No-Hitter Ethics!

Hope

You see, this is why I am a lifetime underachiever. Here I am, desperately preparing for a challenging 3-hour seminar, and when Jutgory sends me a story about a controversy over what should count as a “perfect game” in baseball, I can’t think of anything else. Baseball and ethics. The combination gets me every time! So I am writing a post instead of doing my job. Pathetic.

For some reason, 2021 has been a big year for no-hitter definition categories. About ten days ago, Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Madison Bumgarner threw seven hitless innings against the Atlanta Braves, winning 7-0. However,the game was part of a doubleheader, and this year, as in the 2020 season, twinbills consist of two 7 inning games. Bumgarner’s gem does not officially count as a no-hitter, because MLB declared many years ago that an official no-hitter must be nine innings, a shutout, a victory, and a complete game. This eliminated no-hitters that had been shortened because of rain but were still official games, and the strange games where a pitcher gave up a run or more because of errors or walks. It also wiped out one of the most famous no-hitters of all time.

Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Piratesgave up no hits, walks or baserunners for 12 innings against the Milwaukee Braves on May 26, 1959 in a 0-0 extra-inning tie. He retired 36 consecutive consecutive batters until an error in the 13th ended the perfect game bid, then he gave up a hit, and eventually a run and the game. It was one of the greatest pitching performances of all time, but did not count, sayeth the rule-makers, as a perfect game or a no-hitter.

Not giving Baumgarner credit for a “no-no,” as no-hitters are called by their close friends, seems very unfair. The game was official and not shortened by the elements. He did everything he could do: it wasn’t his fault MLB is lazy and incompetent and decided to allow kiddie rule 7-inning games this season. (The excuse was, as with much that is outrageous, the pandemic.) I am quite sure that baseball didn’t think through such possibilities as a double-header no-hitter, and was stuck with a rule that really shouldn’t have applied.

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Now THIS Is An Unethical High School Coach…

Troy Hennum, "genius"

Troy Hennum, “genius”

Juicy ethics topics are stacking up, but this story that just arrived in my email was too jaw-dropping to resist. A spectacularly clueless young man set a new record for open and blatant abuse of authority and irresponsible, unprofessional conduct, though in a novel way.

At  Roosevelt High School in Seattle, the new women’s softball coach, Troy Hennum, ordered members of his team to use their practice time to spread out around the city, take photos of “cute girls,” get their telephone numbers, and bring them back to him. This is colloquially known as “pimping.” He would follow up with date requests via text message, naturally. “Genius, great way to meet a girl, use my girls lol,” he wrote one of the candidates his team flagged as suitable date-fodder.

Come on! What’s the matter with that? Lighten up!

The Seattle Public School District had hired the 25-year-old even though it knew he had been investigated by his former school district for sending inappropriate texts to an athlete in 2012. Well, at least the district did its due diligence. Then it shrugged its metaphorical shoulders and hired this guy anyway. I see the argument: he wasn’t using his team as his own personal dating pool any more, he was using it to recruit other girls. That’s progress!

Hennum was suspended once his human Easter Egg hunt was revealed, and resigned his position, after being on the job for only six days. So sad. Imagine what this genius would have come up with if he had a chance to settle in.

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Pointer: Legal Blog Watch

Facts: Seattle Times

Graphic: Z101.1

 

Photo Ethics: Kagan at the Bat

The Wall Street Journal is being assailed by some gay and lesbian advocates for running an old photo of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, bat raised, waiting for a pitch in a softball game. “It clearly is an allusion to her being gay. It’s just too easy a punch line,” said Cathy Renna, a former spokesperson for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation who is now a consultant. “The question from a journalistic perspective is whether it’s a descriptive representation of who she might be as a judge.”

What???? Continue reading