The Nub

Blue Jays and Canada Earning Belated Respect

(Posted  5/24/14)

Look who has won nine of 11 and risen to first place in the AL East: the Toronto Blue Jays.  Yes, the same Blue Jays whose trade for star players two off-seasons ago made them the division’s 2013 pre-season favorites.  We know that instead of dominating, diagnosis with roster newcomers Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and R.A. Dickey, the Jays floundered, finishing last.

Many fans this side of the border got an extra kick out of the penalty in additional taxes the players had to pay in Canada – an estimated $600,000 for the highest salaried members of the group.  The plight of the exiles up north was enough to make some us feel smug here at home. A closer look at the quality of life in Canada compared to ours would reveal how misguided was that viewpoint.  NY Times-man Nick Kristof clarifies the situation now, in the context of income inequality and what once was “the American dream”:

“The American dream (seems to have) swapped citizenship, for now it is more likely to be found in Canada or Europe…Canadians (with a better- off middle class) receive essentially free health care while Americans pay for part of (theirs).  Meanwhile, the American worker toils , on average, 4.6 percent more hours than a Canadian worker…Canadians and Europeans also live longer, on average, than Americans do…American women are twice as likely to die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth as Canadian women…”

Kristof goes on to note that, despite the superior quality of our universities, Canadian children “get a better education than ours.”  The price we pay for the top-heavy amount of wealth owned by 1 percent of our population – more than that held by the entire bottom 90 percent. 

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R.A. the Would-Be Rainmaker: R.A.Dickey will try to keep the Blue Jays surge intact today against Oakland. He’s hoping for bad weather.  Why? R.A.’s  winning percentage is twice as high in a closed dome than when the Rogers Centre ceiling is open.

Like It Is:  Highly regarded Brian McCann had an off-night defensively catching for the Yankees against the White Sox last night.  And YES straight-talking color man John Flaherty called him on it. McCann let two successive balls get by him in the second inning with men on base.  “He should have blocked them,” said Flaherty, “instead of trying to stop them with his mitt. The Yankees have to hope they’re going to get greater effort from him.”

Choice Rookies: Mashiro Tanaka is SI’s Cliff Corcoran’s unsurprising early pick for rookie of the year in the AL.  His second choice is something of a surprise, however: it’s Tanaka’s Yankee teammate Yangervis Solarte, coming off a minor league career that saw him spend time as property of the Twins and Rangers.   Here’s part of Corcoran’s take on Solarte:  “Solarte is…not a product of  hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium —  he has performed better on the road than at home – and he’s been even better in May (with four of his five home runs) than he was in what looked like a fluky April. Mix in his ability to play second base, third base and shortstop and his 82-point advantage in on-base percentage, and he’d rank ahead of (Chicago’s) Jose Abreu, even if the latter hadn’t gotten injured.”

Streaker: Red Sox – 8.

Late Scores:  Giants 6, Twins 2;  Angels 6, KC 1; Seattle 6, Houston 1; San Diego 11, Cubs                                                                                

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 (The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey.  Comments about blog issues are welcome when addressed to the skipper at dickstar@aol.com.  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.