Baseball numerologist and Red Sox adviser Bill James was being interviewed on ESPN Radio the other day, and very passionately defended Joe Paterno:
"It's very hard, in fact it's impossible, to explain why Paterno should have been the person to go to the police. Paterno didn't see anything. Paterno was not the reporting authority. Sandusky did not work for Paterno. Paterno had no supervisory authority over Sandusky. It's extremely difficult to explain why it was Paterno's responsibility to go to the police. He knew less about it than anyone else there...
"You're saying everything revolves around him. (Paterno) had very few allies. He was isolated and he was not nearly as powerful as people imagine him to have been...
"They kept it quiet because they had no idea what was happening... they just thought they were dealing with a little misunderstanding."
Bill James has never been afraid to go against the trending sentiment, but this is beyond reasonable. Paterno not only failed to notify authorities, he actively ended any investigation into what Sandusky was doing. He didn't turn a blind eye, he turned a seeing eye.
Anyway, James' defense of Paterno is outdated. And late.
He's entitled to his opinion, but he's also a prominent member of the Red Sox organization. So yesterday, the Sox told him to shut up. Then issued a statement publicizing their request that he keep silent about Paterno:
"This afternoon, Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry and Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington spoke to Bill James regarding him making public his personal opinions on Joe Paterno. In that call, Mr. James was informed that his comments in no way reflect the opinions or positions of the Red Sox; and, because he is perceived as a representative of the Red Sox, he was asked to refrain from any further public comments on this matter."
Smart move by the Red Sox. While James is entitled to his completely wrong and illogical opinions, he is perceived as a representative of the Red Sox. Him being a jackass makes the Red Sox look bad.
James should have at least known his opinion was controversial and not widely held. But judging from the opinion itself, it's hard to imagine him being rational about it in any way.
Yes, I am calling him an irrational numbers man.