To our recent stated belief that only a single NL East team, the Nationals, would be among the league’s four clubs with a genuine shot at its 2017 pennant – the Cubs, Dodgers and Giants were the others – came this howl from several NYC fans: “What about the Mets?” Our answer: the Mets, like the Cardinals and Pirates, are also-rans; their only hope the lead team in their division collapses, as the Nats did two seasons ago. Attentive fans know that few MLB teams have both the resource$ and focus to be truly pennant-level competitive.
Speaking of Focus…Alert spectators following the Political league have watched as only a single club – Team GOP – took charge of what once was a spirited competition. The surest sign of the demise of the once-dominant Dem team is its newly named public spokesperson: Chuck (“Where’s Charlie?”) Schumer. New Yorkers know that Senator Schumer has been a noisy non-combatant on any issues that carry risk – such as offending Wall Street, supporting Israel, questioning Team USA’s belligerence abroad. Indeed, a year after the Iraq war began, we asked Chuck’s Washington office for his statements on that conflict. “There are none,” we were told. As other pundits have noted, Schumer has re-emerged as a progressive. Indeed, Chuck’s frequent scripted statements attest to his unfamiliarity with the role.
We know the party made the mistake of backing another centrist – Hillary Clinton – in the election. As dubious as the choices of Hillary and Chuck for leadership positions, the problem has been less their non-progressive stance than the blindness of the shallow-bench Dem team itself.
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A Retrograde New Order: The decision of Joey Votto not to play in the World Baseball Classic with Team Canada led to a depressing discussion on MLB Now the other day. The panel’s consensus: the meager participation of American players, and the lack of enthusiasm for the Classic in the 30 U.S. team front offices, mean the WBC will not survive much longer. If so, former Commissioner Bud Selig’s two games-that-count innovations – the Classic and the newly meaningful All-Star match-up – will have been sacrificed out of an organizational wish to “keep things simple”…fans (like many of us) be damned!
(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)