The Nub

Mega-Money, Trump’s Team and Unfocused Fans

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(Posted :3/28/17)

Check out the eight teams with the highest 2017 payrolls and you’ll have a good idea of most playoff teams as the MLB season begins this weekend: Dodgers, Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, Cubs, Rangers, Giants, Nationals. The Yanks and Tigers don’t make the Nubbian cut. The comparatively low-budget Indians belong in the group. That leaves one other likely playoff team: either the Blue Jays or Astros, by our reckoning.

The point is obvious: money makes for winners. New Yorker’s Jane Mayer underlined it in the 3/27 issue of the magazine. Since Team Citizens United’s impact reached the field seven years ago, its clout has shifted power – in Mayer’s words – “from two main political parties toward a tiny group of rich mega-donors.” The heavy hitters unleashed their financial barrage late in the 2016 election season. The Hillary-Dem team, we remember, seemed to have control of the presidential race well into October. Then the big money made its presence felt throughout the media – a game-changing presence felt both inside Team Trump and in disaffected corners of the national grandstand.

As the Mega team hit to right, its would-be skipper talked a showy all-fields game while confounding reports of international cyber-meddling helped keep him in fan-focus. Barely noticed by the media, meanwhile, were recruits filling the Trump Team clubhouse: players and coaches installed by the big-money long-ballers. In her article, Mayer identifies shadowy billionaire Robert Mercer, in particular, as the scout who paid most to surround Trump with favored members of the Mega team. Thus, as the Mayer piece notes, the richest among us influence the direction the country and its Skipper are headed.

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Snubbing the Cubs: MLB-TV insiders Dan O’Dowd and Tom Verducci predicted the other night where the Dodgers are headed: this season – to the World Series. Why have they a better chance than the Cubs? Because, they agree,, of two top pitchers – Clayton Kershaw and highly rated newcomer Julio Urias. Behind them: the best group of position players and secondary pitchers money can buy. Second best, say we, the squad assembled by the Red Sox.

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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.