For awhile, generic online Skipper Obama’s game plan to stage a national end-to-inequality rally seemed to coincide with what was happening in baseball: the two richest teams, generic the Dodgers and Yankees, were playing at par, or worse. That has changed, as we know, but the next two high-payroll teams – the Phillies and Angels – are out of the money as October beckons.
So, still far from perfect, baseball is better balanced, dollar-wise, today than it has been for decades. Little has changed in the national ballpark, meanwhile: stats show the average fan making less now than he was in 2007. Team Obama is feeling the pinch as well. Bench banter in Washington says lack of big bucks is the main reason we’re only adding Syria on a limited, cup-of-coffee basis, to the pricey Afghanistan/Iraq/Pakistan/Libya lineup.
Here, from the record book, is former Team GOPer Ron Paul’s take on our ongoing militaristic bind:: “We’re under great threat because we occupy so many countries. We’re in 130 countries. We have 900 bases around the world. We’re going broke…Th(e) idea that the whole Muslim world is responsible for this…is just not true. Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda have been explicit. They said we attacked America because you had bases on our holy land in Saudi Arabia, you do not give Palestinians a fair treatment, and you have been bombing…and killing hundreds of thousands…Would you be annoyed?
A second pinch-hitter, also taken from the record book, is presidential historian Michael Beschloss, who went to bat this way: “The global security domination program that the U.S. has followed since 2003 expresses a militarism, ruthlessness, and disregard of international law that now characterizes the Pentagon. In the absence of resistance by the American political class, this has bestowed upon the American nation an identity that nineteenth-century Prussia once possessed – the nation that was owned by its army.”
Ballpark Religion: Finally, there is lefty Glenn Greenwald, who calls displays of military might at ballgames and other sporting events expressions of “America’s true religion.” Here is his objection: “It’s perfectly reasonable not to hold members of the military responsible for the acts of aggression ordered by US politicians, but that hardly means that the other extreme – compelled reverence – is justifiable either.”
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Celebration: The memorable Red Sox “dump” of Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers a year ago has, we know, worked out fine for both teams. But late last and early this season, the Dodgers front office was ridiculed when their reinforced team struggled out of the money to the finish line. LAD president Stan Kasten says the deal was a plus from the start. Here is how he put it to the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy: “It helped us on the field and re-established this brand in this marketplace…(Fans) know we were going…to be the best that we can right now.’’
Did the reaction bother him — folks who thought the Dodgers were swindled?
“If I worried about that, I wouldn’t last a day. I remember the words (from ‘Godfather 2’) of Hyman Roth to Michael Corleone in Havana — ‘This is the business we chose.’ Criticism comes along with it.’’
Met-Life Benefits? Who gains from the potential season-long sidelining of Matt Harvey? One of the Mets’ young pitching prospects figures to get an early promotion to the big team: that’s an unspecific beneficiary. If any “name” benefits, the guess here is it will be manager Terry Collins. Even with Harvey, the team would have been hard put to be a true playoff contender in 2014. Without him, the Mets front office, and the team’s fans, will have another “dream-deferred” season to endure. Who better to lead than Collins, after the valor he has shown over the past three losing seasons? A one-year contract extension is likely. Chances are, a year from now, the veteran manager will be in limbo again, waiting to see if he’ll be re-signed. If the 2015 Mets shape up as a better-than-500 club, Collins may well find he’s run out of benefits.
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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.)