(Posted: 4/1/11; update 4/12)
The team prize for most upbeat pre-season goes to the Colorado Rockies. Aside from fifth-starter Aaron Cook’s broken finger, view the talented Rockies emerged from spring games healthy and aggressively optimistic. GM Dan O’Dowd hailed the team’s “wide-open style of baseball” played “with little or no fear.” The Denver Post talked of the Rockies’ impressive “zeal”, generic something that surely impressed MLB-TV’s Larry Bowa, as well. He picked them to win the NL West, while SI’s Tom Verducci predicted they would earn the wild card.
We know that critics have accused Team Obama of entering the game in Libya with too much zeal (while others have called him too cautious). One thing is clear: the skipper of Team USA, whether his name be Clinton, Bush or Obama, can win support for military contests on foreign fields by invoking moral reasons for doing so. That is true whatever the cost of going to bat abroad. Scorekeeper Michael Tomasky wrote about it for the UK Guardian:
“We almost never ask ‘can we pay for it?’ when we’re talking about matters military. We debate whether it’s the right or wrong thing to do in moral and historical terms. We never talk money.
“This is the precise opposite of our domestic politics, is it not? We never talk about whether it’s right or wrong to let people sleep in the street… But we always talk about what it would cost to get them off the streets. Or to have cleaner air, or healthier children, or whatever it is. How did the military become completely insulated from cost-benefit analysis? “
A comment by then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made in the ‘90s provides a partial reason for the insulation : “What’s the point of having this superb military,” she said, “if we can’t use it?” The trillions in military investment cry for a payoff – putting weapons and personnel to use. Once the decision is made, further investment is required to “give our troops what they need.” Add to that the defense-industry jobs that military action solidifies in states throughout the country, and we’re close to a complete explanation for the disparity between military and civilian budgets.
Post-Script to Previous Nub on Loss of Liberal Clout: “Republicans truly fear their base, and they treat them with respect and kid gloves (to a fault, actually) and do their best to placate them. Democrats fear their base in the sense that they fear that they (Dems) will be tagged as extreme if they don’t make aggressive public moves to demonstrate that they aren’t really like their base.” (Tomasky)
Thank You, Coach Gates, for the Comparison: Defense Sec Robert Gates on the team of Libyan rebels: “It’s like a pick-up game.”
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‘S’-Rod: Kenny Singleton and Michael Kay on (YES) called out Alex Rodriguez for not hustling on a high-off-the-wall double he hit in the sixth inning of the opener with Detroit Thursday. Singleton noted that A-Rod looked into the dugout while loping down to first – his way of HR “styling” – and only made it to second when, full-tilt, he could have gotten to third. With the score tied, 3-3, Kay pointed out that, had A-Rod reached third, the Tigers would have been forced to draw in the infield, giving Robinson Cano a better chance to drive in the tie-breaking run. As it was, Justin Verlander struck out both Cano and Nick Swisher to save A-Rod from looking worse than he did.
Smoothies: On ESPN, Orel Hersheiser and Bobby Valentine (with Dan Shulman) zeroed in on a possible turning point in the Giants-Dodgers game Thursday night. It came in the top of the eighth with LA ahead, 1-0, a man on first and none out. Hong-Chih Kuo, newly on in relief of Clayton Kershaw, had thrown six straight outside the strike zone. He fired a seventh, but Andres Torres swung, fouling off what would have been ball three. Hersheiser said the 2-and-1 count rather than a 3-and-0, gave Kuo a chance to get a “feel” for the strike zone. He quickly disposed of Torres, Freddy Sanchez and Aubrey Huff, setting up what would be a 2-1 LA win. Valentine said Orel was “exactly right.” Bobby deferred to his color partner all night, the reticence precluding verbal clutter in the three-person booth.
It’s Early, But: One game into the season, Larry Bowa can pat himself on the back for one of his observations. He called Joba Chamberlain a key component of would-be Yankees’ success this year. In his first test, Joba pitched a neat, three-up, three-down seventh to get the win as the Yanks beat the Tigers Thursday. Bowa thought Joba would be sharp, and he was.
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(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Commentsto dickstar(@aol.com are welcome, as are subscription requests. Previous Nubs can be found by scrolling below.)