Baseball Gets Better

     I already liked baseball quite a bit, but I really love the game now. A whole new group of players has been added to the action.
     I’m speaking, of course, of hackers, and not the bat-waving kind.
     In case you missed it, the FBI is investigating the St. Louis Cardinals for hacking into Houston Astros computers.
     Could this be why the Cardinals seem to win their division every year?
     Could this be why the Astros – before this year – were so awful?
     Maybe. Maybe not.
     But here’s the exciting part. According to The New York Times, “The intrusion did not appear to be sophisticated, the law enforcement officials said.”
     Now imagine what someone “sophisticated” could do with baseball teams.
     Consider the consternation of an opposing pitcher contemplating throwing against a lineup that seems to include Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton and Nelson Cruz because their identities have been stolen and placed on the other team’s roster.
     How do you fight back against a team that knows your strategies – e.g. “run after someone hits the ball” or “wear the blue shirts on Sundays” – in advance?
     Media speculation was that the Cardinals could have found out who the Astros thought were good players and/or what they were willing to pay them. I suppose that was because the Cardinals had no idea which players were good.
     Of course, the real potential for sophisticated hacking probably lies outside teams. There are significant amounts of money to be made in fantasy baseball and inside information can make a big difference.
     You’re going to have to stop playing in fantasy leagues – the games will be rigged.
     But cheer up. There are upsides to the dominance of computers and hackers in baseball.
     Expect to see economy-minded teams replacing their managers with computers. Then expect to see robotic or drone versions of the managers arguing with umpires and treating fans to robot battles between innings.
     And in a duel reflecting the fate of mankind, a fan-picked All Star team will go up against a sabermetrics squad.
     Think of it as a gentle way of easing into submission to our computer masters.
     
     Headline of the week: From the Oregonian: “Woman is fired because she complained lawyer wouldn’t stop scratching crotch, suit claims.”
     The headline alone is delightful enough, but this is a complaint that needs to be closely examined. There are some groundbreaking and fascinating legal issues here.
     For example, should there be liability for vicarious third-party molestation?
     The defendant here was molesting himself. The scratching was not aimed at anyone else in particular, but the perhaps-empathic plaintiff felt wronged.
     Can sexual molestation be transferred in this manner?
     Or was the plaintiff contributorily at fault for not having the sense to be tactful about the boss?
     I have great sympathy for people who’ve been fired, since it’s happened to me so many times – but it’s usually happened because I’ve been honest about how I felt about the bosses.
     Honesty is rarely a good policy in the workplace, and employee honesty should be a viable defense in any wrongful termination litigation.
     What if the boss smelled bad? Should an employee feel immune from consequences for complaining about that?
     Probably, but we may need legislation. Freedom from stink should be a civil right.
     My favorite part of the lawsuit is another odd complaint that can be found on page 11: “Mr. Sutherland would sometimes make comments of a sexual nature, such as that Ms. Buxton ‘did not need to worry’ about Mr. Sutherland on their travels because they would be staying in separate hotel rooms.”
     The plaintiff was harassed by someone insisting on a private room away from the plaintiff (where, presumably, he could spend the night scratching).
     Maybe this should have been a suit for failure to harass.

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