Everyone in my house is a baseball fan. Well, everyone but me, that is. I’m not saying that I dislike baseball; I enjoy watching a good game from time to time. But I don’t sit around and watch it as much as the other members of my family.
The nearest professional team to my home in Portland is the Seattle Mariners. My brother-in-law is a fan, and my mother-in-law, my brother and his family, and my sons are all fans. But the most devoted fan of all is probably my wife. She knows the stats and trivia of the different players, and she knows the game well. I would rather watch something else with spaceships or explosions (or both), but the rest of the family wants baseball. And so, in the spirit of democracy, where the majority rules, baseball is what we watch.
Some years back, the Mariners had a designated hitter named Edgar Martinez. Edgar, if you don’t already know, was one heck of a hitter. He won all kinds of awards, saved the day on many occasions, and was a huge fan favorite. My family would hang on his every appearance at bat. The only problem is that whenever I watched, he would strike out. I started making a joke about it, saying, “That Edgar guy sure isn’t much of a hitter.”
I didn’t believe what I was saying, mind you; I just said it to irritate my family. (What, you’ve never done that?) This routine went on for some time. I kid you not; every time I watched Edgar at bat, he would strike out. Finally, it got to the tipping point; once again Edgar was up to bat and I came in the room to watch. To my astonishment, my entire family screamed at me to get out of the room, and they weren’t kidding. They were putting the blame on me for his past strikeouts, and they kicked me out to give him the best opportunity to hit.
It really wasn’t my fault.
That is an amusing example of getting blamed for something that isn’t your fault, and that story has been told repeatedly in Haag family lore. But most of the time, being blamed for something that wasn’t your fault is not nearly so funny, and in the work realm it can be downright disastrous.
To read this entire column, which appeared in the August 2017 issue of The PCB Design Magazine, click here.