The Miami Marlins Are Selling Fake Memories

 Through June 3, 2017, there have been 296 no-hitters officially recognized by Major League Baseball, 252 of them in the modern era starting in 1901. Seeing one in person is a joy and a treat for any baseball fan, and even the close-but-no cigar games are memorable, as every out, every great play and every batter creates excitement, anticipation, and dread. No sport has anything like no-hitters. 

On that June 3 date, four days ago, Edinson Volquez tossed the first no-no ( as they are colloquially called) this season, and the sixth no-hitter in Miami Marlins history,  defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was an unusual version of the breed because Volquez, a journeyman starter, had two baserunners who reached on walks and saw them erased by double plays. He needed only 98 pitches  to complete the masterpiece.

This comes at a good time for the sad-sack Marlins, who have attendance problems, trust issues (the team twice dismantled a championship team to save money), bad luck (rising superstar pitching ace Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident at the end of last season), hero problems (Fernandez was driving the boat,  he was drunk and on coke, and he killed two of his friends) and ownership uncertainty, for the team is for sale.

A friend living in Florida writes,

“The Miami Marlins selling tickets to a game that’s already been played? I suppose so you can frame them and claim you were at the no-hitter a Marlins’ pitcher threw on June 3rd. From the email they sent me, since I live in Florida and do attend three or four Marlins games a season:

“For those of you who missed attending the game but want to own a souvenir piece of history, unsold tickets from the game are still available by clicking here. Online purchases will be printed and mailed. Fans can also purchase tickets in-person at the Marlins Park Ticket Office.”

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Ethics Quiz: Is Jose Fernandez: A Fallen Hero or A Dead Asshole?

When Miami Marlin pitching star Jose Fernandez died, along with two friends, in the night crash of a speedboat he owned, the city of Miami and Major League Baseball was thrown into a state of extended grief. Not only was the 24-year old pitcher the super-star of the Miami Marlins franchise, but, we were told, was a young man of extraordinary character as well. He had the brightest future imaginable. Fernandez was expected to earn between 300 and 500 million dollars during what was expected to be a Hall of Fame caliber career. His girlfriend was pregnant. He was already a role model and a celebrity.

After his death, the team mourned their fallen star with dignity and emotion. This season, the Marlins to honor plan his memory in various ways.


After nearly six-month investigation, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s report on the accident  concluded  that Jose Fernandez was driving the speed  boat when it crashed. killing the pitcher, Eduardo Rivero and Emilio Macias  in the early morning of Sept. 25, 2016. Fernandez’s blood alcohol level was .147 and there was “noted presence of cocaine,” according to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s toxicology report.

The speed of the 32-foot vessel during the impact of the crash on the north side of a jetty was 65.7 miles per hour, far too fast for the conditions and the area. The report concludes:

“Fernandez operated V-1 with his normal faculties impaired, in a reckless manner, at an extreme high rate of speed, in the darkness of night, in an area with known navigational hazards such as rock jetties and channel markers.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is it ethical, responsible and right for the Miami Marlins, or anyone, to honor Jose Fernandez in light of these revelations?

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Coincidence, Ethics Violation, Or A Playground Rhyme Come True: The Lawyer’s Burning Pants

I love this story!

 Miami defense lawyer’ Stephen Gutierrez shocked onlookers when his pants burst into flames mid-trial as he was addressing the  jury. Gutierrez was defending a client  accused of intentionally setting his car on fire in South Miami. Yes, it was an arson case. He had just begun his closing argument when smoke started billowing from his pants pocket.

By sheer coincidence I’m sure, the lawyer was arguing that the defendant’s car spontaneously combusted—just like the lawyer’s trousers!— and was not intentionally set on fire. Observers told police that Gutierrez had been fiddling in his pocket right before his pants ignited. He ran out of the courtroom, and the jurors were ushered out as well. After  Gutierrez returned unharmed, he told the judge that  it wasn’t a staged  demonstration gone horribly wrong, but just a coincidence. A faulty battery in his e-cigarette had caused the fire.

In an arson trial.

During closing argument.

Where the defense was “spontaneous combustion.”


Jurors convicted Gutierrez’s client of second-degree arson anyway. Miami-Dade police and prosecutors are now investigating the episode, and Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman is deciding whether to hold him in contempt of court.

Comments: Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Nautika Harris


“You have to look at it from every child’s point of view that was raised in the hood. You have to understand … how he gonna get his money to have clothes to go to school? You have to look at it from his point of view.”

Nautika Harris (above, right), the cousin of a 17-year-old teen shot dead by a 54-year-old Miami woman as he tried to exit her home, which he had entered to burglarize.

Miami-Dade police say that Trevon Johnson, 17, burglarized the home of a 54-year-old old woman last week.

She was not in the house when the break-in occurred, but after being alerted by her surveillance system, she rushed home and found Johnson climbing out of a window. She shot him dead, and his relatives are outraged.

“I don’t care if she have her gun license or any of that. That is way beyond the law … way beyond,” Johnson’s cousin Nautika Harris told local radio station WFOR. “He was not supposed to die like this. He had a future ahead of him. Trevon had goals … he was a funny guy, very big on education, loved learning.”

And loved burglary, apparently. Continue reading

Ethics Poll: Target Practice For The North Miami Police

mug shot targets

From the BBC:

[P]olice officers have been…using mug shots of black suspects for target practice in Florida. The images used by North Miami Beach Police were discovered by a female soldier who used the firing range after a police training session…Police Chief J Scott Dennis said that his officers had used poor judgment but denied racial profiling.He told NBC that using real suspect images was an important part of training for his sniper team and that his officers had not violated any policies.

“There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this,” he said.

A police spokeswoman added on Friday that officers use targets of all races and genders in their training sessions.

Embarrassing. A public relations nightmare for the department. But was using the mugshots unethical? Why?

Let’s vote:


Police Misconduct, Professional Courtesy, and the Insideous Virtue of Loyalty

"No, I still have your back...I'm just going to have to give you a speeding ticket, that's all!"

“No, I still have your back…I’m just going to have to give you a speeding ticket, that’s all!”

In 2011, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Donna Jane Watts pulled over—after a brief chase– an off-duty Miami police officer whose vehicle she clocked at over 120 mph. Lead-footed officer Fausto Lopez explained to Watts that he was late for an off-duty job. The tradition among police, as in other professions (like the law and politics), is to extend “professional courtesy” in such situations, or as I call it, unwarranted privilege and corruption.

 Watts, however, arrested Lopez, who had a history of reckless driving, and he was eventually fired. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Smashing The “Million Dollar Vase”

Miami performance artist Maximo Caminero walked into the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, entered a special exhibit of sixteen ancient Chinese vases painted over in bright colors by celebrated Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, picked up one of them, and immediately after a security guard instructed him not to touch the exhibit, allowed the vase to fall from his hands, shattering into bits. Some strange and interesting details of the incident:

  • He did not say “Oopsie!”
  • In fact, he admitted that smashing the pottery was intentional, and was his protest against in support of local artists like himself whose work is not exhibited at the museum while the art of international artists like Weiwei is.
  • The painted vase the 51-year-old artist destroyed is said to be valued at a million dollars. Each of vases used in the exhibit  are about 2,000 years old, dating back to China’s Han Dynasty. The artist often uses ancient  artifacts in his work, and has drawn criticism that his art consists of  defacing the original work or another artist.
  • Caminero says he thought the vases were cheap pottery purchased at Home Depot, and never suspected that they were so old or valuable. (And yet he still didn’t say “Oopsie!” Or “Doh!”
  • The museum HAS exhibited local artists.
  • He broke the vase directly in front of a series of larger-than-life photos of  Weiwei dropping and destroying another Han Dynasty vase.
  • He says that he interpreted the photos as a fellow artist’s provocative statement, encouraging him to break the vase.
  • Caminero was charged with criminal mischief, which is not a trivial charge. At very least, he would be required to pay for the destroyed item.
  • The news reports say that the museum is assisting police in the investigation. What investigation? The entire episode on video.

No, you can’t make this stuff up.

And our Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz is this:

Should the justice system treat Caminero’s act  more leniently than any other act of deliberate vandalism resulting in the destruction of a million dollars worth of property?

To me, the answer is a resounding “no”:

  • The fact that the vandalism is a protest? It doesn’t matter why he destroyed the vase. It wouldn’t mitigate the crime even if he had something legitimate to protest, which he did not.
  • The fact that he didn’t mean to break a a million dollar vase, just a cheap one? Too bad. You break it, you’ve bought it.
  • The fact that the photo display behind him showed the artist doing exactly the same thing? Completely irrelevant. The artist was breaking his own vase.
  • The fact that the art that Caminero was destroying was itself created by a destructive act? Oh, there are a number of bad rationalizations he can use in his defense, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he uses them all. The protest was performance art, and punishing it severely infringes on free artistic expression! Punishing him is the ultimate hypocrisy, as he was calling attention to Weiwei’s own vandalism! He started it! Tit for Tat! It’s for a good cause! All ethically invalid.

Someone this stupid, irresponsible, self-centered and reckless is a danger to the community. His next protest may harm more than a vase.

I hope they throw the book at him.


Pointer: CNN

Sources: Miami Herald, C News

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Dunce Meets Ethics Hero”

John T., a reader whose final comment on Ethics Alarms is also the Comment of the Day, provided me with another example of the same phenomenon that manifested itself in some of the more extreme comments to the recent Applebee’s post. For many people who are incapable of coherent ethical analysis, the nature of conduct is assessed not according to the ethical or unethical nature of the conduct itself, but according to whether the author of the conduct is liked, admired, identified or sympathized with, especially in comparison to the individual, authority or entity holding that actor accountable for the unethical conduct involved. Thus supporters of the fired Applebee’s waitress who violated the terms of her employment, embarrassed her employer’s customer online, and used proprietary information to do it used all manner of irrelevant or  factually false arguments to make the case that she didn’t warrant punishment, and that it was Applebee’s that was acting wronfully—waitresses are underpaid; Applebee’s doesn’t treat employees well, the pastor was “stealing” by not leaving a tip, the pastor’s obnoxious message “abused” the server (even though the server wasn’t the one who publicized the pastor’s comments), and so on. Because commenters sympathized and identified with the waitress, they crashed through logical and ethical roadblocks to find her innocent of wrongdoing, and mistreated by a big, bad, heartless corporation. In other words, emotion and bias, not objectivity and ethical analysis, took over.

John T. engages in the same fallacious process to defend the 18-year old Xanax abuser who found herself insulting the wrong judge in Miami. His previous jaw-dropping comment described the woman’s horrible demeanor and attitude as “genuinely cooperative and friendly” (she was disrespectful, mocking and seemingly stoned), and opined that unauthorized possession of a controlled substance was a “bullshit charge.” I responded, half in jest,  that with that attitude, it was remarkable that he wasn’t in jail. I’ll be back at the end, but here is John T’s masterful rant, the Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Dunce Meets Ethics Hero: Continue reading

Ethics Dunce Meets Ethics Hero

The Dunce: Penelope Soto, arrested for illegal possession of a controlled substance (Xanax), and for riding a bicycle recklessly while stoned. Facing arraignment before Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat to determine bail, she laughed at his questions, gave him a mocking farewell, and finally threw an F-bomb his way.

The Hero: the Judge, who tolerated Soto’s disrespectful, dismissive and seemingly stoned behavior up to a point, but when she turned her back on him to leave with a flippant “Adios!”, he doubled her bail amount from $5,000 to $10,000.*  Her next reaction was a muttered “Fuck you” and a provocatively raised index finger. For that, he found her in criminal contempt.  His sentence: 30 days in jail.

Disrespect for the Court is disrespect for the law, and disrespect for the law is disrespect for the country. I don’t know how people like Ms. Soto reach adulthood without learning this lesson, but bravo to Judge Rodriguez-Chomat for not hesitating to teach it forcefully and well.

The full video of their fateful meeting is above, and worth watching. I recommend showing it to your children, if you have them.

UPDATE: She returned to court with her lawyer, sober and stright this time, and managed a sincere-sounding apology to the judge. He let her out of jail, as he should have. Point made.

*Note: the practical effect of this is to cost Ms. Soto and extra $500, essentially a fine for being rude to the judge. A prisoner typically has to give a bail bondsman 10% of the bail amount to get out of jail until trial. If she doesn’t want to pay that, she can put up the whole amount, which she will get back once she appears for trial.

Were The Marlins Right To Suspend Ozzie Guillen for Loving Fidel Castro?

And imagine...Media Matters had NOTHING to do with it!

‘”I love Fidel Castro,’ blurts Ozzie Guillen, the new manager of the Miami Marlins, in his Jupiter, Fla., spring-training office before an early-March team workout.”

And with that spontaneous utterance, quoted in a Time magazine feature, Guillen, who was hired during baseball’s off-season to lead the long-languishing Miami baseball franchise to elusive community popularity and on-the-field success, suddenly found himself at the epicenter of a career-threatening controversy. Cuban groups in the Miami area were horrified, and demanded that Guillen be fired. Guillen immediately went on an apology tour, arguing that he had “mistranslated in his head from Spanish to English,” and that he emphatically did not “love” the Cuban dictator, but in fact hated him. Even though he said he loved him. That’s some bad translating.

“I feel like I betrayed my Latin community,” Guillen said to one Miami group, according to ESPN’s translation of his comments in Spanish. “I am here to say I am sorry with my heart in my hands and I want to say I’m sorry to all those people who are hurt indirectly or directly. I’m sorry for what I said and for putting people in a position they don’t need to be in. And for all the Cuban families, I’m sorry. I hope that when I get out of here, they will understand who Ozzie Guillen is. How I feel for them. And how I feel about the Fidel Castro dictatorship. I’m here to face you, person to person. It’s going to be a very difficult time for me.”

He got that right. Today the Marlins suspended their manager for five games, saying in a statement, Continue reading