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Rules of the Game

Is Bill James losing it? Check out this rambling essay for Slate and you tell me.


1 Ben   ~  Sep 13, 2010 2:58 pm

Maybe. But it's awesome anyway.

2 rbj   ~  Sep 13, 2010 3:24 pm

Even great players have 0-4, 3K days.

I get the gist of his argument -- that we shouldn't be hidebound to rules because that dampens down creativity. But it doesn't follow that because Babe broke some rules (such as going for home runs) that he'd break others. Babe was a Catholic, and even though he separated from his wife, he didn't get divorced -- because that went against Catholic teachings.

3 monkeypants   ~  Sep 13, 2010 3:24 pm

0) yeah, that was gobbledegook, no matter where one stands on the main issue he was discussing. I sort of tuned out once he made the vapid-verging-on-idiotic comparison between steroid use and:

Ruth knew perfectly well that he wasn't supposed to eat eight or 10 hot dogs between the games of a doubleheader, but he did it anyway.

4 NoamSane   ~  Sep 13, 2010 3:35 pm

That essay makes perfect sense to me. As usual Bill James is ahead of the curve.

5 MDF   ~  Sep 13, 2010 3:43 pm

I'm with Bill.

6 bp1   ~  Sep 13, 2010 3:56 pm

There is a difference between breaking rules (drinking or juicing) and intentionally committing perjury.

Clemens and Bonds are not "going to jail" for using steroids. They're going to jail because they lied under oath. Whether or not they belonged in those situations is another topic, but they were sworn in regardless and they intentionally lied about what they did (or so the gov't says).

Bill's argument misses that point.

7 NoamSane   ~  Sep 13, 2010 4:00 pm

[6] Bill's argument misses that point not at all. His point is: Let's go after the rule-breakers that are actually doing real harm to something of importance. He's saying that Clemens and Bonds should never be put in the position of being under oath, because there are much greater dangers to society to be expending energy and dollars fighting than athletes using PEDs.

8 NoamSane   ~  Sep 13, 2010 4:03 pm

continuing [7]
Bill James is saying:
Everyone knew Babe Ruth was repeatedly breaking the laws of Prohibition. Would we have been better off if the authorities had gone after him and jailed him? He was a horrible influence on the youth of America after all.

9 boslaw   ~  Sep 13, 2010 5:31 pm

Bill James is saying that you shouldn't eat 10 hot dogs between games of a double header and that serious crime is serious.

That was one of the worst essays I've read in a long time.

10 The Hawk   ~  Sep 13, 2010 6:12 pm

I think Congress has time for some baseball hearings. People act like they can't squeeze in some grandstanding about the national pastime between their grandstanding about other shit.

None of those ballplayers needed to show up, least of all Roger Clemens.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver