Tagged: Election

The Filibuster

What race are you paying more attention to? The AL East? AL Central? Presidential?

Mark
Barrington, IL

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I suppose that since this is a baseball blog, I should probably say baseball.  And, I am keeping an eye on the AL Central, even if the maddening inconsistency of the Tigers has driven me into a self-protective shell.  When it comes to politics, though, I just can’t keep myself away.

This is a big year for politics.  It’s not just Romney and the Republicans in an attempt to repeal everything that Obama accomplished his first term.  It’s also an opportunity for Americans to tell the Tea Party that they don’t represent America.  A resounding defeat for Romney could finally show the Republicans that they need to remove the Tea Party cancer that eats at the GOP and their ability to effectively govern.

This past week showed once again how out of touch Romney is and why his Tea Party hijacked presidency would be disastrous.  The contrast between Romney’s hasty statement regarding the events in North Africa and Obama’s studied response just illustrates once again which man provides real leadership.

That being said, it’s interesting to note the similarities between the presidential campaign and the baseball season.  Both of them last much of the year and it’s hard to tell what’s going to happen until pretty late in the game.  Two months ago the Pirates looked like they actually had a shot at making the playoffs.  Six months ago it still wasn’t clear who the Republican nominee would be.  However, at this point, with less than two months to go before everything is settled, the pieces have started to shake out and the picture has become a little more clear.  Or at least we have a clearer idea of who the winners won’t be.  Trying to say with any certainty who will still be standing on D-Day is nearly impossible.

I guess the difference for me is the drama.  Yes, baseball has plenty of drama but the stakes are limited.  Whichever team wins the Series retains their title as champion for one year.  The world doesn’t change, except for the world of that team’s fans.  An American president can change not only the course of the nation but also of the world.  And it only happens once every four years.  Now that’s some drama.

Still, I’d really like to see the Tigers end this White Sox charade once and for all.  As for the AL East, screw the coasts.

-A

Marge, Meet Mitt

Remember Marge Schott?  Despite owning a team that won the World Series and being one of the first women to own a baseball team without inheriting it, she’s still best known for her racist slurs and comments on Hitler’s domestic policies.  MLB eventually pushed her into selling the team in an effort to end what had become a huge embarrassment to the game.

Now, Mitt Romney hasn’t yet come out in favor of Hitler’s domestic policies and, although his church has some interesting views on minorities (as do most religions), he hasn’t yet had a George Allen moment. However, he illustrated this week why he isn’t ready to be President.

It’s interesting that Romney’s snafu took place on September 11.  The thing that still stands out in my mind about that day in 2001 was the sense of unity afterward.  Sure, it didn’t last, but for a few weeks we truly were all “just Americans.”  We rallied around our country in its time of need and banded together to support each other.

Compare this with Romney’s response to the killing of US Ambassador Chris Stevens this past week.  Instead of rallying behind the President, the country and the diplomats standing in harm’s way, Romney offered the following statement:

It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

Now, aside from being patently untrue and misleading, a fact which Romney was made aware of and still refused to recant, it was also hardly the time or place to make such a statement, while the attacks were still ongoing and it was unclear how many people had died.  It’s also telling that the statement was made without having all the facts and contained blatant lies.  Granted, unapologetic lies have become a mainstay of the Romney-Ryan campaign but when it comes to Americans serving and dying for their country overseas, there’s simply no excuse for slandering them and their Commander-in-Chief.

It’s still possible that Romney could win the election.  It’s also likely that he will continue this line of attack.  But it’s essential that American voters see Romney for who he really is, just like MLB eventually had to do with Marge Schott.

-A

Not Just a Punter

The closer we get to the election, the more the rhetoric heats up.  Both sides fling out unbelievable claims trying to sway the “undecided” voter who somehow gets to decide every election.  Both parties try to get propositions and amendments on the ballot as well in an effort to get normally apathetic voters out to vote and hopefully, by extension, then also vote for that party’s guy.  It’s a cynical tactic, especially when you realize that these “tactics” affect real people.

I think that’s why I appreciated the letter Minnesota Viking’s punter Chris Kluwe recently wrote in support of Baltimore Raven, Brendon Ayanbadejo.  His second point is particularly important as it brings up something that should hit close to home for any baseball fan.  Yes, while we generally prefer that our sporting heroes don’t remind us of the difficult realities faced by many people and while many of us prefer to use sports as a means of escape, sports and the athletes who play them have a unique ability to reach a mass audience and to change social norms.  Jackie Robinson wasn’t just a baseball player.  He was the death knell of Jim Crow.  Hopefully guys like Kluwe and Ayanbadejo can do the same to this insane war on human rights being waged right now in the US.

-A

P.S. I can’t wait to hear Baseball Serendipity’s response to this one.  If it’s anything like last time, we’ll all be in for a treat.

Some Happy for Yer Friday

As we enter the beginning of the most exciting time of year (baseball playoffs and football season and an election, oh my!), I think it’s important that we keep in perspective that which brings us the most joy.  Sure, hosting a Guinness keg party while dressed in my Yadier Molina jersey flanked by the Shannon twins is pretty much the happiest day of my life (that hasn’t happened yet but might), I still know that even if all that other stuff falls through, I will always have baseball.

And sometimes, within the game of baseball, we can find something much simpler that pushes the happy button.  I know a lot of folks have been wrapped up in the admirable and impressive play of Mike Trout.  People are just as infatuated with his grace and dominance as I was am infatuated with Stephen Strasburg and all things Strasmas.  It’s the little injections of youthful awesomesauce that often remind us why we love baseball so much.  It is a kid’s game after all.

But sometimes waiting for the next big thing isn’t necessary.  I have found that out this year by following Coco Crisp very closely.  My history with Crisp has been one of hilarity, peppered with some dazzle.  And while his offensive numbers may not hypnotize scouts, enough can never be said about how he plays the game.

He plays hard.  He plays to win.  He’s in on every pitch and he goes balls-to-the-wall.  In fact, I have gotten to the point where I’m watching replays of his relay throws and conducting frame-by-frame analysis on his routes to fly balls.

If I could get to Oakland, I’d rather watch Crisp long-toss than Cesepedes take BP.

Okay, so maybe I’m lyin’ a little bit in that last sentence, but one thing is for certain: Coco Crisp’s defensive play is worth focusing on and if you focus long enough, you’re probably going to see something that puts a smile on your face.  Maybe even an afro.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

¿Que Hora Es?

If there’s one problem that baseball management and the Republican party have in common, it’s in trying to relate to hispanics.  And whether it’s cultural differences, the language barrier or continued attempts to push everyone with a hispanic sounding last name out of the country, the problem won’t be going away anytime soon.

However, we here at RSBS prefer to be part of the solution so we have a suggestion for both the GOP and MLB front offices.  The answer is “education.”  If you don’t at least make an effort to understand the culture and the language, you’re going to find yourself on the wrong end of the bat nine times out of ten.  I’m not saying you need to learn how to merengue or be able to tell the difference between a Venezuelan and Mexican accent, but you should at least have some basic level of understanding.

Now, I realize that with the end of season approaching and the general election in full swing, neither Republicans nor baseball’s movers and shakers have much extra time on their hands.  Luckily, YouTube has once again come to the rescue.  Give it a try and see if you don’t notice your multicultural empathy meter running over within minutes:

[youtube http://youtu.be/4cKGyOE_jOI]

It couldn’t be any simpler.  All you need to know is, “¿Que hora es?”

-A

R-Money and Self-Loathing Middle Class

My entire family votes Republican.  I am not kidding.  With the exception of me and my siblings, my entire extended family pretty much votes a straight ticket.  This makes sense for about half of them since that’s the military half of the family.  Republican administration=increased defense spending=job security.  But the other half are blue collar workers, many of whom saw their union jobs either shipped south of the Mason-Dixon line to right-to-work states or out of the country all-together.  Clinton may have been the one who signed NAFTA but the idea behind it, and the resulting job losses across the rust-belt, were all Republican initiatives.

The point is, it doesn’t make much sense for a paper-mill worker like my dad to be voting Republican.  I can kind of understand why a millionaire former baseball player like Curt Schilling now shills for the GOP.  Tax breaks and loopholes keep his nest-egg more ostrich-sized while the rest of us deal with our quail egg savings.  And if you think any part of the middle class will come out ahead under a Romney/Ryan administration, you need to pull your head out of the sand.

You know, this story could be told much more easily via pictures.  Let’s try that.

Serendipitous truth in advertising:

R-Money – rapper, Mormon, Republican candidate for President:

Now, why exactly is anyone from the middle class or any fiscal conservative planning to vote for this guy?  I guess I should just ask my family.  Chances are, they’ll be doing so.

-A

Putting the “Legitimate” in Legitimately Dumb

What would MLB do if it turned out that Melky Cabrera was “legitimately” using PEDs?  For the same matter, what if Barry Bonds came out and told us that he had been using the “cream” and the “clear” but it was legitimate so we didn’t need to worry about it?  I’m pretty sure that the fans and MLB would call bullsh*t on both of them.

By now I’m pretty sure you know where I’m going with this since you couldn’t swing a cat this week without hitting some news about Clay Aiken‘s long-lost father, Todd.  (Ok, fine, they spell their names differently but how funny would that be?)  And with both sides of the debate more than willing to weigh in, once again the Presidential race turned away from the economy and back towards the Republican’s seeming fetish for pushing away women voters.

Getting back to the original question I posed, of course you’d laugh at Cabrera or Bonds’ statements (speaking of which, what is it with the Bay Area??).  Whether it was “legitimate” or not, violating the League’s substance abuse policy means you have to face the consequences.  Sure, some guys, like Bonds, Sosa and McGwire, benfited from Bud’s willingness to look the other way as long as the money kept rolling in.  But the way things stand now, a violation is going to get you fifty games, just like Manny and Melky.  Except for when it doesn’t.  Yes, I’m looking at you Ryan Braun and your technicality.

Whether or not you get away with it, there is no such thing as “legitimate” or “illegitimate” PED use just like there’s no such thing as “legitimate” or “illegitimate” rape.  And it’s important to keep in mind here that although PED’s may tarnish someone’s legacy or hurt a team in the playoff hunt, rape destroys a person’s life, no matter what Mike Huckabee or Todd Akin say.  It has nothing to do with “legitimate” or “illegitimate.”  It’s plainly and simply unacceptable.

-A