Here’s The Ethics Lesson From The Hall Of Fame Voting Results Tomorrow…

HOF

And that lesson is: sportswriters have no clue when it comes to ethical analysis, or any other kind of analysis, really.

Tomorrow the results of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame voting will be announced, and those former stars receiving at least 75% of the vote will be officially enshrined as immortals. Every year before the steroid era, the voting was preceded by weird arguments that made no sense, like the one about whether a former player should be a “first time electee.” Some writers would concede that a given player was great enough for the Hall, but not vote for him because “he wasn’t good enough to get in on the first ballot.” This was, and is, ridiculous, and unfair. The question is, “Was this player great enough to deserve enshrinement, when the standards are unchanging?” It’s a yes or no question. “Maybe next year” is not a valid answer.

Thus I suppose that it should be no surprise that these same clods, faced with some really difficult ethical lines to draw in the wake of the so-called steroid era, show themselves to be not merely dunces, but ethics dunces as well. I just heard a sportswriter, Marty Noble, tell a baseball talk show that he won’t vote for any player about whom there is any question whatsoever regarding whether he cheated with steroids, including doubts based on rumors, whispering campaigns, looks, suspicions and drug tests. But he still voted for some players, he says. Well, that’s just wrong, by his own standards—he can’t be 100% sure about anyone. He also said that while he can vote for up to ten players, and agreed that there are more than ten players this year who have strong Hall credentials, he’s only voting for three. Why? Because, he says, the induction ceremony is too long.

Yes, he’s an idiot. Continue reading

Nomar, Beantown, and the Legacy Obligation

Organizations have histories, and that means they have debts to pay. Time moves on, and personnel changes, but the organization that neglects the human beings who played major roles in defining their image, goals, achievements and success has breached its integrity, and violated its Legacy Obligation.

For nearly eight seasons, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra was the face, heart, and soul of the Boston Red Sox. A spidery gymnast in the field who completed the Holy Trinity of Hall of Fame-bound shortstops—Jeter, A-Rod and “Nomah” —who lit up the American League in the mid-Nineties, Garciaparra was a home-grown fan idol. He did everything wonderfully and with panache; Ted Williams, the city’s reigning baseball god, pronounced him his official successor.

Then, suddenly, it all unraveled. Continue reading

Why Fenway Fans Boo Johnny Damon

Outfielder Johnny Damon was the heart and soul of the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the team that broke “the Curse” and finally brought a World Series title to Beantown after 86 infamous, frustrating years. But Red Sox brass didn’t want to give him a four year guaranteed contract when he became a free agent in 2005, and the New York Yankees were willing, so Johnny Damon shaved his beard and cut his shaggy hair to play with the team Bostonians love to despise. Every time since then, when he came to bat in Fenway Park wearing pinstripes, a chorus of boos and jeers showered down on him from the same fans who once cheered his every move. Continue reading