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Thursday, September 16, 2010
Indict Baseball rather than Jeter

I was waiting for a relatively sensitive take on this thing, for me to piggyback on. So I'm grateful to Alex Remington:
Apparently there aren't any rules in the book about lying to an umpire, or faking an injury. So one might argue that Jeter didn't actually cheat. But yes, he certainly lied. And I will argue, again, that there should be a rule allowing for the punishment of such things.

Why? Because Jeter's behavior strikes at the very heart of fair play. It wasn't fair that Jeter was awarded first base. It wasn't fair to pitcher Chad Qualls, or to Qualls' teammates or his manager or to the thousands of Rays fans watching and listening to the evening's dramatic events.

It doesn't mean that Jeter did something wrong. By the standards of professional baseball as it's played, he was behaving exactly as his teammates and manager and fans want him to behave.

Predictably, my friends in the blogosphere first assumed that newspaper writers and ex-newspaper writers would jump on Jeter, then jumped on the newspaper writers (and ex-newspaper) writers for doing just that. Instead of looking at what Jeter's actions mean for Baseball, we use this incident as an occasion to revisit old rivalries.

Hey, old rivalries are endlessly entertaining. But Jeter's play-acting gives us another, more important chance to revisit Baseball's failure to punish players for doing things that in almost any other quarter would be considered disreputable.