Pinstripe History Lesson: Enough about the Mets. For the moment they have replaced the Yankees as the dominant team in the New York area. But let’s not forget they have a long way to go to match the Yanks’ glory years. That was the hard-now-to-imagine period the Bombers reached the World Series in six of eight years between 1996 and 20003, and won four of the six championships at stake. Since 2003, we know, the Yanks have proved themselves human, making the Series only once in 12 years, winning it in 2009. Here’s the real rub: The stats show the Yank payroll exceeded an annual average of a little over $2 million during the “down” years; that’s another financial universe compared to other clubs until the high-spending Dodger era began three years ago.
True, the Yankees have made the post-season four times since ’03, while the Mets made it only once (’06) before last fall. The history raises a question: have the Pinstripers given the fans their rooting energy’s worth? The answer is they certainly did, compared to the woeful Mets. But the guess here, judging from Yankee fans we know, in the big picture the verdict is a resounding “No!”
The Cost of Our War Games: What else is new about getting one’s money’s worth? Author and Boston U. prof Andrew Bacevich asks this crucial question about which we hear nothing these days: “Nearly 15 years after this ‘war’ was launched by George W. Bush, why hasn’t ‘the most powerful military in the world, ‘the finest fighting force in the history of the world’ won it? Why isn’t victory anywhere in sight?”
Among possible answers: 1 – Team USA is operating in a region where it is ignorant of customs, languages, depth of corruption, etc; ; 2 – It seeks to maintain a military presence to facilitate sales of billions in weaponry; 3 – And to maintain access to the region’s endless supply of oil. 4 – It’s good at invasion, but not at occupation.
Strategic Confusion: On BBC America the other night, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel pointed out how Team USA was contributing to the Syrian quagmire: “We’re preoccupied with getting rid of President Assad. At the same time, we’re supporting his loyal troops against ISIS.”
Total U.S. Military Lives Lost Since 2001: Just under 5,000; civilian lives lost: estimated in excess of a million.
Cost of Wars Since 2001: One trillion, 700 billion, according to count of National Priorities Project.
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Which Yankees Will It Be? Why the Yanks are vulnerable: a rotation of Mashiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino. Why they look to be a playoff team: a late relief corps of Aroldes Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances.
An Ex-Yank’s Impressive Landing: On MLB Now the other day, the question posed was which free agent got the most surprisingly favorable deal? The consensus answer: Ian Kennedy’s $70 million, five-year contract with Kansas City. Kennedy had a mediocre 9-15 record and 4.28 ERA at San Diego last season. KC pitching coach Dave Eiland,, who worked with him when both were with the Yankees in 2008, assured manager Ned Yost that Kennedy would be a needed innings-eater.
Looking Ahead: Among teams looking to future seasons – Braves, Phillies, Rockies, Padres, etc., the consensus as to which made the best deals in the off-season: Atlanta – GM John Hart picked up two potential blue-chippers in trading away pitcher Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks and shortstop Anderton Simmons to the Angels. Among D’back prospects the Braves received outfielder Ender Inciarte, who hit .303 for Arizona and stole 21 bases in 132 games. For Simmons, Atlanta got back the Angels’ prize pitching prospect, lefthander Sean Newcomb, a 22-year-old lefthander, who struck out more than one an inning while in Double-A, and went 9-3 overall in a split 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.)