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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

THT: Marshall: The baseball ethicist: Why nobody signed Barry Bonds

“We are here on earth to do good for others. What the others are here for, I don’t know.”

Signing Barry Bonds in 2008 would have been as logical as the producers of the Naked Gun series deciding to hire O.J. Simpson to reprise his role as “Norberg” for Naked Gun 4, because, you know, he was sooooo funny in the first three films, and how could you do Naked Gun without bumbling Norberg? It would make as much sense as Disney hiring Lindsay Lohan for a new Herbie movie, because she’s as cute as ever. Pete Rose is a real competitor: let’s hire him to manage the Mariners! He’s just what the team needs to shake it out of its doldrums!

Add to this the fact that O.J., Rose and Lohan are definitely better bets to be able to duplicate their previous performances that a 43-year-old, gimpy-kneed Bonds after a half-season of inactivity, and you have a course of action that would not be just foolish, but certifiably insane from a business, baseball, and cultural perspective, short and long term.

Thus it should not have come as a surprise to anyone that no team took that course, nor should any team have been accused of negligence or collusion for reaching the only responsible and logical conclusion available. But a lot of sportswriters and sports commentators think values, standards and ethics are irrelevant to baseball.

They are so wrong.

Repoz Posted: December 24, 2008 at 01:37 PM | 58 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: special topics, steroids

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   1. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 24, 2008 at 02:24 PM (#3037653)
Why should Lohan not be hired to act in movies -- other than her ability I mean?
   2. RJ in TO Posted: December 24, 2008 at 02:29 PM (#3037660)
Why should Lohan not be hired to act in movies -- other than her ability I mean?


She's notorious for showing up late, showing up "sick", not showing up at all, and causing huge amounts of problems on-set when she does bother to show up. Apparently, some productions which have wanted to use her have also been told that their insurance will be higher than normal because no one trusts her to fulfill her contract. They even cut short her stint on Ugly Betty due to her poor on-set behavior.

No, I don't know why I know all of this, especially since I've never seen a movie in which she's appeared.
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 24, 2008 at 02:33 PM (#3037665)
No, I don't know why I know all of this, especially since I've never seen a movie in which she's appeared.


When does your subscription to "People" expire, Ryan?
   4. RJ in TO Posted: December 24, 2008 at 02:35 PM (#3037667)
When does your subscription to "People" expire, Ryan?


Actually, I suspect that I should blame it on MSNBC. A disproportionate amount of their "news" seems to be based around the Entertainment category, and it's often more interesting than work.
   5. AROM Posted: December 24, 2008 at 02:37 PM (#3037673)
I found it impossible to read that article. I won't even comment on Bonds, but the factual errors were just too frequent and destroy any argument he's trying to make.

Pac Man Jones, meet Elijah Dukes.
   6. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 24, 2008 at 02:41 PM (#3037677)
Actually, I suspect that I should blame it on MSNBC. A disproportionate amount of their "news" seems to be based around the Entertainment category, and it's often more interesting than work.

I know a lot more about celebrities than I care too, as well. I never seek out this information. I think I get most of it from the headlines on Yahoo when I open my browser, from over hearing the gossipy women in the office, and from the cover of magazines when I walk by news stands and scan the covers for cleavage.
   7. Hurdle's Heroes (SuperBaes) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 02:50 PM (#3037686)
O.J., Rose and Lohan are definitely better bets to be able to duplicate their previous performances

Okay, I'm a Bonds apologist, but at least let's be realistic: comparing Bonds to a murderer, a convict, and a drunk is just too far. Plus: O.J. can't be Norberg again unless they film the movie in cell block 6.
   8. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 02:52 PM (#3037689)
I get my celeb news while waiting in line at the supermarket. But they call everyone by their first name, so I get confused. I know who Paris and Britney and Madonna are, but there are some more common first names that show up sometimes and I have no idea who they are talking about.
   9. ValueArb Posted: December 24, 2008 at 02:55 PM (#3037695)
Marshall is exhibit #1 of why "ethics" is such a joke of a discipline. His screed isn't even factual, he's not aware that even some of Barry's alleged steroid use pre-dated modern anti-steroids rules, he gives a free pass to "minor" users, never mentions the league wide abuse of amphetamines, doesn't worry his pretty head about the ethical implications of a player trying his best in a sport where breaking rules is commonly lauded.

Oh, yea, and he compares Barry to a murderer, and a gambler who broke clear MLB rules with clearly defined punishments. And Lohan is a drunken, drug abusing, nymphomaniacal bisexual, all of which are positive qualities in my book.
   10. bunyon Posted: December 24, 2008 at 02:59 PM (#3037701)
Plus: O.J. can't be Norberg again unless they film the movie in cell block 6.

This could actually work. Naked Gun 4, Drebin trains a young protege who, of course, is smokin' hot. They setup a running joke throught the movie about "where is Norberg?" At the end, they have Drebin find him in a jail and he arranges a meet with him. Now, the producer goes and meets OJ in jail and just gets him to talk for awhile, about anything. The producer wears a small video camera in his glasses and the end of the movie is Drebin having a nonsensical conversation with Norberg. I can totally see it and would pay at least $1.50 to see that movie.
   11. calhounite Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:00 PM (#3037702)
Here we go again...Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

If someone spits on the sidewalk, should wait til get the dna analysis back for all parts of the continuos arc from mouth to sidewalk, plus maybe a videotape...then if 12 people guess that was the charge and unanimously convict without hearing or seeing any of that stuff (else it's a rush to judgement since they would have suspected it prior to the conviction)

then - oh yeah, wait til the end of the appeals process - should be sometime around when the sun dries out

then can say that somone spit on the sidewalk.

But even that doesn't apply to Bonds

"Did you use roids?"

What the hell is that suppose to mean?
   12. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:04 PM (#3037708)
   13. AndrewJ Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:25 PM (#3037730)
Cynics may scoff, and Barry himself couldn’t care less, but baseball is the one professional sport that carries with it a duty to the American culture.


Um, why?

What it does have that no other professional sport even values very much is integrity, or at least an appreciation that integrity is important.


Golf says hi.
   14. Blackadder Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:28 PM (#3037732)
It is amazing that a purported "professional ethicist" could make such breathtakingly inept moral arguments. It is only slightly worse than a "professional mathematician" arguing that there are only finitely many primes.
   15. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:31 PM (#3037734)
I enjoyed this article only because I'm hoping that THT has John Brattain murderize it in a follow-up.
   16. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:37 PM (#3037740)
Okay, I'm a Bonds apologist, but at least let's be realistic: comparing Bonds to a murderer, a convict, and a drunk is just too far.


Getting involved in a Bonds argument is a sign of insanity, probably, but I do have an issue with this. While the OJ crack is kosher, I don't know that Rose ever spent time in jail- his gambling problem (which he himself admits, he told Joe Poz a joke once that went "Did you hear about the Breeder’s Cup this year? Elway rode in it, I bet on it and Garvey won it.") are a problem that would prevent his employment in baseball, even though he is assuredly not the only guy in baseball who's bet on it. In fact, Rose is a very good comp to Bonds and how they were both blackballed from the game is informative to how Bonds might be treated in the future. And Lohan has addiction problems which is so evil to attack I'm going to wager that you don't know people dealing with that specific pernicious disease.
   17. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:41 PM (#3037746)
It is amazing that a purported "professional ethicist" could make such breathtakingly inept moral arguments. It is only slightly worse than a "professional mathematician" arguing that there are only finitely many primes.

Why should the fact that a "professional ethicist" makes a questionable political statement be any more surprising than the fact that an occasional "professional scientist" claims that global warming is a "hoax"? I agree that the whole steroids issue raises profound questions of ethics, but (a) there's more than one side to the question; and (b) it doesn't take a "professional ethicist" (whatever the hell that is) to figure out what they are.
   18. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:42 PM (#3037747)
I'd like to see JC in DC's take on this.
   19. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:43 PM (#3037749)
As for Rose, I think he did a stretch for tax avoision.
   20. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:45 PM (#3037751)
There are only a finite number of primes.

I only got to about 50 before I broke the little red bulb on the lawn mower.
   21. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:46 PM (#3037752)
As for Rose, I think he did a stretch for tax avoision.

Yep. Rose is most assuredly a convict.
   22. EddieA Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:46 PM (#3037753)
It was parody, right?
   23. EddieA Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:46 PM (#3037754)
At least a good effort?Is there really such a thing as a professional ethicist?
   24. RJ in TO Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:46 PM (#3037755)
As for Rose, I think he did a stretch for tax avoision.


He did. It was 5 months in a medium security facility, for filing false income tax returns.
   25. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:51 PM (#3037762)
I like the word "avoision."
   26. haven Posted: December 24, 2008 at 03:55 PM (#3037765)
Actually, I suspect that I should blame it on MSNBC. A disproportionate amount of their "news" seems to be based around the Entertainment category, and it's often more interesting than work.

Somehow I also know a disproportionate amount about "celebraties" I care nothing about and shows/movies I don't and never would watch. I always know who wins survivor or dancing with the stars even though I would rather poke my eye out with a fork than watch them. I think it is the internet in general. There is just no way to avoid that kind of information when looking for other imformation that interests me.
   27. Rear Admiral Piazza Posted: December 24, 2008 at 05:38 PM (#3037854)
Bonds is easily the most unpopular player in baseball today. I don't know how "ethical" it is, but it is certainly imaginable that many baseball teams won't get anywhere near him because he is so thoroughly disliked by the people who actually buy tickets.
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 24, 2008 at 05:44 PM (#3037861)
Bonds is easily the most unpopular player in baseball today. I don't know how "ethical" it is, but it is certainly imaginable that many baseball teams won't get anywhere near him because he is so thoroughly disliked by the people who actually buy tickets.

That may account for 29 teams, but at last glance the Giants were still in the National League. There are plenty of good reasons why they might not want to sign Bonds, but his lack of popularity among Giants fans isn't one of them.
   29. John Northey Posted: December 24, 2008 at 05:55 PM (#3037869)
Bond's lack of popularity would last with all teams general fan base (ie: the ones who aren't here but go to a handful of games a year) up until he hit a home run or drove in a winning run, then come back when he strikes out, then go away when he hits another homer, then ...

Kind of like it works with pretty much all the players unless they get a 'dirtbag' tag and even those guys have an expiry date.
   30. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 05:59 PM (#3037875)
the ones who aren't here but go to a handful of games a year


I only go to a handful of games a year. Is this atypical among Primates?
   31. I Am Not a Number Posted: December 24, 2008 at 06:00 PM (#3037877)
From the essay: "Character counts in America."

Would that this were so in America or anywhere else in the world. Character falls a great deal behind winning on the list of the things that matter, at least if people are judged on their actions and not their words.
   32. RJ in TO Posted: December 24, 2008 at 06:05 PM (#3037883)
I only go to a handful of games a year. Is this atypical among Primates?


It's a good year for me if I even get down to a couple of games. Most of my baseball watching habits are highly dependent on the availability of a TV.
   33. DCA Posted: December 24, 2008 at 06:08 PM (#3037887)
I only go to a handful of games a year. Is this atypical among Primates?

I probably go to a hand-half-full these days. When I lived in the Bay Area, and games cost around $10 including BART and food, I went to more.
   34. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: December 24, 2008 at 06:17 PM (#3037897)
I very rarely get to say this, but my professional opinion is directly relevant here. I don't know what Marshall means by 'professional ethicist,' but I am a professional philosopher, specializing in ethics, studying/teaching at a major U.S. university.

This guy just isn't arguing for Barry's guilt. At all. At best, he's making some sort of psychological argument for why a team would become less popular if it did sign Barry Bonds.

The problem is that even if we grant him Barry's guilt, and even if we grant him that signing Barry would lower the popular opinion of that team, and in fact all of MLB, and even if we grant him the borderline-crazy view that signing Barry Bonds now would somehow further increase the popular opinion of steroid use, we still don't have an argument sufficient to get the claim that signing Barry Bonds is unethical.

In order to get that, we have to grant Marshall a further claim: that the moral evil associated with signing Barry Bonds (including, above, the moral evil of lowering the popular opinion of a team/MLB and raising the popular opinion of steroid use) is more important (or weightier, or larger, pick your favorite metaphor for 'ethical importance') than the moral good associated with signing Barry Bonds. Call this the Ethical Claim. Now, that claim is not crazy. I'm inclined to believe in its falsehood, myself, but it's not crazy.

The problem with his article is that for his argument to work, we have to assume the Ethical Claim, because he does not argue for it. But, um, here's the crux: any argument for the claim that signing Barry Bonds is unethical is going to have to establish the truth of the Ethical Claim, or something very like it. And any person really committed to thinking that signing Barry Bonds is ethical is going to deny the Ethical Claim.

In other words, Marshall begs the question. His argument assumes a claim that is tantamount to his conclusion.

Also, I think the view espoused about the resolution of cognitive dissonance is ridiculously simplistic and I would deny much of his empirics, but here I just wanted to show a problem with the structure of his argument.
   35. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 24, 2008 at 06:23 PM (#3037900)
I only go to a handful of games a year. Is this atypical among Primates?

When you could drive up from DC to Memorial Stadium in 45 to 50 minutes, park for free on the street, walk ten minutes to Memorial Stadium and see a perennial pennant contender for $4.25, I'd go to 20 - 25 games a year. I've been to about 30 stadiums over the years, and for my cash Memorial was the best in terms of both peak and career value.

That was then. It's a lot cheaper, easier and far more entertaining to watch the entire league on TV today. I may go to one or two games a year now when the Yanks or Boston are playing and there's a good pitching matchup and the weather is nice, but that's it. Put a good team back in Baltimore and that might change, but as long as the geek is in charge that ain't gonna happen.
   36. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 24, 2008 at 06:31 PM (#3037905)
The problem is that even if we grant him Barry's guilt, and even if we grant him that signing Barry would lower the popular opinion of that team, and in fact all of MLB, and even if we grant him the borderline-crazy view that signing Barry Bonds now would somehow further increase the popular opinion of steroid use, we still don't have an argument sufficient to get the claim that signing Barry Bonds is unethical.

In order to get that, we have to grant Marshall a further claim: that the moral evil associated with signing Barry Bonds (including, above, the moral evil of lowering the popular opinion of a team/MLB and raising the popular opinion of steroid use) is more important (or weightier, or larger, pick your favorite metaphor for 'ethical importance') than the moral good associated with signing Barry Bonds.


NM Smith, that was an interesting overall post, but what exactly do you mean by "the moral good associated with signing Barry Bonds?"

Are you equating signing Bonds with (for example) Pee Wee Reese putting his arm around Jackie Robinson in the face of racial taunts? I doubt if that's what you're saying, but if not that, then what?

I can see practical reasons for signing Bonds, but "moral" ones? Once you get past the initial stages of integration, what constitutes a "morally good" signing?
   37. Crashburn Alley Posted: December 24, 2008 at 06:56 PM (#3037916)
I believe Smith was using utilitarianism, and the difference between the good and bad of an action is its utility, or moral goodness. I don't think he was arguing that signing Bonds is morally good; he was just saying that such factors would go into the overall calculus.
   38. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: December 24, 2008 at 07:07 PM (#3037922)
So I take it that as a part of their job, general managers have entered into certain kinds of agreements with their owners. Those agreements generally, I take it, impose a certain obligation to the GM to perform his job to the best of his ability, where 'his job' is to put the best team on the field.

Moreover, I think the obligation to put the best team on the field is probably not just to the owners, but to the fans. Now, I know I'm on pretty sketchy ground here, but I tend to think that at least municipal support of teams (for stadiums, etc), and possibly national support (monopoly protection), create an obligation for the teams to try their best to be competitive. I take it at least one of the reasons we support baseball in these ways is because we want to see the teams try their best to win.

Fulfilling those obligations, the GM to his owner and the teams to the fans, is a moral good. Failure to fulfill those obligations would be a moral evil. Whatever this guy says, Barry Bonds would have been incredibly useful to multiple teams.

Now, obviously there are lots of complications here. I'm just trying to motivate the view that there is some moral reason why teams ought to have signed Barry Bonds, and that the moral argument that needs to be made is to weigh the moral reasons against signing Barry Bonds against the moral reasons for signing Barry Bonds. Marshall does not weigh moral reasons at all, and insofar as he fails to do that, he's not really making a good ethical argument.

Edit: Re: Crashburn, no, I was not committing myself to any particular moral theory (like utilitarianism). What I was saying is that moral argument is the process of weighing moral reasons against each other. All moral argument does that. Now, lots of moral theories are in the business of saying that some moral reasons are infinitely 'large' such that they can't be overcome, and for those moral theories, such moral reasons are the most important type.

Utilitarianism is committed to saying that all that matters are the consequences, and sure, I think there are such arguments to be made both ways in the Bond case, but I wasn't trying to commit myself to that.
   39. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 24, 2008 at 07:08 PM (#3037924)
In my estimation, adding Bonds could have put the following teams into the playoffs last year:

1) Minnesota Twins
Finished 1 game back in the AL Central with Delmon Young (102 OPS+) getting nearly all the playing time in LF. Of the 154 games played with a DH, Kubel (118 OPS+) started 77 of them and Monroe (83 OPS+) started 35. Give Bonds 100 games at DH and move Kubel over to LF (Young down to AAA for most of the season) and eliminate Monroe entirely (he was cut in late July) and the Twins pick up at least a net of three games.


2) New York Mets
Finished 3 games behind in the NL East, with seven guys starting over 10 games in LF.
-Murphy: 30 GS, 129 OPS+
-Tatis: 28 GS, 123 OPS+
-Evans: 25 GS, 85 OPS+
-Anderson: 20 GS, 40 OPS+
-Pagan: 20 GS, 90 OPS+
-Alou: 13 GS, 106 OPS+
-Chavez: 13 GS, 69 OPS+

Assume that the Mets had gone into 2008 with the idea of platooning Bonds and Alou (which I and others had suggested at the time), with Chavez as the defensive caddy, Pagan as the fifth outfielder, and Murphy and Evans in the minors. Alou is lost to injury, so his half of the platoon get filled by Tatis (who has the opportunity to have his surprise 2008 season while also getting some time in RF when Church gets hurt). Assuming Bonds gets 100 starts, that probably squeezes out Murphy (30 GS), Evans (25 GS) Anderson (20 GS), Pagan (20 GS), and Chavez (13 GS). That averages out to about an 85 OPS+. If Bonds puts up a 130 OPS+ (based on a conservative projection of 425/475), that's worth about 4.5 wins--take a win or so off for defense (assuming he's -25 outs per 150 games) and that comes out to just about their margin.


3) Arizona Diamondbacks
Finished 2 games behind the LA Dodgers. Because of their acquisition of Dunn (which they probably wouldn't have done if they had Bonds) and the shifting back-and-forth of Jackson, it's hard to say exactly who would have lost playing time. Assuming that they didn't pick up Dunn (14 GS at 1B, 8 GS at LF, 22 GS at RF), that's about half of Bonds starts. Plus assume that Jackson stays at 1B full-time, so take away Tracy's 62 GS at 1B. That averages out to a baseline of about 100 OPS+, Bonds marginal contribution is probably only about 1.5-2 games. Had they still acquired Dunn to play 1B/RF (displacing Upton--although in the universe where they acquire Bonds in the spring, they would have shifted Byrnes to RF), then the math might look a bit better. But it's hard to see him as a difference-maker.
   40. Nasty Nate Posted: December 24, 2008 at 07:12 PM (#3037927)
Nordberg ... Nordberg, cmon people lets get it right
   41. Crashburn Alley Posted: December 24, 2008 at 07:26 PM (#3037932)
Smith, #38: Thanks for clarifying. I didn't mean to put words in your mouth, that was just my best guess.
   42. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: December 24, 2008 at 07:27 PM (#3037933)
Oh, yeah, and Bonds was going to donate his salary to charity. Depending on the details, that's a moral reason to sign Bonds.
   43. Rear Admiral Piazza Posted: December 24, 2008 at 07:33 PM (#3037935)
"That may account for 29 teams, but at last glance the Giants were still in the National League. There are plenty of good reasons why they might not want to sign Bonds, but his lack of popularity among Giants fans isn't one of them."

Perhaps, but Giants management was more than glad to let him leave. Though the guy won games for them, he was also a pain to deal with and created a circus atmosphere. I think it is understandable that they decided it was no longer worth it, especially since they were not expected to be competitive last season, anyway.
   44. J. Michael Neal Posted: December 24, 2008 at 07:56 PM (#3037948)
Is there really such a thing as a professional ethicist?


I recommend hilzoy.
   45. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: December 24, 2008 at 08:00 PM (#3037949)
Oh, yeah, and Bonds was going to donate his salary to charity. Depending on the details, that's a moral reason to sign Bonds.


In fact, as long as it wasn't some charity for the raising of poor kids as food or something, I'd argue that there's almost nothing baseball that would have more of a positive effect than signing Bonds for a couple million and having it donated to charity.
   46. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: December 24, 2008 at 08:19 PM (#3037954)
I think the comparison there is between any steroid use signing Bonds might cause, and the benefit from the charity. But I pretty much think Marshall is crazy for implying that /this/ signing of Bonds is really gonna cause any more steroid use than all the previous media attention.
   47. Blackadder Posted: December 24, 2008 at 09:23 PM (#3037975)
I am not sure, but I think Marshall is suggesting that signing a "symbol" of steroid use such as Bonds is wrong in and of itself, in addition to the moral evil of the consequences of such a hiring in terms of increased steroid use/diminished respect for baseball. The matter is somewhat murky, since he runs together his arguments instead of clearly delineating each point against Bonds, but that is the impression the piece gave me.
   48. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 09:53 PM (#3037992)
Getting involved in a Bonds argument is a sign of insanity, probably, but I do have an issue with this. While the OJ crack is kosher, I don't know that Rose ever spent time in jail- his gambling problem (which he himself admits, he told Joe Poz a joke once that went "Did you hear about the Breeder’s Cup this year? Elway rode in it, I bet on it and Garvey won it.") are a problem that would prevent his employment in baseball, even though he is assuredly not the only guy in baseball who's bet on it. In fact, Rose is a very good comp to Bonds and how they were both blackballed from the game is informative to how Bonds might be treated in the future. And Lohan has addiction problems which is so evil to attack I'm going to wager that you don't know people dealing with that specific pernicious disease.
As others pointed out, Rose did spend time in jail, but more importantly, Rose was not "blackballed." Rose was banned. You can agree with the outcome or not, but there was an investigation, Rose was given the opportunity to respond to it, and (after his obstructive lawsuit failed) Rose agreed to a ban as part of a "plea bargain," so to speak. Criticize various aspects of that for being imperfect, but at least they happened.

Bonds was, on the other hand, not banned. There no investigation (let alone a finding of guilt) and no sentence. Bonds was blackballed. (At least, I think so, and since you used the term, you seem to agree. Some of the Bonds haters here have argued that teams all independently and coincidentally chose not to sign him at the same time because, after all, it's theoretically possible that a guy with a 170 OPS+ might become unproductive within the space of one offseason.)
   49. Lassus Posted: December 24, 2008 at 10:33 PM (#3038013)
Being disliked so intently by a small group of 30 people that none of them wants to hire you is not entirely unusual. It reminds me of F. Murray Abraham and stories I was told by people in the industry. He won an academy award and proceeded to be the worst possible human being to work with in existence. He was in his wheelhouse and had the goods and the awards but decapitated his career. The director of "The Name of the Rose" specifically mentioned this is regards to him vs. Ron Perlman and their respective careers.

The story is nothing like a parallel of course, but it has relevance. The argument about HIS NUMBERS HIS OPS+ HIS PRODUCTIVITY that everyone clutches to like the Rice FEAR argument strikes me as far too simple.
   50. Crashburn Alley Posted: December 24, 2008 at 10:38 PM (#3038019)
The argument about HIS NUMBERS HIS OPS+ HIS PRODUCTIVITY that everyone clutches to like the Rice FEAR argument strikes me as far too simple.


There's a difference, I think. Cohesiveness with your fellow actors and actresses on a set really affects the quality of the film, whereas in baseball, team cohesiveness doesn't seem to play that much of a role at all.

As much as the front offices of all 30 MLB teams may deny it, making money is the #1 objective with #2 being winning. Bonds would, no doubt, make any team money and he would, no doubt, help any team in the wins column.

That Bonds was never so much as offered a contract for the Major League minimum speaks loud and clear that the likelihood of collusion is sky-high.
   51. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 11:35 PM (#3038045)
Crashburn is right, but there are two other points which make the analogy even weaker:

1) Baseball is zero-sum; movies aren't. If you don't sign Bonds, you risk having your opponent do so.

2) The people signing Bonds don't have to work with him. The GM doesn't have day-to-day interaction with the players. That doesn't mean Bonds couldn't be a headache for the GM; he could be. But on a daily basis, he's someone else's problem.
   52. Lassus Posted: December 24, 2008 at 11:46 PM (#3038047)
But on a daily basis, he's someone else's problem.

Not everyone ascribes to this noble Libertarian viewpoint, David.


EDIT: And producers and studios don't compete for stars, of course.
   53. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 24, 2008 at 11:56 PM (#3038048)
1) That has nothing to do with "libertarian."

2) It doesn't need to be "everyone." Just one.

3) Of course studios compete for actors, but it's not zero-sum.
   54. rr Posted: December 25, 2008 at 12:06 AM (#3038051)
This guy wrote a long aticle about ethics in sposrts that was in THT 2009, and I didn't like that one, either. The "baseball occupies a unique moral place in our culture" stuff always loses me.
   55. Flynn Posted: December 25, 2008 at 04:05 AM (#3038106)
The "baseball occupies a unique moral place in our culture" stuff always loses me.

I think it does as our de facto national pastime; whether it should is another story.
   56. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: December 31, 2008 at 03:31 PM (#3040919)
I enjoyed this article only because I'm hoping that THT has John Brattain murderize it in a follow-up.


Well, I don't know if this qualifies as "murderizing" it.

Pack a lunch--this is long even by my verbose standards.

Best Regards

John
   57. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: December 31, 2008 at 03:39 PM (#3040926)
That's 5200 words. It took me all of December to write a 4300 word article. How do you do it?
   58. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: December 31, 2008 at 03:44 PM (#3040928)
That's 5200 words. It took me all of December to write a 4300 word article. How do you do it?


I don't know when to shut up.

Best Regards

John
   59. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: December 31, 2008 at 04:25 PM (#3040972)
good article there john and an intresting read at least

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