(Posted: 2/18/11; update 2/19)
Looking Over the ‘Overlooked’ in Both Fields
“Overlooked” was the theme of an MLB-TV group workout the other night in which regulars picked teams that should be taken more seriously going into the new season. The Twins topped the list; defending AL Central champions, viagra sale pharm they’ve been largely ignored because of uncertainty about how well first baseman Justin Morneau and closer Joe Nathan will rebound from their 2010 injuries. The Marlins and A’s, cialis sales treatment two teams only Larry Bowa went out on a limb for – he predicted a month ago they would win their divisions – were two others chosen to be surprise contenders.
Among political teams, Connecticut’s new state Skipper Dannel Malloy has been overshadowed by neighboring governors, fellow Dem Andrew Cuomo in NY and Team GOP’s Chris Christie in NJ. Both C-men have taken their cuts to right while playing budgetary hardball. Their targets: programs for the poor like Medicaid, and for the masses, like public education. While taking swipes at social spending, they’ve also backed away from reducing the pain through even a modest hike in taxes. Malloy, meanwhile, has produced a different game plan – pitching for a raise of $2.9 billion in taxes on residents, businesses and labor unions in an effort to spare the most vulnerable of the state’s residents. “The alternative,” Malloy said in his budget message, “would require us to completely shred the safety net… Which is to say there is no alternative.”
Malloy aims to maintain spending at last year’s level and overcome a 20-percent deficit through making judicious cuts as well as demanding sacrifices from everyone including his union supporters. It’s a big-time challenge he’s set out for himself. If he meets it, his days of being overlooked will be over.
An Overreach? Impossible to overlook what is happening in other state capitols and throughout the country as the conservative team and the corporate media effectively swing inside-out to right field. Veteran lefty slugger Noam Chomsky, who has seen many bush-leaguers riding high over the years, is nevertheless awed by the effective game being played by the right. Here is how, taking a bemused cut with his verbal bat, Chomsky described the opposition game on “Democracy Now”:
“There’s been a wave of propaganda over the last couple of months, which is pretty impressive to watch, trying to deflect attention away from those who actually created the economic crisis, like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase…to (those allegedly) responsible…teachers, police, firefighters, sanitation workers, their huge pensions, their incredible healthcare benefits… and their unions, who are the real villains, the ones who are robbing the taxpayer by making sure that policemen may not starve when they retire. And this is pretty amazing.”
The extreme-right stance of so many elected members of Team GOP could ignite, with Skipper Obama’s help, a massive national pro-social democracy rally of the type Wisconsinites staged in Madison this past week. As The UK Guardian’s Michael Tomasky put it: “What ends up happening in Madison will set a template for other states and determine how hard other Republican governors press their (argument)”. If they press it too hard, signs of the reaction spreading are sure to get stronger. An exciting few days, or weeks, may be in store.
– – –
Wither the Mets: Everyone who follows the already-out-of-contention Mets knows that the only hopeful aspect connected with the team is a possible change of ownership. Everyone, that is, except the boss’s son Jeff Wilpon who has a gift for dashing hopes and fan interest. Instead of keeping quiet and letting fans dream – however unrealistically – of a post-Wilpon era, Jeff had to say the other day that sale of a majority share of the Mets was “off the table.” Three words perfectly designed to discourage the team’s once-loyal followers and accelerate their departure.
What We Know about the AL East: The Red Sox are the team to beat; the Yankees will give the Sox a run for division dominance; the Rays have a good enough rotation to remain contenders; the Jays are improved enough to cause trouble; the Orioles have a better roster than last year and Buck Showalter back for all of this year. On NESN the other night, Peter Gammons said that potentially win-producing five-team lineup means one sure thing: “No way” does the wild card come from the AL East.
The Pujols Problem as seen by SI’s Tom Verducci: “If the St. Louis Cardinals are not prepared to pay Albert Pujols more than the Phillies pay Ryan Howard — that’s $25 million per year – then… he is as good as gone….’The problem the Cardinals have,’ said one baseball executive,’is the math doesn’t work. They probably can’t get to 120 [million dollar payroll] in that market, so they only have so much to give Albert and still have a competitive team around him’.”
– o –
(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments
to firstname.lastname@example.org are welcome, as are subscription requests.
Previous Nubs can be found by scrolling below.)