The Nub

Boos for the Predictably Scornful Press

Shortly after Mattt Harvey broke in with the Mets (2012), we were surprised to hear Ron Darling in the team’s press box say he’d trade his long, superior pitching career for the bright future Harvey had ahead of him. We thought the statement encouraging for Harvey but ill-considered for Darling, who certainly knew the injury pitfalls for phenom starters as their careers unfolded.

We were less surprised late last week when Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters he did not expect Harvey “to be what he used to be” before thoracic arm trouble sidelined him for more than a season.. We saw it as a message to the media, including Darling, even more than to Mets fans, that it should be more restrained in embracing the popular line on would-be local golden boys.

The connection between a predictable line and Donald Trump is certainly visible on our presidential playing field. Skipper Trump has made one wild domestic policy pitch after another, setting up heavy hitters while turning his back on the middle class and the poor. Looking farther afield, he has given the press an almost daily chance to scoff at his swerving statements on China, Syria, and, in particular, on ties with Russia.

Attentive fans know that Team USA has matched Russian misbehavior toward heroes perceived as adversaries here at home – Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and abroad our Australian ally’s whistle-blower Julian Assange. We also know our record is especially shameful on battlefields abroad, with our black sites, torture, etc. And we remember how Snowden taught us about our ability to engage in effective cyber-attacks against teammates on the home field and identifiable opponents around the world.

All this unforgotten devious play should suggest to the media and those of us in the home dugout that whatever friendly pitches the Skipper may have made, with Vladimir Putin are to be cheered, not scorned. Peaceful relations with the Russians should certainly be preferable to cold-war-like tension, in the manner of former Skipper Obama, who promised an end to our war-making adventures, then reneged on that pledge.

If President Trump’s missteps earn him impeachment, the irony will be his punishment results from a rare and credible U.S. leadership role – that of peacemaker..

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Prediction-Time – Late Spring Playoff-Possibilities:

AL East: Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox; AL Central: Indians, Tigers; AL West: Astros, Rangers

NL East: Nationals; NL Central: Cubs, Cardinals; NL West: Dodgers, Giants, Rockies, Diamondbacks

Playoff Likelies: AL – Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox, Indians, Astros ; NL – Nationals, Cubs, Dodgers

Significant Stat: (Cited on YES, by Michael Kay) Probable BA of hitter taking first-pitch strike: .220; first-pitch ball .260.

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(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)