The Nub

Reason for Hope on Two Fields? Time Will Tell

(Posted: 10/18/13; e-mail update 10/19)

When, healing after falling behind 3-1 in the NLCS, case Don Mattingly said he trusted Josh Greinke and Clayton Kershaw to pitch the Dodgers into a seventh game, for sale one reporter had this comment: “Hope is a fickle strategy.” We know now that Mattingly’s faith in the pair he considers Baseball’s “best” pitchers has so far paid off. The faith – and its accompanying hope – will be tested again tonight when Kershaw tries to even the series in St.Louis.

On the national ballfield, to even pitch the word “hope” in the face of Team USA’s endless war on terror and its fallout – its innocent victims, the rally against whistleblowers and all adversaries of the security/surveillance state – is to deny our permanent condition. The instructors who taught us that is so: members of the corporate media, ever ready to go to bat for government, accepting whatever it tosses their way as a perfect strike.

If, despite the gloom, hopelessness has eluded us, it’s because of hitters willing to swing out against Team Obama’s game plan – grand slammers like Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. They have had to flee the field, we know, to escape head-hunters. A prominent exception still openly holding his adversarial stance: Glenn Greenwald, slugging lawyer and civil liberties author who helped Snowden expose the government-surveillance game through the UK Guardian.

Greenwald is preparing to launch an on-line mass media venture financed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. “A dream journalistic opportunity,” Greenwald calls it – one, that with a quarter-billion-dollar bankroll, will enable him and his teammates to dig, not just skim. His lineup will include author Jeremy Scahill, who independently dug out the extent of the Blackwater scandals in Iraq and the blowback-causing Drone efforts in Yemen. The project still has to choose an opening day; it plans to field a system with squads in New York and San Francisco, as well as in Washington. Greenwald himself is based in Rio de Janiero. There is no guarantee the new team will score big, or last. Nor does it even have a name. A good one might be “Hope.”

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Hopeless? The consensus after David Ortiz’s slam helped Boston overtake Detroit in game 2: the Tigers would need a shrink to regroup and take the ALCS from the Red Sox. Now, after losing game 5 Thursday night at home, Detroit clearly needs a magician if it hopes to sweep games 6 and 7 from the Sox at FenwayPark. That’s the reality, even with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander ready to work their magic for Jim Leyland.

Neighborliness: Tim McCarver (on Fox) was prepared to forgive an egregious umpiring call in the third inning Thursday night. Austin Jackson, running from first on a ground ball, was forced at second even though Sox shortstop Stephen Drew completed the force while several feet from the bag as he tried for a double play. “It was a neighborhood play,” said McCarver. “The umpires sometimes call it so the infielder can avoid being hit and hurt by a sliding runner.” We don’t want to see anybody hurt, but the call snuffed out a possible Tiger rally. Here’s hoping the video replay arrangement next year eliminates the dubious neighborly practice.

A Cardinal Flaw: Stats sometimes surprise; this one was a shock: Ron Darling (on TBS) noted that the Cardinals went 4-50 in the regular season when trailing after seven innings. He said it Wednesday, as the oft-flawless Redbirds fell behind the Dodgers in the third and never caught up.

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(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments to, as well as requests for e-mail updates, are welcome. Note that only e-mailed comments can be addressed by the skipper. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)


About Richard Starkey

Dick Starkey handled media for former NY Governor Mario Cuomo, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and many other office-holders and candidates. He was sports editor of the Paris-based Herald Tribune. Perfect Pitch partner Robert Sullivan was the first to adapt focus groups to politics and has been called by Cuomo and others one of the "best" pollsters in the country.