Our trip to Georgia, or where Floridians spend their summer vacations

Blogger at the summit of Black Rock Mountain

By John Ruberry

As you may have noticed I haven’t posted here for a couple of weeks. Mrs. Marathon Pundit were on vacation. And we traveled to, at least if you live in the Chicago area, to an unlikely place, Georgia. 

After MLB’s spineless commissioner, Rob Manfred, pulled the annual All-Star Game out of Atlanta over Georgia’s voting integrity bill, my wife and I decided to “buy-in” to Georgia. 

MLB moved the Midsummer Classic to Denver, the capital of Colorado, even though that state has more more restrictive voting laws than Georgia. The switch cost Atlanta-area businesses millions. Don’t forget Atlanta is a majority-black city–Denver is majority-white. Of the Georgia election bill, Joe Biden said, “This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle.” 

If that comment makes sense to you, or if Manfred’s panicky substitution swap does, then you need to switch off CNN and MSNBC.

Georgia’s new election laws, by the way, are less restrictive than those in Biden’s home state of Delaware.

So on Independence Day Mrs. Marathon Pundit drove south to the Peach State to make up, in a very small way, for the tens-of-millions of dollars shipped off by Manfred to Colorado. There were some diversions. We spent the night of July 4th in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is just north of the Georgia state line. We did some sighteeing there the next day, including time on Lookout Mountain, where a pivotal battle of the Civil War Siege of Chattanooga occurred in late 1863. But the lion’s share of that day was spent on the site of the Battle of Chickamauga a few miles south in Georgia. The two battles are often presented as one, or part of a campaign, which is why the these two locations comprise the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.

Of our Civil War battles only Gettysburg, fought two months earlier in Pennsylvania, had more casualties than Chickamauga. Unlike Gettysburg, Chickamauga was a Confederate victory. After being routed in Georgia the Union army retreated to Chattanooga. The northern commanding general, William Rosecrans, was relieved of his duties and replaced by Ulysses S. Grant. His breaking of the siege set the stage for the army led by his close friend, General William Tecumseh Sherman, to capture the strategic city of Atlanta the next year. Sherman’s March to the Sea, where Union forces split the Confederacy a second time, ended with the capture of Savannah late in 1864. 

We eventually made it to Savannah too. 

Mrs. Marathon Pundit was stupefied by the sprawling expanse of the Chickamauga Battlefield and the hundreds of monuments there. Her hometown of Sece, Latvia, was the site of a World War I battle. With the exception of a German military cemetery, there are no commemorations of that battle there. C’mon Sece, at least erect an historical marker in town about the battle.

We wandered for the next two days in the luscious Blue Ridge Mountains, mostly hiking, in these state parks: Fort Mountain, Black Rock Mountain, Smithgall Woods, Unicoi, and Tallulah Gorge. The latter is where much of the classic but disturbing film Deliverance was filmed. Around the time that movie was shot Karl Wallenda crossed the gorge on a high-wire. In fact, the Great Wallenda accomplished that feat 51 years ago today. Our first night in the mountains we spent in Helen, Georgia. Its buildings are in a Bavarian style and it’s filled with German restaurants. While it only has about 500 residents, Helen is Georgia’s third-most visited town. And I encountered mobs of Floridians there.  

People often wonder where Florida residents go on vacation–after all the Sunshine State is of course one of America’s most popular vacation destinations. In the summer many Floridians head to the slightly cooler climes of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Yes, Tropical Storm Elsa, which passed through coastal Georgia after pummelling Florida during our trip, might have chased some people up north, but not all of them. 

I almost forgot–we hiked the Applachian Trail too.

After a couple of days in South Carolina–at Abbeville, Beaufort, and Hunting Island State Park, with a quick return to Georgia for a walking tour of Augusta and lunch with a high school friend in nearby Evans, we spent our last two days in Georgia in historic Savannah, an even better walking city than Augusta. Our own March to the Sea was over. Then it was time to drive home. 

On our way back, the day of the Home Run Derby of the MLB All-Star Game, we planned to visit Stone Mountain Park, site of “the Mount Rushmore of the South,” the largest bas-relief in the world, which is comprised of carvings of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. But the weather that day was horrible–heavy rain–so we kept driving, straight through, back to Illinois. Stacey Abrams, the defeated Democratic candidate for Georgia governor in 2018, favors removal of the mountain carvings.

Stone Mountain Park is the most-visited attraction in the Peach State.

Abrams gave tacit support to a boycott of Georgia because of the voting reform bills, but she stealthily edited her USA Today op-ed call for one, but her disingenous act was later exposed. 

Abrams all but said to stay away from Georgia. 

So we visited. And and Mrs. Marathon Pundit and I had a wonderful time.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Dynasty League Updates 7-7-21 Leaders and some Teams no longer available.

Here is the current state of the table top baseball leagues I run. All leagues are 162 game seasons with one 3 game series scheduled per week If you click on a team link you can see their stats, injuries, leaders etc.

Since our last update several teams that were previously open in various league have been taken.

League one All Futility League (all teams lost 96 + games) 2nd Season. Scheduled series time Thursday Mornings.

Teams AL Division AWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1970 Milwaukee Brewers7455.574—–NoN/A
1970 Chicago White Sox6561.5167 1/2No—-
2002 Tampa Bay Devil Rays5769.45215 1/2Yes8
2003 Detroit Tigers4782.36427No20
Teams AL Division BWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1970 Kansas City Royals7752.597_____Yesn/a
2012 Minnesota Twins7452.5871 1/2No+9
2008 Seattle Mariners6663.51211Yes1/2
1973 Texas Rangers5277.40325Yes14 1/2
Teams AL Division CWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2009 Cleveland Indians6561.516—–Non/a
1957 Washington Senators6264.4923No3
1967 Kansas City A’s6366.4883 1/2No3 1/2
2019 Baltimore Orioles5967.4686No6

AL Leaders: Hitting:

Avg Mauer Min .346, OBP, Mauer Min .455, Huff TB Slug .601 Runs Harper .Mil 119, Hits: Suzuki Sea 181, 2B Ibanez Cle, A Cabrera Cle 42, 3B Cabrera Cle 13, SB Revere Min 65, BB Mauer Min 92 HR Sievers Wash 35, RBI Sievers Wash 113

Pitching: Wins Hernandez Sea, Johnson KCR 18, ERA Butler KCR 2.85, IP John Chi 212, K’s Hernandez Sea 196, Avg against Sosa TB 207 WHIP Krause KCA 1.08 HR/9 Bibby Tex 0.35 Saves Sanders Mil 26

*Division Winner automatically makes playoffs

Teams NL Division AWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1998 Montreal Expos8049.620—–YesN/A
2009 Washington Nationals7653.5894Yes+ 3 1/2
2001 Pittsburgh Pirates 7062.53011 1/2Yes4
1998 Florida Marlins5871.45022Yes14 1/2
Teams NL Division BWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2015 Atlanta Braves6069.465—– No12 1/2 *
2000 Philadelphia Phillies6069.465—–Yes12 1/2*
2012 Houston Astros5772.4423Yes15 1/2
2017 San Francisco Giants5475.4196No18 1/2
Teams NL Division CWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1993 New York Mets7356.566_____Non/a
1982 Cincinnati Reds7458.5611/2No______
1974 Chicago Cubs6267.48111No10 1/2
1993 San Diego Padres5272.44216Yes15 1/2

NL Leaders Hitting:

AVG Gwynn SD .361, OBP Giles Pit .450 Slug Giles Pit .623, Runs Giles Pitt 114, Hits Gwynn SD 189 2B Gwynn SD 56, 3B Guerrero Mon 15, SB Morgan Wash 45, BB Giles Pit 101, HR Murray Mets 34, RBI Ramirez Pit 114

Pitching Wins Hermanson Mon 21, ERA Hermanson Mon 2.06, IP Soto Cin 230, K’s Soto Cin 279, Avg against Soto Cin .199 WHIP Soto Cin 1.02, HR/9 Quintana Mets, Berenyi Cin 0.21, Saves Urbina Mon 29.


The SD Jones memorial .500 teams league is a league (all teams were no better than 2 games over .500 or no worse than 2 games under) Initial season . Games are scheduled for Tuesdays. AM

Teams AL EastWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1993 Boston6343.600—–Non/a
1957 Baltimore5253.49511Yes2
1973 New York (A)5154.48612Yes3
1967 Washington4659.43817Yes8
Teams AL CentralWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2010 Detroit6936.657—–Yesn/a
1975 Cleveland4758.44822No7
1973 Minnesota4557.44122 1/2No7 1/2
1998 Chicago (A)3867.36231No16
Teams AL WestWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2010 Oakland6045.571—-Yesn/a
2017 Kansas City5348.5205 1/2No+ 1/2
2018 Los Angeles (A)5451.5146Yes—-
2005 Toronto4758.44813Yes7

AL Leaders Batting

Avg Carew Min .359, OBP Trout LAA .443, SLUG Trout LAA .645, Runs Cabrera Det 96, Hits Carew Min 150, 2B Cabrera Det 39, 3B Durham ChW, Jackson Det, Francona Bal 11, SB Carew Min 38 BB Trout LAA 79 HR Trout LAA 30, RBI Cabrera Det 97

Pitching

Wins Verlander Det 16, ERA Halladay Tor 2.11, IP Vernalder Det 205, K’s Verlander Det 185, Avg against Eckersley Cle .199, WHIP Halladay Tor 0.98, HR/9 Bibby Cle 0.21, Saves Valverde Det, Alvaraez LAA 21

Teams NL EastWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1967 Pittsburgh6543.602_____Non/a
2018 Washington6342.6001/2No+ 7 1/2
1957 Philadelphia4758.44816 1/2Yes8 1/2
1975 New York (N)4560.42918 1/2Yes10 1/2

Division winner skips wild card

Teams NL CentralWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1996 Cincinnati5748.543_____Non/a
2000 Colorado5751.5281 1/2Yes____
1975 St. Louis5352.5054Yes2 1/2
1973 Houston4560.42912Yes10 1/2
Teams NL WestWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1975 San Francisco6243.590—–Yesn/a
2012 Arizona5253.49510Yes3 1/2
2007 Los Angeles (N)4758.44815Yes8 1/2
1982 San Diego4263.40020Yes13 1/2

NL Leaders Batting

AVG Clemente Pit .378, OBP Mitchell Cin .459, Slug Clemente Pit .622, Runs Larkin Cin 93, Hits Clemente Pit 165, 2B Cirillo Col 47, 3B Clemente Pit 19, SB Pierre LAD 58 BB Larkin Cin , Ashburn Phil 58, HR Young Ari 24, RBI Helton Col 95

Pitching Wins Scherzer Wash 14, ERA McBean Pit 1.28, IP Scherzer Wash 208 2/3, K’s Scherzer Wash 247, Avg Against McBean Pit .201, WHIP Scherzer Wash 0.93, HR/9 McBean Pitt 0.08, Saves Brantley Cin 24


3rd League All time any time Great Teams League (3rd season) Games scheduled Friday evenings. Two teams have been picked up since the last posting (oddly not the Orioles)

Teams AL EastWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1970 Baltimore5022.694—–Yesn/a
1993 Toronto4329.5977No+2
1961 Yankees3537.48615No6
1999 Boston2844.38922No13
Teams AL CentralWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2010 Texas4230.583—–Yesn/a
1954 Cleveland4131.5691No—–
2006 Detroit3141.43111Yes10
1974 Oakland2943.40313Yes12
Teams AL OtherWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2009 New York (A)3834.528____Non/a
1977 Kansas City3639.4803 1/2No6 1/2
1924 Washington2847.37311 1/2No14 1/2
1967 Minnesota2646.36112Yes15

AL Leaders Batting

Avg Howard NYY61 .356, OBP Olerud Tor .472, Slug Mantle NYY61 .655, Runs Mantle NYY61 64, Hits Jeter NYY09 108, 2B Olerud Tor 29, Triples Taylor Wash 13, SB Henderson Tor 42, BB Henderson Tor 62, HR Mantle NYY61 25, RBI Rudi Oak 67

Pitching Wins Leonard KC, Hardin Bal, Cuellar Bal 11, ERA Feller Cle 1.83, IP Johnson Wash 147 2/3, K’s Martinez Bos 217, Avg against Martinez Bos .190 WHIP Martinez Bos 0.86 HR/9 Wilson Tex 0.38 Saves Ward Tor 21

Teams NL EastWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1975 Cincinnati3831.551—–NoN/a
1955 Brooklyn3636.5003 1/2Yes1
2019 Washington Nats3339.4586 1/2Yes4
1998 Atlanta3138.4497No4 1/2
Teams NL CentralWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1985 St. Louis4032.556____NoN/a
1957 Milwaukee3933.5421Yes+2
1971 Pittsburgh3438.4726Yes3
2003 Cubs3141.4319Yes6
Teams NL OtherWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2016 Chicago (N)4923.681—-Non/a
1977 Philadelphia3735.51412Yes___
2001 Arizona3636.50013Yes1
2007 Colorado3339.45816Yes4

NL Leaders Batting

Avg Kendrick Wash .358, OBP Morgan Cin .476, Slug Galarraga Atl .705, Runs Morgan Cin 70, Hits Kendrick Wash 106, 2B Helton Col, Holiday Col, Rendon Wash 27, 3B McGee StL 12, SB Morgan Cin 39, BB Schmidt Phil, Morgan Cin 62, HR Ga;arraga Atl 22, RBI Aaron Mil 69

Pitching Wins Nolan Cin 12, ERA Tudor StL 1.82, IP Tudor StL 133 2/3, K’s Johnson Arizona 166, Avg against Tudor StL .188, WHIP Tudor StL 0.84 HR/9 Buhl Mil 0.18, Saves Chapman Cubs16 19

If you are interested in taking over the management of any of the online leagues teams contact me in comments.

As a bonus here are the standings of our face to face draft league which first began playing in 1987 in Fitchburg Massachusetts. We have two divisions with 4 teams each playing a 60 game season every other Saturday at Zeda’s Pizza in Fitchburg MA. The individual leagues are named for deceased members of the league. Five teams make the playoffs, the best record gets home field throughout and 2nd best record of the division leaders gets a home series against the best non-division winner while the final two teams play a one game playin for the right to face the best division winner in the playoffs.

New players are always welcome

Lynn DivisionWLPCTGBWCGB
Tampa Bay Rays3117.614—-n/a
St. Louis Cardinals2721.5634+1
San Francisco Giants2622.5425___
Colorado Rockies2226.45894
Dan DivisionWLPCTGBWCGB
New York Yankees3216.667—-n/a
Washington Nationals2028.417126
Seattle Mariners2028.417126
San Diego Padres1436.28019ELIM

the new season and draft will start shortly after this season ends additional teams for expansion are most welcome

Five Reasons why signing Tebow Makes Sense but signing Kaepernick doesn’t

The left is having a hissy fit over the Jacksonville Jaguars signing of 33 years old Tim Tebow when the 33 year old Colin Kaepernick does not have an NFL job (not that he actually wants one but I digress). For those who have to deal with such people here are five quick reasons why signing Tebow makes much more sense than signing Kaepernick.

  1. Tebow is in professional sports shape.

While Kaepernick’s last game in the NFL was in 2016 and Tebow’s in 2012 Tebow has spent the last three years playing minor league ball in the Mets system rising to the AAA level before deciding to leave baseball this year. Thus the 33 year old Tebow not only is in playing shape while Kaepernick is not but he’s had three years of the routine of playing and being in shape to play daily.

2. Tebow’s most recent NFL Stats are better than Kaepernick’s

In his last two seasons as a starter Colin Kaepernick went 3-16 with no playoff appearances and was benched for lack of success

In his last two seasons as a starter Tim Tebow went 8-6 including a victory in the 1st round of the playoffs and oddly was benched despite his success.

3. Tebow is coming back as a TE,

Over the years teams that weren’t impressed with Tebow as a QB were still impressed with him as an athlete and were open to signing him at another position (Remember Julian Edelman was a QB in college) over the years Tebow steadfastly refused wanting to play QB. Tebow finally being willing to accept this fact is a big part of his being signed.

Meanwhile advocates for Kaepernick not only insist that he be a QB but also suggest that anything other than a starting QB (with a salary for a starting QB) would be beneath him. I have no idea if Kaepernick is interested in another position (WR?) but he’s not made any indication that he’d be willing to try one.

4. A Christian Brother to help Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville

Tebow brings a unique advantage to Jacksonville who just drafted Trevor Lawrence with the 1st pick.

Lawrence is very publicly a devout Christian in a society that is not kind to Christianity. Tebow is a very public Christian who has taken the slings and arrows for it. Tebow’s signing give Lawrence not only a Christian Brother in the clubhouse to confide in but a Christian brother who was a 1st round QB with direct experience in how to handle what the NFL will throw at him. Furthermore the attention that Tebow catches might lighten the load of the same on Lawrence.

Colin Kaepernick could not do this for Jacksonville and it’s very likely that for any team that he signed he would be more a distraction than an asset.

5. Tebow brings fans, Kaepernick chases them away.

Finally everyone forgets that the primary job of a sports franchise is to sell tickets, merchandise and eyeballs. Tim Tebow will not only draw fans but draw good publicity.

With a fan base already sick of “woke” sports Colin Kaepernick would chase fans away from the game and keep those who were thinking of coming back away.

My WNBA Draft Question

I understand the WNBA draft is today and I have a question:

If a NCAA player who played in the men’s tourney, say a low level NBA prospect publicly defines himself as a woman is he/she eligible for the WNBA draft?

If not why not?

I imagine a player who has no chance at the NBA and looking at a regular job having a huge incentive to do so but that’s just me?

Corporations need to stay out of politics–or how my father got fired for wearing a JFK button at work

Image courtesy of the JFK Presidential Library

By John Ruberry

In 1960, shortly before I was born, my father briefly worked for the Quaker Oats Company. Sixty years ago many large companies and corporations had ethnic identities. For instance the first episode of Mad Men, coincidentally set in 1960, contains a plotline centered around the decision of a Jewish business owner to change advertising agencies and hire one that wasn’t “Jewish.” 

Big firms also had politial identities.

Quaker Oats was a Republican company. R. Douglas Stuart was the longtime CEO of the company when my dad worked there. In Stuart’s Wikipedia entry, and that of his son, it’s stated that they were “active in the Republican Party.” The younger Stuart also served as CEO of Quaker Oats.

My dad was hired by the Chicago-based company as a junior executive, an in-house farm club concept from that era.

It was a great time to be an Irish Catholic Democrat in 1960 and my dad was able to proudly check all three boxes. John F. Kennedy, who potrayed himself as a devout Catholic, was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. Unlike the doomed Al Smith, the first Catholic nominee for president of a major party, Kennedy’s chances for moving into the White House looked promising. But JFK’s Republican opponent, Richard M. Nixon, was the slight favorite early in the campaign. Kennedy, people like my father reasoned, needed every bit of assistance to nudge him over the goal line. So my dad placed a Kennedy poster in the front window of our Chicago bungalow and he wore a Kennedy campaign button everywhere he went.

Including at Quaker Oats. 

But my dad was a probationary hire–there was a three month period before a final decision was made on whether he would stay on. He didn’t make it–he was told at the end of those three months that he “wasn’t a fit for the Quaker Oats culture.”

Years later, after my father’s passing, I met a woman who worked closely with my father at Quaker Oats there and she confimed this story as it had exactly been told to me. She added that my dad was “a real blast” and a “breath of fresh air at that stuffy place.”

Later in the 1960s attitudes changed. Major corporations became less ethnic. One large company after another stopped being WASP, Jewish, or Catholic. The hiring doors for all positions were opened to minorities. And of course those were all good things. Politics was de-emphasized in the business world too.

But politics didn’t vanish from corporate America. Another legacy from the 1960s is that big corporations began envisioning themselves as being responsible for more than providing products and services and making money, explaining in annual reports and countless press releases that they had a “responsibility to the community” and the like. And over time, colleges and universities, even their business schools, drifted even further to the left. So did the political leanings of their graduates. A decade or so ago poltics made a roaring comeback in the boardroom and elsewhere in corporate America.

When there is a political controversy–such as the hasty anger about the new Georgia voting laws–which most people who hate them only do so because they saw Twitter comments or headlines on their smart phones that claim that Georgia has returned to the Jim Crow era–CEOs naturally, such as Delta Airlines’ CEO Ed Bastian, fall in line and echo the opinion of the left. Oh, the fear of a left-wing boycott is part of their rationale too. Coca-Cola, aka Woka-Cola, which went full-woke earlier this year, has also declared its opposition to the Georgia election law. And not just them.

Corporate politicking needs to end because it is an accessory to the dangerous dividing of America. The last time I bought airline tickets I needed to get someplace–and get flown home. That’s it. I don’t need the airline’s politics, I have my own already, thank you. The same goes if I need a beverage or anything else. Ed Bastian and Coca-Cola’s CEO James Quincey need to shut up and stick to keeping flights somewhat on time and ensuring beverages are tasty and safe. They need to avoid subjects they know little about.

The majority of Americans, when they learn more about the Georgia bill, will likely see these reforms as reasonable. For instance already most states have voter ID laws, including Biden’s home state of Delaware. And signature verification as the sole tool to determine if a ballot mailed in was completed by that voter, isn’t a strong enough security measure, at least I think so.

Elections need to be free and fair. 

Did Quincey and Bastian cave to the left on Georgia only because they read an MSNBC or Daily Beast headline? 

I am also compelled to address the bad decision by Major League Baseball to move the 2021 All-Star Game, and the MLB Draft, out of Atlanta. Two days prior, while being interviewed by woke ESPN, President Joe Biden said he supported taking away that game from the Braves. MLB needs to stay out of politics too. Had MLB done a bit of research on the subject it would have learned that the woke Washington Post rated a key Biden claim about the law with Four Pinocchios

Instead of a leftist boycott now Delta, Coke, and MLB face boycotts from the right–and the loudest call comes from former President Donald Trump. Remember him? He received the votes of 75 million Americans five months ago.

My message to corporate America: Keep out of politics and stick to your products and services. It’s good for your business and best for America. And it’s great for your employees.

Oh, my dad learned his lesson. He never wore a political campaign button again. He enjoyed a happy and properous career at other places. After Chappaquidick my father was done with the Kennedy family. After Jimmy Carter’s election he was done with the Democrats.

Quaker Oats was acquired by Pepsico, Coca-Cola’s rival, in 2001.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Futility league season 2, SD Jones League season 1 and all time great league season 3 standings (With Wild Card) 2/28/21

Here is the state of the table top baseball leagues I run. All leagues are 162 game seasons with one 3 game series scheduled per week If you click on a team link you can see their stats, injuries, leaders etc.

As of this week I am adding the wild cards standings for the play-in game

League one All Futility League (all teams lost 96 + games) 2nd Season. Scheduled series time Thursday Mornings.

Teams AL Division AWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1970 Milwaukee Brewers4232.568—–NoN/A
1970 Chicago White Sox3936.5203 1/2No—–
2002 Tampa Bay Devil Rays3243.42710 1/2Yes7
2003 Detroit Tigers2946.38713 1/2No10
Teams AL Division BWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1970 Kansas City Royals4431.587—–NoN/A
2008 Seattle Mariners4035.5334Yes+1
2012 Minnesota Twins3936.5205No——
1973 Texas Rangers3045.40014Yes9
Teams AL Division CWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2009 Cleveland Indians3837.507—–No1*
1957 Washington Senators3837.507—–No1*
2019 Baltimore Orioles3737.5001/2No1 1/2
1967 Kansas City A’s3639.4802No3
*Division Winner automatically makes playoffs
Teams NL Division AWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1998 Montreal Expos4626.639—–NoN/A
2009 Washington Nationals4332.5734 1/2Yes+ 1 1/2
2001 Pittsburgh Pirates 3936.5208 1/2Yes2 1/2
1998 Florida Marlins3342.44014 1/2Yes8 1/2
Teams NL Division BWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2015 Atlanta Braves3537.486—– Non/a
2017 San Francisco Giants3441.4542 1/2No7 1/2
2012 Houston Astros3441.4542 1/2Yes7 1/2
2000 Philadelphia Phillies3043.4115 1/2Yes10 1/2
Teams NL Division CWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1982 Cincinnati Reds4330.589—-Non/a
1993 New York Mets4032.5562 1/2No—–
1974 Chicago Cubs3636.5006 1/2No4
1993 San Diego Padres3441.45410Yes7 1/2

The SD Jones memorial .500 teams league is a league (all teams were no better than 2 games over .500 or no worse than 2 games under) Initial season . Games are scheduled for Tuesdays. AM

Teams AL EastWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1993 Boston2922.569—–Non/a
1973 New York (A)2325.4794 1/2Yes1 1/2
1967 Washington2028.4177 1/2Yes4 1/2
1957 Baltimore2130.4128Yes5
Teams AL CentralWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2010 Detroit2919.604—–Yesn/a
1975 Cleveland2423.5114 1/2No—–
1998 Chicago (A)2226.4587 No2 1/2
1973 Minnesota1830.37511No5 1/2
Teams AL WestWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2017 Kansas City3216.667—–Yesn/a
2010 Oakland2820.5834 Yes+ 3 1/2
2005 Toronto2226.45810 Yes2 1/2
2018 Los Angeles (A)2137.43811Yes3 1/2
Teams NL EastWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2018 Washington3219.627—-Non/a
1967 Pittsburgh3021.5882No+ 3 1/2
1975 New York (N)2523.5215 1/2Yes——
1957 Philadelphia2526.4907Yes1 1/2
Teams NL CentralWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1975 St. Louis2325479—–Yesn/a
1996 Cincinnati2225.4681/2No2 1/2
2000 Colorado2226.4581Yes3
1973 Houston2028.4173Yes5
Teams NL WestWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1975 San Francisco3612.750—–Yesn/a
2012 Arizona2127.43815Yes4
2007 Los Angeles (N)2028.41716Yes5
1982 San Diego1932.37318 1/2Yes7 1/2

3rd League All time any time Great Teams League (3rd season) Games scheduled Friday evenings

Teams AL EastWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1970 Baltimore156.714—–Yesn/a
1993 Toronto1110.5244No+ 1/2
1999 Boston711.3896 1/2No2
1961 Yankess711.3896 1/2No2
Teams AL CentralWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2010 Texas126.667—–Yesn/a
1954 Cleveland810.4444Yes1
1974 Oakland69.4004 1/2Yes1 1/2
2006 Detroit612.3336Yes3
Teams AL OtherWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1924 Washington138.619—–Non/a
1977 Kansas City99.5002 1/2Yes—-
1967 Minnesota1011.4763Yes1/2
2009 New York (A)510.3335No4
Teams NL EastWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1975 Cincinnati108.556—–Yesn/a
1998 Atlanta1011.4761 1/2No1 1/2
2019 Washington Nats1011.4761 1/2Yes1 1/2
1955 Brooklyn810.4442 Yes2
Teams NL CentralWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
1957 Milwaukee117.611—–Yesn/a
1971 Pittsburgh108.5561 Yes—-
1985 St. Louis810.4443No2
2003 Cubs711.3894Yes3
Teams NL OtherWLPCTGBAvailableWCGB
2016 Chicago (N)135722—-Non/a
2001 Arizona117.6112Yes+1
1977 Philadelphia99.5004Yes1
2007 Colorado612.3337Yes4

If you are interested in taking over the management of any of these teams contact me in comments.

Detroit’s stillborn revival

By John Ruberry

I hit the road last week–to a regular stop for me–Detroit–my fourth visit there. Coincidentally last Monday, when I arrived, was the first day that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lifting of Michigan’s ban on indoor dining, replaced by low-capacity dining, took effect.

Yet central Detroit was still nearly void of people last week.

During my first visit, in 2015, while I noticed a fair amount of bustle on the streets and sidewalks downtown, I also walked past empty skyscrapers. On my next trip, two years later, most of those same buildings were occupied or being rehabbed. And the city’s light rail line, the QLine, an expensive and impressive showpiece, had just opened. As I noted at the time on my own blog, these trolley cars ironically echo Detroit’s monorail, the People Mover, the 1980s Stalinist boondoggle championed by Coleman Young, the five-term mayor of Detroit who may have been a closet communist. Both the QLine and the People Mover serve only the downtown area. They look stunning though.

Also in 2017 Little Caesars Arena opened in the adjacent Midown part of the city. It brought the Detroit’s NBA team, the Pistons, back to the city for the first time in nearly four decades. The NHL team, the Red Wings, made the short jump from downtown’s Joe Louis Arena to Little Caesars too. Since the early 2000s the NFL entry, the Lions, and its MLB team, the Tigers, have been playing downtown. Which made the many gamedays in central Detroit a magnet for hungry and thirsty people with fat wallets. Now the teams play in front of no fans.

Quicken Loans has been based in Detroit since 2009 and is now America’s largest mortgage lender. While Detroit is still the Motor City it is the Mortgage City now too.

But meanwhile in the neighborhoods the decline of Detroit continued. For urban explorers like myself, that is, people who photograph or shoot videos of abandoned homes, factories, offices, churches—am I leaving anything out?–oh yeah, schools, there is no shortage of material to work with.

Things looked even better for Detroit when I spent a day there in 2019.

Then COVID-19 hit. Whitmer’s statewide lockdowns have been among the nation’s most restrictive. As I witnessed in Chicago last year, the streets were also eerily empty in Detroit in 2020 according to media reports, such as this one from AP in October:

Downtown Detroit was returning to its roots as a vibrant city center, motoring away from its past as the model of urban ruin. 

Then the pandemic showed up, emptying once-bustling streets and forcing many office workers to flee to their suburban homes.

And if you work for Quicken and its Rocket Mortgage wing, many of your job responsibilities, perhaps all of them, can be done from a suburban home, as Quicken performs most of its transactions online.

But lets say you need to come downtown for your annual review. What else is there to do? On Day 1 of the partial-lifting of the indoor dining lockdown, it looked to me that about half of the restaurants there were still closed. Most retail outlets were shuttered. And all of the shops and eateries were closed at the Little Caesars Arena, where I hoped to buy a hockey souvenir for Mrs. Marathon Pundit. But of course there is always Amazon to fall back on for that. Oh, Kid Rock’s Made In Detroit restaurant at Little Caesars closed last spring, although that departure had nothing to do with COVID.

So in downtown Detroit last week you still had to struggle to find a place to eat. Yes, there were a few of those ludicrous tents outside some eateries–by the way temperatures were in the 30s all last week during our visit.

Story continues below photograph.

Diners last Monday in downtown Detroit

Part of the allure of big-city centers has been the array of shopping and cultural choices offfered. That’s mostly gone now in Detroit. Sure, New York, Chicago and other large cities are facing similar challenges under COVID lockdowns, but many of their eateries and shops have been operating for decades. And yes, such businesses usually have narrow profit margins but being a going concern for many years means there will be an established customer base that might remember you a few years later. What if you are a Detroit boutique that has been open only for a couple of years?

The QLine and the People Mover haven’t run since last spring. There aren’t a lot of people in downtown Detroit to well, move. Buses are still running, however.

Back to those cultural choices: The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of America’s premier art museums. I wanted to attend Wednesday but the DIA was sold out that day. I was able to purchase tickets, online of course, for myself and my traveling companion the following day for one of the available time slots. And do you know what? Outside of employees there couldn’t have been more than 50 people inside the sprawling museum when we were there. I’m confident that Wednesday’s “sold out” day wasn’t much different. On the positive side I was able to stand and stare in front of the DIA’s four Vincent van Gogh paintings as long as I wished–there was no one to push me aside and tell me, “You’re done, now it’s my turn.” Yes, we were forced to wear masks and we had our temperature taken at the museum’s entrance. Precautions were taken.

My companion visited Dearborn’s Henry Ford museum on Tuesday–a fabulous place that I experiended in 2015–and it was nearly empty too, I was told. 

The Motown Musuem in New Center remains closed, it re-opens February 18. Man, oh man, we really wanted to see that place.

Will COVID-19 and Michigan’s lockdowns kill Detroit’s revival?

Many people have their life savings and their mortages invested in small businesses that have been closed for months in Detroit and other large cities.

The dominos will start falling.  Which is something most Detroiters know a lot about.

Meanwhile in Florida, life and business continues, with masks, but without the lockdowns. The Florida COVID death rate is lower than that of Michigan.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Tom Brady is the 3rd Best Player in an American Team Sport Behind Russell 2nd and Ruth 1st

We have now been hearing a discussion where people are asking: Is Tom Brady the greatest player in an American Team Sport ever? Brady being in his 10th Superbowl has earned him a place in that conversation with 10 trips to the finals in 21 chances. Or to put it another way,

  • Tom Brady’s avg of going to superbowls is higher than Ty Cobb’s avg of getting hits.
  • Tom Brady’s avg of going to superbowls is higher than the 3 point percentage of any NBA player in history
  • The only NFL team that has been to more Superbowls than Tom Brady is the New England Patriots with eleven trips over 61 years to Tom’s ten in 21 years. Nine of those trips were in years they were led by Tom Brady.
  • Tom Brady’s as of today has one less playoff win then Maurice Richard has Stanley Cup goals.

That being the case Brady deserves to be in consideration for the best player in a major American Team sport (Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey) of all time. There are two people in that conversation with him. Babe Ruth and Bill Russell.

Babe Ruth in 22 years went to 10 World Series winning Seven and if you look at the Baseball Reference pages over his career led the league in over 200 different categories over his career as both a Pitcher and as a Right fielder.

Bill Russell in 13 seasons in the NBA went to the playoffs every season making it to the finals 12 times and winning 11 titles, two of them as player coach.

Brady has four things in common with Ruth and Russell.

  • A Long Career
  • Success early and late in a career
  • Regular trips to the Finals
  • Long tenures in Boston

Brady has one thing in Common with Ruth favoring him over Russell

  • Success on multiple teams under multiple coaches/managers

Brady has two things in common with Russell over Ruth

  • A high level of play every uninjured season of his career (to this point) (Ruth’s final season stunk)
  • Never having cost his team a title with a boneheaded play to lose a series (Ruth inexplicably getting caught stealing in 1926 to lose the World Series)

And Brady has one advantage over Both Russell & Ruth

  • No Margin for error.

In a championship season Babe Ruth and his teams had the liberty of having as many as three bad games or three games where the opposing team outplayed them while still being capable of winning a championship. Bill Russell’s margin of error was larger, with a 6 to 9 game margin or error as their series were all best of seven. Or to put it simply if your better team had a bad day you still had the rest of a series games to show the other guy whose actually better.

However Tom Brady , as a football player, had no such margin of error. A single bad game or a single bad move and you are out. Russell’s Celtics & Ruth’s Yanks and Sox could blow a game or two in a series and still win. Brady never had that luxury.

Why then does Brady rank behind Russell? Very simple. While this season it’s been implied that Brady has functioned as a “coach” to the Offense, Bill Russell for two seasons won titles while actually being the head coach as well as the center. He not only had to play at a high level but had to while on the floor manage the team, call the plays and be aware enough to coach the team to the playoffs and to the title. He not only managed to do so, but managed to do so TWICE.

For that reason I give Russell an edge over Brady, at least so far. If Brady goes to an 11th Superbowl (which is entirely in the realm of possibility I may revisit that advantage.

However Babe Ruth has an advantage over Brady that is even more pronounced. He not only won six titles as the most feared slugger in the major leagues but won three titles as one of the top pitchers in the Majors. It would be as if Brady won his first three titles as the top linebacker or Defensive End before switching to Quarterback. Furthermore Ruth fundamentally changed the game of baseball in a way neither Russell nor Brady did in their sports. It’s true that after Ruth started hitting homers other soon followed, but Ruth did it first and the only chemical enhancements he had were hot dogs and beer.

For this reason I consider Babe Ruth the greatest team sport player in the history of sports, over Russell and over Brady. If Brady wins the superbowl this year and perhaps one other then I may revisit these rankings, if not then.

FYI Michael Jordon doesn’t make this list because while he won six titles in six trips all those titles came in the 2nd half of his career all with the same team and system and failed to make the playoffs with the wizards when he came back. LeBron James doesn’t make this list because of only four titles wins but given that he won three titles in three different cities under three different systems and has been to the finals 10 times one more trip will force him to be considered in this company. Kareem fails to make the top 3 because despite the six titles with two teams and titles early and late in his career, he had a very long period without making those finals or more properly if included on this list he is currently 5th with LeBron right behind him. Yogi Berra with 10 titles in 14 years and 3 MVP titles in a league that had Mantle & Williams is the person that Brady edges out for 3rd. Berra might have had better stats but his development was curtailed by a more pressing engagement off Normandy on June 6th 1944 & two months later in the invasion on the southern coast of France. In fact you might even be able to make a case for Berra going all the way to the top.

My top five list as of this moment would run Ruth, Russell, Brady, Berra, & Jabbar in that order with King James knocking on the door and very likely to take Kareem’s spot on this list perhaps as soon as this year.

Futility league and SD Jones League 1/3 and needs for alternates in Face to face league

Here is the state of the 2nd season of my Dynasty Baseball All Futility League (all teams lost 96 + games). Teams available for those interested are listed. If you click on the link for the various teams you get to their home page and can see their stats, leaders, injuries etc. Can you hold an existing lead or take a trailing team to the top?

Teams AL Division AWinsLossesPCTGBAvailable
1970 Milwaukee Brewers2724.529—–No
1970 Chicago White Sox2724.529—–No
2002 Tampa Bay DevilRays2130.4126Yes
2003 Detroit Tigers2031.3927No
Teams AL Division BWinsLossesPCTGBAvailable
1970 Kansas City Royals3021.588—–No
2012 Minnesota Twins2724.5293No
2008 Seattle Mariners2625.5104Yes
1973 Texas Rangers 2229.4318No
Teams AL Division C Wins Losses PCT GB Available
2009 Cleveland Indians 30 21 .588 —– No
1957 Washington Senators 26 25 .510 4 No
1967 Kansas City A’s 23 28 .451 7 No
2019 Baltimore Orioles 22 29 .431 8 No
Teams NL Division A Wins Losses PCT GB Available
1998 Montreal Expos 33 18 .647 —– No
2001 Pittsburgh Pirates 26 22 .542 5 1/2 Yes
2009 Washington Nats 25 26 .490 8 Yes
1998 Florida Marlins 25 26 .490 8 Yes
Teams NL Division B Wins Losses PCT GB Available
2015 Atlanta Braves 19 20 .487 —– No
2000 Philadelphia Phillies 23 28 .451 1 Yes
2012 Houston Astros 23 28 .451 1 Yes
2017 SF Giants 23 28 .451 1 No
Teams NL Division C Wins Losses PCT GB Available
1993 New York Mets 22 14 .611 —– No
1982 Cincinnati Reds 21 18 .538 2 1/2 No
1993 San Diego Padres 20 19 .513 3 1/2 Yes
1974 Chicago Cubs 15 21 .417 7 No

I am also running an all average team league called the SD Jones memorial .500 teams league. All teams were no better than 2 games over .500 or no worse than 2 games under. Here are the current standings. Teams still available are listed. This is our initial season.

Teams AL East Wins Losses PCT GB Available
1993 Boston 13 11 .543 —– No
1967 Washington 10 11 .476 1 1/2 Yes
1973 New York (A) 10 14 .417 3 Yes
1957 Baltimore 9 15 .375 4 Yes
Teams AL Central Wins Losses PCT GB Available
2010 Detroit 14 8 .583 —– Yes
1975 Cleveland 11 10 .524 1 1/2 No
1998 Chicago (A) 11 13 .458 3 No
1973 Minnesota 9 15 .375 5 No
Teams AL West Wins Losses PCT GB Available
2017 Kansas City 18 6 .750 —– Yes
 2010 Oakland 14 13 .519 5 1/2 No
2018 Los Angeles (A) 11 13 .458 7 Yes
2005 Toronto 11 16 .407 8 1/2 Yes
Teams NL East Wins Losses PCT GB Available
1967 Pittsburgh 20 7 .741 —– No
2018 Washington 16 8 .667 2 1/2 No
 1957 Philadelphia 10 14 .417 8 1/2 Yes
1975 New York (N) 10 14 .417 8 1/2 Yes
Teams NL Central Wins Losses PCT GB Available
2000 Colorado 13 11 .667 —– Yes
1975 St. Louis   12 12 .500 1 Yes
1996 Cincinnati 11 13 .458 2 Yes
1973 Houston 10 17 .370 4 1/2 Yes
Teams NL West Wins Losses PCT GB Available
1975 San Francisco 18 6 .750 —– Yes
2007 Los Angeles (N) 12 12 .500 6 Yes
2012 Arizona 10 14 .333 8 Yes
1982 San Diego 8 16 .333 10 Yes

The invite for the 3rd season of our great teams league. Last season the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers repeated as world champs defeating the 2010 Texas Rangers 4 games to two. Can they three peat? And what team would YOU like to manage to try and stop them? We will be starting this league within two weeks.

Finally in our face to face league one player will be having a medical issue and a 2nd might also needing him to take some time off. We have one alternate available but he has already taken a team. If you had an interest in joining our league that plays every other Saturday in Fitchburg MA (1 pm EST) leave a comment here and I’ll give you details.

Expectations Revisited Patriots Sans Brady:

In Yesterday’s post I measured, with one game left in the NFL season Brady vs the expectations game to this point, now let’s look at the Patriots:

As I wrote at the time the Patriots pre-Brady:

  • Had a winning record 55% of the time
  • won 11 or more game (10 in a 14 game season) 14.6% of the time
  • won their division 12% of the time
  • made the playoffs 24% of the time
  • won a playoff game 9.7% of the time
  • went to a championship game 7% of the time winning 0%

While the Patriots with Brady:

  • Had a winning record 100% of the time
  • The Patriots won at least 12 games 70% of the time
  • The Patriots won their division & made the playoffs 90% of the time
  • The Patriots won at LEAST one playoff game 70% of the time
  • The Patriots went to the Superbowl 50% of the time
  • The Patriots WON the superbowl 30% of the time (67% of the times they went)

Given those facts combined with the fact that the worst season of the Brady Era was a 9-7 record I set the bottom of the expectations barrel for an OK season being 9-7 a winning record,

However as many people argued for years that Brady’s success was due to Bill Belichck now considered by many the best coach of all time. Many of the anti-Brady crowd gave him a lot of credit for that success so I adjusted these expectations up two games to 11-5 figuring if a good coach can make a one game difference the greatest coach of all time should at least be able to manage to put an extra win or two out of his hat. After all the were only 3 Brady years that they failed to win at least 11.

Instead the Patriots go into this weekend not only eliminated from the playoffs for the 1st time since Brady’s injury kept him out for a season but fighting for the chance, the chance mind you to finish .500 for the season.

This makes the Bill Belichick Era going into today’s game a 24-34 as the coach of the New England Patriots in games not started by Tom Brady and in the three seasons that he coached the team sans Brady he made the playoffs….nearly once.

My expectations scale was “fire the bum” if he failed to win at least 11 but given the Covid situation that while effecting all teams hit his team hard I’d give him another season’s leeway, particularly if he can manage to make .500. If not I think we can safely say that the question of Bill vs Tom in terms of credit has been answered conclusively.

Closing thought #1: It’s worth noting that New England not only missed the playoffs but did so in a year with an extra playoff spot while going into their final three games holding the tiebreakers against all the teams ahead of them..

Closing Thought #2 The biggest difference has been the expectations game. During the Brady era the expectations of the sports fans and sports radio in Boston was “Patriots Win” except for that playoff game in KC (That Brady Still won) Does anyone really think that this team wouldn’t have at least 10 wins and be heading at worst to a wild card game if they had Brady under center this year?

Closing thought #3: For all this critique let’s remember that with a good starting QB with a long term contract in hand Belichick with that 199th pick still saw what every other GM in the league, including those without a good QB signed long term, didn’t.