Friday, September 17, 2010

Cheating Is as Cheating Does

PK knows me well. I was reading his post just now and already making up my mind to weigh in even before he noted that I might.

I agree with most of PKs comments and need not re-state them here. I even agree that the umpire should not have changed his mind once he awarded the base, unless one of the other umpires stepped in to provide additional information.

But I might take exception to the comment that players are not to be blamed for taking advantage of umpire's mistakes. Yes, players are paid a lot of money to win and would receive criticism if they did not exploit every opportunity. But this criticism
comes from their manager, not from the spectators. Managers have a vested interest in winning games, and they need the players' help to achieve that goal. Spectators like to see their team win too, but they want to see it done fairly. I do not ever recall a time when there was public denigration of a player for failing to cheat.

On the other hand, I can remember lots of players voluntarily disclosing a mistake to the umpire in order to keep the game fair, even to the point where it cost them the game. Golfers do this all the time, in fact a young kid
from Wisconsin named Zach Nash had to turn back his medal for an inadvertent rules violation just last week. Sure he is not yet a pro, but it has happened at that level too, including Jim Furyk just last year.

Cheating is as cheating does. Please excuse the paraphrase of Forrest Gump, but I believe that our culture st
ill prizes fair play, and that spectators do not wish to see their teams winning in an underhanded fashion. Whether we believe him or not, did anyone feel all the good about the discovery that Bill Belichick may have cheated by video-taping opposing signals during the 2007 undefeated season?

The game does belong to the players, and it is up to them what kind of game they wish to have.

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