October 29, 2007

Mercy Rule?

I'm not much of a football fan. I used to dislike football and was disinterested. Now I have graduated to uninterested. I'll watch part of a game with family now and again, basically just to be with family, but you'll never see me turn on a game unless, perhaps, it's to see the end of the Super Bowl when the Pats are playing.

I say that mainly to set things straight, so nobody thinks I'm a football fan poseur.

I do have an interest, though in people. And in New England. And I did see the beginning of the Pats vs. Redskins game on Sunday. And Ryan mentioned that, late in the game, the Pats were still throwing touchdowns until the score ended at genocidal 52-7.

Apparently, this scoring disparity has caused a ruckus. Specifically, with Washington Redskin Randall Godfrey who is quoted as saying

"I told [Pats coach Belichick], 'You need to show some respect for the game.' You just don't do that. I don't care how bad it is. You're up 35 points and you're still throwing deep? That's no respect."

Is this what football is all about? I can completely understand the argument that you might not keep trying to complete these long passes for the sake of going easy on your team. Injuries are commonplace in professional sports, and the course of a season can easily change when key players are hurt.

But going easy on the other team? I've never heard of that.

The point of a competition is not to get to a point where you have the luxury of resting, and then resting. The point is to defeat the other team. You do it fairly, and within the rules of the game.

Is it respectful to the other team to play in such a way as to try not to score any more goals? I can think of two ways I can think of that your play can show a lack of respect. Firstly, if you play dirty or unnecessarily roughly, that shows a lack of respect. It means not meeting the other team in a fair competition where you test skill against skill. That would be a lack of respect.

Secondly, if you were to intentionally go easy on the other team, that would show you had little opinion of their abilities. There's a lack of respect.

So, in my estimation, Godfrey is calling to be respected by being treated like a team that doesn't belong on the field with the Patriots. If the Redskins feel like they should be treated that way, then they have the option not to be on the field with the Patriots. Forfeit the game and save everyone some time.

This is even more mind-boggling, considering that I heard, at the beginning of the game, one of the announcers saying that the Redskins were trying to be extremely rough with the Patriots receivers. The strategy was, and I'm paraphrasing here, to make the receivers pay for it every time they touched the ball, so that they might eventually flinch or hesitate whenever they were about to catch a pass. I guess that's within the rules of the game, but that's sportsmanlike and trying to make touchdowns isn't?

What nutty things some losing teams say.

Posted by James at October 29, 2007 8:24 PM
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Comments

Sportsmanlike is not forcing the other team, who is already essentially defeated, to continue playing all out when they have no chance at winning.

The scuttlebutt on the football boards is that Belichick did it more as a middle finger to the NFL... if they were going to bust him for the signal stealing, then he was going to do everything EXACTLY as the rules state with no grey areas.

And it was more than just playing to the best of your abilities... 11 minutes left, 41 points up, and you go for it on 4th and short? That isn't something you'd normally do, so unless you are trying to rub someone's face in a defeat, why are you doing it?

The mercy issue is less a by-the-rules idea as it is a polite convention of society. And in this era where parents are getting more and more insanely competitive and NASTY, I think that showing a bit more gentlemanly behavior as an example on Sundays would show a lot of class.

Posted by: pippa at October 29, 2007 11:09 PM

I appreciate the explanation -- at least that explains some history. But still I just don't see it the same way.

Anything stopping them from just sitting down on the grass? Did they ask if they could go home? Nobody's forcing anybody to do anything.

These guys get paid quite a bit to be out there making touchdowns. They're not saving lives, discovering a new element or even cleaning off the lunch table at your kid's school (you know, useful stuff). It's a TV show.

They get paid enough that it's pretty ridiculous to hear them complaining about losing really badly vs. losing not so badly.

It sounds more to me like people are just pissed off at Belichick. Or that the sportsmanlike strategy of "deal physical pain to the receivers" didn't work. I know that's not just something the Redskins made up, but that's part of the point. Football is a brutal sport.

If the Redskins have a problem with losing badly, a more appropriate recourse than whining about it is playing better. If they can't do that, I guess we can make whining into a new sport, but I just don't think it's as entertaining. And you don't need any special skills to whine, so the paycheck should come way down.

It might be possible to get me to agree that Belichick should have the team go easy when they're that far ahead. Certainly for reasons of preventing injuries. And I agree, it would be nice to the other team not to pummel them halfway to the Earth's core. But I'm not sure it's within a football team's job description to be nice (other than to not intentionally injure the other team). I know it's not in a football player's job description to ask the other team not to beat them so bad.

I just don't see how anyone can take a player seriously after he complains that the other team shouldn't continue to try to score on them. Even if it were indisputably true.

Posted by: James at October 30, 2007 2:36 AM

To be clear, I believe that what you suggest is plausible -- that Belichick wants dramatic defeats because he is still smarting from his punishment. Neither of us can prove it, but it might be true.

If his "revenge" is to score really high in games, I think it is better to resolve your issues within the rules on the field rather than off.

If, on the other hand, he's just being reckless, then bad coaching will eventually catch up with him. I guess the season will be the test of that theory. And any criticism from me will be superfluous at that point.

The other side of this issue, the one I took issue with, was Godfrey's public reaction. Which I find absurd.

Posted by: James at October 30, 2007 2:55 AM

NFL's greatest comeback - Bills down 32 points in AFC wildcard game against the Houston Oilers, 1993:

http://www.profootballhof.com/history/decades/1990s/greatest_comeback.jsp

Never stop fighting 'til the fight is done!

Posted by: mjfrombuffalo at October 30, 2007 7:38 AM

I did see the end of this game, and I did feel a little sorry for the Redskins, but I feel less sorry for them now. I believe that it's sporting to do your best if that's what you feel like doing, but not at all sporting to suggest that your opponent do otherwise. Have some pride, for crying out loud.

I would be outraged if someone from a team I supported said something like that. If that's the way they feel, why even bother finishing the game. Just forfeit and go home early. That'd be only slightly more pathetic, in my book. And only slightly more disrespectful to the game and to their fans. It's not a kids' league. These are professionals who are supposed to do their work without whining about it.

Having said that, I'm sure it wouldn't have killed the Patriots to take it easy. But I don't feel that it's disrespectful or rubbing someone's face in it to do your best. In fact, I think I would feel a lot more embarrassed about a defeat if my opponent was holding back.

Posted by: Julie at October 30, 2007 10:54 AM

The Washington Redskins and Randall Godfrey need to stop whining like babies. Redskins: if you don't want to get beaten badly, make some touchdowns! You have one of the highest payrolls and there is no reason why you don't have one of the best defenses in the league.
Also, the Pats have not beaten the Redskins since 1972. So there might have been a little sweet revenge in there somewhere.

Posted by: Sara at October 30, 2007 11:07 AM

When a team is up by 41 points, it is wrong to go for it on 4th and 1 in order to get the touchdown rather than settle for a field goal.

Baseball has a few unwritten rules, and if a team was up 10-1 and a hitter for the winning team tried to bunt late in the game, no question one of the batters would be intentionally hit by a pitch. Same would be true if someone stole a base late in the game with such a lead. It doesn't mean you stop trying to hit and get on base, but you stop doing the "extra" stuff.

If the Patriots keep it up, they will either 1) suffer an unnecessarily devastating injury or
2) an opponent will cause an injury.

Certainly, one of these linebackers has to man up, take the 15 yard penalty, ejection from the game, and the fine from the league and take Tom Brady out. If this were to happen, I would certainly donate to the cause.

Posted by: Now a Colts Fan at October 30, 2007 11:07 AM

Yeah, that's sportsmanlike. Back in the time of the neanderthals.

Posted by: James at October 30, 2007 11:15 AM

The Pats are taking the position that if defenses have a problem with the number of points being scored, that the defenses should do something to stop them.

Causing a deliberate injury is an avenue to pursue the ends. Haven't you guys ever seen the movie the Mighty Ducks when Adam Banks gets slashed in the wrist?

If Pats dont want this neanderthal-like reaction, they should not provoke large men on steroids.

Posted by: Colts Fan at October 30, 2007 11:44 AM

If I don't want a neanderthal-like reaction, I shouldn't argue with football fans.

Posted by: James at October 30, 2007 11:57 AM

BTW - that may very well be a realistic prediction. Some Neanderthal is going to intentionally injure Tom Brady.

Recognizing that may simply be realistic. But approving of it is reprehensible.

Posted by: James at October 30, 2007 12:50 PM

Now see, if anyone is going to kick Tom Brady's ass, I'd like it to be Bridget Moynihan's dad. But that's just me.

Posted by: pippa at October 30, 2007 1:04 PM

Whole different ballgame. Hey, maybe the Redskins should put him on their defense.

Posted by: James at October 30, 2007 1:12 PM

Apparently it couldn 't hurt.
Putting Briget Mynihan's dad on their defense that is.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at October 30, 2007 1:24 PM

Where's that *rimshot* WAV file when we need it?

Posted by: James at October 30, 2007 1:29 PM

Just say
Ba dump bump

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at October 30, 2007 1:48 PM

Wow, this is the Tonya Harding approach to sportsmanship, I think. "If you're going to try hard and be better than me, then I'm going to break your kneecaps."

Posted by: Maggie at October 30, 2007 3:00 PM

Stupid spam filter made me have to approve MJ's comment.

Scroll up or click this link.

Posted by: James at October 30, 2007 3:31 PM

Well, I was gonna say... certainly the Sox can be up by 10 and still lose, or maybe that's just my perception... :-P

Posted by: Maggie at October 30, 2007 3:48 PM

Even the example of the Red Sox being up by 10 in the late innings (7-9) is inappropriate because it is conceivable that the team can still lose - especially with Gagne on the mound. The point is that during that stage of the game players don't try to bunt or steal bases.

Football is different because coming back from a 41 point deficit in the final quarter is impossible simply because after every score, you must kick the ball to the opposing team. The possibility of recovering 6 consecutive onside kicks is not very likely. If your defense has been beaten up for 3 quarters, there is nothing to suggest that it will suddenly spark and recover fumbles or interceptions.

The mention of the Bills-Oilers game is not relevant. First, the Redskins were not going to come back from a 41 point deficit in a regular season game. The rules are different for the playoffs. Second, in that game the score was 28-3 at halftime and it was the third quarter where Buffalo scored 28 points. Why the Oilers decided to give up in the 3rd quarter - I dunno. My point is there is a difference in the timing of the mercy - which in the case of the Pats who were relentless even in the 4th quarter.

A previous comment states that an intentional injury to Tom Brady is indeed a realistic prediction, but approval is reprehensible. This happens in sports all the time. As I mentioned in my previous post, throwing an intentional pitch at a batter is a way that teams self-police the unwritten rules of baseball. In basketball, if a team is up by a significant amount and a player tries an unnecessary slam dunk, then the opposing player commits a flagrant foul to teach that player some respect.

The final point is that playing the star players when it is not necessary makes them more susceptible to injury and it would be very satisfying to me to see Brady break his arm on a sack while marching up the field with a 35 point lead.

What comes around goes around and God Bless America!

Posted by: Colts Fan at October 30, 2007 5:36 PM

From ESPN.com .....

"The issue for us is not running up the score -- it's risking Tom Brady's health during times when the game no longer is in doubt. Bill Belichick may be the best coach in the league, but that sure seems like a stupid, stubborn move."

An injury to Tom Brady can turn a record-setting season into a quick playoff exit. I can only wish that my prediction comes true.

Posted by: COLTS FAN at October 30, 2007 5:44 PM

Colts fan:

If the other teams don't like being absolutely decimated and embarrassed by the score, then the other teams should try harder.

To address your point of unwritten rules, in the NFL there are a number of unwritten rules regarding acceptable levels of cheating to acquire signals and calls.

The Jets bitched, the Pats got pinched and now they are destroying everyone.

But, let's more specifically address the running up of the score against the 'Skins: of course the score was run up. The back up quarter back and scored his first NFL touchdown, ever. This is more a testament to how awful the Redskins are, as well as every other team.

If you have second/third string offensive guys, and big, slow and old (Seau) defensive guys scoring more touchdowns than the opposing team, the score should reflect the pure awfulness of said opposing team.

And on that note, Peyton Manning sucks.

Posted by: Derek at October 30, 2007 6:01 PM

Anonymous Rockies/Colts Fan:

You predict the Rockies are going to pummel the Red Sox and then you expect your opinion to be taken seriously on sports?

Your wish that Tom Brady get hurt says something about you, not the Patriots.

Posted by: James at October 30, 2007 8:03 PM

First, I was not really a Rockies fan, I was simply being cantankerous.

Second, let's not be so self-righteous here. If a Red Sox pitcher (Bronson Arroyo) intentionally hit a rival batter(A-Rod) many in Red Sox Nation would approve and even cheer such a move.

And how someone can take pleasure in an attempt to injure A-Rod but be so appalled if the beloved Tom Brady might be injured, must be a result of cognitive dissonance.

Posted by: Colts Fan at October 30, 2007 8:42 PM

That is some airtight logic. (I.e., the result of oxygen deprivation.)

Posted by: Julie at October 30, 2007 11:21 PM

Well, of course you weren't a Rockies fan.

Posted by: James at October 30, 2007 11:33 PM

I believe more than just "Red Sox Nation" approves of A-Rod being hit by a ball.

Why?

He sucks. At life.

Posted by: Derek at October 31, 2007 9:17 AM

Derek is incorrigible.

Posted by: James at October 31, 2007 10:05 AM

For shame Derek, how dare you approve of A-Rod being hit by a baseball!

...."approving of it is reprehensible."

Why is injuring one athlete reprehensible while injuring another athlete is widely approved?

Posted by: Colts Fan at October 31, 2007 10:45 AM

Well for one thing Derek is quite obviously not serious (sorry for spoiling that Derek) and you appear to be promoting going out and intentionally injuring someone.

Comparing hitting someone in the fanny with a fastball and intentionally injuring someone is not the same thing. I don't beleive it's common for pitchers to throw at A-Rod's head and I don't thinking anyone would cheer if he was laying in the batter's box unconsious.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at October 31, 2007 11:09 AM

Rockies/Colts/Whoever-is-convenient fan,

You are confusing "lots of people" with the people you're talking to on this blog. Your support of injuring people -- any time, ever -- is disgusting.

If somebody breaks the arm of the quarterback on the winning team, that's being a frustrated, out-of-control LOSER. A sore loser. It's not some kind of "self-policing" or adjustment for breaking a social rule. Sports have very clear rules. Anybody who thinks there's an unwritten rule that involves injuring other players does not know the meaning of sportsmanship and should not be in the game.

This is professional sports, not the local "fun league" soccer game, where if the teams are badly matched, the winning team lets the poor team score a few. When your salary is absurdly out of skew with your value to society, then you take the bad with the good and not whine like a sorry-ass loser when you screw up. Or quit and sell used cars.

Maggie

Posted by: Maggie at October 31, 2007 11:20 AM

...if a team was up 10-1 and a hitter for the winning team tried to bunt late in the game, no question one of the batters would be intentionally hit by a pitch.

I guess I've just not noticed that, Colts Fan. Ifthis is true--and I'm not sure you're right--then your using this "tit for tat" justifications are disturbing.

Posted by: Patti M. at October 31, 2007 11:55 AM

"You predict the Rockies are going to pummel the Red Sox and then you expect your opinion to be taken seriously on sports?"

If being wrong once means that one's opinion has no value, gosh, no one could have an opinion on anything. This is particularly troubling since my endorsement of the Rockies was not even legit, which was obvious... "Well, of course you weren't a Rockies fan."

Doctors misdiagnose clients sometimes, Meteorologists are wrong about the weather sometimes, Judges are overruled on appeal sometimes... I don't see how a PRETEND opinion about the Rockies invalidates any of my opinions about sports.

"Anybody who thinks there's an unwritten rule that involves injuring other players does not know the meaning of sportsmanship and should not be in the game."

Well, that may be true in the jurisdiction of La La Land, but it's not what happens in sports. In fact, this happens in baseball all the time. If your teammate gets hit by an irresponsible pitch, it is the duty of the pitcher to hit a batter of the opposing team. Failure to do so would lead to much hostility from the pitcher's teammate.

If a pitcher were to take a "moral" stand and never intentionally hit an opposing batter, it would leave his teammates susceptible to injury from wayward pitches.

The people here are Red Sox fans, and as such, would cheer if a high profile Yankee such as A-Rod was hit by a pitch. If Beckett, Schilling or Papelbon intentionally hit A-Rod or Jeter with a pitch, you would NOT admonish those actions. As a Red Sox fan, you would not find those actions reprehensible.

Let's not take the clear line view that these actions are abhorrent. In sports and in life, what is right and wrong depends on what side of the issue you are on, which is why injuring a Yankee is ok but injuring a Patriot is not.

Nowhere did I advocate to let the poor team score a few. The proper football etiquette when the game is secure is to run the ball which lets the clock continue to run and not stop like an incomplete pass. It is not hard to punt the ball when leading by 41 points.

There are a couple of articles on this issue currently on SI.com. The main point of which is that leaving the starters late in the game subjects them to the unnecessary risk of injury AND leaves them susceptible to a deliberate injury from an opponent.

When this injury occurs, you can kiss that Super Bowl victory parade goodbye. If the Patriots are too stubborn to realize this risk of injury, then perhaps an injury would certainly put them in their place.

Finally, other than risk of injury, there is a more practical reason why a team shouldn't run up the score. By running additional plays, you are giving your opponents additional opportunities to review your plays and play-calling and hence, the opportunity to figure it out and trying to stop it. The point is, the team may reveal information that can come back to haunt them later.

And if a team understands the importance of film footage, it should be the Patriots!!!

Posted by: COLTS FAN at October 31, 2007 12:09 PM

"This is particularly troubling since my endorsement of the Rockies was not even legit,"

See, what I find amusing is that, in light of this information, you expect anyone to take you seriously.


"Well, that may be true in the jurisdiction of La La Land,"

Violent people are often delusional, believing that their violent proclivities are normal.

"The people here are Red Sox fans, and as such, would cheer if a high profile Yankee such as A-Rod was hit by a pitch."

Hey, thanks for making my point!

But sorry, no. Some people have that "moral" thing down pat and don't endorse violence even when it's the other team. Hard to believe, I know. Take some time to wrap your mind around it.

"In sports and in life, what is right and wrong depends on what side of the issue you are on,"

Ouch, really scary.

Maggie

Posted by: Maggie at October 31, 2007 12:17 PM

We seem to be going around in circles here....

I think the main contention is that the other comments are writing about how sports should function in an ideal world, and I am taking a realistic approach to what occurs on the field.

Maggie, I am sure that some people don't ever endorse violence, even against the other team - but that is not a sentiment that is found in sports. I don't see the causal connection to infer that I am a violent person, which I am certainly not.

In sports it is more like, if you hurt "my guys" you are bad and anything "my guys" do is justified. It is why fans can cheer a player one year and then boo him when he is on an opposing team or boo a player one year and cheer for him when he joins your team.

I don't think these are really hard concepts to understand. If a team had won a game against the Patriots by using unauthorized film, as a Patriots fan, would you not be upset and even wish the league would forfeit that game and give the Pats the victory?

Posted by: Colts Fan Fan at October 31, 2007 12:43 PM

The voice of sports has spoken. All hail the voice of sports.

Posted by: Maggie at October 31, 2007 1:10 PM

These aren't hard concepts to understand. If the price of bread goes up by 20 cents a loaf, then of course we all should advocate injuring players, and even offer to financially support it! It follows. Directly, even.

And post anonymously to blogs, and lie about our team affiliation, and equate violence with taking a few pictures.

Posted by: James at October 31, 2007 1:25 PM

Arguments here tend to migrate to the extreme. One person says my opinion merits no value while another proclaims me to be the voice of sports.

To say that there should not be any violence in sports is idealistic and clearly not what really happens, but when I point this out, an inference is made that I am a delusional, violent person.

If the Pats were to lose a game to a team that used unauthorized footage, Pats fans would be outraged. However, since it was the Pats that used footage inappropriately, Pats fans rushed to the defense of Coach Belichick.

Where you sit is where you stand.

Posted by: Colts Fan at October 31, 2007 1:29 PM

Clearly if a linebacker was fined for injuring Brady, I would not contribute to help pay the fine for 2 logical reasons:

1) A millionaire athlete does not need financial assistance to pay the fine and
2) Even if I wanted to, it would take quite a bit of work to even find the address of an athlete to even mail the check.

Again, never did I equate violence to taking a few pictures. Rather, my point was that to most, but not all, sports fans react to issues depending on whether or not it benefits or hurts their team. The same event will draw 2 different reactions because of the interest the fan has in the team.

Remember when T.O. was a Niner and went to the midfield star in Dallas after a touchdown and was subsequently levelled by a defender?
Disrespecting a rival team like that on their home field merited him getting knocked on his butt. But now that he is a Cowboy, the fans love him. As a Cowboy, if T.O. scores a touchdown, he can go to the star all he wants to.

And finally, all posts here are anonymous. I do not know if Maggie is "Maggie" or is James is "James." Even is I used a name such as Kenny, Kyle, Stan, or Eric, it would still be anonymous.

Posted by: Rebuttal to "James" at October 31, 2007 1:47 PM

Colts Fan: If the Pats were to lose a game to a team that used unauthorized footage, Pats fans would be outraged. However, since it was the Pats that used footage inappropriately, Pats fans rushed to the defense of Coach Belichick.

As a lifelong Red Sox and Patriots fan I did not condone what Bill Belichick did. True, most teams probably do something similar, but he was caught and he got the punishment he deserved.

In sports and in life, what is right and wrong depends on what side of the issue you are on, which is why injuring a Yankee is ok but injuring a Patriot is not.

Both are wrong. Period. I would not approve of anyone intentionally injuring Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or any other player.

Posted by: Mike at October 31, 2007 1:49 PM

" would not approve of anyone intentionally injuring Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or any other player."

I concur. This behavior is not only dangerous, it's stupid. I say this to all athletes: Grow up! Play the game, and don't be an ass.

Posted by: Patti M. at October 31, 2007 1:55 PM

Mike,

I understand YOUR point of view, but it is not representative of most sports fans.

Ask most Red Sox fans is it is ok to intentionally hit A-Rod and they will respond "HELL YEAH!!!"

Also, there are still plenty of Patriots fans who think that Bellichick did nothing wrong and the fine was unmerited.

I understand that some people (everyone HERE) can take the moral stand that violence is ALWAYS wrong. In sports, fans want to root for their team no matter what... so it sets up this conflicting scenario... as a fan, how do I react when "MY TEAM" does something wrong?

All I am trying to say is that most fans will ignore the moral implications of an action in order to continue cheering for "THEIR TEAM."

Posted by: Colts Fan (?) at October 31, 2007 1:56 PM

Colts Fan: as a fan, how do I react when "MY TEAM" does something wrong?

Simple. Rise above the Neanderthals who scream for violence and refuse to sink to their level. Who cares what they think? Let them expend their impotent anger and prejudice on talk radio instead of elsewhere in society.

Posted by: Mike at October 31, 2007 2:02 PM

Kenny/Kyle/Stan/Eric/Rebutter/Colts Fan/Colts Fan Fan/COLTS FAN/Rockies Fan/Not Rockies Fan --

Despite your many names, clearly your opinion is in the minority on this blog. I'm sorry you hang out with violent childish fanatics who cheer when a person is injured. How fascinating it has been to have some insight into your little world. But instead of repeating your unsubstantiated opinions about what "most fans" think or do, why don't you provide some evidence. Y'know, like a Fox poll, "Is it okay to break the quarterback's arm if your team is losing." That sort of thing. Then we'll all be sad and disgusted, but oh so enlightened.

Posted by: Maggie at October 31, 2007 2:43 PM

Oh Maggie, you must be a graduate of the Bob Correia School of Being Condescending.

1) It's ok if I represent a minority opinion on a blog.

2) I don't see how you can challenge me to provide evidence when you have no evidence that I "hang out with violent childish fanatics who cheer when a person is injured."

3) Are my opinions based on data or a poll, no - I never claimed it to be... I am just relying on observations from watching sports and how fans react to events. I don't need a poll to justify my opinions.

Posted by: Maggie's Best Friend at October 31, 2007 3:29 PM

"Clearly if a linebacker was fined for injuring Brady, I would not contribute to help pay the fine"

"Certainly, one of these linebackers has to man up, take the 15 yard penalty, ejection from the game, and the fine from the league and take Tom Brady out. If this were to happen, I would certainly donate to the cause."

If you're not just here to stir up crap, as the above (and a lot of your other behavior) would indicate, and you've abandoned your losing arguments, then we can discuss your more defensible ones which are quite a bit more watered down and not very controversial.

Yes, people have different opinions about different behavior based on their home team. Is this really a revelation?

What is certainly not true is that having a home team means people will approve of any behavior against a rival. This is where you went wrong.

But I suspect that you're not after agreement.

"Arguments here tend to migrate to the extreme."

And you expect different when you dissemble, contradict yourself, and set up strawmen? What online forums are you used to?

Posted by: James at October 31, 2007 3:30 PM

This person sounds a lot like "Anonymous" from the October 15th "Would You Rather."

I think we've got a lurker. And, like "Anonymous,"
"Kenny/Kyle/Stan/Eric/Rebutter/Colts Fan/Colts Fan Fan/COLTS FAN/Rockies Fan/Not Rockies Fan" has become tiresome.

Posted by: Patti M. at October 31, 2007 3:36 PM

Arguments here tend to migrate to the extreme.

Interesting observation. The actual topic here was Randall Godfrey's claim that it was disrespectful to "the game" to play well against a lesser opponent. You're the one who migrated it to the extreme of justifying violence against an opponent who plays too well for the competition's liking. Then backpedalling and claiming that it's unfair for others to assume that you're a violent person.

And also backpedalling to claim that you aren't really a Rockies fan.

You're the only one who's going around in circles. I don't know how you expect to catch any little billygoats that way.

Posted by: Julie at October 31, 2007 3:37 PM

Patti, it is the same person.

Posted by: James at October 31, 2007 3:44 PM

AHA!

I win. I think I'll go home now as my work here is done.

Posted by: Patti M. at October 31, 2007 3:47 PM

Oh, LOL, it's this guy??

"Boo to the peace prize.I'd rather have command over the 82nd airborne."

Yeah, dude, you're not violent.

(Oh, and since you can't seem to tell, that last statement was irony. I actually mean that you are violent.)

Posted by: Maggie at October 31, 2007 3:51 PM

As my boss would say, "BWA HA HA HA HA HA!"

Posted by: Patti M. at October 31, 2007 3:52 PM

oh and your whole premise is false. you say that fans would approve of hurting a hated member of the other team intentionally. Can you offer one example where this is the case.

Every time I've ever seen someone severely injured on a playing field, home or away, the player is given an ovation when he leaves the field, hopefully under his own power.

It's one thing to say in the abstract " I'd like to see A-rod get knocked down or Brady creamed" but it's another thing when it actually happens. The few that would actually cheer such an occurrence are in the sick, twisted, disturbed minority. What's it like there?

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at October 31, 2007 4:01 PM

1) James said it was clear that I wasn't really a Rockies fan. It's too bad that more of the readers here weren't astute enough to pick up on that. Anyways, whether or not I am a Rockies fan has no bearing on the current discussion.

2) Logically, I don't see how being in command of the 82nd airborne has a direct causal connection to being a violent person. So, apparently all modern Presidents must be violent people because they serve as Commanders-in-Chief.

Posted by: Halloween Fan at October 31, 2007 4:11 PM

Mystery Guy:

The thing I have noticed through all of this is that you post an opinion and then either say "just kidding" afterward or say that it wasn't your opinion. It's what fans do. you also ignore valid points that contradict your stance and focus on the extreme ones.

As an example, B.O.B. pointed out that when pitchers hit a batter to "protect" their teammates, they never do it to injure. They throw at the butt typically. This does not really compare to being mad at someone for showing you up and trying to take them out of this and subsequent games.

Tell us where you stand and we can tell you where we stand. Argue for your own POV.

Posted by: briwei at October 31, 2007 4:15 PM

I have better things to do than monitor yet another online conversation between people trying to discuss an issue and someone who enjoys pushing their buttons and being contrary for its own sake. The ability to play devil's advocate is not an automatic sign of intelligence or sophistication.

Therefore, I'm going to bow out of this one. Happy troll feeding, everyone.

Posted by: Mike at October 31, 2007 4:26 PM

Oh, I don't think he's being contrary. I think he's just dumb, but there's nothing wrong with people talking to him if it amuses them. Nobody has to read it.

Posted by: Maggie at October 31, 2007 4:32 PM

Lurker unmasked, yet still in our midst.

I'm done with this thread.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 1, 2007 9:26 AM

IP ban that loser, James, he's here to hear himself talk.

I'm not.

Posted by: Chuck S. at November 1, 2007 12:13 PM

I don't get it, guys, and maybe this could turn into an interesting conversation -- an actual debate.

I've been on newsgroups with real trolls -- the guy on misc.kids.pregnancy who interrupted every thread to post how all women were evil for circumcising their sons, or the guy/woman (who knows) on the running news group who constantly posted insults. Constantly -- OT and insulting. (I actually thought he was funny, but maybe I'm more impervious to trolls. The guy on misc.kids.pregnancy actually ruined the group because you couldn't read a thread that he hadn't started a flame war in.)

This guy just doesn't fall into the same category, IMO. And you have a choice whether to read what he's saying or not, whether to respond or not. He's not flaming every single post, and he's not, again, in my opinion, starting flame wars. I know his posts can be interpreted as trolling, but they look sincere and just not that bright to me. I personally was writing back when and if I felt like it, for my own amusement. If others don't find amusement that way, don't write back, don't read the thread -- right?

Why ban him?

I mean, it's James' choice, of course. It's his blog, and if he feels the majority of people were actually trying to have a conversation about the original topic and this guy interrupted and made a big mess, then it's his prerogative to remove the guy from the thread. But that would possibly discourage other people from posting with a dissenting view. And in my opinion, if it were my blog, I wouldn't ban somebody based on somewhat trollish behavior. Many people are trollish when you first meet them. Especially awkward unsocial people who hang out on the internet a lot.

I don't think that's what happened -- I don't think the thread would have continued without this kid posting, and everybody who wrote back, I'm pretty sure, just was arguing for the fun of it. I don't think he's interrupting anything. Again, if he jumped into every thread and hurled insults, like the trolls I've met in the past who exist only to start flame wars, that would be behavior that should be banned, without question.

Posted by: Maggie at November 1, 2007 5:08 PM

I have no plans to ban anyone.

When people come and disagree, it makes things interesting. Although it is frustrating when they lie and contradict themselves. I understand why people want to opt out.

If they are intentionally trolling, trying to push buttons, that's not very friendly, but after a while even people who start out as trolls can change their stripes.

When I get bored, I move on. I don't have a specific criteria for banning, but behavior would probably have to rise to something truly disruptive of the site.

The most effective form of troll management, though, always has and always will be ignoring them.

Posted by: James at November 1, 2007 5:37 PM

Agreed, if nobody responds to a troll, there can't be a flame war. What happened on misc.kids was that some new person would always freak out about the circumcision guy and fan the flames because there was a high rate of turnover (I wonder why? ;-) on that group. The running group was so small and cohesive that the troll there didn't get much response. Every once in a while someone would try to patiently ask him to be nice. He just kept posting mean (funny) comments. Maybe that's why I thought he was funny rather than troublesome. That, plus he ragged mostly on the biggest jerk on the group.

Again, I wouldn't classify this guy as a troll. Being bad at arguing doesn't make you a troll, it makes you bad at arguing. I think valid points could have been drawn from the muddle of nonsense he was typing, but he wasn't able to say anything clearly or intelligently, so the whole conversation was sort of a lost cause. Bob seemed to agree that there's a level of "tit for tat" in baseball, just not at the level of violence this kid would randomly advocate (breaking an arm in football). But I hear that kind of argument all the time, and from intelligent people (e.g., "well, you advocate violence X, therefore all violence is acceptable!") People confuse degrees and kinds of violence all the time. Just my take on the conversation.

If he were in my house, I wouldn't invite him back. Only so many people can talk at once. But a post on the internet is ignorable. You really don't need to hold your hands over your ears and cry, "la la la la la la I can't hear you!!"

Posted by: Maggie at November 1, 2007 9:17 PM

Can you blame people for getting sick of that BS, though?

And a blog comments section is about expressing your feelings, not about not expressing them. if your feeling is that the conversation is toast, well, there it is.

Posted by: James at November 2, 2007 1:17 AM

I think he was a minor troll. Maybe he was only half troll. His mom was a troll and his dad was an orc. Or something. After all, he kept changing his point of view and seemed like he was trying to tweak people. He'd ignore things that didn't work with his argument. I don't think that's a sign of being dumb. Strikes me as willful and intentional.

Posted by: briwei at November 2, 2007 11:17 AM

I cast magic missile.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 2, 2007 11:24 AM

I attack the darkness.

Posted by: James at November 2, 2007 11:28 AM

God, I miss getting together, eating vast quantities of pizza, drinking beer, and rolling dice.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 2, 2007 11:37 AM

Agreed, we need to schedule a game day in the near future. Perhaps right after XMas.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at November 2, 2007 11:45 AM

"Will there be girls there?"

Me!

Posted by: Patti M. at November 2, 2007 11:48 AM

I thought the same as Brian at first, but upon reflection wondered if I wasn't giving the kid too much credit. I've seldom been able to tell whether someone's truly ignorant, or simply behaving that way to cause trouble. My instinct usually tells me it's the latter, maybe because I just want to believe that people are smarter than they are. (No doubt I'd be happier if I could believe that people are kinder than they are.)

Posted by: Julie at November 2, 2007 12:22 PM

I certainly pick and choose when responding to somebody on the internet. If you respond to everything, first of all, your post will be far too long for anybody to want to read and it also can sound very silly and disjointed and it gives the original person control over the conversation.

You can give the benefit of the doubt, summarize, generalize, and try to write a succinct reply.

Or you can pick out what's easiest (or most desirable) to attack -- the weakest part of your opponent's argument, and go there. I'm sure there are other possibilities, and what you choose depends on you and the situation. Now I seriously doubt if he's meta-gaming like that because I don't think he's bright or experienced arguing, but it's possible he was just picking out what he wanted to pick on, or what upset him the most, or what excited him the most.

I'll go with Brian's half-troll description. :-)

Posted by: Maggie at November 2, 2007 12:34 PM

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