The Nub

Looking Ahead to Playoffs on Both Fields

Early June, sildenafil and the season is more than a third over. A reasonable time to see which 10 teams might be playing if the post-season began today. AL: Yankees/Rays , sales Royals/Twins, Astros; NL: Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers. AL WCs: Tigers, Angels/Rangers; NL WCs: Giants, Cubs/Pirates. With close playoff races in all but the NL East (sorry, Mets, etc.), we can expect changes – two, three? – between now and October.

Because all five AL East teams have a shot at their division, just over half the 30 MLB teams look to be playoff-competitive. In the other field, there are 10 officially announced competitors in the Team GOP presidential playoffs, and a half-dozen more expected to join the roster of hopefuls. We’ll put off examining that race until the field sorts itself out. The Dem team, with only four players vying to qualify for the ultimate presidential playoff, lends itself to immediate assessment. Hillary Clinton is the party playoff’s well-known runaway favorite. Her opponents, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and former Rhode Island Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee, are generally acknowledged as the longest of long shots.

Chafee, who announced just last Wednesday, said foreign policy would be the centerpiece of his campaign. He says Clinton disqualified herself from becoming commander-in-chief in 2002, when she voted in the Senate to authorize action against Iraq. Chafee, then a Republican, was the only member of his party to vote against the authorization. Chafee and O’Malley are both left of center while Sanders is an outspoken progressive who has brushed back Clinton for her centrism. “I know where I have been on trade agreements (like the Trans-Pacific Partnership),” he said, for example, on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I know where I have been on Wall Street. I know where I have been on the Keystone pipeline. And Secretary Clinton will obviously explain her position to the American people.”  

The New Yorker’s John Cassidy says the key political test for Clinton “will come in the area of  economic policy, where Sanders has put out a comprehensive and, by American standards, quite radical manifesto.”   We think that, since polls say most Americans oppose our wars, justifying her militarism will be Clinton’s main challenge.

                               

Body Language: Midweek afternoon games on TV of the Mariners and Red Sox, in particular – can be revealing. To these eyes, Robinson Cano looks to be more than in a funk; he seems depressed, going through the motions at the plate, where he is batting .243 with two HRs. Then there is the case of Pablo Sandoval, who has lost focus defensively; he’s playing as sloppily at third base as we knew Hanley Ramirez would, looking lost in his new left field position at Fenway.

Voice of Experience: Former Twins pitcher Kevin Tapani (now a high school coach) on the revived 2015 team: “They’re very fundamentally sound. They run balls out. They do a lot of things right. [The] pitching is solid. They’re in every game.” (quoted by Mike Kaszuba, Star Tribune)

Streakers: Mariners – 7, Tigers – 8

-o-

(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.