Chances are I wouldn’t recognize Susan Slusser if she passed me by on the street. I’ve seen her photo online and her on local sports television a few times, but given how I’m the living embodiment of jokingly stating the reason retail workers wear nametags is so we can remember our own, it should come as no surprise I’d most likely miss her if she was tap dancing in front of me. In a duet with Stomper.

Ms. Slusser is a superb sports reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her main assignment since 1999 has been my beloved (albeit sometimes bedraggled) Oakland A’s. She writes with crisp, clean accuracy, covering the team’s ups and downs while drawing little if any attention to herself. It’s said the best referees and umpires are the ones you never notice due to their calling the game correctly. Similarly, in today’s world where reporting and opinion are far too often mixed in an unwieldy, unsatisfactory in both areas whole, Ms. Slusser is admirable in keeping the two separate, never tipping her hand or interjecting herself into the story. She is informative, in depth, and invisible.

Like most every media person in any field these days, Ms. Slusser has a social media presence. Unlike most every media person in any field these days, using said social media as something other than sheer self-promotion she engages with her readers, or at least the ones with a few synapses firing in coordinated fashion. I’ve exchanged a few tweets with her in recent months, and she has been unfailingly polite and informative. In like fashion, I have always addressed her with completely deserved compliments, respect, and consideration, often looking for a way to insert something she hopefully finds chuckle-worthy into the conversation. I gotta be me, after all.

I’m quite certain that Ms. Slusser and I voted for different Presidential candidates last November. Which is fine. Politics aren’t everything; I’d much rather chat about what the A’s are doing to address their defensive deficiencies or my beloved classic Christian rock artists. I don’t need to debate every policy and platform with everyone. Sometimes – most all of the time, in fact – I’d rather find common ground and not mix politics with everything else. I’d rather enjoy a ballgame. I also figured out quite some time ago that no one in Washington DC was refreshing any given blog site where I write fifty times a day, trembling with anticipation of my next great pronouncement so they’d know which policies and platforms to pursue. Something others, given their predilection for incessant self-righteous babble, have apparently yet to learn. But I digress.

There are many on my side of the political aisle who live for open combat with one and all in mainstream media. It works for them. It generates heat; it creates a scenario in which the fearless flamethrower, backed by gallant retweeters and such, speaks truth to power hiding behind corporate walls. Makes for great spectacle. Hail the conquering snarknado master!

If someone isn’t doing their job properly because of implied or overt bias, fine. Call them out. They deserve it. But with this duly noted, is it impossible to praise, and treat the same way you and I wish to be treated, reporters who regardless of their political beliefs do work of the highest quality? Or for that matter, members of any given profession?

Certainly engaging people as, well, people is far less exciting and attention-drawing than treating others as raw meat designated for tossing to your wolfpack fan club. But does the latter genuinely accomplish anything? Sure, you look like the tough guy or mucha macha chica on Twitter et al. You’ve also alienated, probably permanently, a whole lot of people you’re supposed to be trying to reach for your cause who, astonishing as it may seem, aren’t that interested in your totem pole positioning within their echo chamber. Why not for once try being respectful to another human being possessing the same dignity and worth as you? If it doesn’t work, you did the right thing. But if it does …

… you too can exchange tweets with the Susan Slussers of this world.

Well It’s a week later and there have been more developments in the WBC.

Cinderella is a pumpkin again…

Israel who shocked the world by winning their first 4 games of the world baseball classic (which made seven straight wins if you count the qualifier rounds finally turned into a pumpkin as the Dutch avenged their earlier defeat by thumping them 12-2 in an 8 inning mercy game while Japan finished them off with a 8-3 win. It was still an impressive run for the team who will finish no worse than 7th overall (6th if Puerto Rico beats Venezuela) whose world ranking is sure to rise and their trip to the 2nd round automatically qualifies them for 2021.

Cuba falls apart.

The vaunted Cuban team was outscored 23-7 losing all three of their 2nd round games including a 14-1 mercy defeat against Australia in a game that could have forced a 2nd round playoff. While it’s always a good thing to see a communist government embarrassed it’s kind of sad to see a country that has produced so many fine players humbled in this way. However like Israel they did make the 2nd round so they will be back in 2021 but will they have the talent to get back to their previous level? That remains to be seen.

Venezuela pines for Italy.

Team Venezuela had an odd path to the second round going 2-4 in round one with two wins against Italy while being beaten by Puerto Rico and Mexico, however without Italy to kick around round to has been a disaster with loses to the US and the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico’s win against the US knocked them out so today’s game is just for pride but the question remains can Omar Visquel’s injury plagued team edge out one of the favorites to go to the finals in their last game.

The Japan Dutch repeat

Four years ago Japan and the Dutch made it to Baseball’s final four and were beaten by Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, both teams earned a 2nd chance to change that result. Japan going a perfect 3-0 against their 2nd round foes and the Dutch crushing the Cubans to guarantee their trip to America. Last time around the Dutch fell to the Dominicans this time they will draw Puerto Rico which is likely to be no easier, however the Dutch team looks even better than last time so it will be no pushover for the runner ups for 2013. Meanwhile Japan will have to wait for the result of the US vs DR game later tonight to see who they will face and nobody should count out the 2 time champions.

Puerto Rico stands alone

The only real question for the PR squad that has gone undefeated in the classic is do they rest their stars in a meaningless game vs Venezuela? They have played excellent defense and offense and their pitching has done the job against some tough teams (although they almost blew it vs the US yesterday). The real question will be how they deal with the young and cocky Dutch who are no pushover in the semi final and do they hold back their best starter for the final against either Japan, the DR or the US? I’m glad I don’t have to make that call.

The last big game. US vs Dominican Republic

The Dominicans and the US face an elimination game tonight at 10 PM the winner will take on Japan in the final four the loser will go Home. The US finds themselves in this spot thanks to a digging a big hole in game one vs PR and their failure to get the tying run home in the 9th while the DR gave up fewer runs but couldn’t produce offense against the PR team (although in my mind an interesting strike zone cost them dearly as well). The DR will need to get by the US and Japan for another crack at the Puerto Rico squad (presuming they get by the Dutch) meanwhile the US is looking to return to the final four that they last made in 2009.

There are no easy games left for any of these teams but the odds on favorite would be for a DR vs PR rematch and one has to give the defending champs the edge there but it wouldn’t surprise me to see any of the final five teams walk away with the crown and in one respect both Puerto Rico and Japan have one disadvantage. There is no sport harder to keep up a winning streak in (even the 62 Mets won 40 games) Japan has one six straight to win it all they’ll need to win 8 while Puerto Rico will be in the same spot unless their meaningless game to Venezuela.

Either way from today through Wednesday the WBC will be the spot for the best baseball of the spring.

My wife’s illness has kept me so busy I missed the start of the world baseball classic. So here are some updates.

The Israeli Juggernaut

One doesn’t think of Israel as a baseball juggernaut but they dominated their group crushing little league powerhouse Chinese Taipei 15-7 while edging Korea in extra innings 2-11 and doubling up the Netherlands (who also advanced to round two) 4-2. With the exception of two innings including a weak 9th with a 12 run lead the Israeli wins were all about pitching.

Hank Greenberg would be proud.

The Rising Sun continues to Shine…

Japan continued its dominance in first round action going undefeated against China Australia and Cuba who also advanced to round 2.

They seem to be on a mission get their third title after failing to make the finals last time around.

while the rest of the orient is in free fall:

It’s been a bad WBC or oriental teams not from Japan. Mainland China continues its imitation of the 62 mets scoring only one run in three defeats. Chinese Taipei while averaging over six runs a game did no better as their pitching gave up double digit runs to both Israel and Korea while being edged by the Netherlands while the only team that South Korea, which made it to the final four the first year and the finals in the second and playing their 1st round games in front of a home crowd, only managed to score against the hapless Taipei pitching.

Meanwhile Pool C & D games started this week.

In pool C The returning 2013 champion Dominican republic made short work of Canada 9-2 while the US edged Columbia in an exciting game ended by a walk off single by Baltimore’s Adam Jones

This sets up a must win game for both Canada and Columba today at noon while the clash of the titans US vs the Dominican Republic takes place tonight at 6 pm.

And Red Sox fans if you’re wondering, no David Ortiz is not on the DR roster so this isn’t one last chance to see him play

In Pool D 2013 Runner up Puerto Rico absolutely crushed a Venezuela team no doubt weakened by the lack of food in the country 11-0 while Italy scored five times in a 9th where two Mexican pitchers gave up 5 hits and one walk with one error behind them without recording a single out before the home crowd giving them the a 10-9 win.

Italy brings that momentum with vs Venezuela at 3 pm today while Mexico will try to recover against a high scoring Puerto Rico team at 9:30 PM

Round 2  Tokyo

While this goes on Round Two action begins in Tokyo as Israel tries to prove their 1st round dominance was no fluke against Cuba at 10 PM while in the wee hours of the morning (7 AM sunday) the Dutch who have a history of surprises in the WBC face the Japanese.

The key game of the series will be on Tuesday at 6 AM when Japan meets Cuba again. It remains to be seen if either of the underdogs in this round the Dutch or Israeli who meet the day before at 6 AM, will be able to take advantage of the loss that one of the other baseball powerhouses will suffer.

Either way it looks to be a great World Baseball classic which has one thing over the spring training games currently being played in Florida and Arizona.

All these games mean something.

Some thoughts running through my head.

The weakness of the Democrat party doesn’t surprise me but their willingness to advertise their weakness does by things like this 

Democrats are warning Republicans not to repeal Obamacare. ”They will rue the day” they move in that direction,Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has stated ominously

Nothing says: I have no power and can’t stop you. Like ominous warnings, but what can we expect from a party with visuals like this?

In fairness to Democrats they don’t have Kelly Anne Conway who continues to prove her exceptional value shooting down leftist memes every single day:

Of course a woman who has fought the left and media for pro-life causes is going to know how to handle falsehoods thrown around like a baseball

Of course it’s not only going against Kelly Anne Conway that doesn’t end well:

Retailers enjoyed their best Christmas in more than a decade following the election of President Trump, and the return of enthusiasm and hope. Sales were up 4.1% to 4.9% over last year, CNBC reported.

Except at Macy’s, where sales were down 2.1% It will close 100 stores, and dump 10,000 workers.

If you really want to understand what went wrong, Macy’s stock peaked at $72.31 two weeks after dropping Donald Trump.

Today in the middle of a stock market boom their stock and a Christmas Season that went so well for others:

Macy’s shares recently changed hands at $32.60, down $3.24, or 9 percent.

If Macy’s wants to be a niche market than Trump voters will be happy to let them become one.

Speaking of Niche markets this one via GOP USA caught my eye.

 

Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken is among a couple of dozen restaurants across the country to sign onto a new “sanctuary restaurant” movement meant to offer safe workplaces for immigrants, Muslims and other communities they feel are under threat in the current political climate.

The movement is a joint project of ROC United, a national group that advocates for higher wages for restaurant workers, and Presente.org, whose mission is to “advance Latinx power” (Latinx is a gender-neutral alternative to Latino and Latina).

According to a news release Wednesday, sanctuary restaurants do not allow harassment of individuals based on immigrant or refugee status or race, religion, gender or sexual orientation; participate in peer networks to exchange ideas for protecting targeted workers; and agree to place prominent signs that state “SANCTUARY RESTAURANTS: A Place At the Table for Everyone” at their establishments.

 

Two things hit me, the idea that all a group has to do is feel threatened to make their list but if I was in charge of the IRS this would be an open invitation to investigate an employer and levy a large fine for disobeying federal law.

Of course given the left’s decision to use law and regulations as a club against their enemies I’ve never understood their willingness to set the precedent concerning openly ignoring them.

In a recent post I argued that the whole Hillary for Mayor business is all about the Clinton foundation lack of dollars but there is one other thing in play that I didn’t mention.

There are plenty of FOB who were expecting to cash in on a Hillary Clinton presidency, while smaller in scale at least some of those folks can still cash in if Clinton ends up Mayor of NY.

And of course if Hillary becomes Mayor of NYC there is no reason why Chelsea can’t follow her, sure she has no skills or talent but she also has none of the baggage of her mother and father so if you are a person who makes a living off of Clinton Inc, that’s a viable long term plan.

Locally I was very pleased to see this story:

The Planned Parenthood office on Main Street closed last month after operating in the space for six years.

The office, at 208 Main St., opened in 2010, and was routinely the subject of protests held by religious groups outside the office.

Yup praying to stop the murder of children, that’s what we do.

In a press release, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts President and CEO Jennifer Childs-Roshak said the state’s chapter decided to close the Somerville and Milford centers due to a “strategic decision” rather than a budgetary one.

I suspect once the federal dollars are turned off under a Trump administration we’ll see a lot more of this. Yet another bit of proof that the Lord works in mysterious ways.

Every time I see a story like this I wonder why the state of Israel doesn’t just wipe the Palestinians off the map:

It’s not as if they have the Christian command to turn the other cheek.

Incidentally there is an interested pair of stories that have gotten little attention, this:

Arab media is buzzing about a visit to Bahrain by a delegation of 28 religious American Jewish businessmen.

The visit was to explore opportunities from a free trade agreement between the US and Bahrain.

The delegation also is visiting Dubai, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

A Bahraini businessman said that the delegation’s visit was an opportunity to introduce them to a tolerant kingdom, adding that “the visit opened the way for economic and trade opportunities.”

Solomon Eisenberg, a member of the Jewish delegation, said that there was a need for direct dialogue, away from governments and media, between people of different faiths and origins

The visit included the Jews and Muslims singing and dancing together (which did not sit well with some Arabs on Twitter.)

followed by this from Bahrain’s house of representatives:

The Council reiterated Bahrain’s position of rejecting all forms of normalization, communications and establishing relationships with the rapist Israeli entity, and that any move and act opposed to Bahraini law, and the principles of the Bahraini people.he Council reiterated Bahrain’s position of rejecting all forms of normalization, communications and establishing relationships with the rapist Israeli entity, and that any move and act opposed to Bahraini law, and the principles of the Bahraini people.

Remind we why we treat these fools like anything other than Barbarians?

Some Sports on the radio this week there was a big fuss about some writer in Philly both calling Curt Schilling a “scumbag” and leaving him off the HOF ballot.  I have three thoughts on this.

First of all part of the discussion was that Wins as a stat was meaningless next to ERA, and others.  I totally disagree, we are long past the time when Connie Mack declared that the best result for him is a team that starts strong but finishes 4th since such a team  will draw enough to make a profit and you don’t have to give a guy a raise for something he didn’t do.  The whole reason why a player is signed by a team is for them to win, both games and championships.  Schilling’s greatness comes from the fact that he delivered and has the three rings to prove it.

Second If Curt Schilling was all in for Hillary vs a GOP stalwart the sports writers of America who these days are a bunch of MSNBC wannabees likely would carry him into the Hall of Fame on their shoulders.

Finally when it comes to the Hall of Fame I think there should be a two tiered system where only the greatest of the great make the highest level, or to put it another way, to my mind if you hear a players name and don’t immediately thing HOF, or have to think even for a moment if a player belongs in the HOF he doesn’t.

In Entertainment Newsbusters is as a rule an invaluable watch on the MSM and culture but I think this story was a bit much.

Christianity is once again the butt of the joke on CBS’s The Big Bang Theory – this time mocking prayer and Noah’s ark.Christianity is once again the butt of the joke on CBS’s The Big Bang Theory – this time mocking prayer and Noah’s ark.

I’m sorry but I’m a very conservative Christians and I didn’t find the jokes offensive in the least nor do I suspect did most Christians who watched it.  I understand the broken windows theory but let’s focus on the real thing rather than this penny ante stuff.

Finally let me sing the praises of the only original episode of Doctor Who not produced by Big Finish this year, the Christmas Special The Return of Doctor Mysterio.  Watching that show brought me back to the old days of Tom Baker when the show was meant for kids.  No big social agenda, no massive angst, just the Doctor foiling the monsters with a bit of laughter and fun on the side.

More please

Short of a World Series where Big Papi wins it with a come from behind walk off HR in his last major league appearance, the matchup of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs is one that a Baseball fan like me dreams of. The Two ultimate long waiting underdogs, facing off in the world series with one of them guaranteed to end their streak of suffering.

The Question becomes, who is the true underdog who should be rooted for?

Let’s consider Cleveland: It has been 20 years since the Indians won the pennant and 68 years since the Indians won the world series. To put that in perspective the last time Cleveland won a world series:

  • Harry Truman was president
  • The Korean War had yet to start.
  • The State of Israel was five months old
  • ABC & CBS had just begun TV broadcasts the Ed Sullivan, CBS Evening News and Candid Camera had debuted (I Love Lucy was still 3 years away)
  • Key Largo and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre starring Humphrey Bogart were hits. Alfred Hitchcock was making his first movie in color (Rope), Zip a Dee doo Da would win the Oscar for best song and Edmund Gwenn would take home best supporting actor for his role as Santa Claus in Miracle on 48th street.
  • Alaska and Hawaii were still 11 years away from becoming US states

In terms of Baseball Ted Williams (AL) and Stan Musial (NL) were the league batting leaders Johnny Mize and Ralph Kiner tied for the NL HR lead while Joe Dimaggio led the AL and Dimaggio & Musial led their respective leagues in RBI’s. On the Mound Cleveland boasted Bob Feller who led the league in strikeouts, with teammate Bob Lemon right behind them and the ERA leader Gene Bearden who Led the AL in ERA. Bearden and Lemon would both win 20 games that year while Feller would have to settle for 19.

That Indians Roster also included Larry Doby the 1st Black player in the American League in his first full season and a rookie by the name of Satchel Page who had dominated the Negro Leagues for 20 years before putting up a 5-1 record with an ERA of 1.31 against a bunch of players young enough to be his sons.

Amazingly one member of this team is still alive 95 year old first baseman Eddie Robinson who batted .254 with 16 HR and 83 RBI that season and would scatter six singles for a .300 avg in the world series. He is likely to get more attention in the next week than he’s had in years.

As far as Titles Go LeBron James may have brought the NBA titles to Cleveland but before that you have to go to Jim Brown and the days before the Superbowl to see Cleveland win titles.

So Cleveland is definitely overdue and  in any other year Cleveland would be the clear sentimental favorite.

Except this year they are playing the Chicago Cubs.

To take things backwards, in terms of titles the City of Chicago has done better than Cleveland.  The Chicago Blackhawks have taken three Stanley Cups in the last 10 years and you only have to go back to the Reagan Administration to find the Chicago Bears last title when they Crushed the Patriots in the days before Tom Brady.  Even in baseball The White Sox broke their title deficit just a year after the Red Sox in 2005.

And of course if you’re an NBA fan there was this fellow named of Michael Jordan who before he started a career selling men’s underwear brought six titles to the Bulls in the 90’s.

But for the Cubs forget finding a living player (let alone a person alive) from their last world series championship in 1908, there isn’t a living member of the last pennant winner left,  as Lennie Merullo died last year at the age of 98.  In fact I’d wager you’d have a hard time finding a living child of a member of the 1908 Cubs

That Cubs Roster is full of Hall of Fame Players from Joe Tinker to Johnny Evers to Frank Chance at the plate but like the 48 Indians their bats didn’t lead the league,  Honus Wagner would just miss the  NL Triple Crown leading the lead in batting ( .354) and RBI’s (109) while coming in 2nd in the majors in Home runs with a massive 10 just behind Tim Jordan who would lead the league with 12.  In the AL Ty Cobb would do the same leading the league in batting ( .324) and RBI’s (108) but falling three HR behind teammate Sam Crawford who would lead the league with …7!

On  the Mound 3 finger Brown would have been the best pitcher in the league had it not been for some fellow name Christy Mathewson.  Brown would be 2nd in wins (29 vs 37) Shutouts (9 vs 11) fewest walks per 9 innings (1.412 vs 0.968) WL percentage (.763 vs .771) and ERA (1.47 vs 1.43) only in hits per 9 innings ( 6.167 vs 6.474) and Saves (both with 5) would Brown be the equal or better than Christy, but in the end his team would edge out Mathewson’s Giants and  Wagner’s Pirates by a single game to make it to the fifth world Series ever played.

 

But think about it 1908  back then

  • Teddy Roosevelt was still in the White House and not on Mount Rushmore
  • World War one was a full 6 years away
  • Milton Berle who would become the 1st TV star the year Cleveland would win the Series was BORN
  • The Biggest name in Film was DW Griffith
  • Thomas Edison was still involved in filmmaking
  • We were still fighting in the Philippines
  • The first radio broadcast of any type was 2 years old and the first US Broadcast License was a year away
  • The keel of the RMS Titanic was still a year away from being laid down
  • The Airplane was 5 years old
  • Most of Europe was still ruled by Kings
  • New Mexico and Arizona were still 4 years away from statehood and Oklahoma was a state less than a year

So to put it simply, if you judge things by baseball alone you might cheer for the Cubs as they have a huge title deficit, but if you judge by titles overall you have to cheer for Cleveland since, Lebron James notwithstanding their city championships have been few and far between.

But given their respective Crime rates both cities could use something to get their minds off their problem.

Well David Ortiz has taken his last plate appearance in the major leagues thanks to the Red Sox failure to generate offense, the excellence of Cleveland’s defense and the inferiority of Red Sox pitching suggesting once again that without pitching and defense, even a David Ortiz is not enough to guarantee a team a world series.

I say his last plate appearance rather than his last at bats because neither of his two final plate appearances credited him with an at bat. He had a sacrifice fly which drove in a run on third and a walk to finish his Red Sox career.

I’d like to talk about the latter.

There were many moving tributes to David Ortiz during the year and after last night’s game many more but the final tribute to him came during the bottom of the 8th inning.

Ortiz came up as the tying run with a man on first. This was a critical moment in the game, a moment where if the Red Sox had managed to tie the game all bets were off. Terry Francona, the manager of Cleveland well knew that giving this Red Sox team a lifeline by a win might turn into disaster and David Ortiz was the man to create this disaster.

So with the game on the line what did Cleveland do? Intentionally walk him? They could not, because with first base full that would imply fear and the best way inspire confidence in an opponent in baseball is to imply fear.

No what happened is Cleveland’s pitcher threw four pitches, and not a single one was in a spot where David Ortiz could hit it. Even though walking Ortiz put the dangerous Hanley Ramirez at the plate who could easily give the Sox the lead with one swing (and managed to drive in one run with a single) it didn’t matter. The game was on the line and the Cleveland Indians had no intention of letting the best clutch hitter in the history of the Boston Red Sox franchise, the hitter that carried the Red Sox fan base to one that expects success from one that anticipates failure on his own shoulders. The man who got the crowd into the game with a wave of his hands.

As I said there were many tributes to Ortiz this year and he likely at least one the Hall of Fame in five years and a shot at the MVP this year, but for my money the greatest tribute to Ortiz this year was the fact that at age 40, the Cleveland Indians decided that with game 3 on the line of a series they were already up 2-0 in David Ortiz would not get a pitch to hit.

I suspect the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, LA Dodgers and San Francisco Giants were very grateful for that decision.

So David Ortiz has played his last regular season game and ended said regular season career with a weak ground out to the pitcher.

While his finish was not spectacular let’s consider David Ortiz’s 2016 stats

Ortiz led the league in doubles with 48 (and that’s on two bad legs)
He led he league in RBI’s with 127
He led the league in extra base hits with 87 (finishing 8th all time btw)
He led the league with a .620 Slugging percentage (Ironically the only time he has led in this category in his career
He led the league with a 1.021 OPS (on base plus slugging)
He Led the league with 15 intentional walks

He finished 6th in Batting with a .315 avg
He finished 3rd in On Base percentage with .401
He finished 7th in total bases with 333
He finished 8th in Home runs with 38
He finished 8th in walks with 80
He finished 5th in runs created with 130
He finished 2nd in offensive win percentage at .756
He finished 5th in sacrifice flies with 7

and in more esoteric stats

He finished 2nd in adjusted OPS
He finished 2nd in adjusted batting runs
He finished 2nd in adjusted batting wins
He finished 5th in at bats per HR ratio
He finished 2nd in base outs runs added
He finished 3rd in win probability added
He finished 4th in situational wins added

And on the minus side was 4th in hitting into double plays with 22

For any normal player such a season would be considered spectacular.

For a 40 year old player with bad legs an feet in his final major league season that is spectacular.

No major league player in a career not ended by suspension (Joe Jackson) sudden death (Roberto Clemente) or Serious injury / disease (Sandy Koufax) has ever had a year like this to finish a career and of course there is still the playoffs to come.

I have no idea how the Red Sox or Ortiz will do in the playoffs, but even if the Tribe sweeps us in 3 and Ortiz goes 0-12 consier this.

While Curt Schilling deserves a fair share of the 2004 credit David Ortiz is the man who converted the Red Sox franchise and fans from a group of people waiting to see what would go wrong, to a franchise that believes it can win in any given year. He is a player that transformed fandom in this region.

I don’t expect to see another like him in my lifetime.

Keep your eye clear, and hit ’em where they ain’t

Willie Keeler

Four Years and six months ago I was in NH for a NRO event along with a lot of other bloggers and reporters after all of us watched one of the GOP primary debates that was notable for George Stephanopoulos suddenly asking Mitt Romney a question about contraception that had everyone, including Romney scratching their heads. It had not been an issue in the campaign nor in the country or years and while Roman Catholics will tell you artificial contraception is a sin to my knowledge Mormons have no problem with it.

That night everyone was talking about how weird the question but a few days later things became clear as the entire media jumped on this as an important issue.

You see many things were going badly in the economy, in foreign affairs and the folly of Obamacare were just starting to become apparent, the Democrats needed a distraction to protect the president so they pivoted bringing out an issue that had been settled for years to change the submit and hit republicans at the same time.

It’s sort of like the tactic used against Ted Williams in the 40’s called the Williams Shift repositioning players completely to change the dynamic of his hitting.

tedwilliamsshift It the same tactic used against David Ortiz today in an attempt to make those hits come with a little more difficulty.

While both Williams and Ortiz had occasional failures against the shift, in the end their skill levels were/are so superior that the shift could not stop them from hitting through it and as both demonstrated regularly if the ball is off the wall or out of the park no amount of shifting is going to make any difference.

Alas for the GOP Mitt Romney was no Ted Williams or David Ortiz. Romney being Romney and the GOP being the GOP, they fell hook line and sinker for this nonsense hitting directly into the shift and giving the media exactly what they wanted. It was one of a series of foolish and timid moves that turned what should have been a very easy election for the GOP into the disaster that the next four years of Barack Obama became.

Fast forward to 2016. Hillary Clinton has had the worst week in the history of history, the attempt to portray health questions as a conspiracy theory have failed. Leak after leak makes her look bad. The polls have gone south, Trump has bested her in a televised forum and thanks to his new campaign team has not only avoided mistakes but gotten positive press and cultural coverage that even playing the David Duke card has not been able to counter and if that’s not bad enough ISIS continues to advance, the refugee crisis continues to fester and Obamacare exchanges are dropping like flies What does one do if you are the palace guard for Democrats mainstream media?

Why you play the “shift” card and trot out birtherism.

The fact that Barack Obama has barely four months in office and that it’s an issue that nobody cares about doesn’t matter. The media needs to change the subject so suddenly the entire press corps decides there is no bigger issue to settle and they will not stop asking about it until Trump satisfies them.

In other words the shift is on and they are daring Trump to hit it over or through them counting on the fact that despite his media skills he is not enough of a Ted Williams or David Ortiz to successfully hit through the shift.

But while it’s true that Donald Trump is no Williams or Ortiz, he’s also no Mitt Romney and his new campaign team of Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon and Kelly Conway are not the normal GOP consultants advising him to hit into the shift and take their chances.

Instead Trump announced a press conference to address the issue, the MSM rushed to cover it live (something that they have been a lot less enthusiastic to do since he became the nominee) ready to take his statement and pound him with question after question, furthermore as he was apparently “running late” they continued to promote the event to ensure the maximum viewership when he did make his statement…

…and then this happened

The media found themselves giving their audience 20 minutes of military heroes endorsing Trump on live TV before he finally came on Camera to say

“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.”

Not only did Trump get the media to cover his endorsements but he got them to cover live his pronouncement that “birtherism” was a construct of the Hillary Clinton campaign. (a Statement spin not withstanding backed up by on CNN by a Clinton campaign manager but by a respected veteran journalist former McClatchy Washington Bureau Chief James Asher.

A story repeated on the McClatchy site yesterday

“During the 2008 Democratic primary, Sid Blumenthal visited the Washington Bureau of McClatchy Co.,” Asher said in an email Friday to McClatchy, noting that he was at the time the investigative editor and in charge of Africa coverage.

“During that meeting, Mr. Blumenthal and I met together in my office and he strongly urged me to investigate the exact place of President Obama’s birth, which he suggested was in Kenya. We assigned a reporter to go to Kenya, and that reporter determined that the allegation was false.

“At the time of Mr. Blumenthal’s conversation with me, there had been a few news articles published in various outlets reporting on rumors about Obama’s birthplace. While Mr. Blumenthal offered no concrete proof of Obama’s Kenyan birth, I felt that, as journalists, we had a responsibility to determine whether or not those rumors were true. They were not.”

Blumenthal, who worked in the White House with President Bill Clinton and later was employed by the Clinton Foundation, could not be reached Friday but said in an email to The Boston Globe, “This is false. Period.”

In other words the Trump campaign instead of hitting into the shift as he might have been inclined under the old management team, poked the ball into the empty left field for an easy double.

The fit this gave the entire MSM was epic which comes from a single miscalculation.

You don’t have to be a David Ortiz or a Ted Williams to beat the shift, you just have to be good enough to go the other way and hit the ball where they ain’t.

And Trump is.

Update: Don Surber adds a bit of Irony:

For a decade, the city wanted the grand post office turned into a hotel. Trump did it. Today was the opening of the hotel. That was the reason for the event — not to discuss birtherism, which was the Clinton Camp’s topic of the day.


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As a general rule there are few people who make it to their 40’s in Baseball.  Usually if you are still playing you are a hall of famer making your final rounds and hitting your final milestones such as Ichrio who picked up his 3000th major league hit while batting .292 in part time play for the 3rd place Miami Marlins.

Occasionally you get a hall of famer going out with a bang like David Ortiz who in his 20th and final major league season is leading the league in doubles, slugging, intentional walks (and double plays) and putting up triple crown number .320 (4th) 31HR (10th) 107 RBI (3rd) for a team tied for 1st place with 27 games to go.

And then there is Bartolo Colon

Colon is a year older than Ichrio and three years older than Ortiz and while a good pitcher over his career (230-161) 4.04 era and 2343 strikeouts would not be on anyone’s short list for the hall of fame.

But that being if there is one pitcher who has been invaluable to a team it’s been he.

On a team that’s in the playoff hunt 2nd place in their division and tied for the final wild card spot he has been the steady hand.  He’s gone 12-7 with a 3.35 ER in 27 starts and one relief app, leading the team in starts, 2nd in innings pitched (158.2) winning percentage and batters faced (660).

As the NY daily news put it 

Colon, a Dominican native who is the Mets’ oldest player, has ironically remained the healthiest piece of the pitching rotation in his Queens tenure, often serving as the linchpin of an injury-ridden, albeit younger staff. Colon re-signed with the Mets for one season after the team’s World Series run, and said he’s willing to fill any role the Mets need.

And he’s not only done it occasionally with style:

But has managed to set of all things a Major League record at the plate:

The first home run of Colon’s career came at 42 years, 349 days. Colon is the oldest player to hit his first career homer. He unseated Randy Johnson (40 years, 9 days), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Colon labeled the moment the biggest of his career.

his his first career home run at age 42

Bobby Mueller put it best

Bartolo Colon is aging well, perhaps not like a fine wine, but maybe a good whiskey. He’s been just as good this year as he was the last two years. He doesn’t strike out a ton of guys, but he walks very few, and isn’t killed by home runs. He doesn’t seem ready to hang up his spikes anytime soon and has acknowledged he would like to come back for the 2017 season. His contract is up at the end of the year, so he’ll be a free agent.

I don’t know how many years Colon has left. He would need five 15 win seasons to get to 300 meaning he would have to pitch two years Beyond Ryan’s age, but either way if the Mets make it to the post season and back to the world series this year a lot of the credit will go to Colon and the 7.2 million that the Mets spent on him will turn out to be the best investment they made all year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Union station WAY after dark
Day one in denver (I don’t count yesterday when we got Union Station at 10:30 & to the Hotel at just before 11 PM Denver time) started with a trip to the Basilica for AM mass as DaWife snoozed. The Hotel operates a shuttle for free in a 3 mile radius so that really came in handy. If I had that last time I wouldn’t have ended up in the clash between the occupods & the police.

I took a lot of pictures after mass.

I’m still got a few folks on my indulgence list to take care of over the next few days.

After the shuttle took me back and the wife and I had breakfast Stop two was a walk to Coors field:

assorted denver 2 030

where I filmed this clip before dabattery died

The park was beautiful the seats spacious compared to fenway and incredibly comfortable. I loved that they have a “rockpile” bench seating was $1 for kids under 12 or elders over 55 ($4 otherwise) so even the poorest and particularly young kids can always see a game in person and I really loved the deal where they had a designated drive setup where if you pledged not to buy beer after the 4th inning you got a free soda (saving dawife & I 10 bucks on a day when it was 91 during the game and the fans made a beeline for areas in the shade.) but it was very odd to see a stadium with so many empty seats.

Alas for Colorado while they jumped into an early lead against the rangers their bull pen cracked at a critical moment turning a 5-1 lead after 5 into a 7-5 loss despite putting two on in the ninth. They had an interesting program where

We then stopped at the 1 up bar for a quick bite, the food was meh, but the arcade and pinball selection was excellent and if you are a fan of pintastic this location near coors field is a must visit.

The wife and I walked the 16th street mall a bit stopping at Tattered Covers book store for a souvenir for our oldest and to avoid a thunder storm before heading back to the hotel. On the way we were stopped by an earnest young girl asking us to sign a postcard for the gov on Utah asking him to oppose exploiting resources on federal land. The young lady must have approached me due to the fedora, grey sideburns & doctor who scarf and must have been startled to hear me tell her: “Sorry I support that kind of thing.”

The hotel has a fridge in the room so we hit a local supermarket via the hotel shuttle service before heading back to crash.

Now with all batteries charged the plan is to do a few things with the wife in the AM then start interviews with people coming for the school choice event as they arrive in the afternoon both for the site and the podcast.

I suspect with a lot of bloggers here the upload speeds (already kinda meh) are not going to improve so don’t be surprised if a lot of this stuff goes up back in MA but I’ll do what I can.


There will be a lot of expenses involved in a week in Denver not the least being missing a week’s pay from my job. If you’d like to help me cover them please consider hitting DaTipJar below

Also today week 3 of our 6 week tryouts for Da Magnificent Prospects, You can check out their work Monday evening, Tuesday at Noon, All Day Thursday and Saturday at noon. If you like what you see from them consider hitting DaTipjar in support of them (and please mention their name when you do) as both internet hits and tipjar hits will be part of scoring who stays & who goes.

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