Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Little Professional Courtesy

We all make mistakes in life, be they professional and/or personal. If we didn't, we'd all be married to the first guy or girl we ever dated. We would have aced every test in school. We would wake up every day and never make an error of any kind at our job or in our personal lives. It is said that to err is human. We accept this notion. Athletes make mistakes all the time on the field. They are called errors, strikeouts, home runs, touchdowns, interceptions, fouls, goals allowed and so on. While we may get initially angry when a player on our favorite team makes an error, we get over it.

Fans make errors, too. We routinely blame the wrong player for a negative outcome. For some reason, game 6 of the 1986 World Series is remembered as the "Buckner Game". It's been 23 years and I'll bet that if you ask 100 people under the age of 30 about that game, more than 50 of them would say the following, "The Red Sox would have won that game if not for Buckner's error". Really? Because the last time I checked, when two teams have the same number of runs at the end of the 10th inning, they play on. The Sox were NOT leading when Mookie Wilson hit the ground ball that went through Buckner's legs. The score was tied. So, had Buckner fielded the ball cleanly and stepped on first for the out......the Red Sox would not have been World Champions. At least not at that moment. The fact that has magically gotten swept under the rug for the past 23 years is that the Red Sox had a 5-3 lead in the 10th inning and Calvin Schiraldi and Bob Stanley, NOT Bill Buckner, let it slip away. First, Schiraldi blew the lead in the 8th inning, but somehow was still in the game in the 10th. After he could not get the final out (the Mets were down to their final strike numerous times), the Sox summoned Bob Stanley to finish the job (about 20 minutes too late). Stanley promptly threw a wild pitch that Kevin Mitchell scored on to tie the game. All that happened before the ball went through Buckner's legs.

Similarly, in 2003, Cubs fans refer to game 6 of the NLCS as the "Bartman Game". With the Cubs 5 outs from the World Series, a fly ball was hit into the stands. Steve Bartman reached for it, and prevented Moises Alou from catching the ball. Several side notes here - first, the ball was in the stands. This means Bartman had as much right to the ball as Alou did. Second, Alou had to jump and reach to get the ball. Even had Bartman not made a play on the ball, I don't think Alou catches it anyway. And the biggest fact that is overlooked by Cubs fans that they seemingly always "accidentally" leave out when telling the story is that before the Marlins would take the lead, the very next hitter up hit a routine ground ball to shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Gonzalez, who was among the league leaders in best fielding percentage. And he proceeded to boot the inning ending grounder. A double play ball that would have ended the inning and probably sent the Cubs to the World Series. But Cubs fans would rather blame a fan than the real culprit, Alex Gonzalez. Which is probably why, over the past 6 years, Cubs fans have gone from being the loveable losers to just the plain old losers.

But again, errors are part of life. We all make them. I have made my fair share already in the short time I have been writing my blogs. And when they are brought to my attention, I correct the error and say thank you to the person who pointed it out. It's called courtesy. I also don't have the luxury of fact checkers and editors, so I think I may make my fair share of errors until I hit the big time. Why do I mention this? Great question, glad you asked. Yesterday, I was reading an article on a website (all names remain anonymous to protect the guilty) and they had made several errors in the article. I figured it would get caught eventually - surely one of the fact checkers or editors would notice the error. I waited and checked. Hours and hours went by. Still the error went uncorrected. Finally, some six hours later, I took it upon myself to email the writer of the article his error. And voi la, not 20 minutes after I emailed him, I checked the site and the article was corrected. Now, was I expecting a footnote saying, "error corrected by David Krakower, and you can read his sports blog at"? No, I'm vain, but not that vain. But did I even get an email response saying thank you? A simple, "hey, good looking out." Nope. Nada. Zip. Zilch. He passed it off as though he figured it out- or one of his editors did, without ever saying thanks for correcting a fairly egregious error.

So, if you see any errors in my blogs, please let me know. I'll correct them. And I'll say thank you. I may even give you a footnote.

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