Category Archives: baseball

Sports Ethics Show: The Value of Playoffs and Championships

New Sports Ethics Show Episode
Baseball playoffs are in full swing with both American and National League Championship Series opening this weekend. For baseball fans, this is one of the most exciting parts of the baseball season. But are we getting something wrong? Is there something wrong with having playoffs decide champions? Are there better ways of determining champions and organizing sport competitions? Dr. Aaron Harper of West Liberty University discusses these questions and related issues with Shawn E. Klein.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes: iTunes Subscribe

Subscribe_on_iTunes_Badge_US-UK_110x40_0824

Related Links

Leave a comment

Filed under baseball, Football, NFL, playoffs, podcast, soccer

The Sports Ethicist Show: Boston Breakdown with Joe

A new episode of The Sports Ethicist Show is available!

 Joe Danker and Shawn Klein discuss things Boston sports in this episode of The Sports Ethicist. What defines a successful season? How important is it for the Bruins to get to and win the Stanley Cup this year? Are the Red Sox in a grace period after winning the World Series? Is it wrong for the Celtics to be tanking their season?

Related Links:

You can download the podcast here:

http://www.rockfordcollegeradio.com/the-sports-ethicist-boston-breakdown-with-joe/

You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes.

Leave a comment

Filed under baseball, basketball, Boston, Football, Hockey, podcast, RadioShow, soccer

The Sports Ethicist Show: Rule Changes in Sport

The next episode of The Sports Ethicist Show airs Monday, March 3, 2014 at 6 pm CT on Rockford College Radio.

Rules are an essential part of sport. They define it, they govern it. But what about changing the rules? Three recent rule changes have gained national attention recently: expanded MLB replay, limiting home plate collisions in MLB, and penalizing the use of the ‘N’ word in the NFL. Shawn Klein and frequent guest, Mike Perry, discuss these rule changes and whether they are good ideas or not.

Related Links:


Listen on Rockford College Radio (6pm Central):
http://www.rockfordcollegeradio.com/ (Click on the Listen Live button)

A podcast of the show will be available after the show airs.
http://www.rockfordcollegeradio.com/category/thesportsethicist/

Leave a comment

Filed under baseball, Football, NFL, Officiating, podcast, RadioShow

The Sports Ethicist Show: Baseball Wrap

The Sports Ethicist Show airs tonight (Monday 11/18/13)  at 6 pm CDT on Rockford College Radio.

The 2013 baseball season is in the books. Regular listeners know that I am Red Sox fan and my frequent co-host, Mike Perry, is a Cardinals fan. The Sox and the Cardinsals met in the 109th Fall Classic, so it only seems right that Mike and I do a show about the World Series. We also discuss the MLB annual awards.

Listen on Rockford College Radio (6pm Central):
http://www.rockfordcollegeradio.com/ (Click on the Listen Live button)

A podcast of the show will be available after the show airs.
http://www.rockfordcollegeradio.com/category/thesportsethicist/

Leave a comment

Filed under baseball, podcast, RadioShow

The Sports Ethicist Show: Boston Sports

The Sports Ethicist Show airs tonight at 6 pm (Central) on Rockford College Radio.

In town for a Cubs game, Joe Danker joins Shawn E. Klein in the studio to discuss things Boston Sports. Focusing mostly on the Red Sox and their remarkable turnaround from last year, they also hit on the Patriots and make some World Series predictions.

Listen on Rockford College Radio (6pm Central):
http://www.rockfordcollegeradio.com/ (Click on the Listen Live button)

A podcast of the show will be available after the show airs.
http://www.rockfordcollegeradio.com/category/thesportsethicist/

Leave a comment

Filed under baseball, Boston, Football, podcast, RadioShow

A-Rod, Dempster, and Beanballs

My readers, listeners, friends, and students all know I am a Red Sox fan. I am from Boston and root for all things Boston sports. I also do not like Alex Rodriguez. I am glad the Sox dodged that bullet in the failed trade for “A-Rod” in 2003. I am not a fan A-Rod more because of his on-field tactics (slapping at Arroyo’s glove and shouting “Mine” while rounding third to confuse the defense) than his alleged PED use. His public, off-the-field personality is not one Dale Carnegie would likely recommend. If the charges prove true regarding A-Rod’s PED use and obstruction of MLB investigations into Biogenesis, that certainly adds to my (and many other’s) disdain for him.

All this said, I do not think Ryan Dempster should have (if he did—and for the purposes of this post, I will assume he did) throw intentionally at A-Rod.

Pragmatically, it was not a wise thing to do. The Red Sox are trying to hold on to first place in the division and have been struggling to win as of late. Throwing at A-Rod gave the fading Yankees life, encouraged them to rally around A-Rod, and A-Rod ended up having a great game at the plate (and the Sox lost).

But this was not merely a bad tactical decision. Whatever the justification might be for the tradition of bean balls in baseball for on-field retaliation and justice, throwing at a batter for off-field reasons is wrong. There may be a place for on-the-field, player policing of the game—and this might actually help to reduce overall violence in the game. But it violates the spirit of the game to bring the outside world into the game.

Here are two main reasons for thinking this.

  1. A game is in part something set apart. It is distinct, in significant respects, from the rest of life: it has its own time, it is own space, its own internal structure (not entirely so, of course, it is still a part of existence). When the external world interferes with a game, the game suffers. Think of the absorption one has while playing a game that is destroyed when the phone rings. By bringing in to the game retaliation for activities external to the play, one undermines (at least partially) the ability of players to play the game. (Admittedly, this point rests on a theory about play and games that I can’t elaborate on here).
  2. The player, in this case Dempster, is not in the appropriate position to be judge, jury, and executioner. Is Dempster in a position to know about A-Rod’s PED use? His obstruction of the investigation? His reason for appealing his suspension? Is the “punishment” appropriate to the “crime? Obviously, I think the answer to all of this is no. These issues have to be determined through the league and its processes, not a player on the field in the middle of game.

Some in Boston and around the nation have said that Dempster made a lot of fans and that he is a hero for throwing at A-Rod. You want to be my hero? Strike the bastard out; don’t put him on base.

1 Comment

Filed under baseball, PEDs, violence

The Biogenesis Scandal and PEDs

On Tuesday, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that Major League Baseball is preparing to suspend nearly two dozen players connected to Tony Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic. Bosch is suspected of supplying these players with various prohibited performance-enhancing substances. There are major stars, like Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, and Nelson Cruz, on the list of players facing possible suspensions. (I remain hopeful that no Red Sox players show up on this list. I also admit to a healthy scoop of schadenfreude with A-Rod.)

Whenever a big doping scandal erupts, there are two issues that need to be distinguished.

The first issue is the theoretical debate about the justification for the prohibition of PEDs. The academic literature is replete with discussions about the ultimate justifiability of these bans, and if so, on what grounds. Personally, I am skeptical of most of the arguments supporting PED bans: mostly on the grounds that they often fail to be consistent or exhaustive. Though as a philosopher, this is the issue I am most interested in, I am not so concerned with these questions here.

The second issue is that given that there are bans, how ought we to evaluate those who get caught? In one respect, this seems easy. We ought to condemn players who knowingly violate the rules of their sport. That said, I do think there are important questions about the fairness and reliability of the current system of testing. Is it effectively administrated? If not, this could mean that the system favors some athletes, allowing them to get away with PED use while others cannot. Is it reliable in screening out false positives? It can be ruinous to a player’s reputation to be falsely accused of PED use: once tainted, it is nearly impossible to get out of that shadow. Due process is important: for a player’s reputation, legacy, and earnings. But it is also essential for fans to know that the system is fair and that the game is being played on an even field.

But even with these questions about fairness and process, players know the rules. They know what substances are prohibited. Players that seek an edge beyond what is allowed by the rules are in the wrong.

There might not be well-grounded reasons to ban many of these substances, but there also aren’t good reasons to prevent leagues—participation in which is voluntary—from implementing such bans (any more than preventing them from banning aluminum bats). So while I may not think that many of these banned substances ought to be banned, they are banned and these players have, through the CBA, agreed to these rules. For them to violate these rules is a violation of their integrity and honesty. For this, we ought to condemn them.

2 Comments

Filed under baseball, PEDs, rule-violations

Podcast: 40 Years of the Designated Hitter Rule

The podcast for episode 8 of The Sports Ethicist Show is available for download.

http://www.rockfordcollegeradio.com/the-sports-ethicist-ep-8-40-years-of-the-designated-hitter-rule/

The Designated Hitter Rule in MLB has been in place for 40 years, yet still remains as controversial as ever. Does it remove the need for managerial strategy? Does it add excitement and offense to the game? The Sports Ethicist brings in Rockford College Baseball players, Zachary Wolf and Daryn Streed, as well as Professors Matt Flamm and Mike Perry to discuss the DH rule and its effects on baseball.

Original Air Date: May 13, 2013 on Rockford College Radio.

You can also subscribe to the Podcast via Itunes or this RSS feed.

Leave a comment

Filed under baseball, podcast

The Sports Ethicist Show: 40 Years of the Designated Hitter Rule

The Sports Ethicist Show airs tonight at 6 pm (Central) on Rockford College Radio.

The Designated Hitter Rule in MLB has been in place for 40 years, yet still remains as controversial as ever. Does it remove the need for managerial strategy? Does it add excitement and offense to the game? The Sports Ethicist brings in Rockford College Baseball players, Zachary Wolf and Daryn Streed, as well as Professors Matt Flamm and Mike Perry to discuss the DH rule and its effects on baseball.

Related Links:

Listen on Rockford College Radio (6pm Central):
http://www.rockfordcollegeradio.com/ (Click on the Listen Live button)

A podcast of the show will be available after the show airs.
http://www.rockfordcollegeradio.com/category/thesportsethicist/

Leave a comment

Filed under baseball, RadioShow, Rockford College

Quick Thoughts: Bonds, Clemens, and MLB Hall of Fame

I love baseball, but I am not a baseball stat-head. I can’t recount how many bases someone stole or how much shutout innings someone pitched. I don’t go in for all those fine-grained analyses over who should and should not get into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

With that caveat, I think it is silly that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were not voted into the Hall of Fame today. Yes they both cheated; they used substances that were prohibited by their sport. Their legacies are forever tarnished by this, and rightfully so. But both Bonds and Clemens were two of the greatest baseball players ever—PEDs or not. And given the alleged pervasiveness of PED usage in their era, one might argue that their dominance was even more impressive.

Moreover, there is little doubt that PED users and cheaters of other kinds are already in the Hall—having played in a time when knowledge of such things was harder to come by or just ignored. No one, as far as I know, has called for a purge of all cheaters and scoundrels already in the Hall of Fame (Let’s not!)

The voters who refused to vote for Bonds and Clemens seem to be trying to undo history or pretend like it didn’t happen. But it did happen. These men played the game. They dominated. How does one tell the history of baseball in the late 20th/early 21st century without talking about Bonds and Clemens? As ESPN baseball writer Jayson Stark puts it: “Do we really want a Hall of Fame that basically tries to pretend that none of those men ever played baseball? That none of that happened? Or that none of that should have happened?”

Another view of why the voters voted the way they did is that the voters were taking out their frustration and anger at the whole so-called Steroids Era by punishing these men. But this strikes me as largely misplaced. It is not the voters’ role to dole out justice for such rule-violations. That role belonged to the league, owners, and players. They all failed in that regard, but that does not license the baseball writers to take it up.

I am of the camp that thinks we ought to put the best, most dominant players of their respective eras in the Hall and where appropriate note the admitted, alleged, or suspected PED use on plaques/signs by the players’ bust. Anything else seems to be either hypocrisy or evasion.

5 Comments

Filed under baseball, PEDs