Posted: 11/28/11; e-mail update 11/29)
Brian Cashman keeps a steady post-season stance as Yankees GM, troche with a singular target for his team: stability. The re-signings of CC Sabathia and Freddy Garcia reflect the stance, malady part of a pinstripe tradition much noted in the late ‘90’s. The team then used its ample budget to hold on to its big-ticket core of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.
Team USA’s obsession with stability spread in the last century far afield from its home ballpark. Like that of the Yankees, the U.S. team’s ample budget has been used to keep useful players in key dugouts around the world. That strategy, which often contradicts our team’s play-hard-but-clean game plan, has worked, we know, until now. Our support of clubs notable for shabby treatment of marginal team members and spectators has put us at the center of widespread reaction in the Muslim league. Choosing stability over social justice, both Team Obama and press box observers looked the other way when outbursts occurred in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrein, Yemen and Syria. The O-team’s strategy now is to jaw on behalf of the mass of marginals while jockeying to contain the bench-clearing damage that results from the melees.
Team Obama plays a tougher game with teams in the region that refuse to play ball on its terms. Iran is a prime example, but the O-team’s aggressiveness has extended beyond Tehran and provoked other fans and front offices (even “friendly” ones, like Pakistan) throughout the region. Salon scorekeeper Glenn Greenwald blames the media – targeting one member, in particular – for not presenting a true picture of the source of tension in that part of the world:
“The very suggestion that the United States of America might have done anything to provoke rational hatred against it and thus helped cause 9/11 is like poison to (people like CBS’s) Bob Schieffer… Similarly, the very suggestion that the U.S. is the aggressor when it comes to Iran — rather than the other way around — is heresy to him (the idea that the U.S. seeks war with Iran will be slanderous to Schieffer up until the minute the first U.S. fighter jet drops a bomb, at which point the war will instantly become necessary and just). That’s because — and this relates to the prior point — their ultimate political allegiance is to the U.S. political establishment (the same one over which they claim to act as Watchdogs), and they cannot abide any arguments that that establishment engages in bad acts: it can periodically make ‘mistakes’ or exercise ‘poor judgment’ (almost always totally understandable and driven by good motives: they over-reacted to 9/11 out of a noble desire to keep us safe), but never engage in truly bad acts. Bad acts are only what America’s enemies do, not America’s political leaders.”
From the Record Book: “The newspapers, after their fashion, reflected and emphasized the prevailing opinions.” – Winston Churchill, “Memoirs of the Second World War.”
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RE Bobby V – a Caveat: It’s fair to say Bobby Valentine left a bad taste in Flushing at the end of his stint as Mets manager in 2002, a six-year-plus stint that included winning an NL championship in 2000. Why? He seemed to lose interest in the team after it lost the World Series to the Yankees. The memory of Bobby V in 2001-02 is of his spending more time bickering with the front office – mainly GM Steve Phillips – than of managing. It’s also undeniable that Bobby kept things interesting while Mets skipper.
Speculation Time: The Guess-ensus is that three of the four top free agents – Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and C.J. Wilson – will play for new teams next season. MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez sees Fielder going 90 miles south, from the Brewers to the Cubs; Reyes moving far south, from Metsland to Miami and the Marlins, and Wilson winding up a Texas émigré as part of the Yankees’ unstable rotation. Almost everybody expects Albert Pujols to stay home in St.Louis.
After the Fall (League): The prospect most talked about when the Arizona Fall League ended a week ago: The Rockies’ Nolan Arenado, a 20-year-old third baseman who was voted league MVP. He batted .388, with 33 RBIs in 29 games. The Rockies put Arenado on a fast track after he drove in 122 runs for Modesto (Class A-Advanced) in the California League last season. Despite his limited experience, Arenado may be the prime competitor this spring for Colorado’s returning third baseman Ian Stewart.
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(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org are welcome, and only they can be addressed by the skipper. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)