We’ve long felt that the accolades Bud Selig received as Baseball commissioner were overblown. Now, the Yankees have prompted us to reconsider: Selig deserves credit for diminishing the sport’s economic inequality to the point that the Yanks are no longer thought of as the “Evil Empire.” Sure, the mega-rich Dodgers could become the MLB’s new dominant team, and Tampa Bay and Oakland may always have cash-flow problems. But Selig has left us – at least temporarily – with a team-by-team lineup featuring near-parity and peace.
By acting to normalize relations with Cuba, Skipper Obama has made a good start in a similar way toward teams in the international geopolitical league.. It’s a long shot, but we can hope he will follow up with friendly overtures – and possible prosperity as well as peace – to Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, etc. – clubs that don’t play the Yanqui – style of ball.
We know that Team Obama, like its predecessors, prefers to play the power game. The O-team takes pride in not yielding to adversaries. How it’s handling the hostage crisis posed by jihadists is revealing. Where the French ransom captives and celebrate their survival and release, America remains defiant. We “courageously” sacrifice the lives of our countrymen, unwilling to pay to prevent beheadings. Then we express outrage at the inhumanity of those who tried to bargain with us. A difficult stance for the world to appreciate; especially after publication of a scorecard detailing the torture that was our terrible response to anti-terrorism. – – –
San Diego Makeover: New Padres GM A.J. Preller has seized the off-season wheeler-dealer record in the last few days. Here are the prominent players he has added to his roster: outfielders Matt Kemp (Dodgers), Justin Upton (Braves), Will Myers (Rays); catcher Derek Norris (A’s), third baseman Will Middlebrooks (Red Sox). Preller gave up mostly prospects in the trades. The Yankees, meanwhile swapped Martin Prado and pitcher David Phelps to the Marlins for hard-throwing Nate Eovaldi and first baseman Garrett Jones. The Giants re-signed Jake Peavy to a two-year contract.
Basement Survey: Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Oakland/Houston, Colorado/Arizona, Cincinnati: all possible division doormats accounted for, except in the NL East. Would you believe there it’s Atlanta, as dominant over much of the past two decades as the Yankees were in their peak periods?
Badmouth the Big Gamer? No Way: “(James)Shields had a 6.12 playoff ERA, fueled by two bad starts with the nation paying full attention — in the AL Wild Card game (five innings, four runs) and in Game 1 of the World Series (three innings, five runs)… (But)maybe the playoff record is just an arbitrary beginning and endpoint that happens to occur when we’re all paying close attention. If you’re hung up on those five starts, how about his three starts beginning Aug. 30? Facing the Indians, Yankees and Tigers, three teams involved in the pennant race, Shields gave up one run. One. Three starts, with the season on the line, working into the ninth inning twice, and giving up one run. That counts, too. If three starts with the season in the balance doesn’t do it for you, how about his last 16? From his start July 7 through the end of the regular season, his line looks like this: 16 starts, 110 innings pitched, 1.32 ERA. Maybe…I’m biased. But that looks like a ‘Big Game James’ to me.” – Brian Kenny, Sports on Earth
(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome when addressed to the skipper at email@example.com. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)