Early in the Yankees’ season, sales find when nearly all the team’s touted hitters were stuck on the I-95, cure a reporter asked Carlos Beltran if there was cause for worry. “We’ll be all right,” he said. Respected for his straight talk and admired for all he’s accomplished, Beltran’s words comforted fans, who also hold him in affection. And, sure enough, his words turned out to be true – about hitters, pitchers, and the entire wild card-bound team.
Beltran is a rare baseball specimen. He once told NBC Sports’ Joe Posnanski that he plays better when the competition is “exciting.” He’s done just that, at 38, helping to lead the Yanks to their first post season in three years, He is their quiet hero, averaging an RBI every other game and making most of his 18 HRs count. What the fans see is a conscientious worker, doing an effective job without swagger. And they appreciate him for it.
That appreciation came up during a political discussion the other day. A Beltran fan who’s been supporting Bernie Sanders said he would switch his allegiance to a Carlos-like Joe Biden; that’s if Team Obama’s VP decides to join the presidential playoff.. Why give up on Sanders? Skeptics note that, were he elected Skipper, he would be the oldest president, at 75, to take office. Furthermore, Bernie is a staunch defender of som, a dirty word to many Americans.
So, maybe there’s a case for Biden, who would be 73, should he go all the way to the White House. The Nation’s Michelle Goldberg seems to think so. Here’s her account of the VP’s appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this monrh:
“Introducing the vice president on The late Show, Colbert said, ‘Everybody likes Joe Biden, right?… I think it’s because when we see you, we think that we’re actually seeing the real Joe Biden. You’re not a politician who’s created some sort of façade to get something out of us’…When they came back from a commercial break, the crowd was chanting “Joe! Joe! Joe!” as if at a campaign rally. Colbert, naturally, asked about Biden’s presidential plans, and Biden said he couldn’t commit: ‘I don’t think any man or woman should run for president unless, number one, they know exactly why they would want to be president…’ And I’d be lying if I said that I knew I was there’… By the time the interview was over, Colbert was practically begging him to run, and many of the people watching were probably silently doing the same.”
Not yet, Joe. But we’ll be among those watching.
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What We Know(Barring the Unlikely): Seven of the eight post-season spots are either truly, or virtually clinched: Blue Jays, KC and Texas AL division winners, Yankees one of two AL wild cards. Mets, Cardinals, Dodgers NL division winners, and Cubs-Pirates NL wild cards. Simplifying the outlook for remaining unclinched AL wild card , we see the half-game-ahead Astros playing two more away against the Mariners and three away against the Diamondbacks. The Angels, half-game behind the Astros, meanwhile, have two more at home against Oakland, and four away against Texas. The Angels schedule looks tougher, but the Astros have been a consistently poor road team. The outsider Twins, a game-and-a-half behind in the WC race, have two left with the Indians away, and three at home with KC.
The Big Squeeze: The Rangers, by losing to the Tigers last night, have squeezed the AL West into a two-game separation between first-place Texas, the Astros (1.5) and Angels (2.0) behind. An interesting windup lies ahead this final week of the regular season.
(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)