About halfway through the World Series, play-by-play announcer man Joe Buck had had enough: “What’s with this spin-rate stuff”? he said to color man John Smoltz, who had been describing a new sabermetric pitching measurement. Although Buck’s tone was half-joking, he had tapped into the frustration of many long-time fans; those who wanted baseball to remain an “eyeball” sport rather than one taken over by technology.
Yet the takeover, already embedded, has provided new ways to gauge the value of players – measuring the range of outfielders is one example, focusing on on-base potential (OBP) over batting average another, wins above replacement (WAR) yet another, offering an effective tool to track pitching spin skills. These measurements are useful for many of us at the end of the season, but almost annoying day to day.
And what would be useful changes on the political field, in the crucial warm-up to tax reform? Team GOP is pushing for cuts in what corporations now pay, less concerned with how working people are hit. The best the Dem team can offer is a fight for an “equal playing field” combined with rejection of Trump, a Clinton playbook re-run. On the hopeful-if-perhaps-over-hyped scoreboard: the gubernatorial win in Virginia, and the possibility the favored (GOP) Senatorial candidate in Alabama, Roy Moore, has disgraced away his chances. Then there is the Dem team’s not-so-secret weapon as 2018 approaches: health care.
History Lesson: From the political press box, a look back at “intellectual conservatism”, whose heyday coincided with Baseball’s pre-World War 2 emergence: (circa 1938): “War is caused by the conditions that bring about poverty…no war is justified…no war benefits the people.” (Frank Chodorov) An outgrowth of that early game plan (as quoted in last Sunday’s NY Times magazine): “Efforts to combat international Communism would be more dangerous than Communism itself.”
Bi-partisan support today for any such pacific policies, we know, is unthinkable. But shouldn’t the Dem team consider examining the possible military-spending reasons why that is so?.
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(The Nub is a team effort produced by Dick Starkey; it is also available on website perfectpitcher.org)