Monday, May 23, 2005

If my eyes don't deceive me there's something going wrong around here

(Official Hip Deep No-Prize to the first person to get the title reference.)

I just got through watching an ESPN show called You Can't Blame... Generally, this is a reasonably entertaining show which makes the argument that guys like Bill Buckner and Chris Webber take a lot more heat for their flubs than they deserve. And today's episode?

You can't blame the 1919 White Sox for "throwing" the World Series.

Now, I'm a pretty trusting guy. I believe that Joe Jackson played to win. I believe Kenesaw Mountain Landis cleaned house and didn't give a damn about the specifics. I believe that Arnold Rothstein wasn't behind it. (I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter... I'm sorry, wrong monologue.)

But I can't blame the guys who did try to fix it? You have just got to be kidding me.

ESPN's reasons five through three are practically a class in moral relativism. There was rampant corruption and gambling in society. Comiskey was a tightwad. There was no whistleblower to substantiate all the rumors.

Put another way, society made me do it, you made me do it, somebody shoulda stopped me. That didn't wash with the nuns or the brothers, it didn't wash with my folks, and hey, ESPN, it doesn't wash with me.

I think Curt Flood is a national hero. The crap that baseball owners pulled year after year after year is just inexcuseable. I will almost always side with the union against the cabal of owners and Bud "Satan sold his soul to me" Selig. But a bad situation makes it OK to do a bad thing? Not hardly.

Reason two almost holds water. The game stats are inconclusive. But then again, it's supposed to be hard to see something you don't want to get caught doing. And it doesn't address the fact that multiple players did confess.

Reason Number One, according to ESPN, is that the players were acquitted of defrauding Comiskey and the White Sox and the public. But all this proves is that throwing a sporting event wasn't actually illegal in Chicago in 1919. There are lots of things which are immoral which there aren't (and often shouldn't be) laws against. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be consequences.

For reminding us that sports are more complex than the flashbulb memories we carry around as tokens, a pat on the back to ESPN. But for excusing flat-out lying, a big dope slap to the back of their corporate head.

12 Comments:

Blogger tommyspoon said...

My cousins were the Production Designers on "Eight Men Out", so I have a very interesting take on the Black Sox Scandal.

This wasn't a scandal, it was a 14-car pileup waiting to happen. Baseball was so corrupt back then that it makes today's brouhaha over steroids look silly. Does that excuse anyone involved? No, but it also doesn't give any party involved the right to lord their supposed "innocence" over the other parties' heads.

And I still believe that Shoeless Joe Jackson is innocent. Don't bother trying to convince me otherwise.

6:51 AM, May 24, 2005  
Blogger tommyspoon said...

"Is She Really Going Out With Him?" by Joe Jackson off the Look Sharp! album.

So what's my "no prize"?

8:44 AM, May 24, 2005  
Blogger John B. said...

I am just behind tommy spoon with the answer...always second.

I do own the album...yes, the record in my music collection!

9:21 AM, May 24, 2005  
Blogger lemming said...

Joe Jackson! The Kokes did an arrangement, too!

I dislike being cynical generally, but what you've said about this ESPN program might change my mind...

2:38 PM, May 24, 2005  
Blogger Reggiemonster said...

We all know it's Joe Jackson, but only a couple of us have actualy seen Murph perform this song sober....

4:00 PM, May 24, 2005  
Blogger TeacherRefPoet said...

Spoon,

I gave up on "Don't Blame..." when they actually did a show on "Don't Blame John McEnroe for his on-court antics."

John McEnroe was an adult. If he's not responsible for his behavior, who the hell is?

Nice referral to Joe Jackson in a post that referred to a different Joe Jackson.

12:59 AM, May 25, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real question is this: which version of the Joe Jackson tune is it (he's done several versions, and a treat at live shows is to see how he'll mix it up...)

And which version does Joe do sober?

3:38 PM, May 25, 2005  
Blogger Hugh said...

The real problem is that ESPN has gone all MTV, that is, all "content" and no sports. It's cheaper to produce crap like "You Can't Blame" and "Stump the Schwab" rather than carry a live feed of important sporting events like the UEFA Cup. Heck, I'd rather watch the original ESPN-type programming like Australian Rules Football than "The Schwab" (whose nickname proves that he's a class-A loser).

"Pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street."

3:46 PM, May 25, 2005  
Blogger Joe said...

One Primacy No Prize to Spoon, for being first, one Completeness No Prize for TRP for pointing out the Joe Jackson - Shoeless Joe parallelism, and a general I'm In A Good Mood No Prize to everyone else.

Spoon, all you get with a No Prize is a guy with greying hair and a bad goatee yelling "Excelsior" at you. Sorry about that. Except that this weekend only, they are exchangeable for a free drink at my house. Must be present to win.

Hugh, I'd rather watch a straight day of strangers playing poker than five minutes of that "football" where you can't use your hands or score a field goal.

And, um, Reggie? Why am I getting a cold and frightened feeling that there's video evidence of this happening?

5:35 PM, May 25, 2005  
Blogger TeacherRefPoet said...

I like soccer.

I like the Schwab.

I even liked Dream Job.

I guess I just like ESPN.

9:16 PM, May 25, 2005  
Blogger Swankette said...

I can say, with some authority, that shoes like Dream Job and Stump the Schwab make ESPN entertaining for those of us who are less than obsessive about our sports-viewing, so their sports-viewing partners can watch ESPN 24/7.

If Chris Berman did commentary for the random sports I could maybe handle that, but just because I get into the wacky nicknames he gives to everyone.

1:55 AM, May 26, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I tell you I saw Joe Jackson do that song live not more than three weeks ago? Or that the concert encore - with Todd Rundgren and an absolutely astonishing string quartet by the a woefully unfortunate music-nerd name of f-hole - was a stage-scorching version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"?

Big points for the monologue - I'm not sure it can ever really be wrong to quote that one.

--Q, who has a blog but cannot remember the password to it

11:30 AM, May 26, 2005  

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