Live Event Ethics: The Open Letter To Paul McCartney

Ryan Ritchie, an LA witer, has written “An Open Letter to Paul McCartney Regarding Ticket Prices” in which he raises an important topic of societal ethics. His lament in part,

I had this great idea. I would surprise my parents with tickets to your Friday show at SoFi Stadium. Naturally, I would also be in attendance. The tickets would have been ideal because Mother’s Day just happened and my mom’s birthday is May 21.

…I don’t think my parents — individually or as a couple — have been to a concert. Ever. … wanted to change that by surprising them with tickets to your show. It would have been great…[but] sadly for us, when you look into that sea of 70,000 people Friday night at SoFi, we won’t be three of them because your prices are too expensive for my surprise gift. According to Ticketmaster.com, tickets for section 526 — which appears to be the absolute worst seats at the venue — are $190 each. Or, if we want to sit in section 539, tickets are a steal at $174. Let’s, Paul, for the sake of argument, say I want my parents to, you know, actually see you, so I buy three seats in section C129. Those seats are $450. Each. And, as Ticketmaster reminds me, “+ fees.”

I can’t surprise my parents with tickets to see Sir Paul freakin’ McCartney only for them to sit halfway to LAX. That’s like giving a child a toy without batteries. A $600 toy, mind you….Conservatively, if I bought the cheapest tickets, I would be looking at $700 to take my parents to your show and sit far enough away that we will not be able to see you. To be frank, Paul, that sucks. I don’t want to spend that kind of money to stare at the big screens that I am sure will be on stage. Certainly, you’ve heard of YouTube. My parents and I can get the same experience tomorrow morning for much less money.

Paul, serious question: What the fuck?.

“What the fuck” indeed.

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Ethics Quiz: The Vulgar Exclamation That Wasn’t

This is a weird ethics quiz, I’ll admit: it involves conduct that didn’t really take place.

In a game between the Cleveland “Guardians” (they are really the Indians) and Chicago White Sox, Cleveland had a runner on second with two outs when Owen Miller lifted an easy fly to right field, where Chicago outfielder Gavin Sheets should have easily made the play. Instead, in what is technically called a “clank,” the ball bounced right off his glove and went past him for an embarrassing error. The runner on second scored, and Cleveland’s radio color commentator, former player Rick Manning, could be heard saying Are you shitting me?” as play-by-play man Tom Hamilton described the error.

Much hilarity ensued on social media.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

What is the fair and responsible consequence for a professional broadcaster who utters a spontaneous vulgarity or obscenity on the air?

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A Mother’s Day Ethics Bouquet, 5/8/2022: For You, Mom, Even Though Ethics Wasn’t Your Long Suit…

  • Don’t you think it’s odd that there isn’t a single really great song about mothers? There are lots of great father songs.
  • My mom, whom I think about every day and miss terribly, was wonderful in so many ways, but was almost as unethical as my father was ethical. It’s a tribute to his parenting that he communicated to my sister and me early on that this was just a quirk, and while mom had much to teach about love, loyalty and compassion, hers was not the ethical or moral compass to follow.
  • I just saw a man riding a real, honest-to-goodness velocipede in the church parking lot across from our house! I have never seen that in real life, only in photos and old movies.
  • The eighth of May, 1945, was  the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms, and World War II, the worst catastrophe the modern world has ever suffered through, featuring the most unethical and cruel aggressors imaginable, finally came to an end. Evil easily could have triumphed; that it did not was as much a function of luck as anything else. This is always a day on which to draw a collective breath. Whew! That was a close one…

1. Funny, but stupid. This meme is fascinating.

It could easily be intended to mock the kind of hysterical distortions from the Left’s Supreme Court leak freakout—on that basis, I laughed when I saw it. However, it almost certainly IS one of those hysterical distortions, which reduce debate to an infantile level. I’m sure many progressives think it’s profound. [Pointer: Arthur in Maine] Continue reading

Baseball Ethics Batting Practice, Part 1: The Historic and The Good

The Historic

Not only is April 15, 2022, Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, it is also MLB’s Jackie Robinson Day, commemorating the date  baseball’s apartheid was ended forever when Jack Roosevelt Robinson (1919-1972) took the field for the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers. It was the most important of baseball’s many influences on the national culture and society at large, by far. As for Robinson, a remarkable man and exactly the athlete for the difficult role assigned to him, he was among the first admittees to the Ethics Alarms Heroes’ Hall of Honor, with this post from 2012.

In 1997, Major League Baseball retired Robinson’s number, 42, and has dedicated all games on April 15 to Robinson. On this date all players wear 42 instead of their usual number, making for mass confusion for fans who don’t know the individual players on sight. It will be especially strange in Fenway Park today, for Opening Day and Jackie Robinson Day have never coincided before. The tradition individual introductions in the pre-game ceremonies, as the whole Red Sox team lines up along the first base foul line—“Playing left field, #8, Carl Yastrzemski!”—will be weird, as every player will be wearing 42.

There have been a lot of posts here about or relating to Jackie Robinson, which you will find at the Jackie Robinson tag.

The Good (and also historic!)

Alyssa Nakken became the first woman to take the field as a coach in a Major League baseball game this week. She coached first base after one of the San Francisco Giants coaches was ejected in a game against the San Diego Padres. The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York now has her helmet, which will soon go on display.  Continue reading

Ethics Heroes: Philadelphia Phillies Fans

Now there’s something I thought I’d never write.

The baseball fans in Philadelphia have long had the reputation of being among the most brutal and unforgiving in all of baseball, which is quite an accomplishment. I am, as you know if you visit here often, a born-‘n’-bred Boston Red Sox fan. In the Fifties, fans literally ran a butter-fingered shortstop, Don Buddin, out of town by booing him so hard that he reportedly was moved to tears (and there’s no crying in baseball). After the 2004 World Champion Sox’s spiritual leader and centerfield star Johnny Damon defied his own professed love for the city and the team by signing with the Yankees. He was viciously jeered at Fenway Park for the rest of his career. Still, Philly fans are supposedly tougher.

Thus Philly third baseman Alec Bohm had every reason to dread his next home game after a personal and professional disaster two nights ago. He made three errors in the first three innings Monday in a 5-4 win over the Mets, and after the last, was caught on camera screaming, “I fucking hate this place!” to nobody in particular. Expressing similar sentiments in the Sixties caused the great Dick Allen to be so abused by Philly fans he once wrote “BOO!” in the dirt to jeer back at them. Allen had to be traded too.

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Ethics Dunce: The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.)

The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) announced on April 6 that Russians and Belarusians who had been accepted to compete in the 2022 Boston Marathon and are currently residing in either country, will not be allowed to compete.

“Like so many around the world, we are horrified and outraged by what we have seen and learned from the reporting in Ukraine,” said President & CEO of the B.A.A. Tom Grilk. “We believe that running is a global sport, and as such, we must do what we can to show our support to the people of Ukraine.”

Morons.

Clearly, The Great Stupid (TGS for short) has variants like the Wuhan virus. This one is not directly related to George Floyd Ethics Freakout like the original “antiracism”/ let’s pretend every couple in America is biracial and make race and gender the most important criteria for goddamn everything TGS, but it’s almost as brain-crippling.

This one started in Germany, as I recounted here. Russian conductor Valery Gergiev was fired from the Munich Philharmonic orchestra this week. His offense? He is a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and refused to publicly condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I began by writing that at least that undemocratic version of TGS hadn’t made it to the U.S., but it rapidly made it here. Anna Netrebko, the celebrated Russian opera soprano, failed to submit to the company’s demand that she distance herself from President  Putin, and was dismissed by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. I wrote then,
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“When Ethics Fails, The Law Steps In”…Or In This Case, Technology

That’s part of a feature from a 1920’s magazine about how catchers and pitchers communicate regarding pitch selection in baseball. (I had Earl Smith on one of my favorite Strat-O-Matic teams, the 1922 Giants!) Trying to steal signs so a batter would know what pitch was coming—a huge advantage—was long part of the game and considered legal and fair, as long as the efforts came on the field. Once a team started using  spies in the stands and secret relay systems not involving players, the practice became unethical.

In 2017, as exhaustively discussed here in these posts, the Houston Astros used a technology-assisted system of sign stealing to win their division, the American League play-offs, and the World Series. It was one of the three most significant scandals in the history of the sport, trailing only the Black Sox World Series fixing plot in 1919 and the steroid scandal on the Nineties. Baseball, as a sport that values continuity and nostalgia, hates to change, but as with its acceptance of replay challenges to over-turn bad calls by umpires, the sport cannot pretend that technology hasn’t rendered some aspects of the game obsolete. There are too many ways to use technology to steal signs now.

Major League Baseball, following the Ethics Alarms motto that when ethics fails, the law steps in (and usually makes a mess of things), tightened its rules and penalties for illegal sign-stealing, but wisely recognized that rules wouldn’t be enough. Baseball managers, coaches and player are not known for well-functioning ethics alarms, and the financial benefits of cheating can be substantial: several Astros players had spectacular years at the plate in 2017 far beyond what they achieved before or since. All of them are many millions richer for it.

And thus it is that Major League Baseball announced yesterday that teams this season will begin using electronic devices that transmit signals from catchers to pitchers. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Ketchup, 4/5/2022: Ten Ethics Tales, And More Are Still On The Shelf!

No ethics warm-up for two straight days leaves me with a big pile of stinking undiscussed and aging issues and events….

1. So much of “in sickness or in health”...Baseball Hall of Fame lock Albert Pujols, recently signed to another multi-million dollar contract to be the St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter, waited a couple of days after his wife Deidre underwent  surgery removing a brain tumor to announce he was divorcing her. “I realize this is not the most opportune time with Opening Day approaching and other family events that have recently taken place. These situations are never easy and isn’t something that just happened overnight,” he wrote in part.  Yeah, I’d put the baseball stuff after the family stuff, Albert. I’m sure this came as no surprise to his wife (at least I hope so), and whatever part of the $344 million he has been paid through the years will definitely help, but especially with five children, letting his wife at least recuperate from a traumatic operation before dumping her would seem to be the more ethical course. Pujols’ reputation is one of being a nice guy; you know, like Will Smith.

2. Watching free speech get “chilled” in real time...at the Grammys—who watches the Grammys?—host Trevor Noah began by promising that the he would be keeping “people’s names out of [his] mouth,” referring to Smith’s shouted demand after he went slap-happy. And he did. Today the New York Times critic approved of Noah not taking “meanspirited swipes.” If Chris Rock’s mild joke about a woman choosing to shave her head for a public appearance is now “mean-spirited,” the Left’s attempt to shut-down all comedy (except meanspirited swipes at men, whites and Republicans, of course, is nearing success.

3. Calling the Humane Society and the ASPCA! Martha Stewart announced that her four dogs killed her cat when they “mistook her for an interloper and killed her defenseless little self.” Did the dogs sign a statement to that effect? Her four dogs constituted a pack, and making a cat try to coexist with a pack of dogs is irresponsible. What really happened, I’s surmise, is that the cat and one of the dogs had what would have normally been a brief altercation, and the pack instinct kicked in for the other three. Continue reading

First Vice-Presidents And Supreme Court Justices, And Now NFL Offensive Assistant Coaches

The NFL’s near-complete dearth of ethics alarms is approaching comedic levels, if such a thing could be funny. This week the league that makes billions by paying young men to get a brain disease commanded all 32 NFL teams to hire a minority offensive assistant coach for the 2022 season, as, you’ve got it, another phase of the league’s “diversity” efforts.

The coach can be “a female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority,” according to the policy adopted by NFL owners during their annual meeting, and will be paid from a league-wide fund. That’s because they will all be tokens, you see, hired for PR purposes and to avoid lawsuits, so they really aren’t team hires. The new minority coaches “must work closely with the head coach and the offensive staff, with the goal of increasing minority participation in the pool of offensive coaches” that eventually produces the most sought-after candidates for head-coaching positions. In other words, they must receive remedial training because they would not have been hired based on their experience or demonstrated skills.

“It’s a recognition that at the moment, when you look at stepping stones for a head coach, they are the coordinator positions,” said Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II, the chairman of the NFL Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. “We clearly have a trend where coaches are coming from the offensive side of the ball in recent years, and we clearly do not have as many minorities in the offensive coordinator [job].” A quota, he means.

And that’s what counts, not putting the best football team on the field. Or something.

In addition to the offensive assistant coach mandate, the new policies in “diversity” also added women to the language of the Rooney Rule at all levels. It will now read that women and/or people of color can satisfy the old Rooney Rule requirement to interview two external minorities for top positions, including head coach. Women are not required to be interviewed, but they are now included in the fulfillment process. It is possible that a team could interview two white women for an open head coach position to satisfy the Rooney Rule, and then make a hire without ever interviewing a person of color.

Why no “differently-abled” coaches? How about blind coaches? Gay coaches? Mentally ill coaches? Little people. Non-English speakers. Mentally-challenged. Surely a trans assistant coach would be historic. Can Lia Thomas play football? Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: The All-Black Sports Platform”

This Comment of the Day by Here’s Johnny on “Ethics Quiz: The All-Black Sports Platform” needs no introduction.

Here it is:

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In my early years (40s, 50s), there was racism aplenty. The small community I lived in, the schools I attended, the activities I was involved in, all were white and as WASPish as they come. My parents didn’t seem to be especially racist, but one comment I do remember was my mother saying that Negroes (the accepted term way back then, although ‘colored people’ was also used) were okay so long as they “stayed in their place.” Their place was the segregated part of the nearby rather large city.

Fortunately for me, my career path took me away from both that mentality and that kind of segregation, via a military that was integrated and a second career in education in a community even more thoroughly integrated. Times changed. I changed. And, now, I am supposed to accept segregation once again? Well, count me out. Continue reading