Sports ethics 101

bildeJune 3, 2013 – While the Phillies abysmal play has me seeing red, and I don’t mean of the pinstripe variety, should I be happy that they took the last game of the series off a Milwaukee team with the second worst record in the National League?

I’m not even going to argue that Saturday afternoon’s game may have been a win if not for the terrible blown call by the umpire who called Kyle Kendrick out at second after the Brewer’s Jean Segura clearly dropped the ball. At least not for winning the game, because at that point it didn’t matter. There were too many reasons prior to that situation that cost the Phillies this series.

I promised to swear off of the team and baseball, but what I discovered over the past few weeks is that ignorance is not bliss. Occasionally, when I check the score or dare to watch an inning, I still want to see the Phillies ahead, though I am often disappointed.

Enough about poor play; I planned to write about the ethics of the game – if they apply to sports at all – and the blown call in the ninth inning on Saturday. Not only did the ball roll away from Segura, which immediately meant that Kendrick returned successfully and safely to second base, but the Milwaukee second baseman picked up the ball after it rolled away and then back to him, and lifted it to show to the umpire that he had it all along. Is that an ethical play?

Perhaps any baseball player would have done the same, yet still it is cheating.

The umpire came clean after the game and admitted he blew the call. That’s fine; and I’m sure one game in the Phillies’ dreadful season isn’t going to matter much. Suppose, however, that this game was the deciding factor in a World Series. Would it still be OK? And would a team want to win that way and possibly have an asterisk next to that game forever?

In the ethical sense, this may be considered a small issue, but where to we draw the line? It also begs the question, should there be instant replay at baseball games?

Here’s something else to consider. Now that the umpire admitted his mistake and baseball fans everywhere have seen the replay, does Segura come off as a cheater, or is it just no big deal?

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2 thoughts on “Sports ethics 101

  1. I don’t think it was unethical of the second baseball to grab the ball and show it to the umpire. For one thing, that was just a reflex in the heat of the moment. But I also believe that trying to get the call that works for your team is part of the game. At any rate, the Phillies stink and the Nats aren’t much better.

    • I know you’re probably right. During double plays it’s ok if players miss tagging second base before throwing to first, and part of the strategy of the game sometimes depends on taking one for the team, or has pitchers throwing at batters. I still think this is a very fine line though…he knew it rolled away, and it could have been a reflex, but it still struck me as very wrong.

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