(Posted: 4/8/11; update 4/9)
A new baseball-centered book, best viagra click “The Extra 2 Percent”, view is a reminder of why so many of us root afar for the Tampa Bay Rays. Competing at a fraction of what the Red Sox and Yanks spend in the AL East, the Rays have won two division titles and made it to the World Series in the past three years.
They performed that miracle by doing – in owner Stuart Steinberg’s words – “everything 2 percent better than the competition: scouting, player development, lineup moves, (even) promotions, everything.” Steinberg developed his skills as a Wall Street player. Chances are, although he hasn’t said so publicly – he’s not a fan of the cost-cutting game Team GOP is playing in Washington.
Major League teams needing new ballparks to be financially competitive also need public money to get their dream realized. At the very least, local governments pay for the roads and additional local transport that make the new park accessible. (In NYC, the city electeds gave the Yankees precious parkland, displaced small busineses to make room for the Mets’ new ballpark and subsidized both private projects. All that, plus providing infrastructure improvements.) In that regard the Rays are out of luck: Tampa/St.Petersburg is a conservative-run anti-tax bailiwick. There is little revenue for anything, much less for helping to build a new ballpark.
Overlooked in the rally by the right for spending cuts and “doing more with less” is the hits small businesses – as well as bigger ones like the Rays – take when government services are no longer on deck. Most of us may be able to cope with fewer sanitation pickups and police patrols, but mom-and-pop stores need more, not less help from the electeds responsible for assisting their effort to survive.
That, of course, applies even more so to low-income people. The cruelest cut currently proposed by Team GOP – an affront to the principle of shared sacrifice – would decimate Medicaid, public health care for the vulnerable. An executive of the National Council on Aging told a Congressional panel what the cuts would mean:
“Th(is) proposal takes us from neglecting the least among us to targeting them—threatening the lives, dignity, and future of poor, vulnerable seniors, children, and people with disabilities. These poor Americans did not create our deficit. In fact, it costs Medicaid much less than private insurance to cover people with similar health status. But these Americans in greatest need are being targeted because they don’t have the voice or political power to fight back.”
That lack of power – and lack of will on the part of the Democratic team – may mean that Medicaid will not be spared deep cuts. Indeed, economist Robert Kuttner says the radical GOP plan “would kill Medicare and Medicaid, as we know them.” Unlike the vulnerable, Rays owner Steinberg is in position to fight back. He can move the team to a more hospitable city. That’s something, reports say, he is prepared to do
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Sunless Season So Far: Barely a week into the season the Rays have played themselves into a deep hole, dug in part by an injury to their best player, Evan Longoria. He went on the DL last Sunday with a strained oblique that will sideline him for an estimated three weeks. Then, yesterday, Manny Ramirez announced his retirement rather than face a drug-related investigation and possible penalties. Oh, and Johnny Damon, the other veteran signed to help compensate for the departure of Carl Crawford, has been hampered by Tropicana Field turf; it’s been hard on his legs. Alas for their fans, the Rays will have to give more than 2 percent extra to become a factor this year in the AL East race.
Rivalry Update: “Over the winter (said the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy yesterday), Sox fans had a lot of fun at the expense of the Yankees. Citizens of Sox Nation mocked Brian Cashman and repeatedly painted the Pinstripes as old and pitching-poor. Now the Yankees are in town with a chance to take a seven-game lead over the Sox just nine games into the season.” ” Make that “an eight-game lead 11 games into the season.” And to do that the Yanks will have to win the last two games of the three-game series. The Sox pounded Phil Hughes yesterday en route to a wild 9-6 victory that ended their six-game losing streak. Sox 7-8-9 relievers Bobby Jenks, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon were lights out. While Hughes flopped badly, Bartolo Colon gave the Yanks something positive to take away from the game: he pitched four-and-a-third innings, yielding only two hits and striking out five.
Flash: John (Flash) Flaherty has emerged as a YES color man who is both informative and relaxed. The other night, he reported on something innocuous Yankees GM Brian Cashman had said in an interview. Colleague Michael Kay reacted with surprise and suggested Flaherty had been indiscrete in quoting Cashman as he did. “What do you expect me to say,” said Flaherty. “That’s what he said.” The faintest whiff of tension made the exchange more than mundane. Then, on Thursday, Gordon’s tone caught Kay’s attention. “You sound contentious today,” he said to Flash. “Day game after a night rainout,” Flaherty explained. – o –
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