Ethics Dunces: The Boston Red Sox

The bloody sock…

(Never let it be said again that I allow my personal biases to affect my ethics criticism….)

Last night, the Boston Red Sox had the ceremonial first pitch of Game #2 of the World Series thrown en masse by seven members of the 2004 World Series winning Sox, the team that ended Boston’s  86 year World Series championship drought, forever banishing the franchise’s reputation as the team that could never quite manage to win the final game. David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Kevin Millar, Keith Foulk and Alan Embree received the cheers of the crowd, but perhaps the biggest symbol of the team’s achievement of all, pitcher Curt Schilling, was absent. Schilling was the warrior who started two crucial games (One on the way to beating the Yankees in the league championship series, and another against St. Louis in the World series), winning both, with his ankle tendon crudely stitched to his skin to keep it stable, as blood seeped into his sock for all to see. It is one of the great moments of on-field sacrifice and heroism in baseball history.

How could they snub Schilling, of all players? Was he invited? “Nope,” he tweeted to a fan who asked during the game. “No worrries though, great to see @45PedroMartinez, @davidortiz and @KMillar15  though.”  “Oh,” he added, “and I get to keep my 3 rings and 3 trophies, so it’s all good.”

Not really. Schilling was obviously insulted, and should have been. “Were my feelings hurt? In one sense, yes, not being able to be on the field with the men who I will always share …2004  with and not being able to once again thank the folks who paid for the tickets and whose lives changed with ours sucks,” Schilling  posted on Facebook today.

The team, through a spokeswoman, denied an intentional snub. “The ceremonial first pitch started with a couple of 2004 guys and then grew organically as we learned of other ’04 players who were planning to be at the ballpark for Game 2. There was no blanket invite to the entire team,” she said, “and no slight intended to anyone not included.”

What utter BS. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: The Boston Red Sox

Hold onto this one, Derek.

They can’t play baseball very well right now, but the Boston Red Sox*, my home town team, currently in last place in the American League East, knows how to make an ethical and generous gesture of respect and gratitude.

It has been largely forgotten now, but pitcher Derek Lowe was a big disappointment to the Red Sox during the regular 2004 season, barely winning as many games as he lost and pitching to a high earned run average. In the play-offs and World Series, however, Lowe was as good as good as a starting pitcher could be, going 3-0 and winning the clinching games of both the team’s stunning comeback play-off series win over New York and it sweep of St. Louis to win Boston’s first World Championship since 1918.

Tired of Lowe’s inconsistency and unpredictability (he had a reputation of partying too hard, especially on road trips), the Red Sox let him leave as a free agent after the 2004 season. Since 2004 he has been for the Atlanta Braves what he often was for Boston: a sometimes brilliant starting pitcher with a deadly sinkerball, and for the Red Sox, a distant memory. Last season Lowe’s home was robbed, and among the more than $90,000 of baseball memorabilia that was stolen was his Championship ring from that 2004 season. His insurance covered the monetary loss, but the ring, Lowe’s personal symbol of his key role in a Historic sports event, was lost forever.

Last week, when he was in Boston with his latest team, the Cleveland Indians, Lowe beat the Red Sox as a starting pitcher, and later received a message from the Red Sox owners that they wanted to give him something. Then John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner, the trio of tycoons who have owned the team for a decade,  personally presented him with a 2004 World Series ring to replace the one that was stolen from his Florida home. Continue reading