Ethics and sportsmanship. Two of my favorite topics and my favorite blog dealing with the subject is “Ethics Alarms”. This isn’t a baseball blog, or even a sports blog for that matter, but I find myself quoting it often and I’m always able to learn from it. In this blog he talks about doing the right thing and what interested me most was, even if he hadn’t done the right thing, most fans would never have noticed. Chalk one up for another great article from Ethics Alarms’ Jack Marshall, ethicist, lawyer, and the president of ProEthics, Ltd., trying to keep us on the straight and narrow and reminding us there still is such a thing.
There was another baseball Ethics Hero who emerged on the last day of the regular season yesterday. File it under “Sportsmanship.”
Houston Astros secondbaseman Jose Altuve (at less than 5′ 5″, the shortest athlete in a major professional sport) began the day hitting .340, three points ahead of the Tigers’ Victor Martinez, who was at .337. Even with all the new stats and metrics showing that batting average alone is not the best measure of a baseball player’s offensive value, a league batting championship remains the most prestigious of individual titles, putting a player in the record books with the likes of Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Rogers Hornsby, George Brett, Ichiro Suzuki and Tony Gwynn. It’s still a big deal. If Altuve didn’t play in Houston’s meaningless last game, Martinez would have to go 3-for-3 to pass him, giving the DH a narrow .3407 average compared with Altuve’s .3399. By…
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Point well taken. To Altuve’s credit, he went against the wishes of his manager in asking to be in the line-up while his now fired manager was saying “Cm’on take the crown!” . And he delivered! Good for him….and good for baseball. It reminded me of the day way back when Ted Williams could have taken the last day of the season off to enlist in baseball immortality and hit .400 (the last man to do it) in a season. Uh-uh….he takes the field and RAISES his average to .406. It’s good to see that in Altuve………… yes……they DO make ’em like that (still).
Conversely, we have Justin Morneau taking the NL batting crown while merely pinch hitting in his final game with an at-bat that resulted in a weak ground ball out to second. And by the way, did you notice how Morneau’s batting average soared following sub-mediocre years in Minnesota when he met the jet stream in Denver?
They should trade him to the Mets and see what he can do in wind stream and cavernous dimensions plagued Citi Field. Hello, David Wright. But, that’s a whole other story (with David Wright), isn’t it?