Posted: 9/30/13; e-mail update 10/1)
If you’re Dale Sveum, sovaldi chances are you’re either gone – as is Eric Wedge – or soon will be (as early as today), from your job as skipper of the Cubs. Your team underachieved in the eyes of GM Theo Epstein. He and Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik believe they gave their managers talent enough to compete at a high level. It didn’t happen to their satisfaction. So, now it’s time to thank them for trying, and “turn the page”. Wedge beat his bosses in Seattle to a break that he saw as inevitable: Seeking an extension, but invited only to return for the last year of his contract, Wedge saw it as a vote of no-confidence: “It’s painfully obvious that I just wasn’t going to be able to move forward with this organization,” Wedge said . “We see things differently.”
Skipper Obama conceded at the UN the other day that his team now sees things differently in the Mideast. Gone was talk of our seeking “freedom” for the peoples there. As for “democracy,” that was a long-term, not immediate, goal for the region. Now, he acknowledged, we want to protect our “core interests.” including oil. The Nation’s Phyllis Bennis saw the message as a sign of a hopeful change in Team Obama’s game plan:
“There were lots of problem areas in the speech—President Obama was right when he said that US policy in the Middle East would lead to charges of ‘hypocrisy and inconsistency.’ US policy—its protection of Israeli violations of international law, its privileging of petro-monarchies over human rights, its coddling of military dictators—remains rank with hypocrisy and inconsistency. And Obama’s speech reflected much of it.
“But President Obama’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly reflected some of the extraordinary shifts in global—especially Middle East and most especially Syria-related—politics that have taken shape in the last six or eight weeks. And on Iran, that was good news.”
Hopeful, too: the Skipper’s conversation with Iran’s leader about defusing the tension between their two teams.
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Jeopardy: Ron Washington’s job as Rangers skipper may be at stake, if his team loses to TampaBay tonight, or even if it wins, then loses to the Indians in the AL’s wild card play-in game. GM Jon Daniels didn’t hide his disappointment a year ago when Texas could only manage a wild card berth, then lost the play-in game to Baltimore. He could dramatize his dismay this year, if the Rangers don’t make the playoff main events, by replacing the able, but never-quite-totally successful Washington.
Movin’ Up: By edging Milwaukee Sunday while the Phillies lost to Atlanta, the Mets finished an underwhelming third in NL East, 14 games under .500. Still, it marked the first time in five years the team didn’t finish one floor above the basement. The Mets will reward Collins today with a new two-year contract. That he received a year more than many of us expected suggests GM Sandy Alderson wants to give his manager one season – 2015 – when he may have a fair shot at being competitive. To repeat what Alderson sees ahead in 2014: a “dream deferred.”
Uncharacteristic: Two highly regarded veteran managers, Ron Gardenhire and Mike Scioscia, had a total of seven chances in crucial season-ending series to complicate, if not spoil, the efforts by the Indians and Rangers to clinch, or qualify for, a wild card. We hate to suggest that Cleveland’s beating Gardenhire’s Twins four times, and Texas’s sweeping of Scioscia’s Angels, means the pair of old lions have lost their competitive bite. But that’s how we see it…and hope we’re wrong. Scioscia has five years left on his contract. but Gardenhire’s is expiring.
Overlooked Liberator: Surprising bobble by sure-handed veteran scribe Peter Gammons in a piece in which he credits Jim Bunning, Robin Roberts and Marvin Miller for their key roles in the equalizing contract gains achieved “after the arrogant years of control of owners like Gussie Busch.” He omits mention of the man who gave up his livelihood to challenge the reserve clause that, until the early 70’s, made players “well-paid slaves” controlled by whichever team employed them, Flood’s courage led to freedom for the player-slaves and the enviable economic status they enjoy today.
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