The Nub

Barack and Baseball Have Left the Building

We remember that Team USA’s former Skipper declared himself a White Sox fan more than once in his first term eight years ago. We remember, too, that, as the team showed itself less competitive than fans hoped, supportive words from the White House all but disappeared.. Switching his stance at the fading of his final season, Skipper Barack found his voice, not in berating the Sox or in support of the Cubs, but on issues about which he had been satisfied executing a safety squeeze:: race and police violence, to name just a couple..

Progressive fans are grateful for the image of decency as well as wisdom the retired skipper conveyed at home and to the world (with particular gratitude centered on his survival). But they regret that he chose to add extra innings to what he once called “dumb wars”, and they (we) acknowledge the possible validity of the view that his reticences at home helped elect his successor..

Skipper Trump is unlikely to do likable things, such as embrace his hometown Yankees or Mets, or any ballteam. Nor can we expect compassion for those whose meager incomes rule out their attendance at most stadiums.. But, in truth, we have only vague ideas of how his game plan will play out. There is so much “carnage” to be addressed.. Still, he has touched on relations with Russia, NATO and the need to return factory work to our rust belt: priorities suggesting this long-shot reason for hope:. That, amid much bad sportsmanship, he could be remembered in four years as the Skipper who brought jobs and peace to the home team.

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Chirps of Relief in Oriole-Land: Why? Baltimore has finally re-signed 2016 HR champion Mark Trumbo, without whom, most observers agree, the Birds would have been dead ducks this season.

The Guru Speaks: Bill James, Baseball historian, founder of sabermetrics, and Red Sox senior advisor, provided a shot of optimism for Boston fans this coming season. Speaking of David Price’s problems pitching in nine playoff games for the Rays, Tigers, Blue Jays and the Sox – 2-8 over seven years, James said he doubted it would happen in 2017. Why? Price no longer has the burden of being team ace. Boston traded for White Sox ace Chris Sale in the post-season. James said he’d be surprised if Sale did not assume the pressure pitching role at playoff time.

Realism: While appearing on MLB Now, James had this advice for fans wondering if their teams would be part of the upper level competition this season. “If the question is ‘Are they in or out?,’ “ the answer is they’re out.”

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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.)

 

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.