Tag Archives: baseball

Ethics Hero: Bill Lee, “The Spaceman,” An Integrity Exemplar…And I Really Need One About Now

bill-lee

If you weren’t a baseball fan in Boston during the Sixties and Seventies you may never have heard of Bill Lee, but if you were, he was an unforgettable and unique source of pleasure. Lee joined the Red Sox in 1969 as a junk-balling left-hander with a hippie streak not previously seen in the sport.  He was prone to say things like, “I think about the cosmic snowball theory. A few million years from now the sun will burn out and lose its gravitational pull. The earth will turn into a giant snowball and be hurled through space. When that happens it won’t matter if I get this guy out.”  The college students around Boston loved him, the old school baseball management types not so much. But he was good, and in major league baseball, good will always trump weird.

Lee was an excellent a reliever for four years before becoming a Sox starter in 1973, then won 17 games that season and the next two as well. The success was secondary for his often-stoned fans than his non-conformist attitude and determination to be himself at all costs. He was well-read, well-educated, opinionated and funny, and at various points in his Red Sox career, wore a gas mask, a coonskin cap and a propeller-topped beanie onto the field. Once, when the umpires refused to halt play in a downpour, Lee came out of the dugout wearing rain gear and carried an umbrella to the mound. This and other exploits caused him to be nicknamed “The Spaceman.”

Twice, once with the Red Sox and later with the Montreal Expos, Lee went on strike, refusing to play to protest the elimination of one of his friends from his team’s roster. The last time he did it, it ended his career.

Lee made up his own rules and principles, so he’s a different kind of Ethics Hero.  Above all else, however, the Spaceman has integrity down to a life-style. When he was at his zenith with the Red Sox, he often said that baseball was a still just a game to him, that it was what he loved to do, and that he didn’t care about the money. He would play baseball for whatever was available, he said, or just for the love of it. My father, who didn’t get Bill Lee, thought he was grandstanding.

He wasn’t. Continue reading

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Ethics Dunce: Mediaite

feldman

Mediaite is a frequent source here. The news and opinion website actively strives for balance by maintaining a stable of ideologically diverse reporters. It also received a big boost in credibility recently by finally dumping the embarrassing Tommie Christopher, whose left-wing bias was so extreme that it bordered on parody.

However, the site grossly abandoned ethics and accountability this time.

Yesterday I cited a Mediaite story about how Twitter dolts thought they saw a KKK sign in the stands during the World Series, a mistake caused by a bad hybrid of race-obsessed derangement and utter ignorance of the National pastime. What I did not know, because Mediaite was engaged in a cover-up, was that reporter Josh Feldman had filed the original post in which HE accused Cleveland fans of promoting the Klan. As you can see above, the original Mediaite story was not about Twitter morons mistaking the cards representing three strikeouts for Cleveland starter Corey Kluber, but a “scoop” by an ignorant and irresponsible reporter who made that mistake.

After Feldman was quickly schooled  on Twitter, Mediaite cleaned up the embarrassing story, removed Feldman’s byline, and turned it into a “Boy are some people stupid!” post. Feldman restricted his apology to Twitter, writing, “Apologies for the fuckup. Need to do more reading up on sportsing things.”

No, need to show some responsibility on reportsing things, Josh. Mediaite’s handling of this botch was unethical, and seriously implicates their trustworthiness. In the revamped post, a note was added saying,

UPDATE- This post has been updated to reflect the fact that it was NOT a KKK sign, it was signifying the number of strikeouts,”

Yes, and it was also updated to remove the name of the guilty reporter. Josh Feldman should been named as the one responsible, he should have apologized to Mediaite readers , not Twitter followers, for false reporting, and Mediaite had an obligation to apologize as well for its poor oversight. Instead, the site chose to cover for its reporter.Ethics Verdict: No transparency, no accountability, and an effort to deceive readers rather than admit to incompetent and careless reporting.

How can anyone trust a website that would do that?

___________________________

Pointer and Facts: Daily Caller

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Journalism & Media, Sports, The Internet

World Series Ethics: No, You Morons, That Wasn’t A “KKK Sign”!

kkk-world-series

The divided, confused, betrayed American public owes a debt of gratitude to the National Pastime this morning, and not for the first time. The stirring World Series win by the Chicago Cubs in Cleveland, and the joyous celebration afterwards, is exactly what this besieged and angry republic needed.

Well, that and a competent and respectable Presidential candidate to vote for, but you can’t have everything.

On social media, however, one was reminded why we have such miserable options to lead the country: ignoramuses. For during the game, multiple social justice warriors, doubtless confused because no players protested the National Anthem during the game, took to Twitter to exclaim that there was a Klu Klux Klan sign at the World Series!

Morons.

Some thoughts: Continue reading

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Ethics And Sports: Maybe It’s Confirmation Bias, But The TV Ratings Give Me Hope

And these days, when the goal is a more ethical society, I’ll take hope anywhere I can find it.

The big story in the NFL right now is that for the first time ever, its TV ratings are dropping. Through the first seven weeks of the season, ratings were down for every prime-time NFL show: “Sunday Night Football” by 19 percent, “Monday Night Football” by 24 percent and the Thursday night game by 18 percent. For the season as whole, ratings are off in regional games too. The NFL is doing what it always does with bad news: obfuscating and lying. It has blamed the drop on the Presidential race, as if anyone wouldn’t do anything to escape that, and the generational abandonment of network TV and even cable for the internet. Various polling results, however, show that a big factor is the league’s increasingly obvious lack of values.

The concussion issue-–finally—is hurting interest in football, especially as parents try to steer their children toward less risky sports. A recent study that researchers took pains to insist was only troubling, not conclusive, found brain chemistry changes in children who had played one season of junior football. I don’t know about anyone else, but if there is any evidence that a sport might reduce my kid to a brain-damaged invalid by the time he’s 60, that’s plenty for me to limit his recreation choices. The public is also finally reacting to the NFL’s evident cover-up of its responsibility for ex-players who have perished as a consequence of CTE, a brain disease caused by repeated head trauma. I wish this was the main reason that fans are turning off pro-football games, but at least it’s a factor. Continue reading

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Sorry, Steve Bartman, But It’s Impossible To Leave You Alone

As the Chicago Cubs plowed their way to the World Series and a possible end to their 108 year failure to win a World Series, numerous sports writers, including some I thought were smart enough to know better, set out to prove their compassion, sensitivity and gooey caramel centers by arguing that the news media and fans should “leave Steve Bartman alone.” Bartman, for those of you who have lived in a bank vault since 2003, was the hapless young Chicago Cubs fan who unintentionally interfered with a foul ball that might have been catchable by Cubs outfielder Moises Alou in the decisive game of 2003 National League Championship Series. In a perfect display of the dangers of moral luck, Bartman’s mistake—it didn’t help that he was wearing earphones and watching the ball rather than the action on the field—began a chain of random events  that constituted a complete collapse by Chicago in that very same half-inning, sending the Miami Marlins and not the Cubs, who had seemed comfortably ahead, to the Series. Bartman, who issued a sincere and pitiful apology, was widely vilified and literally run out of town. He then became part of Cubs and baseball lore, one more chapter in the sad saga has been called “the Billy Goat Curse,” the uncanny inability of this team to win it all.

Over time, even Bartman’s tormenters came to see that holding him responsible for the team’s failure was cruel consequentialism at its worst. Alou, who had sicced the Furies on Bartman by angrily pointing at him after the incident from the field and later told everyone that with the interference, he would have caught the ball, even came out ten years later–five years!—to say that he wouldn’t have caught the ball, and Bartman wasn’t to blame. (I wrote about that epic example of barn-door locking here.) Now, NBC’s Craig Calcattera and many others are beating a new drum: nobody should write about or talk about Stave any more, because it’s so unfair. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, History, Journalism & Media, Sports

Ethics Dunces: Fox Sports And Major League Baseball

The ex players are (R to L), Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, banned Pete Rose, rapidly being forgotten Raul Ibanez, and the nearly universally detested Alex Rodriguez.

The ex players are (R to L), Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, banned Pete Rose, rapidly fading from memory Raul Ibanez, and the nearly universally detested Alex Rodriguez.

Among the commentators at the desk in the pre- and post game show for FS1 (that’s Fox Sports One) as it carries the National League Championship Series between the Cubs and the Dodgers, are Pete Rose, and Alex Rodriquez.

Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hits leader, is banned from baseball for gambling on the game while a manager. This has been taboo since the 1919 World Series was fixed by gamblers. (Donald Trump has never accepted that the Cincinnati Reds won). Rose lied about whether he bet on baseball for over a decade, then he lied about whether he bet on his own team a little longer. In the meantime, he served prison time for tax evasion.

Alex Rodriquez eventually was suspended from baseball for more than a season for using banned performance enhancing drugs, years after he tested positive for steroid use and told the public sincerely that it was “one mistake” and he’d never do it again. He is also a serial liar. Eventually the increasingly cynical and ethically-addled younger sportswriters may vote him into the Hall of Fame, but he is second only to Barry Bonds as the worst of the worst. Currently, he is regarded as flunking the Hall’s character and sportsmanship requirement. Duh. Continue reading

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Ethics Quiz Of The Day: Backing Into A Batting Championship

Milwaukee Brewers v Colorado Rockies

On the final day of the 2016 regular season yesterday, Rockies second baseman D.J. LeMahieu had a one point lead on Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy for the National League batting championship, .348 to.347. Murphy was nursing a pulled muscle, and hadn’t played for several games as the NL East winning Nationals rested him so he could be healthy for the play-offs. Murphy wasn’t going to be in the final game either, which meant that the only way LeMahieu could lose his lead was by making outs. Thus, with the consent of his manager, Walt Weiss, the player sat out the last game to protect his average. Realizing that the Rocky player was attempting to “back in” to the batting title, regarded in baseball ethics as dishonorable, or, in technical terms, “the conduct of a weenie,”  Nats  manager Dusty Baker sent Murphy limping up to the plate to pinch-hit for Jose Lobaton in the fifth inning. A hit by Murphy would have given him the lead, and required LeMahieu to bat in the Rockies game to pass him. Murphy, however, flied out.

Your End of Baseball’s Regular Season Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Was it fair, sportsmanlike and ethical for LeMahieu to win the batting title by not playing?

Continue reading

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