Ethics lessons with Gaylord Perry

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Cheating is wrong. Except when it’s not. Man, why don’t people cheat more? An interview with the king of the spitter from Syracuse.com:

In terms of ethics and cheating, how much difference is there between throwing a spitter and using steroids?

“There’s a tremendous amount. You try things, you try to improve (in looking for a small edge). Back in the 1960s and 70s, we played hard. We had a good time.”

Does he think any of today’s pitchers throw a spitter?

“No, I don’t think they do it. They have good enough stuff throwing 95, 100. I’ve seen pitchers throw out scuffed up balls. I don’t know why they do that. A scuffed-up ball will move for you. That’s what you want.”

I don’t think that throwing a spitball and using PEDs are exactly the same thing. They are both cheating and if your argument is “cheating is wrong, full stop” well, you have to figure out why you treat them differently, but I do realize that there are some externalities to PEDs that don’t necessarily exist with scuffing baseballs.

Still, I don’t feel like we’ve spent enough time actually sussing out what kind of “looking for an edge” is OK and what kind is not.

Look for a lot of this disconnect in the next few days as the old Hall of Famers descend on Cooperstown for induction weekend.