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Friday, March 23, 2012

James: Prisoner’s Dilemma

I knew Julia the Tinker could kick some butt, but Joe??

There are three stages in the history of baseball. In the first stage, which ended about 1920, if you stood up in the front row and bellowed, “Hey, Cobb, I hear your mudder used to work bachelor parties,” Ty Cobb would come over to your seat and personally introduce you to his knuckles. In the third stage, which began about 1983, if you stand up and scream, “Hey, Pujols, I hear your mommy used to work bachelor parties,” three men with walkie-talkies will immediately surround you and escort you off the premises. But in the intermediate stage, you could take off your shirt, stand on your seat, and yell any goddamned idiotic thing you wanted to, and nobody would do anything…

The second stage of baseball history ended in the early 1980s after an incident in Houston not directly involving the Bush family. Cesar Cedeno had been involved in an unfortunate event involving the death of a young woman in his hotel room, and a distinguished gentleman was screaming at him for three days, yelling things like “Murderer” and the N-word, and also berating Cedeno’s wife, who was seated nearby. Finally Cedeno had had as much of that as he was going to take, and he went Ty Cobb all over the guy — not that I should pick on Cobb; Ruth, Anson, Joe Tinker, and most of the other superstars of that era also dealt with their detractors in a direct, personal manner. Cedeno was suspended for five games, but after a while baseball thought about it and said, “You know, maybe we should have done something about that situation there before Cedeno did.”...

People say things in public all the time now for which, if you had said them 40 years ago, somebody would have kicked your ass. We’ve regulated the ass-kicking, so the rudeness is out of control, and we wind up with Keith Olbermann and Rush Limbaugh doing political commentary that falls in the same general class as drunken, shirtless bellowing…

...

Baseball games have crowd control pretty well figured out by this time; the prisons, not so much, while the Internet and reasoned political debate have met at the intersection of screaming and deceit. It’s a truism that people act worse in groups than they do as individuals. In my experience this truism is mostly untrue. Most of the time people act better in crowds than they do as individuals; it’s just that when this is true, we take it for granted, and when it is not true, we notice it. People act as they are expected to act, plus every crowd creates an ethic of conduct that is, to an extent, inexplicable. You can see a movie with one audience and they’ll be roaring at the jokes; you can see the same movie at the same time in the same theater the next day and people will be sitting there snarling like Carlos Zambrano in a room full of umpires. Thirty years ago people expected to go to a baseball game, get drunk, and act stupid; now, no one expects to be able to do that, so the issue doesn’t really come up. Crowd control — like prison control and standing up a democracy — is mostly a matter of managing expectations.

Edited: Jim

The District Attorney Posted: March 23, 2012 at 08:22 AM | 82 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bill james, sabermetrics, special topics

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   1. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 08:29 AM (#4087315)
Cesar Cedeno had been involved in an unfortunate event involving the death of a young woman in his hotel room

That's a very pleasant way of putting it.

What are we talking about? Dead hooker? Drug OD? Did Cedeno play any role in the death?

I'm shocked Cedeno's wife was at the game. Maybe she was heckling him too?
   2. Greg K Posted: March 23, 2012 at 08:34 AM (#4087320)
What are we talking about? Dead hooker? Drug OD? Did Cedeno play any role in the death?

It was Ty Cobb's mom working his bachelor party.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 08:44 AM (#4087331)
It was Ty Cobb's mom working his bachelor party.

Nah. If you effed with Ty's mom, you were the one that ended up dead.
   4. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 23, 2012 at 08:45 AM (#4087333)
Here's what the baseball library says:

Dec 11, 1973 - In a motel in the Dominican Republic‚ Cesar Cedeno is with a girl friend when she takes his gun and accidentally shoots and kills herself. After the gunshot‚ Cedeno calls the police and says that a woman has been killed. Then he flees the scene before turning himself in to the police 8 hours later. Cedeno is charged with voluntary manslaughter‚ and spends 20 days in jail before the charges are reduced to involuntary manslaughter and he is released. He will be found guilty of the latter‚ fined‚ but spend no more time in jail.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4087334)
Dec 11, 1973 - In a motel in the Dominican Republic‚ Cesar Cedeno is with a girl friend when she takes his gun and accidentally shoots and kills herself. After the gunshot‚ Cedeno calls the police and says that a woman has been killed. Then he flees the scene before turning himself in to the police 8 hours later. Cedeno is charged with voluntary manslaughter‚ and spends 20 days in jail before the charges are reduced to involuntary manslaughter and he is released. He will be found guilty of the latter‚ fined‚ but spend no more time in jail.


Yikes!

That sounds like some home-town refereeing from the court. Wonder how much cash changed hands?
   6. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 23, 2012 at 08:50 AM (#4087335)
Thirty years ago people expected to go to a baseball game, get drunk, and act stupid; now, no one expects to be able to do that, so the issue doesn't really come up.

And how. I was lucky enough to be one of the 18,000 and change at this twinighter, with good seats down low behind home plate. In about the fourth inning of the first game (about 6:15) a working guy was already so drunk that he decided he just had to climb up the screen. He got almost all the way up to the press box before security figured out what was going on. An excellent chase ensued.

Now that's entertaiment.

   7. Tricky Dick Posted: March 23, 2012 at 08:54 AM (#4087336)
What are we talking about? Dead hooker? Drug OD? Did Cedeno play any role in the death?


From what I recall at the time, he was in a Dominican Republic motel room with his mistress, and she was handling a revolver that he had left out, which accidently discharged and killed her. After forensics tests confirmed his story, the manslaughter charges were reduced and he ended up paying a fine.
   8. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 23, 2012 at 08:54 AM (#4087337)
That sounds like some home-town refereeing from the court. Wonder how much cash changed hands?

Kuhn didn't even suspend him, so there probably wasn't much really there. Accidental discharge of the gun.
   9. Greg K Posted: March 23, 2012 at 08:56 AM (#4087339)

From what I recall at the time, he was in a Dominican Republic motel room with his mistress, and she was handling a revolver that he had left out, which accidently discharged and killed her. After forensics tests confirmed his story, the manslaughter charges were reduced and he ended up paying a fine.

I only find this believable because I've long known that if I was ever in the same room as a gun that would inevitably happen to me too.
   10. Tim Wallach was my Hero Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:10 AM (#4087351)
Dec 11, 1973 - In a motel in the Dominican Republic‚ Cesar Cedeno is with a girl friend when she takes his gun and accidentally shoots and kills herself. After the gunshot‚ Cedeno calls the police and says that a woman has been killed. Then he flees the scene before turning himself in to the police 8 hours later. Cedeno is charged with voluntary manslaughter‚ and spends 20 days in jail before the charges are reduced to involuntary manslaughter and he is released. He will be found guilty of the latter‚ fined‚ but spend no more time in jail.

Yikes! That sounds like some home-town refereeing from the court.

Or it sounds like the Canadian justice system. Sadly, I'm not kidding.
   11. Morty Causa Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:10 AM (#4087352)
Well. Cedeno would have put the gun away except he thought he was still in Texas.
   12. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:14 AM (#4087355)
Limbaugh used to work for the Royals.

?!
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:15 AM (#4087357)
From what I recall at the time, he was in a Dominican Republic motel room with his mistress, and she was handling a revolver that he had left out, which accidently discharged and killed her. After forensics tests confirmed his story, the manslaughter charges were reduced and he ended up paying a fine.

If forensic tests confirmed that, why was he convicted of anything?

It's not involuntary manslaughter if someone picks up your gun and shoots themself.
   14. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4087360)
If forensic tests confirmed that, why was he convicted of anything?

It's not involuntary manslaughter if someone picks up your gun and shoots themself.


IANAL but perhaps she had the gun and Cedeno tried to take it away from her in a manner that was unsafe. My limited understanding of manslaughter is that reckless behavior qualifies and it's possible that while she pulled the trigger Cedeno did something that unintentionally caused that.

Or maybe the fact that he was the one who left the gun out is enough for an involuntary manslaughter conviction in the DR. Perhaps their gun laws at the time required that the gun be secured in some fashion?
   15. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4087364)
And how. I was lucky enough to be one of the 18,000 and change at this twinighter, with good seats down low behind home plate. In about the fourth inning of the first game (about 6:15) a working guy was already so drunk that he decided he just had to climb up the screen. He got almost all the way up to the press box before security figured out what was going on. An excellent chase ensued.


Something similar happened in the Bronx during a Sox/Yankee game in the late-90s.

But I think it is undoubtedly true that fan behavior is far superior today than it was 30 years ago. I remember some truly vicious brawls in the Fenway bleachers that lasted for innings at a time. That simply doesn't happen with any kind of regularity anymore.
   16. Morty Causa Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:26 AM (#4087365)


Were drugs/drink involved? What time of the day did this occur?
   17. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4087374)
James is right though. Back in the "good old days", before we had codified policies and procedures and legislation for every conceivable outcome, we entrusted (almost all of the time) decision-making to someone with the necesary authority, experience and judgment to make a good, fair and reasonable decision. Sure, there was the odd time when that decision came back to bite the person in the ass, but in those cases, more often than not, the person accepted full responsibility for the decision, learned from it, and everybody moved on. It was certainly a more effective way of conducting business than the one-size-fits-all approach we have today.
   18. OsunaSakata Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4087376)
This discussion is getting too civil. From TFA:

Florida — which has an appalling crime rate — has lots of "security" provided by old men in golf carts. Every hotel, strip mall, ballpark, and shoeshine parlor is patrolled by two septuagenarians in a golf cart.


If George Zimmerman were a septuagenarian in a golf cart, he probably wouldn't have had a gun. If Ryan Zimmerman and Jordan Zimmermann were septuagenarians in a golf cart, it would be a charity tournament in 2060.
   19. The District Attorney Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:41 AM (#4087378)
If Ryan Zimmerman and Jordan Zimmermann were septuagenarians in a golf cart, it would be a charity tournament in 2060.
Arthur Zimmermann was 52 when he tried to get Mexico to declare war on the US. I don't know if he was in a golf cart.

The Cedeno thing reminds me of the Jimmy Snuka incident. Both incidents seem to have faded securely into history, but Snuka's is probably even less well-known.
On May 10, 1983, a few hours after Snuka had performed at a WWF TV taping at the Lehigh County Agricultural Hall in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Snuka placed a call for an ambulance. When emergency personnel arrived on the scene at Room 427 of the George Washington Motor Lodge in nearby Whitehall Township, they found Snuka’s girlfriend, Nancy Argentino, injured. She was transported to Allentown's Sacred Heart Medical Center, where she died shortly after of "undetermined craniocerebral injuries." Deputy Lehigh County coroner Wayne Snyder said, “Upon viewing the body and speaking to the pathologist, I immediately suspected foul play and so notified the district attorney." Snuka was the only suspect involved in the subsequent investigation. Charges were not pressed against Snuka, although the case was left officially open, meaning no official judgment on whether the incident was accidental or homicide was ever made. In 1985, Argentino’s parents won a $500,000 default judgment against Snuka in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, although Snuka appears not to have ever paid, claiming financial inability to do so.
I liked this quote from TFA.
The Internet is still in Stage One; we have loud drunks who feel the need "comment" on everything, but nobody knows what to do about them except to scream back at them, which doesn't really seem to help. They're called "trolls" now. I used to be kind of a troll myself, I think. I have sympathy for them, philosophically, and I haven't shot any of them because they won't let you bring your gun to the ballpark anymore.
   20. Morty Causa Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4087384)
17:

It's a problem that comes with, or is exacerbated by, an informavore society. Too many people know too much; gives them the illusion they can think. When, actually, they have more information than they can process. Nothing's ever decided, it seems--at least not to the extent where the adversaries accede to the right to have things move along. Not even, or not especially, elections. We just argue and "deliberate" forever. Campaigns, political and otherwise, never end.
   21. Mike Emeigh Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4087387)
The Internet is still in Stage One; we have loud drunks who feel the need "comment" on everything, but nobody knows what to do about them except to scream back at them, which doesn't really seem to help. They're called "trolls" now. I used to be kind of a troll myself, I think. I have sympathy for them, philosophically, and I haven't shot any of them because they won't let you bring your gun to the ballpark anymore.


Used to be? Haven't seen any change in the 30 years I've been reading James.

-- MWE
   22. Guapo Posted: March 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4087392)
Man, this article needs an editor. (I am not a troll.)
   23. Morty Causa Posted: March 23, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4087396)
I have to say it's always good to hear from Bill, and he's readable as always, but that article does seem to be all over the place.
   24. Jim Overmyer Posted: March 23, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4087405)
The Cedeno incident reminds me of my days in the newspaper business when Mike Meserole, a colleague on the sports desk, wrote the best headline that never ran (his boss killed it) -- "Cesar Held in Death of Latin."
   25. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4087408)
Nothing's ever decided, it seems--at least not to the extent where the adversaries accede to the right to have things move along. Not even, or not especially, elections. We just argue and "deliberate" forever. Campaigns, political and otherwise, never end.


It's always been like this; it's just more noticeable while you're alive because all of the back-and-forth is in your face. History will eventually record winners and losers, and everyone will remember the winners won and the losers will fade into the background.
   26. The District Attorney Posted: March 23, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4087419)
it's just more noticeable while you're alive
Oh, you say that about everything.
   27. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4087434)
I think what Bill is saying is generally true, but it certainly seems like the SkyDome has gotten a lot drunker and rowdier the last few years, and of course Dodger Stadium the last few years was really getting ugly. Maybe the trend is moving back towards rowdiness?
   28. base ball chick Posted: March 23, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4087435)
21. Mike Emeigh Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4087387)

The Internet is still in Stage One; we have loud drunks who feel the need "comment" on everything, but nobody knows what to do about them except to scream back at them, which doesn't really seem to help. They're called "trolls" now. I used to be kind of a troll myself, I think. I have sympathy for them, philosophically, and I haven't shot any of them because they won't let you bring your gun to the ballpark anymore.

Used to be? Haven't seen any change in the 30 years I've been reading James



james is now and always has been one of those thinks he's sooo funny "clowns" who accidentally bumps into some unpopular kid in the lunchroom and trips him - all his friends laugh - if kid tries any kind of retaliation - big buffoon says something else to put down kid and get everyone else to laugh at him.

kind of a troll

yeah, kind of - all right
   29. base ball chick Posted: March 23, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4087441)
walewander

i think it depends on the stadium and the club owner

i disremember any sort of fights/rowdiness in the Dome - of course my memories are really limited to anything after like 1990 and i KNOW that in the Box anyone who is even a little bit out of line with language is pretty much removed immediately. mclane was honestly obsessed with "a family experience" in the ballpark and he was dead serious about removing any sort of problem. i can only remember 2 fights of any sort in the past 12 years and one of those was at the all star game between a couple of males who were wearning caps/jerseys from non-astros teams

i have never seen any female get tossed for fighting/cursing/climbing up screens, pushing/shoving, running up/down the wrong escalator - or for anything else

will be interesting to see
   30. Ephus Posted: March 23, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4087464)
Bill James take on the rise of Olbermann and Limbaugh is 100% off target, IMO. There were strong reasons why that style was not the airwaves from the 1940s until the 1980s, but it had little to do with the threat that "somebody would have kicked your ass."

To take one famous example, Harry Truman literally threatened (while President) to punch in the nose a reporter who gave a scathing review to his daughter's concert. Bill James would have you believe that the threat of physical violence was effective to silence the critic. In truth, the harsh partisan tone was silenced because local newspapers -- which had been competitive and partisan -- were moving towards consolidation and blandness.

From 1946 through the early 1980s, the media business model was ever more strongly stacked towards non-offensive middle-of-the-road newspapers, radio and television. The newspaper market has strong natural monopoly characteristics: (1) large fixed costs (reporters, printing presses, delivery networks) and low marginal costs, (2) consumers locked into one product through subscription discounts, and (3) consumer demanded satisfied by purchase of one product. In this environment, bland has a huge advantage, because the fear is that you will so offend one segment of the market that it will boycott your product and create a critical mass for a competing product. Moreover, ownership of a monopoly newspaper was like a license to print money. Since profits were locked in, editors had no incentive to risk their jobs by publishing incendiary opinion pieces. Print advertisers were only too happy to have one-stop shopping for their advertising needs. In markets where more than one newspaper survived (New York, Chicago, Washington), there tended to be a partisan divide between the newspapers. If the local political environment was a monoculture, you sometimes got a very partisan local newspaper (like the Manchester Union Leader).

Radio and television were pushed towards non-ideology by the fairness doctrine and licensing requirements. Basically, if you put an opinion piece on the air, you were likely to be required to devote precious air time to the rebuttal. Failure to do so would risk your license renewal. So, despite the fact that the 1960s and 1970s saw enormous changes in the social structure of the United States (Civil rights, Women's rights, contraception, abortion), few broadcasters were going to bet their franchises on commentary. It was not for lack of people willing to say imflammatory things -- see Anita Bryant, Phyllis Schlaffly, Norman Lear (who got his message out in his sitcoms).

In the 1980s, the natural monopolies began to breakdown. Rush Limbaugh was able to breakthrough on AM radio, in large part because the Fairness Doctrine was abandoned. He demonstrated that you could build an audience from one side of the political spectrum. At the same time, the local media monopoly fell in the face of cable and later the internet. When there was room for only one cable news network, you had plain vanilla CNN. When the number of channels expanded, you had Fox News on the right, followed later by MSNBC on the left. Non-partisan daily newspapers have been crushed by the partisan internet.

Ironically, Bill James should understand the gatekeeper dynamic better than virtually anyone, because it helped to shut him out of conventional publishing for many years. His attack on the convention wisdom found no purchase in the major publishing houses, which had no incentive to rock the boat. His success largely came as the gatekeepers lost their power over publishing (Xerox being an early crack in the wall).

In the publishing and broadcasting world, the lack of an economic incentive for the existence of gatekeepers has meant that partisan speech has proliferated. The only limitation is when speech becomes so controversial that it causes advertisers to back away -- See Limbaugh vs. Flook.
   31. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 23, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4087475)
In the publishing and broadcasting world, the lack of an economic incentive for the existence of gatekeepers has meant that partisan speech has proliferated. The only limitation is when speech becomes so controversial that it causes advertisers to back away -- See Limbaugh vs. Flook.


Your doctoral dissertation is interesting, likely oversimplified, possibly untrue, and marred by at least one significant mis-spelling. Despite my criticisms (I am not drunk yet, so not a troll), I give it a passing grade.

Congratulations, you are a phhhhhhddddd Doctor!
   32. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4087478)

I am guessing that the increased cost of tickets and beers has also mitigated behavior at games -- it's a lot more expensive to get sh*tfaced in the stands nowadays.
   33. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4087484)
Used to be? Haven't seen any change in the 30 years I've been reading James.


The relevant change would seem to be that he's part of the establishment now.
   34. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: March 23, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4087488)
In addition to the increased security, I think that both increased attendance throughout MLB and the increased cost of going to a game factor in here too. It's one thing to get blitzed and act stupid when you're spending $5 to swing by the park and catch a game on a whim after a bad day at work. It's a bit different when you've payed $50 and bought the ticket 4 months in advance.
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4087494)
In addition to the increased security, I think that both increased attendance throughout MLB and the increased cost of going to a game factor in here too. It's one thing to get blitzed and act stupid when you're spending $5 to swing by the park and catch a game on a whim after a bad day at work. It's a bit different when you've payed $50 and bought the ticket 4 months in advance.

Not to mentioned increased prices of stadium beer. Who can afford to get drunk at $9/beer?
   36. Papa Squid Posted: March 23, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4087495)
I think what Bill is saying is generally true, but it certainly seems like the SkyDome has gotten a lot drunker and rowdier the last few years,


Ain't that the truth. Opening Day is a madhouse, especially the upper deck At last year's home opener, the plebes in the upper deck were throwing open, but full, cans of beer onto the fans below. I spent the last three innings looking up -- and sure enough after another Jays HR, I saw a full can fly out of the upper deck. "Incoming!" I yelled -- it barely missed a couple of my friends. Can't wait to do it again this year! :|
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4087520)
At last year's home opener, the plebes in the upper deck were throwing open, but full, cans of beer

They allow beer cans in the stadium?
   38. Papa Squid Posted: March 23, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4087522)
They serve tall beer cans, but open them before giving it to the customer.
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4087538)
They serve tall beer cans, but open them before giving it to the customer.

Wow, that's asking for trouble. I've always seen mandatory pouring by the server.

Rule 1 of crowd control: don't give them weapons, see commemorative baseball give away.
   40. JPWF1313 Posted: March 23, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4087546)
Bill James take on the rise of Olbermann and Limbaugh is 100% off target, IMO. There were strong reasons why that style was not the airwaves from the 1940s until the 1980s, but it had little to do with the threat that "somebody would have kicked your ass."

To take one famous example, Harry Truman literally threatened (while President) to punch in the nose a reporter who gave a scathing review to his daughter's concert. Bill James would have you believe that the threat of physical violence was effective to silence the critic. In truth, the harsh partisan tone was silenced because local newspapers -- which had been competitive and partisan -- were moving towards consolidation and blandness.


I think you've misread what James was trying to say- he's not talking about the rise of partisan media, essentially he's discussing Olbermann's and Limbaugh's rudeness so to speak. You did not go around publicly claiming that your adversary was a whore - you may have implied it, but you didn't openly say so. You simply did not openly speak about people like that in polite company- it's not that someone would have kicked your ass- though they might have- but that you would be ostracized.

Now some of this is James calling the kettle black so to speak. When James came out with his Abstracts and newsletters, he would say things like, "player X finally got his jockstrap on straight last year..." or "Team Y finally got it's act together and sent Z's worthless carcass to the bench"

Absolutely no PUBLISHED sportswriters wrote like that back then. Oh sure, you may have guys arguing in bar over a sport speaking in such terms, but James was the one who BROADCAST that style in print, for everyone to read.

Of cour
   41. Brian C Posted: March 23, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4087552)
Not to mentioned increased prices of stadium beer. Who can afford to get drunk at $9/beer?

Ha ha, the world's a lot different outside of Wrigleyville, I guess.
   42. fra paolo Posted: March 23, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4087618)
You simply did not openly speak about people like that in polite company- it's not that someone would have kicked your ass- though they might have- but that you would be ostracized.

Go a little bit further back, and you would have been challenged to a duel. Or given a public beating like Preston Brooks notoriously inflicted on Charles Sumner. Basically, one of Flook's kin should go after Limbaugh.
   43. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: March 23, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4087667)
Great, Bill James and his establishment goons got to JPWF1313.
   44. Mohammed Chang Posted: March 23, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4087692)
I don't agree with James' conclusion...

Thirty years ago people expected to go to a baseball game, get drunk, and act stupid; now, no one expects to be able to do that, so the issue doesn't really come up. Crowd control — like prison control and standing up a democracy — is mostly a matter of managing expectations.


I live in mild mannered Minnesota and half the time I go to the ballpark, I seem to wind up next to loud drunks who see themselves as their section's entertainment for the evening whenever I've been too cheap to sit among the wealthier/corporate season ticket holders. It's made me realize I want nothing to do with "real" fans, and much prefer watching a game in a sterile, corporate atmosphere, so I don't have to listen to four bros who showed up to the game inebriated call Trent Oeltjen gay as he damn near hits for the cycle.

The worst came during the best game I've seen in person, game 163 of the 2009 season in which the Twins beat the Tigers to win the Central. The four... women... three gals in their 30s and one of the aforementioned's mother (who had the worst mouth of the four) seated directly behind myself and my three friends arrived to an afternoon game stumbling into their seats and proceeded to make advances towards every male in the area. They weren't the type of women who would make such an attractive proposition, even if desperate and reeking of MGD Lite is your type. The one seated directly behind me kept messing my hair up and blowing in my ear. Two and a half innings of ignoring her proved insufficient, so when she grabbed my rear when we stood to cheer Tolbert scoring on Procello's throwing error I told her there was nothing worse than a fat girl with a skinny girl's entitlement. I spent the rest of the game ignoring homophobic slurs, and worse, accusations of being a Tigers fan.

The lessons I've learned are not to feed the trolls, and never to sit in the outfield generals, where you'll find running commentary worse than that offered by McCarver and Buck.
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4087707)
where you'll find running commentary worse than that offered by McCarver and Buck.

Whoa, whoa! Let's not say anything we'll regret later.
   46. bobm Posted: March 23, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4087774)
[15] Something similar happened in the Bronx during a Sox/Yankee game in the late-90s.


Falling for the Yankees
Fan tumbles from upper deck to screen
Posted: Friday May 26, 2000 11:28 PM

NEW YORK (AP) -- A fan fell from the upper deck onto the screen behind home plate at Yankee Stadium during the third inning of Friday night's game against Boston and, able to walk, was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Stephen Laurenzi, 24, of Yonkers, N.Y., was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct, police Lt. John Roeder said, adding there was a chance a charge of reckless endangerment could be added.

Laurenzi was unconscious for a short time while sprawled on the netting and the game was delayed. He was taken to Lincoln Hospital for observation, but Roeder said the man seemed OK.

Police said it was unclear whether the fan jumped or fell.

"We have witnesses who say both," Roeder said.

Laurenzi, wearing a dark T-shirt with No. 21 and the last name of Yankees right fielder Paul O'Neill, seemed to fall head first on to the netting. ... Laurenzi remained motionless on the screen for about five minutes while the game continued before suddenly sitting up and raising both arms high. Some fans cheered, apparently thinking he was unhurt, while others booed, believing it was a stunt.

"He popped up in a drunken stupor," Yankees pitcher David Cone said.


http://cnnsi.com/baseball/mlb/news/2000/05/26/yankees_fan_ap/
   47. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4087801)
Laurenzi remained motionless on the screen for about five minutes while the game continued


I guess it does take a lot to faze a New Yorker.
   48. The District Attorney Posted: March 23, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4087821)
BTW, the gist of the section of the article about, y'know, prisoners:
In his 1929 book 20,000 Years in Sing Sing, Warden Lewis E. Lawes says that his young daughter, who was born inside the prison, knew all of the prisoners and was allowed to wander freely around the prison, with a few obvious out-of-bounds penalties. Think about what a different world that is from a modern prison. If I could divert your attention for just a second with a serious question: How did we slip backward like that? How did prisons become these violent hellholes that they now are, so that it is unimaginable to have an 8-year-old girl wandering the hallways of a maximum-security lockup?

It has to do with the three stages I was talking about before. Prisons in that era were in Stage One: If a prisoner acted belligerently toward the guards, the guards would pull out the rubber hoses. The Warren Court put an end to that era, which was a good idea, I suppose, but that pushed us into Stage Two, during which baseball fans would scream at the players and nobody would do anything about it. The inmates now can abuse the guards, and the guards don't really know what to do about it other than to transfer the offender to an isolation unit when it gets too bad. What is really needed is not a program of reacting to the worst abuse the prisoners can come up with, but a program of reacting swiftly to small infractions. But prisons have pushed the living conditions of the convicts down as far as the courts will allow them to be pushed, so the wardens have little operating margin to react to small infractions.
   49. AndrewJ Posted: March 23, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4087915)
Limbaugh used to work for the Royals.

?!


Yeah, I think Rush was a KC Royals promotions director from around 1979 to 1983. He claims he and George Brett became good friends.
   50. Dangerous Dean Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:17 PM (#4087952)
How did we slip backward like that? How did prisons become these violent hellholes that they now are, so that it is unimaginable to have an 8-year-old girl wandering the hallways of a maximum-security lockup?


My guess is that the inmates in 1929 adopted the little girl as a mascot and put the word out that anyone miscreant who touched her would be painfully killed, very very slowly by the biggest guys in the prison.

We tend to think of everyone in prison as being equally murderous and likely to molest an innocent child. But in 1929 most of those men would have been in prison for bootlegging or smuggling alcohol. And even the murderers would likely have been outraged to the point of murdering anyone who molested the little girl. She was likely the only ray of sunshine in their otherwise miserable lives.

I have never been an inmate, but I have taught some college classes in a few of the local prisons. When the question of the death penalty comes up, the inmates tend to be almost universally in favor of it, provided that we know that the guilty man is the one being executed. I am not trying to start a death penalty brawl/debate. I just wanted to point out that most prisoners have a sense of right and wrong that is strong enough to extend protection that little girl that they had seen grow up among them.

FWIW, I wouldn't ever let my daughter wander in a prison, though.
   51. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 23, 2012 at 10:10 PM (#4087970)
He claims he and George Brett became good friends.


Sadly, George claims the same thing.

   52. Ron J Posted: March 23, 2012 at 11:11 PM (#4088006)
You did not go around publicly claiming that your adversary was a whore


1884 political cartoon

And in response

"Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, the continental liar from the state of Maine, 'Burn this letter!'" (About what you'd think it meant. Blaine denied being corrupt, some old and very damaging letters surfaced and Blaine had thoughtfully included instructions to burn the letters)

Actually Cleveland's supporters had a pretty effective comeback to, "Ma, Ma, Where's My Pa?"

"Gone to the White House. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

19th Century politics was plenty nasty.
   53. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: March 24, 2012 at 12:37 AM (#4088053)
If Ryan Zimmerman and Jordan Zimmermann were septuagenarians in a golf cart, it would be a charity tournament in 2060.

Arthur Zimmermann was 52 when he tried to get Mexico to declare war on the US. I don't know if he was in a golf cart.


I don't believe in Zimmerman, I just believe in me.
   54. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 24, 2012 at 01:22 AM (#4088070)
provided that we know that the guilty man is the one being executed.


That's the rub, isn't it?
   55. AuntBea Posted: March 24, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4088071)

The worst came during the best game I've seen in person, game 163 of the 2009 season in which the Twins beat the Tigers to win the Central. The four... women... three gals in their 30s and one of the aforementioned's mother (who had the worst mouth of the four) seated directly behind myself and my three friends arrived to an afternoon game stumbling into their seats and proceeded to make advances towards every male in the area.


Wait don't tell me....

I know! Sex and the City season 2, am I right?
   56. tshipman Posted: March 24, 2012 at 01:36 AM (#4088074)
Bill James take on the rise of Olbermann and Limbaugh is 100% off target, IMO. There were strong reasons why that style was not the airwaves from the 1940s until the 1980s, but it had little to do with the threat that "somebody would have kicked your ass."


You can't really talk about the "rise of Olbermann and Limbaugh" because:
1. Olbermann's show is a response to Limbaugh, et. al, not a concurrent event.
2. Olbermann is relatively marginal compared to Limbaugh
   57. Darren Posted: March 25, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4088919)
Yes, finally, someone points out the complete idiocy of lumping Olbermann and Limbaugh together. But even 56 doesn't go far enough. Not only is Olbermann far less influential, he's far far far less offensive. His schtick is smarmy and angry, not incredibly sexist, racist, and vile. But hey, one guy is on the left and one is on the right, so gosh, they must be pretty much the same, because everyone who's reasonable knows both sides do it!

   58. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 25, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4088944)
in 1929 most of those men would have been in prison for bootlegging or smuggling alcohol


And in 2012, most of them would be in prison for drug smuggling or distribution.
   59. McCoy Posted: March 25, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4088948)
In 2009 53% of state prison inmates were serving time for violent offenses, 19% for property, 18% for drug, and 9% for public-order.

Federal prisons are where the majority are drug related.
.

Warden Lawes wasn't creating an environment where if prisoners stepped out of line they were beaten or at least not by the standards of the day. He promoted the "square deal" with prisoners and treated them with empathy. Sing Sing was largely saved from the prison riots in NY in the mid to late 1920's (caused in large part by the "four strike" law) and in large part it was credited to Lawes and his "soft" handling of the inmates.
   60. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 25, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4088958)
I think what Bill is saying is generally true, but it certainly seems like the SkyDome has gotten a lot drunker and rowdier the last few years


It's gotten to the point where I don't want to take my nephew to a game with tickets in the 500 level. I'm not going to any games this year, and I don't think I'll miss it that much because of how bad the security/ushering/alcohol control/general atmosphere's gotten. It's not dangerous, but it's often unpleasant because the staff just seem to be completely unwilling to cut anyone off who's shitfaced drunk. It's disappointing because it's been a problem for years but they've done (AFAIK) nothing to fix it.
   61. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4088976)
Yes, finally, someone points out the complete idiocy of lumping Olbermann and Limbaugh together. But even 56 doesn't go far enough. Not only is Olbermann far less influential, he's far far far less offensive. His schtick is smarmy and angry, not incredibly sexist, racist, and vile. But hey, one guy is on the left and one is on the right, so gosh, they must be pretty much the same, because everyone who's reasonable knows both sides do it!
That might work, for people who haven't actually watched Olbermann.
   62. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 07:53 PM (#4089047)
Limbaugh used to work for the Royals.

?!

Yeah, I think Rush was a KC Royals promotions director from around 1979 to 1983. He claims he and George Brett became good friends.


I heard Limbaugh tell a story some years back about how the Royals' staff played a game of touch football once and some of the Royals' players joined in, and Jamie Quirk opened the game by throwing an absolute bomb to George Brett for a TD - and Limbaugh immediately saw just how high up in the stratosphere the athletic talents of the players were compared to the average person.

I've run into athletes who are incredibly talented on occasion - in basketball, football, softball, and tennis - and when you see a player that is just on a completely different plane, it does give you an appreciation for how talented some of these athletes can be.
   63. Darren Posted: March 25, 2012 at 09:24 PM (#4089088)
That might work, for people who haven't actually watched Olbermann.


You watch a lot of Olbermann, eh?
   64. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: March 25, 2012 at 09:52 PM (#4089095)
@60
We have apologized for Sabr 05.
   65. Something Other Posted: March 25, 2012 at 10:39 PM (#4089109)
People say things in public all the time now for which, if you had said them 40 years ago, somebody would have kicked your ass. We’ve regulated the ass-kicking, so the rudeness is out of control, and we wind up with Keith Olbermann and Rush Limbaugh doing political commentary that falls in the same general class as drunken, shirtless bellowing…
It's impossible to know anything about fact, fiction, rhetoric, or politics and think Olbermann belongs in Limbaugh's gutter; TFA will remind me to feel relief every time in the future James avoids discussing politics. Olbermann was (is? I don't keep up with his show) a very smart, sharp provocateur whose work was, for the most part, scrupulously researched; at least it was when he was with MSNBC. Limbaugh, on the other hand, is an unprincipled turd who aspires to the moral fiber of Karl Rove.
   66. Morty Causa Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:08 PM (#4089114)
Olbermann read Thurber on the air. Case closed.
   67. Monty Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:22 PM (#4089117)
Olbermann read Thurber on the air. Case closed.


The monster.
   68. Barnaby Jones Posted: March 26, 2012 at 01:28 AM (#4089150)
Limbaugh used to work for the Royals.


Schuerholz writes at length about how they became friends in his book.
   69. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 26, 2012 at 02:25 AM (#4089158)
Shorter Something Other: "It's okay to be a jackass if you attack people I don't like."

You watch a lot of Olbermann, eh?
Well, not since he was exiled to whatever local cable access channel he's on now.
   70. The District Attorney Posted: March 26, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4089437)
From Bill's most recent mailbag:
It was just a silly article; it's real purpose was that the previous article I had written for Grantland (the Dwight Evans article) had been rather dry, so I wrote something kind of silly to assure readers--and myself--that I wasn't becoming a dry writer...

In the process of making some silly points, I stumbled onto a serious point, so I followed that because I didn't really have anywhere else to go; I was just trying to be entertaining...

But to follow up on the serious issue since we're here. . .the key to managing the discussion is NOT to do what people are trying to do with Limbaugh now, and were trying to do to Olberman a year ago: Don't try to force them off the air. Remember back in the steroid era; people wanted a lifetime ban for everybody who ever touched steroids. That just makes the problem worse. What works is a system of SMALL penalties for SMALL transgressions, not a system of large penalties for accumulated transgressions. But trying to kill the career of somebody who says something you don't like, as was done to Jimmy the Greek and Al Campanis. ..that just makes the problem worse...

Invite Limbaugh to do better; encourage him to be a little more sensitive. Don't threaten him or pressure him...

And it works best if the government isn't in charge of the penalties and rewards.
   71. Guapo Posted: March 26, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4089450)
But trying to kill the career of somebody who says something you don't like, as was done to Jimmy the Greek and Al Campanis. ..that just makes the problem worse...


Not sure how killing Campanis and the Greek's careers made the "problem" (presumably racism) worse...

EDIT: Upon re-reading, maybe the "problem" is "managing the discussion"? Still don't understand the point.
   72. SoSH U at work Posted: March 26, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4089455)
Not sure how killing Campanis and the Greek's careers made the "problem" (presumably racism) worse...


Likewise, I'm not sure how well Limbaugh and Keith will be swayed by gentle encouragement. It seems the amount of success each has enjoyed by taking the loudmouth path has been all the encouragement they've needed.

   73. smileyy Posted: March 26, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4089457)
And it works best if the government isn't in charge of the penalties and rewards.


Has anyone seriously suggested this? Limbaugh's remarks cost him sponsors. It won't force him off the air, but it cost him.
   74. Ephus Posted: March 26, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4089462)
When I made my (admittedly-long) post above taking on the structural reasons why opinion commentators like Limbaugh and Olbermann have proliferated recently but were largely absent during the 1940s - mid 1980s, I accepted TFA's lumping together of Limbaugh and Olbermann precisely because I did not want to get into a series of recriminations about whether Limbaugh and Olbermann really were comparable in their level of ad hominem attacks that in Bill James' view would have gotten their "asses kicked" back in a prior era. Since I am only slightly more liberal than the average Daily Kossack, I think my views on this subject might differ from others.

The basic point is: If you are in a natural monopoly setting, there are strong economic incentives to have bland, non-partisan broadcasters who engender little passionate opposition, but if you are in a niche broadcasting environment, the exact opposite is true.
   75. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 26, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4089472)
Invite Limbaugh to do better; encourage him to be a little more sensitive.


"Mr. Limbaugh, would you mind spending just a couple minutes to find out the truth behind something before you spend a couple hours spouting off on it? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks."

I'm a big Bill James fan, but this is just nonsensical. You don't have to listen to Limbaugh for very long to know that he is utterly unprincipled, and will say anything to keep his listenership excited and his ratings up. He doesn't care about "doing better," unless you mean raking in even more money.
   76. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 26, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4089478)
You don't have to listen to Limbaugh any TV or talk-radio personality for very long to know that he is utterly unprincipled, and will say anything to keep his listenership excited and his ratings up. He doesn't care about "doing better," unless you mean raking in even more money.

Fixed.
   77. Randy Jones Posted: March 26, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4089488)
Post 76 is not completely true, but it is sadly close.
   78. A triple short of the cycle Posted: March 26, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4089640)
Well, the principled ones get weeded out. Bill Moyers comes to mind.
   79. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 26, 2012 at 07:07 PM (#4089655)
Moyers was the White House press secretary for LBJ. He's done a lot of good work over the years, but he's not entirely neutral or dispassionate.
   80. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: March 26, 2012 at 07:53 PM (#4089690)
"Principled" does not equal "neutral" or "dispassionate."
   81. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 26, 2012 at 08:11 PM (#4089697)
"Principled" does not equal "neutral" or "dispassionate."


Just the opposite, one would think.
   82. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 26, 2012 at 09:51 PM (#4089782)
Moyers obviously isn't a screamer or an unabashed shill, but I never saw him as a ratings-be-damned guy. Limbaugh does things to grow his audience and Moyers does (or did) the same, albeit in a much different manner.

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