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An error made during the game is not a reflection of a the person that made it - A Hunt and Peck

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We all need to stop attributing baseball mistakes to character flaws.

Chicago White Sox v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images

Sports are deeply personal to some people. Some fans live and breathe with the success of their favorite teams. That type of loyalty in a person is admirable. Then there are fans that care at varying degrees less than that. That is also fine. There is no “right way” to be a fan.

But there is probably a wrong way.

When the game goes beyond the game it can take some people to a very dark and negative place. This is what I would like to address today.

I am not trying to put one person on blast here. Many people have been guilty of this since the dawn of sports - social media has just made their voices louder and easier to find. Because sports, in this case baseball, are so personal to us as fans, there is this tendency to take everything that happens within the game far too personally. The most recent example, and the fallout from which inspired the post, was Dexter Fowler’s error in right field Thursday afternoon. Here it is:

@vanhicklestein

This was certainly a mistake and it could have been costly to the Cardinals. Maybe Fowler needed to concentrate more? Maybe he lost the ball in the sun? Maybe he could have gotten in better position to make the play? As a fan of the Cardinals, it was disappointing. This is certainly a missed-play worthy of criticism and questioning.

But that is just it: the play is worth questioning; Dexter Fowler’s fielding ability is worth questioning. However, there was nothing about this play that tells us anything about Dexter Fowler’s character or ethics. That is the difference. That is the mistake we must try to stop ourselves from making. We must stop attributing these baseball mistakes to some perceived character flaw. As a writer, it is especially my responsibility because words are so powerful and sometimes they can have unintended consequences.

There is Dexter Fowler the baseball player and Dexter Fowler the person. The player made a silly mistake in the field, but this mistake in the field is not a reflection on who Dexter Fowler is. While we are certainly allowed to be critical of errors, perhaps, as fellow human beings, we should try to be more mindful of how we direct that criticism and remember that we all make mistakes, even when we are trying our best.

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