The Nub

Dilemma-Time on Two Fields

Dilemma-Time on Two Fields

As spring training begins, diagnosis Baseball finds itself in a “boom-and-brood” dilemma. On the one hand, salve TV contracts have enriched all 30 teams, providing a previously unmatched semblance of financial parity; on the other, the game’s deciders worry about a possible drop in attendance owing to a low-scoring trend. What can we do, they wonder, to spur the return of crowd-pleasing offense; and do it without spoiling what, overall, has been a good period for the sport? Shrink a strike-zone that has spread in recent years, is one suggestion, eliminate the pitch-to-one-batter reliever another; re-juice the baseball still another; push the mound back six inches a far-out fourth. Our simple – perhaps simplistic – solution: outlaw calling knee-level (or lower) pitches a strike. They are balls; return to the traditional strike zone, which extends from above the knees to below the shoulders. Keep on brooding, is our advice to the fretful, but avoid letting change undercut what you have now…which is also a likely positive result of the end of the steroids era.

Skipper Obama wants Congressional approval to make official what he has now – the power to make war. We hope that – like the desire to tinker with Baseball’s scoring rate – that war-game initiative is put on hold.. National Journal’s Charlie Cook explains the dilemma that signals why such inaction would make sense on the political field:

“Any American president runs the risk of being seen as weak and dithering if there is hesitation or a decision not to use U.S. resources in such a fight. But, no matter how strongly Americans feel the urge to ‘do something’ to stop ISIS or aid Ukraine, committing ground troops would be a very tough sell in 2015 and a politically dangerous one for both parties. The danger for President Obama and the Democrats is getting us into a new mess; the danger for Republicans pushing for greater involvement is that they become perceived as the War Party. Just as the U.S. economy is really improving, foreign policy is increasingly threatening to have a major impact on U.S. politics and potentially send the 2016 elections on an unanticipated trajectory, with unknown results.”

Although Team Obama would have us believe ISIS does not pose a long-term threat, the jihadist team is waging a variation of guerrilla warfare against conventional states. History tells us that guerrillas don’t lose such conflicts. A standoff is reached – it could be happening with the Taliban in Afghanistan – at which point a chastened conventional team declares victory and returns home.

–       –       –

Heartbreaking Defeats…The subject of a Seattle Times column by Larry Stone. One of the recollections involves the walkoff loss of the Pirates to the Braves in 1992. The Bucs were an out away from returning to the World Series after two decades when the Braves rallied to win. Losing manager Jim Leyland had this reaction: “It’s a man’s game. Yet when it’s over, they’re celebrating like a Little League team, and our disappointment is like a Little League team. Grown men jumping up and down. Grown men crying. It’s unbelievable the emotion both ways.”

Then there is how Indians manager Mike Hargrove felt after losing the 1997 World Series on a late comeback by Leyland’s Marlins: “It doesn’t hurt as much now as it did the first 10 years. But I still catch myself now reflecting on what happened. Late at night, I’ll be sitting watching TV or reading a book, and my mind will wander into that region. If we had made that play, or not thrown that pitch …”

The Carmona Saga: Fausto Carmona, a big righthander from the Dominican Republic,went 19-8 with the Indians in his second season, 2007. Counting the next four seasons with Cleveland, he was 52-56. His career went south in 2012, when it was discovered he had doctored both the name and age on his birth certificate. Since then, under his real name, Roberto Hernandez, the former Fausto has gone a dismal 22-38 while bouncing from the Indians to Rays, Phillies and Dodgers. The best Hernandez, now 34, could do for 2015 was to sign a minor-league deal with Houston. (from reporting by Terry Pluto, Cleveland Plain Dealer)


(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.