Ethical Quote Of The Month: Will Middlebrooks

“Don’t take one thing for granted. Not a single thing. Because when it’s gone it’s gone. Love and enjoy your teammates. You’re surrounded by some of the best players in the world and guess what, you’re one of them kid! Believe in your abilities day in and day out and never, ever let off the gas. Play this game like you know someone is coming for your job and today could be the last time you ever put on a big league uniform.”

—Former Boston Red Sox rookie sensation Will Middlebrooks, now retired, giving advice to current Red Sox rookie sensation Michael Chavis through an interview with Boston radio station WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

Although Middlebrooks’ sage advice was given in the context of playing Major League Baseball, it applies equally well to all passions, pursuits, opportunities, privileges, jobs, pleasures, honors, relationships, and  professions, as well as love, youth, and life in general. It is the present day Will Middlebrooks telling his younger self what he wishes he had understood before it was too late. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Replacing The Sideline Babe

Before and After

Before and After

In a nakedly cynical effort to appeal to male TV audience members, most of the major league baseball teams employ “sideline babes” in their local broadcasts—young, lovely, shapely women who impart little nuggets of “behind the scenes” information about the local team during lulls in the action, of which baseball has many. It often seems like these women can’t tell a ball from a bat, but who cares? Hubba hubba!

The Boston Red Sox however, have had a string of bad luck with their lovelies. The last two became romantically involved with Red Sox players, in one case a potential scandal (the player was married), and in the most recent, as sideline babe Jenny Dell began dating Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, a conflict of interest in the view of NESN, the Red Sox network. Who would have guessed that having fold-out ready young women roaming  dugouts filled with rich young male athletes would lead to this?

This season, the Sox sidelines have a different look. The game broadcast cutaways now lead to a large, handsome, undeniably male member of the broadcast squad, Gary Striewski. (That’s Gary on the right in the photo above, Jenny on the left.)  Coincidence? I think not. I think NESN got tired of the off-field whoopee, and decided to go in a different direction that minimized the risk. Assuming this is true (and recognizing that it may not be), your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz is this:

Does choosing to have a male sideline reporter to avoid romantic conflicts with the players constitute unfair and unethical gender discrimination?



Ethics Hero: Umpire Jim Joyce…Again

Obstruction play

Last night, a close and exciting Game #3 of the baseball’s World Series ended in the most unsatisfying manner possible, especially for Boston Red Sox fans. The winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning scored because of an obstruction call at third base, made by umpire Jim Joyce, giving the victory in a tense battle to the St. Louis Cardinals. Although fans saw baserunner Allen Craig tagged out at home for the final out of the frame, sending the game into extra-innings, or so they thought, Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks was ruled to have obstructed Craig from getting up and scoring from third on an errant throw, though both runner and fielder were caught in a tangle after a collision at third due to no fault of their own. The relevant rule says that if in the umpire’s judgement a fielder, regardless of fault or intent, impedes a runner trying to reach the next base, and that the umpire also concludes that the runner would have reached the base safely without the fielder’s impediment, then the runner will be awarded the base. This meant that Craig was awarded home plate, his team was awarded the winning run, and the game was over.

The obstruction was clear and undeniable, but in many sports, such a technical call would never be permitted to decide a crucial or championship game, and even in baseball, there are umpires who might not have the courage to make such an unpopular call. Rules, however, are rules, and a sport that suspends or alters its rules for entertainment value lacks integrity.

Baseball was fortunate to have an umpire at third base who has proved his integrity before, veteran Jim Joyce. Millions of Boston fans hate him ( though not quite as much as they hated umpire Larry Burnett, whose failure to make an interference call in Boston’s favor cost the Red Sox Game #3 of the 1975 Series) this morning, but the game they care about so passionately, in my view, has never looked better.


Pointer: Craig Calcaterra

Facts: NBC Sports