Noteworthy during the Michael Pineda pine-tar flap the other night was the reticence of John Farrell and Joe Girardi to participate in the fuss. They clearly consider the outlawed usage cutting a corner rather than outright cheating. The message: baseball insiders would like to look the other way, buy buy and leave it at that. Yet, tadalafil stuff if Baseball rules say pitchers can’t use a foreign substance when facing batters, what are we fans to think about this insider attitude? One thing’s for sure: we don’t like being treated as outsiders.
It happens all the time in the politics game. Someone is caught cutting corners and, rather than punish the perpetrator, his teammates call for an investigation. The usual outcome of that exercise is an inconclusive finding. End of embarrassment. Team Obama has used a delay-of-game play to postpone until after the election a decision on a different kind of tar-related matter: whether to approve construction of the Keystone pipeline, which would carry tar-sands oil across the Midwest from Canada. The delay smacks of insider maneuvering even though the State Department says it needs more time to gauge public opinion on the project, which it is required to do. The scorecard shows 2.5 million fans going to bat for or against Keystone. That would be persuasive were it not for this fact: the delay provides members of both Teams, GOP and the Dems, a chance to make their pre-election pitch, for or against the tar sands oil line.
Where does The Nub stand on Keystone? Here’s a sign: its birddogs in Canada say supporters refer to the fuel source as “oil sands.” Opponents say, as we do, the more toxic “tar sands.”
The ‘I’-Game (reprise): “Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don’t listen to them. Insiders, however…get a chance to push their ideas…But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They don’t criticize other insiders.” – Larry Summers to Elizabeth Warren, quoted by her in ‘A Fighting Chance’
The Insiders’ Enabler: “The president chose his team, and when there was only so much time or money to go around, the president’s team chose Wall Street.” – Warren (in her book), describing the Skipper’s response to the financial crisis of 2008
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Stat City .255, 283, 309: Those are the BA numbers Charlie Blackmon has put up in three part-time seasons with the Rockies. His current .389 pace will not hold up, but he deserves a shout-out for his remarkable April performance on the cusp of May. Then there’s Aaron Harang, picked off the pitching scrap heap by the Mets late last summer, and then signed as a free agent by the Braves in late March. His 0.85 ERA (3-1) is by far the most impressive in either league.
Returnee: Robinson Cano returns to Yankee Stadium with the Mariners tonight, owning a .301 BA, 11 RBIs and only a single HR in 24 games. He clearly misses the right field porch in what used to be his home park. Durable as always, he hasn’t missed a game. The Mariners are 10-14, in fourth place in the AL West, five games behind Oakland/the Rangers.
Windy City Worries? Little noticed at the time, Dale Sveum complained about the way the Cubs’ Theo Epstein laid him off as skipper after two seasons. Sveum said he was “blindsided,” expecting to be given more time – he had another year on his contract – since everyone knew the Cubs faced a long rebuilding process. Now Sveum’s successor Rick Renteria is likely worried about his predecessor’s fate and the possibility Epstein might again become impatient. The Cubs have fallen 10 games behind in their division, and April is still not over.
Prime Vacancies: The NY Post’s Phil Mushnick notes that, even for special games, like those pitting the Yankees against the Angels, prime Stadium seats are empty. Why? Cost of single box seat: $850, up from $250 a year ago, and $90 in 2012. Yet, Bud Selig says he checked and found Stadium seats overall to be “affordable.”
‘We’re Not Going Away’ Messages: Milwaukee’s 5-3 victory over the Cardinals, putting the Brewers five-and-a-half ahead of the defending league champs in the NL Central; Oakland’s 5-0 shutout of the Rangers in Texas. The A’s thus reclaimed sole possession of the AL West lead. Also notable last night: San Diego’s come-from-behind 6-4 victory, ending the Giants’ four-game winning streak.
(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome when addressed to the skipper at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)