(Posted: 4/15/11; update 4/16)
Venezuela, discount viagra ampoule which has had problems with Team Obama and our corporate media, mind wants to reach the American people through baseball. Skipper Hugo Chavez is a former sandlot pitcher who loves baseball, a recent documentary film pointed out. It might have added that, unlike Cuban players who risk jail by defecting to the U.S., their Venezuelan counterparts are free to come here to play and prosper.
And excel: An all-Venezuelan lineup with Felix Hernandez pitching, Victor Martinez catching, an infield of Miguel Cabrera, Elvis Andrus, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Pablo Sandoval, and an outfield of Carlos Gonzales, Franklin Gutierrez and Magglio Ordonez would be truly formidable.
The consistent message from Caracas is that the shared love of baseball provides a bond of people-to-people friendship which can, and should, overcome negative publicity about Venezuela. Those media brush-backs, stemming from Team Obama’s stance, can be explained, says the UK Guardian, in simple terms: Oil-rich Team Chavez, which pulls to left, is gaining too much regional clout that poses a challenge to traditional Yanqui power there. It’s nothing personal, says the Guardian; the record book shows that Team USA has always sought to send any Latin American skipper to the showers who doesn’t play its game. It almost got rid of Chavez in 2002, was implicated in a separatist effort to undercut Bolivia’s populist Evo Morales in 2008, and is suspected in Ecuador of trying to drive leftist Skipper Rafael Correa from the field. (All three skippers have sent the Obama team’s official scouts back where they came from.)
Obama has kept faith with a long-used U.S. team game plan followed now on other foreign fields as well as in Latin America. The Herald Trib’s William Pfaff, writing from Europe, describes the all-purpose game plan we’re trying to execute in the Middle East:
“(It’s) a(n) effort to manage the region through chosen political clients and favorites, in the self-deluding belief that this is ‘democratization’ – the identical policy that has already given the region wars in or around Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the threat of war with Iran, and now the Libyan intervention. One must do better.”
An effort “to manage the region through chosen political clients”: Is there reason to hope Team Obama will bring that game to an end, if not in the Middle East, at least in Latin America? The answer for the moment is as obvious as it is regrettable.
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The Debuting Dozen: Time to check in on how the 12 managers starting their first full season with new teams are doing. Here they are in alphabetical order: Terry Collins, Mets; John Farrell, Blue Jays; Kirk Gibson, D-backs; Fredi Gonzalez, Braves; Clint Hurdle, Pirates; Don Mattingly, Dodgers, Mike Quade, Cubs; Edwin Rodriguez, Marlins; Ron Roenicke, Brewers; Buck Showalter, Orioles, Eric Wedge, Mariners; Ned Yost, Royals. Going into the weekend, the 12 were bunched within, at most, four-and-a-half games of each other. Yost had led the Royals to the best record, 8-4; Rodriguez’s Marlins and Roenicke’s Brewers were 7-5. Showalter’s Orioles were 6-5, Quade’s Cubs and Farrell’s Jays 6-6. The other six’s clubs were below .500, Collins’ Mets and Wedge’s Mariners the biggest disappointments at 4-9. The able performances of Farrell, Roenicke and Mattingly are noteworthy because, until this season, they had never managed in the majors before. They both look as though they belong.
Hurtin’ Time in Texas: The Rangers took a double-hit when Josh Hamilton broke his arm at homeplate last Tuesday: they lost their best player on the field (for an estimated six-to-eight weeks) but attracted unwelcome attention to that same player’s attitude problem. Hamilton’s initial blaming of third-base coach Dave Anderson for the “stupid” decision to send him home suggested strongly that he is no asset in the clubhouse. His belated apology to Anderson doesn’t change that appraisal.
The Waiting-in-Vain Game: For the last four years, the Mets have played a series of demoralizing waiting games – for the return from injury of would-be season saviors: Moises Alou, Carlos Delgado, Billy Wagner, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, and lately, Jason Bay, felled by concussion last July 25. The suddenly fragile Bay was healthy during most of spring training until March 29, when he suffered a rib injury. That evolved into an oblique strain shortly before he was scheduled to return the first week of the season. Now the talk is Bay won’t be back until the end of the month. By that time Mets fans will have long since given up savior illusions concerning Bay and, especially, Johan Santana, not due back until the summer.
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