The Nub

Delusional Hopes of Stopping Teams with Clout

(Posted 12/23/17)

Ever since the injury bug knocked the Mets out of playoff contention by mid-season 2017, the team all but disappeared from serious media attention in its home city. And there, we know, it threatens to remain. Thus it came as a surprise early this week when panelists on MLB Now all recommended recent members the large-market, low-budget team as invest-worthy free agents.. Two of them are probably out of the 2018 team’s reduce-payroll reach.

The list (in order mentioned): Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson. Bruce and Walker would surely be assets this season if the team wasn’t intent on cutting payroll. The Giants, with big bucks to spend, are expected to take Bruce out of circulation. In a separate category, the panelists agreed that Matt Harvey, still under contract, should not be traded. Why? The team wouldn’t get much back for him; and, as soon as he’s moved to another team, he’s liable to recapture some of his early promise for spite.

The ‘‘Corker Kickback:” In the political field, the Dem team saw early promise in GOP Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. Corker stood tall in opposition to the size of the federal deficit envisaged in his party’s tax plan. When he switched his stance on gaining a change in the bill favorable to the real estate industry that would enrich him, his kickback caused him to shrink. Asked on CNN how much he would be making under the new arrangement, he declined to answer except to talk about the many charitable donations he makes that diminish his income.

Worrisome: Dem team Senator Mark Warner has stoked the GOP/media-incited flap over the possible ousting of Special Counsel Bob Mueller. Warner said such a move would be the “crossing of a red line” in position to protect the nation’s Constitutional stability. Nowhere in the warning, however, is there any assurance that, under the GOP’s current control of Executive, Senate and Congressional power, such a “coup” could be stopped. Bottom line: the Dem team’s drive to turn back Team Trump seems to stand for Delusional.
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More on the Mets: What are we to make of the announced two-year renewal of the contract of GM Sandy Alderson?. The guess here: if the team stumbles early, he’ll be let go by mid-season. If the Mets stay competitive but fail to qualify for the playoffs, Alderson, who’ll be 71 after next season, will step down rather than wait to be pushed. When Alderson departs, waiting in the wings are former GM Omar Ominaya and Fred Wilpon’s legacy son Jeff. The latter was a savvy-lacking laughing stock when the team blew two homestretch pennant races in 2007 and 2008. Ominaya was dropped for, among other things, closeness to Jeff by association. Now, it looks as though they’ll soon be together again.
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(The Nub, a team effort, is produced by Dick Starkey. More of the Nub is available is at the team’s website,

The Uncertain Payoff of Pulling to Left Center

(Posted 12/16//17)
A rarity on MLB-TV this week: a discussion of the way consistent financial disparity separates a third of the wealthy teams – like the Dodgers and Yankees – from the other two-thirds, nearly all of whom have no chance of making the playoffs. None of the on-air guests at the sport’s winter meeting complained about the imbalance; how it hurt their teams’ ability to attract fans and the money needed to stay competitive over much of the long season.

Instead, Billy Beane, GM of the have-not Oakland A’s, after acknowledging his team’s handicap, said he liked the challenge of upsetting the rich teams with his consistently underfinanced Athletics. That attitude may play in Oakland, but not with fans of other small-market teams; that is, the ones annually resigned to watching the Red Sox, Indians, Astros , Cubs, and Nationals – as well as the LAD’s and NYY’s – make the post-season. (Counting long-shot teams on the outside looking in – the Giants, Cardinals, Angels, Twins and Rangers – makes a close to precise competitive total of 12 of 30.)

The truism that money equals power is, we know, just as accurate on the political field. That such power can be misused in politics to a more dangerous degree than in professional sports is also well known. In recent years, presidents dating from Lyndon Johnson to Richard Nixon to George W. Bush misused their power to get us into widening wars. Johnson and Nixon did it over Vietnam, Bush over Iraq.

Nixon paid the price for his misplay. He had the money and power to reinforce his bid for re-election in 1974, but he organized a break-in theft of Dem opposition files to lock up a favorable outcome. When about to be caught misusing his office, he fired a series of special prosecutors who were on his trail. Archibald Cox, the first to be removed, warned against public overconfidence that justice would be done, Nixon would be stopped. Never underestimate the power of the presidency, he said, to find ways to protect that power.

A warning that resonates, perhaps, in this period of newly developed left-of-center jubilation.
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(The Nub, a team effort, is produced by Dick Starkey of
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