Tag Archives: San Francisco Giants

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/7/2018: Something In This Post Is Guaranteed To Send You Screaming Into The Streets

Good Morning!

1 Oh no! Not my permanent record! My wife gave a small contribution to Mitt  Romney’s campaign, and has been hounded by RNC robocalls and mailings ever since. GOP fundraising started getting really slimy under the indefensible Michael Steele’s leadership, and continued to use unethical methods after Steele went on to job at a bait shop or something. Last week my wife got an envelope in the mail with a block red DELINQUENCY NOTICE! printed on it. A lie, straight up: there was no delinquency, just a my wife’s decision that she would rather burn a C-note than give it to the fools and knaves running the Republican Party. She registered an official complaint with the RNC, and received this response from Dana Klein, NRCC Deputy Finance Director:

“My job as the Deputy Finance Director is to communicate with supporters to let them know the status of their NRCC Sustaining Membership. Unfortunately, I have bad news for you. As of right now, you have a delinquency mark on your record for your failure to renew your membership. But, I have some good news. You can remove this delinquency mark if you renew by the FEC deadline on Wednesday.”

Both my wife and I were professional fundraisers for many years. This is deceptive and coercive fundraising, and anyone who voluntarily supports an organization that uses such tactics is a victim or an idiot.

Or, I suppose, a Republican.

2. Another one…This is another one of the statements that I am pledged to expose every time I read or hear it: a Maryland legislator, enthusing over the likelihood that a ballot initiative will result in legalizing pot in the state, ran off the usual invalid, disingenuous and foolish rationalizations for supporting measure. (Don’t worry, pot-lovers: I’m resigned to this happening, not just in Maryland, but nation wide. As with the state lotteries, our elected officials will trade the public health and welfare for easy revenue every time. Minorities and the poor will be the most hurt, and the brie and pot set couldn’t care less.) Only one of his familiar bad arguments triggered my mandatory response pledge: ” to legalize a drug that is less harmful than alcohol.”

This is the bottom of the rationalization barrel, “it’s not the worst thing.” Alcohol is a scourge of society, killing thousands upon thousands every year, ruining families and lives, wrecking businesses, costing the economy millions of dollars. Just yesterday there was a report that fetal alcohol syndrome was far more common that previously believed. There is no question, none, that U.S. society would be healthier and safer without this poison accepted in the culture: unfortunately, it was too deeply embedded before serious efforts were made to remove it. Now pot advocates want to inflict another damaging recreational drug on society, using the argument that it’s not as terrible as the ones we’re already stuck with. Stipulated: it’s not as harmful as alcohol. It’s not as harmful as Russian Roulette or eating Tidepods either. I have a bias against taking seriously advocates who use arguments like this; it means they re either liars, and know their logic is absurd, or idiots, and don’t.

3. Riddle me this: What do you get when you cross casting ethics, weak and lazy school administrators, political-correctness bullies-in-training with “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”?

Answer: a cancelled high school musical, and per se racism supported by the school.

New York’s Ithaca High School was beginning production of the Disney film-based musical “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” but made the unforgivable error, in the eyes of student activists,  of casting of a white student as a Romani heroine Esmeralda, played in the classic film by that gypsy wench, Maureen O’Hara, and in the Disney version by a Toon.  Several students quit the show in protest,  and formed an activist group to reverse the decision. It sent a letter calling the casting “cultural appropriation” and “whitewashing,” calling the student the “epitome of whiteness.” The letter admitted that she was also “a stellar actor, singer and dancer” that any stage would be “lucky to have,” but what is the talent, skill and competence required for a role compared to what really matters, her skin color? The students demanded that the school either choose a different show or recast Esmeralda a black and brown actress. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture, Race, Rights, Sports, U.S. Society

Ethics Dunce: Suspended Giants Outfielder Melky Cabrera (And Not For The Reason You Think)

Who is “Melky Cabrera” really?

Melky Cabrera shocked Major League Baseball by getting caught mid-season using banned metabolic steroids, it’s true. It is also true that this marks him for all time as a cheater, and something of an idiot, since the penalties for PED (performance enhancing drug) use are devastating to a baseball player’s reputation and wallet, and because, unlike when Barry Bonds was breaking records and racking up MVP trophies while being juiced, the game has belatedly decided that it isn’t going to let games, championships and records be distorted by chemical means.

Melky, however, is special among baseball’s cheaters. Only he, as far as we know, decided to attempt an elaborate internet deception to try to duck responsibility after he had been caught.

From today’s New York Daily News: Continue reading

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The Melky Cabrera Affair: When Fair Isn’t Fair

A useful tool, when the government decides that what you did should have been illegal.

Let me bring the non-baseball fans among you up to date, reminding you that while the immediate subject is baseball, the ethical implications of this story are far broader.

Melky Cabrera, until last season, was a standard issue major league outfielder of substantial but undistinguished abilities and accomplishments. Last season, playing with the frequent destination of such players, the Kansas City Royals, Cabrera suddenly and unexpectedly emerged as a star, surpassing all expectations and his previous levels of performance. The Royals traded him, like an over-priced stock, to the San Francisco Giants in the off-season, getting a package of players in exchange for one they probably thought was as valuable as he would ever be.

This season, however, he was even better.  Not only was he selected to the All-Star team for the first time, he was also on the way to leading the Giants to the play-offs and possibly a World Series appearance. Then, this week, a drug test came in positive for testosterone: steroids. By MLB’s rules, Cabrera was suspended from play for 50 games, effectively eliminating him from the Giants season and post season and, not incidentally, marking him as a cheat and an idiot.

And maybe a batting champion. When he was suspended, Cabrera was second in the National League in batting average, and had already amassed the necessary at bats to qualify for the championship (actually, there are some complications with that, but for all intents and purposes, that’s true). He’s only 13 points behind the leader, and averages tend to come down as the season drags on. Not only is Cabrera’s high average a likely product of pharmaceutically-aided cheating, but his suspension for getting caught at cheating may actually help him win the prestigious batting crown, by freezing his average at a lofty .346. Is this fair? Certainly not. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Sports, U.S. Society

All-Star Election Cheaters: The Boston Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game team voting by the fans is hardly a model of fair democracy. Most fans vote for their favorites rather than the best qualified players, and are not very informed even about their favorites. They also are guided more by loyalty than analysis, choosing local heroes over more accomplished players from another team. In other words, it’s basically the same as political elections.

Well, there are other factors that make the All-Star Game voting less than admirable. You can vote up to 25 times from each e-mail address, giving an edge to computer geeks. The teams in the biggest cities and with the best attendance have an advantage over the rest, because there are more of their fans voting. And players on teams like the Phillies, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Yankees that are on national TV a lot, along with last season’s World Series adversaries, the Texas Ranger and the San Francisco Giants, have more name recognition nationwide, giving their players another unfair edge.

Still, it is an election, the votes count, and the various franchises should be trying to uphold whatever minuscule smidgen of integrity the current system has. The Boston Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants, however, don’t think they have enough advantages in the  All-Star voting already, and have found a loophole in the rules that allows them to cheat. Continue reading

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Comment of the Day: “Schadenfreude, Ethics, and Those Fanatics Inside Us All”

Maybe "The Broadcaster" was all Harry had inside...

Rick elaborates nicely on the theme of my post on handling those fanatic personas that reside in each of us, and in the process takes the ethical measure of an iconic baseball broadcaster whose charms always escaped me…the late Harry Carey.

“It strikes me that there’s another part of the equation, which you only hint at here, but which you have mentioned in other posts. That’s the “ethics alarm” (to coin a phrase) that goes off, or should, when the director or the Red Sox fan or whoever That Guy is says or does something unethical. Part of it is “heat of the moment” stuff: the egoism that slips out in a moment of excitement. No, of course you didn’t want Thurman Munson to die, but yes, he did play for the hated Yankees, and their team just got worse. You’re forgiven the fist-pump. Once. And provided you (Jack, as opposed to Red Sox fan) didn’t mean it.

“I was watching a Cubs game on WGN sometime in the mid-1980s when news came over the wire that Montreal Expos infielder Hubie Brooks had suffered a season-ending injury. Brooks had been a favorite of mine when he’d played for the Mets (“my team”), and I continued to follow his career with some interest, so the news was doubly sad for me: a player had been seriously injured, and that player was Hubie Brooks.

“In contrast, Cubs announcer Harry Carey proclaimed “well, if it helps the Cubs win, it’s OK by me.” I remember the exact words 25 years later. What struck me was not that they were uttered, but that no one—not Carey himself, not his broadcast partner, no one—made the slightest attempt to walk them back. That was the official verdict: a season-ending injury (Brooks was never the same again, by the way) was a good thing if it happened to somebody in a different uniform. I mentioned the incident to a couple of friends—Cubs fans—and they laughed and said “oh, that’s Harry.”

“Everyone understood that Carey was a Cubs fan first and an announcer second. That was, I am told, part of his charm—I never saw it, but others did. Still, I was sort of hoping that there would be a human being in there somewhere. On that particular day, at least, I was disappointed. We lived in WGN country for another seven years. I never watched another Cubs game without turning off the sound.”

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Filed under Comment of the Day, Daily Life, Etiquette and manners, Journalism & Media, Professions, Sports, The Internet

Schadenfreude, Ethics, and Those Fanatics Inside Us All

NBC baseball blogger Craig Calcaterra recently raised the sensitive issue of sports fan Schadenfreude*, something that I have been afflicted with from time to time. The occasion was the recent injury to San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey in a particularly gruesome collision at home plate. His comments made me think about the obsessed and narrow personas in all of us, and how we should regard their occasional callousness.

Posey was the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year; he is also a cornerstone of the Giants’ recent success: the team is the reigning Major League Baseball World Champion. The collision with Florida Marlins’ Scott Cousins simultaneously broke Posey’s leg, ended his season, jeopardized the career of an exciting young player (players often return from such injuries permanently diminished) and dealt a serious blow to the Giants’ chances of returning to the World Series in 2011.  Reacting to a blogger who suggested that the injury caused most non-Giants fans to  give “a little fist-pump”… because “their team’s chances of dethroning the Giants as World Series champions just got a little bit better,” Calcaterra wrote… Continue reading

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The Replay and Integrity: Baseball at an Ethics Crossroads

On the final day of baseball’s regular season, the San Francisco Giants were playing the San Diego Padres in a contest with post-season implications for both teams. Had the Padres won , it would have forced two one-game playoffs, with the loser of a Giants-Padres showdown today facing the Braves on Tuesday to determine the National League Wild Card team. In the bottom of the first, the Giants’ Andres Torres smashed a Mat Latos  pitch down the left-field line. The ball clearly landed right on the chalk-marked foul line, kicking up a cloud of white dust as undeniable proof that the ball was fair,and the batter destined for second base or beyond. Third-base ump Mike Everitt called it foul, however. Broadcasters, the Giants managers, everyone protested and pointed, but to no avail.

The Giant’s won anyway, so it only mattered to Torres’s batting average. But a time-bomb is ticking. Baseball, which was embarrassed last season into adopting video replay for home run calls, allows no videotape mandated reversals on other blown umpire calls. As the game heads into its period of highest visibility, when casual baseball fans start paying attention to the best teams playing for the title, the likelihood of an obviously wrong call by an umpire leading to an undeserved win in a crucial game is unacceptably high. Why does baseball’s leadership resist a solution? Continue reading

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