Skipper Obama may have given us a clue as to which of the World Series teams he prefers. He told the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin that, in competing abroad, he’s satisfied to hit “singles and doubles”, rather than swing for the fences. On that basis, the Royals are his team. They out-singled the Giants in the regular season, 1046 to 971, and out-doubled them, 286-257. The Skipper also said he’s keen to “avoid errors.” The Giants won that battle, but only by a little, making four fewer miscues than KC, 100 to 104. A possible complication: SF is from a blue state, KC from a purple one. Perhaps decisive is that, as a regular-season White Sox fan, Obama could be expected to lean from the start toward whichever AL entry makes it to the Series.
The division among Obama’s fans as to how he’s performed as Skipper – singles, doubles, errors, allegiances, etc. – is deep. We’ll see that now in excerpts from opposing-view scorecards kept by Times columnist Paul Krugman and Thomas (“What’s the Matter with Kansas?”) Frank. Krugman recorded his positive take in Rolling Stone magazine: “Despite bitter opposition,” he wrote… “Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it’s working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it’s much more effective than you’d think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy… I don’t care about the fact that Obama hasn’t lived up to the golden dreams of 2008, and I care even less about his approval rating. I do care that he has, when all is said and done, achieved a lot.”
Frank hit back in Slate’s on-line magazine: “If we want to believe that Obama has been a consequential and a great president, then (you have to blame) his right-wing opposition. He didn’t get the king-sized stimulus we needed, liberals often say, because the right wouldn’t give it to him. He didn’t break up the banks or prosecute the banksters because the Tea Party wouldn’t let him. He didn’t get single payer or the public option because Republicans wouldn’t go along with that… However… there is another factor to be taken into consideration here: Obama didn’t do these things because he or his advisors didn’t want to do them … As president, (Obama) couldn’t seem to see what is obvious to everyone… That … facing down the Republicans… on the stimulus, on the banks, on inequality—would have made him…consequential and successful. It might even have spared him the electoral comeuppance he received in 2010, and whose second installment seems likely… a few weeks from now.”
Among extra-base hits missing from either scorecard: the Skipper’s successful roster additions (after the Senate’s filibuster reform) of several key members of the upper-level judiciary. Among alarming errors unmentioned: Team Obama’s all-too-transparent war on whistleblowers.
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Key to the Title: Looks as though the Series will come down to which side penetrates the other’s impregnable barrier: SF must solve KC’s 7-8-9 relievers, the Royals must reach Madison Bumgarner in games 4 and (possibly) 7. Edge for the moment (obviously): KC, with its 2-1 lead.
Say It Ain’t So, Joe: Within a week of saying this – “I want to stay a Ray. I mean that sincerely. I want to be part of a World Series winner wth the Rays” – Joe Maddon says no one can blame him for opting out of his 2014 contract and going for big bucks elsewhere. No “blame” here, Joe; just disappointment.
Which Team? “The heart of a lion, the will of a warrior, whatever cliché you want to use. These guys are champions inside.” Raul Ibanez on the Royals (quoted by Vahe Gregorian, KC Star).
From Derek to Buster: Who will replace Derek Jeter has baseball’s active-player icon. On ESPN Radio Tuesday night, Aaron Boone made a logical suggestion: “I think the new face of baseball will be Buster Posey: he’s earned it.”
Impatience: Joe Buck, reacting last night to his two rookie Fox teammates talking too long about the impact of defensive shifts: “It’s official: time for a new topic.”
From His Lips: Before game 2, Eric Byrnes, our favorite MLB-TV team-member, made this Series prediction: “If the Giants win, they’ll sweep. If the Royals win, it will go to seven.”
(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.)