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Should High School Baseball Coach Be "Sick to His Stomach" Over His Team's 82-0 Victory?

Robert Dimuro

Posted on April 21, 2018 18:04

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The epitome of guilt, grief, and shame, taken too far.

"Sick to my stomach" is how Coach Steve Carvalho of the Old Rochester Bulldogs feels after his team's historic victory last weekend. While it is common for sports leagues at the high school level to have a "mercy rule" (ending the game after a large enough score differential), the umpires at this particular game insisted that the game must be played five innings -- enough time for the Bulldogs to compile 82 runs.

As a result, the game is marred by controversy. The news coverage I've seen from multiple sources portrays the opposing players to be victims of unsportsmanlike conduct from Coach Carvalho and his players. However, as the facts demonstrate, this sentiment is completely unfounded and, more deeply, reveals a perversion of moral values on the part of those who share it.

The perversion can be broken down into two parts. First is the concept that, at some level, everyone is a winner. Second is the implicitly accepted rule that it’s immoral to boast superiority in any fashion -- whether physically, athletically, intellectually, or even morally.

In my opinion, this is part of a cultural change that has been establishing itself gradually over the course of decades. It is hard to imagine this type of a reaction to a historically large victory on the part of the victors 100 or even 50 years ago. Some intellectuals, like Dr. Jordan Peterson, would likely ascribe this phenomenon to postmodernism – a worldview that dispenses with objective truths and interprets life largely through the narrative of “oppressor vs. oppressed”. It follows that, regardless of the facts about the game that was played, the game is viewed through this narrative.

The fact is that Coach Carvalho clearly did everything he could to ensure that he was not viewed as the oppressor. Initially, he mistakenly scheduled a game with the much weaker of the two Cristo Rey baseball teams, confusing the two since both schools share the same name.

Nonetheless, both teams agreed to play and the game was played as scheduled. After a 12-run first inning, the coach quickly realized there was something wrong and pleaded with the umpires to end the game. He even suggested that his players swing at anything close to the strike zone and regrets not going further by instructing them to take third strikes.

The way I see it, Coach Carvalho and the Bulldogs did nothing immoral. In Carvalho’s own words, he acknowledged that the other team “seemed very content with just being out there and playing baseball”.

In other words, the other team had enough pride and maturity not to worry about the score and enjoy playing against a much better team while practicing their skills. After all, they could have forfeited but chose not to. In turn, the Bulldogs should have showed them the respect they deserved by playing their best baseball. That would have been the moral thing to do.

Robert Dimuro

Posted on April 21, 2018 18:04

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