Friday, 10 April 2009

State of...Sportsmanship

Let me first say that this post isn't meant to specifically target Mike Cameron, but the situation that he found himself in yesterday and the discussion that came from it. (If you haven't seen the clip of Joe Martinez getting tagged in the head with a Mike Cameron line drive then check it out on YouTube).

Let me quickly set it up for you. Martinez pitches the ball to Cameron. Cameron hits a line drive back to Martinez and the ball hits him square in the head. The ball rebounds off his head and goes into foul territory (although is still a fair ball). Cameron slowly runs to first base but clearly concerned about the fallen player. The catcher runs out to check on his pitcher and the play seems dead. The stadium is quiet and players all seem to be incredibly concerned (as they should be in this type of situation).

About 30 seconds later the camera shows a clearly concerned and distraught Cameron again. Although this time he is standing on second base. During the time it took for the pitcher get up off the ground and for the equipment manager to wipe up the blood from his head, Cameron actually advanced to second base. Don't get me wrong, Cameron was visibly shaken up by what had happened....just not enough to not take the extra base on the play.

Cameron gave this quote after the game:

"You just hope that the young man is all right, that everything is good and that he's safe first and foremost. I just hope that he gets a chance to go back on the field again. I couldn't stop shaking. It's kind of a helpless feeling. I was just trying to pray for him because I know how dangerous that can be."

Those are very thoughtful and kind words, but didn't Cameron's play show that "first and foremost" Cameron wanted to put his team in a better position to win the game? From everything I have read about Mike Cameron I believe him to be a stand-up guy and a great ambassador of the game. I'm not really questioning Cameron's actions...just the actions that took place in general.

If it were me I like to think that I would stop at first base and show my concern from there and not advance while the other team is clearly worried about a fallen teammate. A pitcher taking a line drive to the noggin is potentially a life threatening incident. I would hope that my conscience wouldn't allow me to take second base while he was in that situation. But that's just me.

My fiancee thinks that I'm wrong. I'm sure that she's not the only one. I open this up to anyone else who has an opinion on this situation.


  1. Hmm...interesting point there LW, whoever you may be....

    Part of me agrees with you, as it seems like a pretty classless thing to do. The other part of me thinks that we would all do the exact same thing, because if he hadn't he would have been ridiculed for not giving the full effort. Maybe not by the media, but by his coaches and fellow teammates..

    What is the main objective when playing Major League Baseball, to win? Or to make sure everyone plays the game safely...This isn't 3rd grade t-ball so I would have to say the main objective is to win, and if taking an extra base before the umpires call time is what helps, then by all means do it. It's not like Martinez would have received treatment any sooner had Cameron not advanced to 2nd Base right?

    So I think that Mike Cameron did the right thing, he showed his concern, but at the same time did what any of his teammates or coaches would have wanted him to do.

    Heres a question:

    If a swimmer was choking in the lane next to Michael Phelps during the olympics, would you have expected Phelps to stop? No you would have said finish the race and show concern afterwards...slight difference, but same basic belief right??

  2. Certainly the point of the game is to win...but shouldn't there be some overriding rules? You said it yourself that it was a pretty classless move. I'm just extrapolating on that. If it was classless doesn't that also mean it was unSportsmanlike? At what point does the level of classlessness override the point of the game?

    When Clint Malarchuk got his throat slit in a hockey game a number of years ago would it have been okay to continue the play and put the puck in the net while his jugular spewed blood all over the place? Extreme case sure, but same concept.

  3. Normally I'm complete Machiavellian about this kind of issue but I want to bring up two points...

    Firstly... Clint Malarchuk. When his incident happened the play was blown dead so no one could put the puck in the net so that's a dead issue.

    Secondly... Cameron. Don't you think he gets a pass here? He did not know to what extent the kid was hurt. Two, I would have to think it would be his natural instinct to advance to second base. He probably did not even have to think about it and all of a sudden he was at second base. I know I would have been standing at second if not giving the bedroom eyes to third base.

  4. I certainly don't think that Cameron had time to think about what he was doing...and maybe he did just somehow wind-up on second base. BUT...doesn't that speak volumes as well. A line drive is travelling at what, 120 MPH? He may not have known the extent of the injury, but a line drive at that speed to someone's head should warrant at least a second thought (no pun intended - he did give second a thought...and more).

    And in comparison to the Malarchuk issue...why wasn't the play blown dead here? Malarchuk was in more obvious danger but not necessarily any more severe. A line drive off the head COULD kill a pitcher.

    Maybe this is an umpire issue. Why wasn't the play blown dead? Still, I think that Cameron could have stayed at first rather than advancing to second on the play.