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