The Nub

An Edgy Game Under Federal Scrutiny

There’s a late addition to the handful of Baseball’s mega-stars, generic like Miguel Cabrera, physician Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, etc: Who is it? Houston Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, of course; Luhnow, the player-development guru linked to the Cardinals’ World Series championship in 2011. The Astros snapped him up as their GM that year in hopes he’d bring a magic touch to their scouting operation. Some Cardinals staffers decided, perhaps, to continue to share Luhnow’s strategic gifts secretly by hacking into his scouting book. The Feds, we know, are looking into the matter.

SI’s Tom Verducci quotes a source as saying that, behind the apparent skullduggery, was a desire to embarrass Luhnow. Why? Because Cardinal “rogues” felt he took too much credit for the Redbirds’ success. We prefer a more persuasive explanation: a simple case of a franchise doing what businesses, and many of us, do: seek an edge in life’s competitive game. It’s the American way; even if lawbreaking comes into play. The record book of cases like Watergate tells us that edge-seeking is basic to the game of politics. Some say that effort is embodied today in TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal championed by business interests and Skipper Obama. It features a requirement that balks both houses from tinkering with the terms of the deal. An up-or-down vote must be cast by Congressional players on whether TPP deal should be approved, as is. So far, they’ve swung out against.”

Huff Post’s Robert Kuttner’s offers this background, pitching from the left side of the mound:

“TPP is part of a (program) that reflects corporate dominance of the agenda…(Such) ‘trade’ deals have been used to…weaken financial regulation and create corporate hegemony sponsored by presidents from both parties. TPP is emblematic of the political domination by the one percent…The real story here is a deep and principled split between the Congressional wing of the Democratic Party, most of whose members are still fairly progressive, and a presidential wing that has been in bed with Wall Street at least since Bill Clinton.”

The White House and Wall Street: a troublingly effective edge-seeking team.

Diplomacy: MLB-TV broadcaster Jim Katt, asked by Brian Kenny if there wouldn’t be a taint on Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000-hit milestone: “What he’s done on the field won’t be affected; it’s his reputation that’s been hurt.” On YES, John Flaherty and Paul O’Neill, said they were “confused” as to how to respond to A-Rod’s latest achievement. Flaherty noted that, unlike the standing acclaim Derek Jeter received from the Tampa Bay players when he hit his 3000th in 2011, no one left the Tigers dugout to cheer Rodriguez last night.

Sweepers: Kansas City and Houston were the only teams to take all four games of their home-and-home intra-league series. KC beat Milwaukee, the Astros climbed over the Rockies.

Stat City: The secret (so far) to Tampa Bay’s success atop the AL East – the best road record (20-11) in either league. The Cardinals have the best home record, 26-7, but are only 18-16 away from St.Louis. The Mets, 10-22, have the worst road record after the woeful 7-28 Phillies.

Streakers: White Sox – 8, Rockies – 5


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


About Richard Starkey

Dick Starkey handled media for former NY Governor Mario Cuomo, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and many other office-holders and candidates. He was sports editor of the Paris-based Herald Tribune. Perfect Pitch partner Robert Sullivan was the first to adapt focus groups to politics and has been called by Cuomo and others one of the "best" pollsters in the country.