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Friday, July 13, 2012

Calcaterra: Bill James probably needs to stop commenting on the Penn State scandal

Emphasis supplied by James:

  “The Freeh reports states quite explicitly and at least six times (a) that the 1998 incident did NOT involve any criminal conduct—on the part of Sandusky or anyone else—and (b) that Paterno had forced the resignation of Sandusky before the 1998 incident occurred … In any case, what EXACTLY is it that Paterno should have done? Fire him again? It is preposterous to argue, in my view, that PATERNO should have taken action after all of the people who were legally charged to take action had thoroughly examined the case and decided that no action was appropriate.”

I suppose if the question is, for some reason, limited to whether Paterno broke any laws in 1998, this exceedingly legalistic answer is marginally acceptable. But to sit here in 2012, knowing what we all now know about this, and about Paterno’s knowledge, subsequent inaction, subsequent lies and the tragic consequences of all of it which he, and maybe he alone, could have done the most to stop given his stature, and focus on whether at one brief moment in time Paterno was legally required to do more than he did seems preposterous.

It’s the sort of cherry-picking that, had someone done it to baseball data, would cause James to flip his lid. It is legalistic argument for argument’s sake that is so utterly beside the point when it comes to assessing Paterno in the present day that the word “misleading” doesn’t begin to do it justice.

JE (Jason) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:35 AM | 1094 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bill james, sabermetrics

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   1. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4181679)
All I can say is...wow.
   2. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4181681)
In any case, what EXACTLY is it that Paterno should have done? Fire him again?
Um... CALL THE POLICE! Call child welfare. Let everyone in town know to keep their kids away from Sandusky. Take away his keys to the locker room. Tell the people at Second Mile that their charity was becoming a victim farm.

Or at the very least, on January 26, 2001, don't have a conversation with your supposed boss where you use your influence to stop him from reporting Sandusky to the authorities.
   3. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4181687)
Fire him again?

He didn't fire him.

Shut up, Bill James. You're embarrassing yourself.

And with that, I'm going to go look at the league leaders in RBIs, batting average, and pitcher wins.
   4. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4181690)
From the Posnanski thread:
92. Jim Furtado Posted: July 12, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4181134)

I understand the feeling the Sandusky actions generate. With some of the recent stuff that's in the news, I will cut some slack to the posters about turning the current thread into another Joe Paterno/Sandusky rehash. In the future, though, if people continue to turn every Posnanski thread into a Paterno/Sandusky thread, the offenders will have their accounts suspened.

Again, I understand the feelings. I too am sickened by all the pro-Paterno rationalizations. In the future, if you want to talk about the Paterno/Sandusky matter please submit a post of an article marked as OT-Football: <Article title> and you can discuss the topic there.

Jim
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4181691)

And with that, I'm going to go look at the league leaders in RBIs, batting average, and pitcher wins.


made me chuckle at my desk
   6. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4181692)
What is it with Bill James and official reports?
   7. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4181696)
I really enjoy Bill James and Pos and with that I think I'm going to have to recuse myself from all the Sandusky threads as I just can't go through every day on the verge of vomiting and losing respect for writers' who I think are usually very excellent. The scandal at Penn State is just incredibly depressing and I hope one day sports and universities will go their separate ways so the schools can focus on curing stuff and discovering stuff and writing stuff and teaching.
   8. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4181702)
Shut up, Bill James. You're embarrassing yourself.


This.
   9. zonk Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4181712)
Shut up, Bill James. You're embarrassing yourself.




This.


Ayup.

It's surprising that James doesn't post here -- he's got the stubbornness of opinion and an odd blind spot to reason in niche areas to make for a fine primate...
   10. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4181720)
James has always displayed a strong contrarian streak against large crowd outrage situations, sometimes to his detriment. He did so in regards to the Pete Rose gambling scandal (where he trashed the Dowd report), the PED scandal, and now the PSU/Paterno/Sandusky scandal. I think he's letting his distaste for moral outrage cloud his judgment in this instance.
   11. Depressoteric Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4181729)
From the Posnanski thread
Don't be an idiot. At least don't be an idiot on purpose. Furtado's post there is concerned with hijacking threads UNRELATED to the matter to turn them into debates about JoePa/Posnanski/etc. This thread is explicitly about the subject, and it's not OT because it's a well-respected baseball writer and Primate (Calcaterra) writing about the musings of the most important baseball analyst of our lifetime.

To be honest, I'm a little weirded out by your concerted effort to defend the people who are defending Paterno and Penn State.
   12. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4181733)
To be honest, I'm a little weirded out by your concerted effort to defend the people who are defending Paterno and Penn State.
I'm doing no such thing.

And I assure you that I am giving your personal weirded-outness every drop of deep thought and self-reflection that it merits.
   13. The District Attorney Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4181739)
Deadspin commenter: "James has awarded Paterno 0 Sin Shares"
   14. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4181744)
please submit a post of an article marked as OT-Football


Shouldn't that be OT-Serial Child Rape? It's not like there's going to be a lot of talk about actual football...
   15. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4181745)
It's surprising that James doesn't post here

Pass.

   16. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4181747)
I think he's letting his distaste for moral outrage cloud his judgment in this instance.

yes, but if so then he fails to see that his reaction is itself a moral outrage. Which would be consistent with zonk's profile of Jamesian thought.
   17. Morty Causa Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4181754)
To be honest, I'm a little weirded out by your concerted effort to defend the people who are defending Paterno and Penn State.


yes, but if so then he fails to see that his reaction is itself a moral outrage.


Be careful. This view of those who don't respond like you wish them to is scary.

We see this all over the place, but prominently when it comes to discussing sex involving minors. First, you must earn your right to comment. You do that by following social dictate. Bend the knee to the taboo in no uncertain acquiescent terms, and make it clear you fully accept the conventional wisdom about that taboo and are not at all questioning its value or the way it is inflicted on both perpetrators and bystanders and commentators and other no good sympathizers. If you don't, you just might be hung as an unindicted co-conspirator in spirit. You pay your dues by talking the talk and walking that line.

Anyone attempting to engage in discussion outside the box better first understand that there is an implicit threat to them personally for doing so. Daniel Dennett refers to this as second order punishing. It's not enough that the wrongdoer be punished, but those that don't adequately express outrage at the wrongdoing, or are otherwise viewed as Laodicean in their response, must also be punished in some fashion. They must be made to pay for not sufficiently being outraged. The parallels in politics are, I'm sure, fairly obvious.
   18. Cabbage Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4181770)
A while back, someone around here made the interesting point that Bill James is a sort of parallel to Noam Chomsky. They both became well-known for making very important -- you could really say paradigm-shifting -- contributions to a particular field. In Chomsky's case, he made massive and important advances in linguistics. Bill James' influence does not need to be stated here.

At the same time, they both said a lot of other stuff about a lot of unrelated topics. The world might very well be better off if they'd just shut up and stuck to what they knew.
   19. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4181775)
Dunno who that's directed at, Morty, but it's irrelevant to the point about James's outrage. He's not thinking an outside the box of man/boy love, he's mounting a legalistic defense of Paterno. If he wants to object to public displays of shock and outrage, fine, but this, like the Pete Rose defense, lack any foundation beyond his own moral outrage at moral outrage.
   20. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4181779)
At the same time, they both said a lot of other stuff about a lot of unrelated topics. The world might very well be better off if they'd just shut up and stuck to what they knew.


I would say it differently. I would say the world would be better off if people ignored what uninformed parties said about a subject. I don't give a damn what James says about Sandusky/Paterno anymore than I care what Clarence Thomas says about the Designated Hitter rule.

Other than the fact that he's famous, is there anything that makes James' comments any more meaningful than the boneheads who comment on Yahoo articles? He's just another person commenting on a topic.
   21. Morty Causa Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4181781)
It's not irrelevant to what I see being done. If you don't know who my post is directed to, it can only be because you didn't read it.
   22. zonk Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4181782)
Dunno who that's directed at, Morty, but it's irrelevant to the point about James's outrage. He's not thinking an outside the box of man/boy love, he's mounting a legalistic defense of Paterno. If he wants to object to public displays of shock and outrage, fine, but this, like the Pete Rose defense, lack any foundation beyond his own moral outrage at moral outrage.


Precisely.

I don't know of anyone that is seriously suggesting we dig up Paterno's corpse, tar/feather it, and then salt the earth around his grave... but the guy's dead. Based on what we know, I think it's entirely fair that his reputation be tarnished over this. Setting aside civil suits; legal culpability is now pretty much moot. Paterno isn't going to face any 'real' consequences, but I think there is at least some good that can come from the black eye his reputation is getting... namely - call the ####### cops if you have good reason to believe someone you know is molesting children.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4181785)
Be careful. This view of those who don't respond like you wish them to is scary.

We see this all over the place, but prominently when it comes to discussing sex involving minors. First, you must earn your right to comment. You do that by following social dictate. Bend the knee to the taboo in no uncertain acquiescent terms, and make it clear you fully accept the conventional wisdom about that taboo and are not at all questioning its value or the way it is inflicted on both perpetrators and bystanders and commentators and other no good sympathizers. If you don't, you just might be hung as an unindicted co-conspirator in spirit. You pay your dues by talking the talk and walking that line.
Morty is concerned we might be mean to people who attempt to defend or justify the rape of children.
   24. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4181787)
To be honest, I'm a little weirded out by your concerted effort to defend the people who are defending Paterno and Penn State.


I would say this was the most uncalled for sentence of the thread so far and in general I am more on Esoteric's side in this whole debate. Nevertheless, I think it's really unfair to Benji Gil Gamesh to imply a certain weirdness on his part, especially when such a horrendous crime is the backdrop of the discussion.
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4181790)
Yeah, BGG was just thread-policing. I think this thread actually is within the bounds of Jim's dictates, but I don't think Eso's response was anywhere close to justified. (Well, it should be tagged "OT-football", I guess. Should that be in the thread title or just in the tags?)

Not when we have Morty here to actually do the thing that Eso wrongly thought BGG was hinting at.
   26. Shredder Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4181793)
Um... CALL THE POLICE! Call child welfare. Let everyone in town know to keep their kids away from Sandusky. Take away his keys to the locker room. Tell the people at Second Mile that their charity was becoming a victim farm.
I'm defending Paterno here, but I can understand why, if you consider yourself a good, long-time friend of someone, your first reaction (and your fifth, and 30th, and whatever) probably isn't going to be to turn the guy in. I'm sure there's a fair amount of cognitive dissonance involved. But what I still simply can't understand is why someone didn't have some sort of intervention and say "Jerry, you're a sick person. You need help. You need to talk to someone about this". It appears that mostly people just didn't want to think about it and hoped it would go away. I'd like to think that if I had a friend in this position, I might threaten to call the authorities, and maybe I'd finally get there, but my first inclination would be to make sure the abuse was put to a stop and that my friend was going to get some serious psychological help.
   27. Lassus Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4181794)
Morty on youth sexuality is always a real winner.
   28. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4181800)
Morty on youth sexuality is always a real winner.


Geez. Yeah. I'd forgotten about that. *shudder*

The part about being "a little weirded out" was definitely directed at the wrong poster.
   29. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:07 PM (#4181801)
I'm defending Paterno here, but I can understand why, if you consider yourself a good, long-time friend of someone, your first reaction (and your fifth, and 30th, and whatever) probably isn't going to be to turn the guy in. I'm sure there's a fair amount of cognitive dissonance involved.

Absolutely, and that's fair ... but Paterno stopped others from turning Sandusky in to child welfare. Spanier and Curley were both going to and Paterno stopped them.

You very rarely see a situation like this, where a powerful person has literally no dry ground to which his lackeys can retreat. Even the family's last gasp -- that Sandusky was a "great deceiver" -- isn't even close to true. Anyone who watched his response to Costas asking him whether he was sexually attracted to boys -- one simple, 15 second question -- would conclude that he was. Sandusky was the Neifi Perez of deceivers.
   30. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4181802)
Sandusky was the Neifi Perez of deceivers.


I'd say the Joe Neikro.
   31. Depressoteric Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4181804)
Want to make clear in no uncertain terms that it was the farthest thing from my mind to accuse BGG of being okay w/the sort of stuff that, um, I can't believe Morty is trying to mount some sort of qualified defense of. I actually edited out a part where I asked whether he was a PSU alum...that was more along the lines of what I was thinking.

Regardless, it was still a low blow (even though I find the thread policing to be aggravating). Shouldn't have said it and I apologize.
   32. JL Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4181806)
I'm defending Paterno here, but I can understand why, if you consider yourself a good, long-time friend of someone, your first reaction (and your fifth, and 30th, and whatever) probably isn't going to be to turn the guy in. I'm sure there's a fair amount of cognitive dissonance involved. But what I still simply can't understand is why someone didn't have some sort of intervention and say "Jerry, you're a sick person. You need help. You need to talk to someone about this". It appears that mostly people just didn't want to think about it and hoped it would go away. I'd like to think that if I had a friend in this position, I might threaten to call the authorities, and maybe I'd finally get there, but my first inclination would be to make sure the abuse was put to a stop and that my friend was going to get some serious psychological help.

The one thing that I have gone back and forth on with respect to Paterno is based on my experience with others in his generation, including my grandparents. They just have never wanted to talk about these things (by that, I mean the really ugly side of people that looked normal), and certainly seemed willing to sweep things under the rug. Not something I condone or admire, but it certainly came across as a mind set from that generation. Perhaps the best way to put it is that Paterno's actions (and inaction), even though wrong, do not completely surprise me.
   33. Morty Causa Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4181809)
I can't believe Morty is trying to mount some sort of qualified defense of. I actually edited out a part where I asked whether he was a PSU alum...that was more along the lines of what I was thinking.


I'm about as far away from Penn State as you can get. But, what sort of qualified defense am I mounting?
   34. PerroX Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4181812)
The CNN investigation made it clear to me that Paterno didn't neglect to call child services, he used his power to stop the administration from calling child services. And not because of some friendship with Sandusky, but because he feared blowback to his program, including the likelihood of forced retirement. The administrators swept it under the rug to avoid scandal during their tenure and damage to the school's image.

Paterno deserves to be judged more harshly than Sandusky, IMO, for his active obstruction of justice. He facillitated further rape and abuse. If there's a hell below....
   35. PerroX Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4181814)
Morty, what do you think the age of consent should be? Or should there be one at all?
   36. PerroX Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4181819)
Absolutely, and that's fair ... but Paterno stopped others from turning Sandusky in to child welfare. Spanier and Curley were both going to and Paterno stopped them.


That's the devastating truth that many will continue to avoid.
   37. Morty Causa Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4181820)
Morty, what do you think the age of consent should be? Or should there be one at all?


What a weird question? Did you read my post? What's my post about? What does your question have to do with my post?
   38. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4181821)
A while back, someone around here made the interesting point that Bill James is a sort of parallel to Noam Chomsky.


Everybody loves to hate on them some Chomsky. Nobody really has a good argument why. Chomsky's the Nickelback of political criticism. Everyone knows they're supposed to hate him, but can't articulate a good damned reason why to save their lives.
   39. Depressoteric Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4181824)
Everybody loves to hate on them some Chomsky. Nobody really has a good argument why. Chomsky's the Nickelback of political criticism. Everyone knows they're supposed to hate him, but can't articulate a good damned reason why to save their lives.
Wait a minute...are you trying to say that you like Nickelback?

Dude.
   40. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4181829)
Wait a minute...are you trying to say that you like Nickelback?


First the neck-stabbing, now this.

Intervention time.
   41. Morty Causa Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4181830)
People who are experts in one field aren't necessarily experts in another, that's true. (See Einstein on God.) But that doesn't mean they can't become expert. Chomsky problem isn't that he hasn't become knowledgeable in politics. It's that people disagree with him, and some disagree and find it easier to attack his credentials than his arguments.

Like Bill James maybe? We won't know if we only comment about his so-called effrontery in speaking to things outside his field and never try to actually understand what he's saying. But, of course, that won't slake your blood lust.
   42. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4181832)
Paterno deserves to be judged more harshly than Sandusky


I wouldn't go that far.

   43. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4181833)
Here is a sampling of Nickelback lyrics:

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day's a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day
And tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past
Donate every dime you have?
If today was your last day


The music is even more breathtaking.
   44. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4181834)
[32]
My Dad is 2 years or so older than Paterno would be. I'm not sure how he would have reacted.

When I was a kid long ago, people joked about child molestation. "Oh, that's just weird Uncle Harold. Don't get caught with him alone."

Penthouse used to run Chester the Molester cartoons in the 70s, iirc.. He molested women and young girls both.

Even when parents reacted, they only threatened people. "Stay away from our children, Mr. Conlin."

Paterno also lived in a personal time-warp in a time-warp town. If all the above are mitigating circumstances, there is no excuse for his cover-up behavior. He cocooned his mind and must suffer (posthumously) the consequences.

The mitigation is presented as perspective for learning. It is not a defense of Paterno. If he was simply befuddled as to what to do, I could cut him some slack. But befuddlement was not the case.

Disclaimer: PSU grad although not a FB or JoePa fanatic in the past. More or less followed the team, went to a dozen games in the 40+ years since I first attended. 4 of my 5 sisters are grads and 2 BILs (one a big contributor and 40 year season ticket holder, even when he moved to TN). Another BIL installed a significant amount of fiber optic cable on several of the campuses. My kids and nieces and nephews wanted no parts of PSU, even before the scandal.
   45. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4181836)
Oh, and ever since I read "The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York " by Robert Caro 3 or 4 years ago, I saw the parallels with JoePa and PSU.
   46. John Northey Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4181837)
I think a big issue here is that he was in a position of authority, as a football coach, and had a ton of power due to his success as a coach. He was someone who is supposed to be building up kids, someone for kids to look up to. Instead he failed those kids by 1) ignoring a predator 2) actively preventing an investigation into that predator (according to what I've read).

If he was Joe Shmoe down the street and ignored his best friend doing this stuff and tried to discourage the cops from investigating his role might have been ignored. But he wasn't. He was in a position where he easily could've changed the end result - he could've got a predator off the streets quite easily with his influence, or at least made it impossible for him to find new victims easily. Instead that predator was allowed access to young children and allowed to keep a status that provided even more access.
   47. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4181839)
Like Bill James maybe? We won't know if we only comment about his so-called effrontery in speaking to things outside his field and never try to actually understand what he's saying.

He's completely wrong when he says Paterno fired Sandusky; he in fact gave Sandusky the choice of coaching with him, and serving as his primary lieutenant, for as long as he wanted.

James's entire "argument" is based on a fundamental mischaracterization of the record. He sounds like a ####### (starts with fuc, ends with -ing) fool.
   48. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4181842)
Paterno deserves to be judged more harshly than Sandusky

I wouldn't go that far.


Nor would I, but I can see the argument being made. Obviously, IMHO, something is badly wrong inside Sandusky's brain (though certainly nowhere near the degree to absolve him of any degree of culpability); presumably, we're talking about some sort of repulsive compulsion that he's apparently all too happy to act on.

With Paterno (along with his co-conspirators) ... I dunno. I guess something was sick & wrong inside his soul, to the point that "protecting the legacy/program/school" trumped all other considerations, including those of the most fundamental human decency. That's pretty damned horrendous, all the more so, to me, because it appears to have stemmed from cold (albeit horribly flawed) logic rather than sickness.
   49. Morty Causa Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:01 PM (#4181843)


47:

Good, you're speaking to what James claimed in one instance, and not merely assassinating James's character for making claims and mooting argument.. That makes a total of one here on BBTF.
   50. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4181845)
In any case, what EXACTLY is it that Paterno should have done? Fire him again?

He didn't fire him.

Before I hit post, I see SBB mentions this in post 47. So here's the link.
   51. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4181850)
i told a longer version in the lounge once upon a time but i can relay a story that confirms how folks act strangely when it someone they know

while serving a term as ag coop president i discovered the books didn't make sense. i spoke to the coop manager and gave him time to explain but after about 2 months of the shuck and jive hired someone from the outside for an audit and they discovered a big mess. the nitty gritty was that the manager was banging the bookkeeper in return for letting her embezzle. she went to jail. he lost his job and his wife and his house.

i knew this guy for decades. at minimum we were long-time business partners and to some degree friends. i got a blankstorm of flack from many folks in the area who thought i was mean to poor old charlie. his ex to this day curses me if we pass one another. my wife lost several friends who give her the cold shoulder to this day over the matter.

the man was cheating on his wife, granted the woman was a shrew, and was involved in defrauding a company. and i was demonized not that it took much given i have never been mr popularity

not looking for any attention here other then to point out that people do act strangely in various situations.
   52. PerroX Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4181851)
What a weird question? Did you read my post? What's my post about? What does your question have to do with my post?


I'm Mel Hall's lawyer.
   53. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4181852)
When I was a kid long ago, people joked about child molestation. "Oh, that's just weird Uncle Harold. Don't get caught with him alone."

Penthouse used to run Chester the Molester cartoons in the 70s, iirc.. He molested women and young girls both.

Even when parents reacted, they only threatened people. "Stay away from our children, Mr. Conlin."


We owe a mountain of debt to you Mr. Gordon Jump.
   54. Morty Causa Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4181855)
I'm Mel Hall's lawyer.


Say hello to Miguel Sanchez!
   55. PerroX Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4181863)
Chomsky is a pretty astute political analyst who cuts through both the official line and a lot of leftist conspiracy nonsense as well. You can take it or leave it, but his books are deeply grounded in fact, although driven by ideology. From an ivory tower.
   56. PerroX Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4181865)
Say hello to Miguel Sanchez!


My friends call me Dirty.
   57. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4181868)
I'm Mel Hall's lawyer
Now that's comedy.
   58. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 13, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4181883)
Want to make clear in no uncertain terms that it was the farthest thing from my mind to accuse BGG of being okay w/the sort of stuff that, um, I can't believe Morty is trying to mount some sort of qualified defense of. I actually edited out a part where I asked whether he was a PSU alum...that was more along the lines of what I was thinking.

Regardless, it was still a low blow (even though I find the thread policing to be aggravating). Shouldn't have said it and I apologize.
Thanks Eso, apology accepted.

In turn, I'll apologize for the thread-policing. I thought it was pretty obvious from Jim's statement in the other thread that he preferred discussion touching on this topic only in threads marked "OT," but a) I might be wrong and b) regardless, that's for Jim and other moderators he's designated to judge, not me.
   59. Srul Itza Posted: July 13, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4181887)
CALL THE POLICE!


Minor quibble, but, hadn't somebody already called the police? Wasn't the 1998 incident in fact an investigation by police (that did not result in any action)?

At that point, yes, Paterno should have totally cut Sandusky out of any involvement with Penn State. Then, when the 2001 incident happened, he should have immediately called the police and essentially said that Sandusky was at it again -- not that he should ever have been allowed on campus in the first place after 1998.

   60. GEB4000 Posted: July 13, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4181888)
It's amazing how all the bigwigs were all in on the coverup.

My understanding is the cops couldn't prove what Sandusky did in 1998. That shouldn't have stopped Paterno from having Sandusky banned from the campus.
   61. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 13, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4181892)
anyone else reminded of when joe reichler was found to have sold hall of fame materials and bowie kuhn asked folks to leave joe alone because joe needed the money?
   62. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 13, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4181895)
My understanding is the cops couldn't prove what Sandusky did in 1998. That shouldn't have stopped Paterno from having Sandusky banned from the campus.

I can't understand why he wasn't banned from campus in 2001. 1998 is somewhat understandable as a big misunderstanding. But in 2001, its staring them all in the face.
   63. BDC Posted: July 13, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4181896)
When this story first broke, my immediate reaction was to suppose that Sandusky had done some extremely bad things, and that Paterno knew about them and tried to blow smoke around them or sweep them under the carpet (choose your metaphor for a coverup), and that nobody else really had the willpower, or just plain power, to expose them, because they were Football Coaches, a little higher than Gods. Then I thought, well, that's cynical; I should be more charitable in my assumptions. Maybe Paterno did all he could and was betrayed by higher-ups? Turns out I was right to begin with.

Joe Paterno was actually a pal of my high school's football coach, a very evil and malicious man, and still the archetype I think of when I read Don DeLillo's description of football coaching: "the savage commands of unreasonable men." I am not surprised enough by the Sandusky case to be shocked at all, but there's a residual sense in which I kind of hate having my cynicism confirmed.
   64. Repoz Posted: July 13, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4181903)
Wasn't the 1998 incident in fact an investigation by police (that did not result in any action)?

There was also the 1995 dual-suicide attempt by adopted Matt Sandusky and another girl living with the Sandusky family. I assume there was a police investigation.
   65. Spahn Insane Posted: July 13, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4181932)
What is it with Bill James and official reports?

Yeah, for a guy who built his reputation with a body of work that challenged what we all thought we knew about baseball, he seems awfully willing to defend sacred cows when the available evidence against them is damning and conclusive (specifically, when it's presented in an "official report").

Or maybe, as another poster suggested, he's just an across-the-board contrarian, which surely served him well as a sabermetric pioneer, but not as someone trying to appear credible on certain issues that generate wide "public outrage."
   66. Spahn Insane Posted: July 13, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4181935)
Morty on youth sexuality is always a real winner.

Geez. Yeah. I'd forgotten about that. *shudder*


??? I missed (or forgot) something, apparently.
   67. villageidiom Posted: July 13, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4181939)
not looking for any attention here other then to point out that people do act strangely in various situations.
Many people hate having to rethink what they "know" to be true. They take greater comfort in clinging to the falsehood, denigrating the evidence, shooting the messenger.

For examples, go to any long thread on this site (that wasn't posted with the intent of being a month-long catch-all thread).
   68. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: July 13, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4181942)
I kind of hate having my cynicism confirmed.

No matter how cynical you get, you just can't keep up.
   69. Tripon Posted: July 13, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4181944)
66. retro-shiite Posted: July 13, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4181935)
Morty on youth sexuality is always a real winner.

Geez. Yeah. I'd forgotten about that. *shudder*

??? I missed (or forgot) something, apparently.


Morty's thinks its okay for children to have sex with old people. Because the child made that choice.
   70. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 13, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4181949)
Because the child made that choice.

Though hes no produced evidence to that point in re Sandusky.
   71. GEB4000 Posted: July 13, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4181954)
Action in 2001 would have brought questions about why nothing was done in 1998 and most of those listed in the report would have lost their jobs. They traded X molested boys for 10 more years of employment.
   72. Spahn Insane Posted: July 13, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4181956)
Uh....defining "child" how? Under 18? Under 16?

Though hes no produced evidence to that point in re Sandusky.

Um, yeah--has anyone even suggested this was the case in re Sandusky (leaving apart age of consent issues, which seems kind of inappropriate given that re Sandusky we're talking about 8 year olds or 11 year olds)? Yikes.
   73. Tripon Posted: July 13, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4181957)
Child as in child. I would have used teenager if I thought he meant teenager.
   74. Spahn Insane Posted: July 13, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4181958)
Child as in child. I would have used teenager if I thought he meant teenager.

Eew...really?
   75. The District Attorney Posted: July 13, 2012 at 06:01 PM (#4181989)
James mailbag followup:
I don't believe anybody is saying that there's something more Paterno could have done *in 1998*. The point is that the knowledge of the 1998 allegations made Paterno's conduct in 2002 -- not only failing to report credible accusations of rape against Sandusky to the appropriate state authorities, but intervening after a decision had been made by other administrators to report Sandusky, after which the allegations were not reported -- particularly indefensible.

So far as I am aware, you are the first and only person to allege that Paterno intervened in a decision that had been made to report Sandusky. I will note that the word "intervene" appears only once in the Freeh report, which is in quoting the University President as saying that had he suspected that Sandusky was abusing children, he would have been the first to intervene.
Bill, the defense of Paterno is basically that he satisfied the legal minimum required of him.

No, it is not. That is totally and absolutely irrelevant to the defense of Joe Paterno.
   76. JJ1986 Posted: July 13, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4181991)
So far as I am aware, you are the first and only person to allege that Paterno intervened in a decision that had been made to report Sandusky.


Jesus ####### Christ.
   77. SoSH U at work Posted: July 13, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4181992)

So far as I am aware, you are the first and only person to allege that Paterno intervened in a decision that had been made to report Sandusky. I will note that the word "intervene" appears only once in the Freeh report, which is in quoting the University President as saying that had he suspected that Sandusky was abusing children, he would have been the first to intervene.


"Based on the evidence, the only known, intervening factor between the decision made on February 25, 2001 by Messrs. Spanier, Curley and Schulz to report the incident to the Department of Public Welfare, and then agreeing not to do so on February 27th, was Mr. Paterno's February 26th conversation with Mr. Curley," the report wrote.

I think Bill probably should have done a little more work than just hitting Find: "intervene" before responding.

I've said it before, but this only cements it. As much as I loved reading the old Abstracts, each new thing I read from James makes me less likely to want to read anything else new from him. He's getting increasingly hard to stomach.


   78. JJ1986 Posted: July 13, 2012 at 06:14 PM (#4181994)
That is literally making me angry just sitting here thinking about it. Is James arguing that Paterno couldn't have intervened if the report didn't use the exact word? Or that the questioner got the word wrong and so he couldn't possibly address the point?
   79. BDC Posted: July 13, 2012 at 06:18 PM (#4181995)
Bill James doesn't believe everything he reads, clearly, and when he reads a document that makes a strong case for someone's misconduct, his method is to pick holes in it. Once in a great while, someone like that will be right about something, but more often the picky reading is just an exercise in verbal ingenuity, not to say futility. You see a lot of this in critiques of the Warren Report, for instance (and dang if Bill James hasn't done a little of that himself, with similar futile results).

My question for BBTF's lawyers is: does it ever help to have somebody like Bill James work with you in preparing a case? (Any kind of case, I guess, though I suppose criminal defense, given that Rose and Sandusky were both ultimately convicted of crimes, would be the most germane.) Does it help to have someone stretch language to its breaking point in hopes you'll discover some last-ditch argument, or is an analyst like this just wasting your time?
   80. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 13, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4182010)
Does it help to have someone stretch language to its breaking point in hopes you'll discover some last-ditch argument, or is an analyst like this just wasting your time?


No it doesn't help, because a good many judges (and juries to I suppose, but I rarely ever reach juries) really do not like it when someone puts a wholly implausible spin on things:

So A & B decide to go to the police

Then A tells B, I talked it over with C, and going to the police isn't a good idea, lets do nothing.

If you then tell the judge that the most reasonable interpretation of that is that C intervened in the decision to go to the police, and I tell the judge, no, in fact that's proof that C did not intervene, at no time did A ever literally say, "C intervened"-

The judge is going to ask if I have a better argument.

True case:

A restraining notice was served on a bank, the bank failed to restrain the debtor's account - because the account was not in the name of the debtor- it was in the name of a corporation (which as it turns out the debtor owned)- the creditor who served the restraining notice sued the bank- and in his suit specifically claimed that the corporation was a sham, and the bank should have known that since the debtor's SS# was the same as the TIN/EIN # on the account.

OK, the bank moves to dismiss, and submits an affidavit, stating that the account was opened under a certain TIN#- which TIN# was different than the debtor's SocSec# provided by the creditor- in court in front of the judge, the creditor's lawyer stated, "the bank admits that the account was opened using the debtors SS#"

the response was, "Your honor that is not true, as shown on the account records and in the bank affidavit, the account was opened with a TIN# that was not the same as the debtor's social number..."

the creditor's lawyer responded, "no where in this affidavit does the bank actually deny that the debtor's social number was used"

that went on for quite some time, finally the judge said, "You say the account was opened using X, the affidavit says it was opened using Y, are you telling me, on the record* that does not imply a denial that the account used X?"

And the lawyer said, "no that does constitute a denial, the account was opened using the debtor's social security number, the bank has never said it was not, what they say is that it was opened using a corporate Tax ID number, that does not constitute a denial that the account was opened under the social security number, they can call it a tax ID number all they want..."

I started to interject, but the judge cut us off... a week later the judge issued a very dry decision simply finding that the bank had no liability to the creditor, the account was owned by a corporation which was a separate legal identity than the debtor...


*that was a veiled threat by the way- but it got no further...
   81. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: July 13, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4182011)
Bill James is a contrarian. This often a good quality. Right now, not so much.
   82. BDC Posted: July 13, 2012 at 07:03 PM (#4182018)
That's a great story, Sycophant. Maybe Bill James and the creditor's lawyer are soulmates :)
   83. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: July 13, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4182019)
Given the direction the thread has taken, please, no more use of the word "mounting".
   84. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4182039)
I've said it before, but this only cements it. As much as I loved reading the old Abstracts, each new thing I read from James makes me less likely to want to read anything else new from him. He's getting increasingly hard to stomach.
FWIW, I found Popular Crime (which I just read) to be really excellent. I don't always agree with the conclusions he reaches, but the book is awfully fun to read. (An admittedly odd thing to say about a book all about crime.) I will agree that his "off the cuff" writing of late has been pretty disappointing.
   85. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: July 13, 2012 at 07:39 PM (#4182050)
Regardless, it was still a low blow (even though I find the thread policing to be aggravating). Shouldn't have said it and I apologize.

You trying to pretend to be anti-thread policing is hilarious, you stupid asshat.
   86. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 13, 2012 at 07:40 PM (#4182052)
This stuff Bill James is coming up with is reprehensible. Using legalistic niceties, ignoring inconvenient facts, imagining that some resolution was brought to a situation that was obviously never resolved. All because of his impulse to always think of himself as a skeptic and a contrarian. Sometimes the skeptic type is the only person who can be taken in by a defense attorney with a hopeless case.

There's such a difference between this B.S. and just writing "If these allegations are true, this is terrible. But let's not forget the good things Paterno did for the community" in such a way that makes readers think you're being dismissive of the allegations, as the aforementioned P*sn*nsk* did.
   87. Steve Treder Posted: July 13, 2012 at 07:47 PM (#4182058)
FWIW, I found Popular Crime (which I just read) to be really excellent. I don't always agree with the conclusions he reaches, but the book is awfully fun to read. (An admittedly odd thing to say about a book all about crime.)

Agreed.

I will agree that his "off the cuff" writing of late has been pretty disappointing.

More than "pretty disappointing." This business about Paterno is just loony-old-crank idiocy.
   88. Depressoteric Posted: July 13, 2012 at 07:53 PM (#4182063)
You trying to pretend to be anti-thread policing is hilarious, you stupid asshat.
Who the heck are you and why do you keep following me to various threads calling me a "stupid asshat?" This is something like the third time in the past two weeks you've used that excessively crude, wholly uncalled-for language against me. And each time it was without any provocation against you on my part -- you just parachuted in at random to insult me, gratuitously inserting yourself into the discussion with inflammatory language. What's your problem? Do you have "Internet Tough Guy" anger-management issues or something?

Additionally, it wasn't the concept of 'thread policing' (or whatever) I found bothersome, it was its use in this particular instance.
   89. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4182066)
take it outside, girls
   90. Depressoteric Posted: July 13, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4182068)
I'm not the one who calls people "asshats" and "assclowns" like he's stuck in a perpetually surly adolescence. I'm not even trying to start some sort of dispute. I really just want to know what's going on here.
   91. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 13, 2012 at 08:06 PM (#4182069)
"Based on the evidence, the only known, intervening factor between the decision made on February 25, 2001 by Messrs. Spanier, Curley and Schulz to report the incident to the Department of Public Welfare, and then agreeing not to do so on February 27th, was Mr. Paterno's February 26th conversation with Mr. Curley," the report wrote.

This and the related e-mail (which I believe Paterno wasn't copied on) seem to fall a little short of smoking gun evidence that Paterno wanted to cover-up for Sandusky. There isn't any description of what Paterno allegedly said in the meeting, and Paterno isn't around to give his version, so perhaps there should be some doubt. What if Paterno merely said: "You better be sure, because if we're wrong Sandusky will sue us all and Penn State."? Perhaps I missed some evidence, but I'm not sure the evidence actually establishes that Paterno was calling the shots here.
   92. AndrewJ Posted: July 13, 2012 at 08:14 PM (#4182072)
I hope this Paterno stuff doesn't become Bill's Michael Richards/Jimmy the Greek moment, where this makes the first paragraph of his eventual obit.
   93. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 13, 2012 at 08:37 PM (#4182085)
What if Paterno merely said: "You better be sure, because if we're wrong Sandusky will sue us all and Penn State."? Perhaps I missed some evidence, but I'm not sure the evidence actually establishes that Paterno was calling the shots here.

well, itd suggest to me that Paterno was more full of himself than I thought if he believes this was a point necessary for him to raise. Your suggesting that a university president is unaware of the possibility of being sued? I find that impossible to believe in a world where deans and even department chairs carry liability insurance.
   94. Squash Posted: July 13, 2012 at 08:47 PM (#4182101)
It's been interesting to see which public figures are queueing up to trashcan their reputations over this.
   95. AJMcCringleberry Posted: July 13, 2012 at 08:54 PM (#4182110)
I'm not the one who calls people "asshats" and "assclowns"

No, you just call them idiots and defenders of child molesters.
   96. Squash Posted: July 13, 2012 at 08:55 PM (#4182113)
well, itd suggest to me that Paterno was more full of himself than I thought if he believes this was a point necessary for him to raise. Your suggesting that a university president is unaware of the possibility of being sued? I find that impossible to believe in a world where deans and even department chairs carry liability insurance.

I agree. If Penn State gets sued it wasn't going to be Joe Paterno who swings - it was going to be Curley and Spanier, the administrative guys who cost the university tens of millions of dollars. I find it difficult to believe Paterno was more worried about lawsuits than the two of them. He wasn't in the line of fire regardless.
   97. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 08:58 PM (#4182117)
It's surprising that James doesn't post here -- he's got the stubbornness of opinion and an odd blind spot to reason in niche areas to make for a fine primate...
Well, I loved Bill James in the day, but it's not surprising at all that he doesn't post here; he isn't interested in what other people have to say.


I hope this Paterno stuff doesn't become Bill's Michael Richards/Jimmy the Greek moment, where this makes the first paragraph of his eventual obit.
If he were defending Sandusky, sure. But not for defending Paterno.
   98. Lassus Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:17 PM (#4182126)
I don't know who cares, but I'm on Eso's side in this one. He over-reacted and then apologized, which was accepted.

While I kind of appreciate the language, Justin T in 85 is just being a dick.
   99. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:30 PM (#4182136)
I'm still waiting for somebody to offer up evidence of what "everybody knows" - that Morty is pro-statutory-rape.
   100. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:31 PM (#4182139)
I'm still waiting for somebody to offer up evidence of what "everybody knows" - that Morty is pro-statutory-rape.

well..he's never DENIED it, so...
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