here Before This Question Kills Me

jackheadexplosion

Once again, I have read something in print that I don’t understand at all, and I’m concerned that, like comedian Lewis Black’s routine about over-hearing someone say, “if it wasn’t for that horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college” and obsessing over what it could possibly mean, the statement will fester in my brain until, like an aneurysm, it explodes and kills me.

This time the potentially deadly passage came from Phillip Gallane’s New York Times advice column, “Social Q’s.” I stopped caring what Gallanes thought after he revealed himself to be a standard-issue left-biased, Trump Deranged social justice warrior, but a Times Sunday Styles section was just sitting there next to the toilet, and now my life is endangered.

Here is what I read as the first question in his column: “Wife” wrote,

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Incompetent Jealous Spouse Of The Millennium: “Leonora N”

Never mind

This story is so, so stupid–but funny!— that I had to devote a whole post to it.

Mexican police report that a woman whose full name has been withheld out of kindness (I suppose) and known only as “Leonora N” was snooping around in her husband’s cell phone and found several photos of him being suspiciously affectionate with a younger, slimmer, more attractive woman. Outraged, the scorned wife attacked her husband with a knife as soon as he walked in the door, stabbing him repeatedly until he managed to get the knife away from her. Police responded to neighbors reporting screams and an altercation, and Leonora was taken into custody.

It turns out that the photos were of her husband with her, when Leonora N was younger, slimmer, and I assume—I hope— a lot smarter.

Wow.

What a moron.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Nobody allowed to move around without a leash is this stupid. I’d be inclined to agree, but the police seem to buy the story, which both the husband and wife vouch for, and there is always this: never underestimate the awesome power of stupidity when it collides with blind emotion.

Gotcha! Ethics: Senate Democrats’ Obnoxious “Preference” For Political Correctness Over Substance, As Miriam-Webster Reveals Its Integrity Deficit

And they’re coming around the turn in the 2020 Asshole of the Year Derby! Senator Hirono is making her move! Here she comes out of the pack! It’s going to be a photo finish!

At Tuesday’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.) asked Barrett if she would roll back protections for LGBT citizens. Barrett responded that she “never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.” Hawaii’s Senator Mazie Hirono then accused Barrett of using “outdated and offensive” terminology. (Later, so did Senator Cory Booker, who said Barrett was implying by the term that being gay was a choice and not an immutable characteristic.)

“Sexual preference … is used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice,” the Democratic scold intoned.  “It is not. Sexual orientation is a key part of a person’s identity. If it is your view that sexual orientation is merely a preference, as you noted, then the LGTBQ should be rightly concerned whether you would uphold their constitutional right to marry.”

Barrett was forced into apologizing, insisting  that this was not her intention. I say “forced,” because when you are in a confirmation hearing and the vote is going to be a squeaker, you can’t say, as she justifiably could have, “Really Senator? You’re dictating politically correct words and language now? It was quite clear what I meant, and that kind of phrase policing is a cheap shot. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

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The American Bar Association Has Lost Faith In Professionalism, It Seems.

For as long as I can remember, lawyers took pride in that fact that they could pound away at each other in the court room, shout, sneer, mock and beat an adversary into a metaphorical pulp, and put it all aside the second the case was finished. The idea that being friends, even close friends, with an opposing advocate compromised a lawyer’s determination and willingness to fight for his or her client was an anathema to the whole concept of professionalism. During the Civil War, West Point classmates on opposite sides sometimes met before a battle, shared a whisky, old memories and a few tears, and the next day did their best to kill each other. That mindset was analogous to how I was taught lawyers were supposed to behave, and, indeed, did.

Now the American Bar Association has apparently decided that it was all a myth. In  Formal Opinion 494, “Conflicts Arising Out of a Lawyer’s Personal Relationship with Opposing Counsel,” the ABA expresses doubts that many lawyers are up to the task.

“A personal interest conflict may arise out of a lawyer’s relationship with opposing counsel, the ABA now says. “Lawyers must examine the nature of the relationship to determine if it creates a …conflict and, if so, whether the lawyer reasonably believes the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client who must then give informed consent, confirmed in writing.”

The opinion breaks possible personal relationships into three categories:

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