(Posted: 5/6/11;update 5/7)
Letting the Osama endgame go into extra innings, sales sick we can’t help thinking: Where was Carlos Delgado when we needed him? Why Delgado, the Puerto Rican ex-Blue Jay, Marlin and Met? Because he would have been the perfect major leaguer to separate baseball from the “frat boys” reaction to Bin Laden’s death prevalent at ballparks and in too many places around the U.S.
Let’s face it: Asking baseball to share the field with politics works only if we consider patriotic pitches political. Thus, the media’s prompting players to go to bat on the Osama takeout this week produced soft verbal swings about “justice”, “relief”, “finality.” Delgado, who took a public anti-war stance every day at ballparks (refusing to stand for “God Bless America”) in 2004 and 2005, could have delivered a different, stronger response. After acknowledging that Bin Laden had gotten what was coming, he might well have spoken of the wider impact of the event the way he did of the 9/11 deaths and their aftermath.
The Osama-caused bombings were a “terrible thing”, Delgado said some years ago, but so were “what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq.” He said he felt for all “the relatives and loved ones” lost on 9/11 and in what he thought were the “stupidest war(s) ever.” While those wars continue today, Delgado, sidelined for most of 2009 by a hip injury and failing in a comeback attempt in 2010, officially retired himself (and his political voice) from baseball three months ago.
Before the Bin Laden-related final out is made, here are two like-minded pinch-hitters for Delgado:
(1) “ It’s been a long time since Americans felt this good and strong about themselves — nothing like putting bullets in someone’s skull and dumping their corpse into an ocean to rejuvenate that can-do American sense of optimism.” – Glenn Greenwald, Salon
(2) “I watched (on 9/11) as a nation drank deep from that very dark elixir of American nationalism … the flip side of nationalism is always racism, it’s about self-exaltation and the denigration of the other. And it’s about forgetting that terrorism is a tactic. You can’t make war on terror…We responded exactly as these terrorist organizations wanted us to respond. They wanted us to speak the language of violence.
“These groups learned to speak the language we taught them. And our response was to speak in kind…The tragedy of the Middle East is one where we proved incapable of communicating in any other language than the brute and brutal force of empire.” – Chris Hedges, TruthDig
The spoken language of the 21st Century “empire” is English, which we impose with our occupation. Pentagon Papers pitcher Daniel Ellsberg noted that, during the Vietnam War Americans knew they didn’t know the country’s main language, vietnamese. In Afghanistan, he said, “We don’t know what we don’t know” (that the main languages are pashto and dan).
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Slippage: Roughly five weeks into the season, let’s establish five games behind as the border separating still-in-contention teams from those who have slipped out of it. Going into the three-game weekend, only five of 30 teams were on the wrong side and in danger of being given no meaningful chance by their fans: the White Sox, Mets. Nats, Padres and Astros. The White Sox, farthest of the group behind (11 games in the volatile AL Central), is believed to have the most realistic chance of making it back among contenders by summer. We’ll check from time to time to see how this random evaluation holds up in the coming weeks.
Not Pretty: It took Daily News-man Andy Martino one sentence to paint a true picture of the Mets: “(They) are just drifting, formless, winning a few and losing a few more.” Martino used to cover the Phillies. Can you imagine how he feels on the Mets beat?
A.J. Burned: We thought David Cone was being hard on A.J. Burnett awhile ago when he said on YES that A.J. “lacks toughness late in the game.” But we remembered the rap in the bottom of the seventh of a 2-2 Yanks-Tigers game Thursday. When he had to be tough, Burnett allowed a single to Victor Martinez for starters, then walked Magglio Ordonez and hit Ryan Raburn, setting up what turned out to be a clinching three-run Detroit rally. The Tigers’ third straight win marked the Yanks’ first three-straight losses of the season. A.J. seems to be okay when he’s safely ahead, not in the crunch.
Stat City: Although, entering the weekend, the Angels’ Jared Weaver led the majors in strikeouts – 56 in 38 innings, Atlanta’s closer Craig Kimbrel was proving to be a more compelling K-artist. Combining what he did last season – 40 strikeouts in 20.2 innings with what he’d done so far this, 19 in 13.2 – Kimbrel’s pace was not far off two Ks an inning.
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