“Don’t worry, they should go all the way.” Host Brian Kenny was bucking up a guest, an admittedly “anxious” Nationals fan, on MLB Now. We thought about the downside of rooting for the 2015 Nats: the sky-high expectations of a championship, and the pressure to meet them. We’ve learned, especially since the addition of the second wild card, that anything can happen in the playoffs. The Nats will surely make the post-season, but surviving into the Series will be a challenge, and winning a world title anything but a cinch.
Hillary Clinton is the Nationals of the political field – a title-winning cinch in the Dem division of 2016 presidential race. She has been declared “inevitable” as a candidate with probably no competition in the first electoral playoff. But when she battles for the top spot with Jeb Bush, or one of Team GOP’s other surprisingly strong contenders, she will be at a disadvantage. Why? Clinton will not have benefited from testing her message against serious competition.
Ezra Klein, scouting for Vox, says Hillary’s rallying efforts in the run-up to the one-on-one fight have been unpersuasive for a glaringly simple reason:
“She sp(eaks)… about bipartisanship and promote(s) her record of working with Republicans in Arkansas and as a senator from New York. Her objective, should she run for president, would be to end partisan gridlock. ‘I’d like to bring people from right, left, red, blue, get them into a nice warm purple space where everybody is talking and where we’re actually trying to solve problems,’ Clinton said (in a recent major speech). But it’s not going to happen…Hillary Clinton doesn’t work in a political system where right, left, red and blue are going to meld into a warm purple.”
Her overriding problem, as we see it: An inability to inspire with words that come from the heart rather than polling results. A further handicap: he coziness with Wall Street has curbed the enthusiasm of progressives. It risks prompting a reluctance to rally behind her, despite the stakes (court appointments, financial deregulation, cuts in social programs, etc.) A sobering prospect for her supporters and the entire Dem team.
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Worth Noting…about MLB.com’s Top 100 Players list: The top three – Clayton Kershaw, Mike Trout and Felix Hernandez – play in the West, for the Dodgers, Angels and Mariners. Five of the top 10 play in the West – Buster Posey (SF) and Robnson Cano (Mariners) are others, 8 and 10, respectively.
Worthwhile Commentaries: Ron Darling, on numbers 4, Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, and 9, the White Sox’s, Jose Abreu: “When Stanton takes batting practice, the other team stops to watch.” “Abreu’s great break-in year (36 HRs, 107 RBIs, .317 BA) opened the door for lucrative contracts for the newly signed Cubans that followed.”
Making a Mess: Mark Whicker, LA News, quotes Josh Hamilton’s spiritual mentor Roy Silver, about his switch from the Rangers to Angels: ‘(Josh) has never handled expectations well.’ Whicker adds a second quotation, from the late basketball coach Jim Valvano, about his colleagues chasing dollars: ‘Don’t ever mess with happy.’ “Hamilton did (says Whicker), but maybe he had the same trouble many of us do: Recognizing it.”
(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)