You guys talk a lot about baseball and politics. What do you think
will happen first, national health care or the Pirates having a winning
Eureka! This is proof that dear readers galore are finally playing to our strengths here at RSBS, so even if your baseball team (or your government) does fail you, know that RSBS will always have your back (unless we’re busy doing something else, of course). I, personally, love taking below-the-belt hacks at the lowly likes of Pittsburgh’s not-so-finest, so I am delighted that our friend Beth here from Allentown, PA was willing to groove one right down the middle, in my proverbial wheelhouse.
Because this one is almost too easy:
We, the people of US America, will most certainly have a nationwide public option health care system set up before we ever see the Pittsburgh Pirates finish a season with a winning record.
Sorry, folks, but it’s just true.
Have you been paying attention to what the Bucs have been doing the last ten years?
No, of course not. Why would you?
I assure you, dear readers, no other team relishes in arbitrary head scratching more than the Pittsburgh Pirates — a team caught in the perennial chaos of “rebuilding” — a rebuilding that is always abandoned before any plus remnants of said rebuilding can be seen, only to be followed up with more rebuilding in moves that still don’t make sense.
Here is but a shortlist of brain-busting Bucco moves from recent memory:
- Signing Akinori Iwamura
- Dumping Nate McClouth (they did get McCutchen up quick because of this deal, but look for them to screw this up too)
- The Aramis Ramirez & Kenny Lofton for Bobby Hill, Jose Hernandez and Matt Bruback trade
- Drafting Bryan Bullington and passing on Prince Fielder, BJ Upton and Scott Kazmir
- Signing Derek Bell
- Paying Jason Kendall $10 million a year for SIX YEARS!
- Signing Raul Mondesi
- Drafting John Van Benschoten over David Wright
- Cutting Bronson Arroyo
- Picking up Matt Morris’ contract (worth $13 million)
This is just an abbreviated list; the full record of crimes against baseball committed by the Pirates’ front office are too many to present here. But I can tell you this: it will take an awful long time before such atrocities are remedied with the results of a winning season. I have no doubt about that.
But what about national health care, you ask? House Leader Nancy Pelosi says lawmakers are on the “verge of making history” with the strong possibility of a public option becoming a reality… very soon. Of course, they don’t say when, or how, considering the staunch stance of Republicans and soft Democrats blocking the way. So what are we supposed to make of this?
Look, I admit, the Democratic party has certainly had its share of Pittsburgh Pirate-like moments over the years. How else can one explain the incompetence of John Kerry and the loss of Ted Kennedy’s senate seat? But that doesn’t mean all hope is gone. Behind this political push to join the rest of civilized nations we do have a clear and just motive:
To stop penalizing people for getting sick.
As long as this continues to happen, I have a hard time believing in my country. This was my main concern when I went to the polls in 2008. The Obama Administration — while obviously not gifted with super powers like election propaganda may have led us to believe — has tackled this issue and tackled it hard.
And it can only get better from here… I think.
So hate me ‘cuz I still tout liberal ideals, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right about the Pirates continuing to suck.
(Image courtesy of Rum Bunter)
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This has been a week of upheaval in both the physical and existential sense of the word. We continue to be bombarded by images of Haiti and even today a new quake brought new fear. And in the US, both minor and major tremors shook us as McGwire admitted what we had always suspected and the Democrats lost what was supposed to be a sure thing.
In times of upheaval people search for solidity, for something they can cling to as their world is dashed to pieces. For Haitians this is an ongoing search as even their government and their public services have fallen apart. And for baseball fans, even though we knew what McGwire was up to, we go back to the basics and try to rediscover again why we love this game.
For the Democrats, they are in much the same spot as the Haitians. I remember standing on the lawn between the capitol and the Washington Monument a year ago as President Obama gave his historic inauguration speech. But a year later his star power has faded to the point that a virtual unknown was able to take the seat held by Ted Kennedy, the Liberal Lion, for nearly the past five decades.
The real question before all of us is what happens next? Is it possible for Haitians to go back to living a normal existence when even the ground betrays them? Can we trust any of our baseball heroes anymore or do we have to assume that they are all lying? And does the promise of a universal health care system fade away for another 20 years until we once again realize how broken and rigged the current system is?
Upheaval forces us to answer difficult questions. And whether major or minor, these answers take time. Me, I’m a realist and always have been. I expect people to take the easy route. In another two weeks, Haiti will disappear from the news and we won’t hear about it again until the next time a disaster strikes. Despite the nearly universally accepted realization that health care is broken, our leaders will shy away from making us taste the bitter medicine and unfortunate people (who, luckily for the politicians, don’t tend to vote) will continue to fall through the cracks. And Mark McGwire, a self-confessed liar and cheater, will continue to make an exorbitant salary as a hitting coach while Pete Rose is banned from baseball. That, my friends, is reality.
There isn’t a whole lot to like about Massachusetts. The Patriots are cheaters and cocky loudmouths. The Red Sox and their fans have gone from being objects of pity to objects of disdain in the space of five years with their whiny crybaby antics. Even their success has now been called into the question with the slow leak of the Mitchell Report.
But if there’s one thing that Massachusetts does well, it’s politics. Deval Patrick’s gubernatorial candidacy in some ways presaged Barack Obama. And no less a conservative than Mitt Romney once led the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. However, there’s one name that stands above all the rest, even if destined to live on now only in myth.
During the night, the last great flame of the Kennedy family flickered out. Tiny cinders like Patrick Kennedy still dot the political landscape but they fade in comparison to what used to be a towering inferno of political ambition. At least Ted got to go more or less on his own terms, without suffering the same fate as his brothers. But his death is no less devastating, especially since Kennedy had long championed the health care reform that is slowly inching its way through the Congress.
Today people from both sides of the aisle, those who watch FOX news and those who rely on MSNBC, will pay their respects to “The Lion of the Senate” before returning to the partisan war of attrition that defines politics today. And despite all the excitement of divisional races and the upcoming publication of A Magical Mystery Tour (Part II) which will take us deep into the frightening recesses of Jeff’s brain, we here at RSBS also take a step back today to pay homage to Senator Edward Kennedy.
Every media outlet has been full of Olympic coverage for the past few months. We watched as French surrender-monkeys and dentally deficient Britons tried to tackle, steal or otherwise snuff the Olympic flame during its journey to the Bird’s Nest and then we saw the Chinese defy gravity to set the torch alight and begin the games.
Although the passing of the torch always seems to provoke strong emotions, these emotions tend to play out differently depending on the setting. When Jesse Owens overcame the Fuhrer’s supposedly invincible Aryan champions at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he tried to defuse the situation by saying that Hitler had shown him respect. Michael Phelps managed to show a touch of class this year as he overcame Mark Spitz’s decades old record.
But sometimes the old guard is reluctant to let the torch out of their grasp. When the Yankees had the Red Sox in a 3-0 stranglehold during the 2004 ALCS, it seemed that the old guys had a little life left in them. But they should have realized that they had used up all the gas in the tank during the previous year’s ALCS. The Yankees may have won that 2003 series but in reality, Pedro Martinez body-slamming Don Zimmer was emblematic of the rivalry’s not too distant future. And in 2004 they proved it by fighting back to win the ALCS and then the World Series.
A similar fight broke out during the primary season as the junior senator from Illinois took on the Clinton juggernaut. And when the dust finally settled at the Democratic National Convention last night, it was obvious that the party the Clinton’s created was now firmly in the hands of Sen. Obama. Sure, there were a few last grasps for the torch (Hillary’s non-concession speech back in June for example) but the look on former President Clinton’s face during Sen. Clinton’s speech Wednesday night told the whole story.
So, how does one pass the torch gracefully and not get burned in the process? Well, you could take a lesson from Ted Kennedy (2008 Ted Kennedy, not 1980 Ted Kennedy)
Or you could look to Richard Nixon who so graciously handed off to Gerald Ford in 1974. However, I suggest avoiding the example of the 1997 and 2003 Florida Marlins. Or Jay Mariotti. Burning bridges and fire sales are tacky even in the best of times.