Baseball and Philosophy: Thinking outside the Batter's Box

By Eric Bronson | Go to book overview

BOTTOM OF THE FOURTH
8 There's No Lying In
Baseball (Wink, Wink)

MARK J. HAMILTON

In the film A League of Their Own, team manager Jimmy Dugan (played by Tom Hanks) tells an upset right-fielder Evelyn (played by Bitty Schram), “There's no crying in baseball.” But how about lying, Tom? Is there lying in baseball?

It has been said that good sport maximizes effort, skill, and strategy. But what should be included in strategy? Many sports, and baseball may be the best at it, provide great opportunities for deception and lying. How has lying as a form of deception been mastered in the art of baseball strategy? To what extent should deception be an acceptable part of baseball and are there forms of deception or lying that are permissible, and other forms which are illegal to the game or immoral in their practice? Are plays of deception good strategy or bad sport? This examination of these questions begins by meeting up with Diogenes and his lantern in the fourth century B.C.E., plunging through the darkened streets of Athens looking for an honest person.1 Let's transport him to the twenty-first century to see if he can find an honest person in the dugouts of Fenway Park, Jacobs Field, Yankee Stadium, or your local sandlot.

Is honesty an essential part of good sport? If good sport is simply following the rules of the game, then ideas like honesty,

1 Tradition has it that Diogenes, an ancient Greek Cynic philosopher, traveled
around even in daylight with a lit lantern searching for an honest man.

-126-

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