The Nub

Surveying a Hurtful Time on Both Fields

It hurts to acknowledge the off-season has not been a good time for most ball fans: for one thing, there’s no way of imagining a team will emerge to compete with the Cubs in 2017. And, since that’s so, all other NL teams will be playing at a disadvantage discouraging to their fans.

Discouraged, too, are news-hungry lefty fans looking for stories that don’t involve the home team’s future national Skipper. Our scorecard of articles in Saturday’s NY Times, for example, showed that between half and a third of stories in the paper’s first two sections were about Trump.. Headlines of 21 of them sported the Skipper-elect’s five-digit name.

President Obama can’t be enjoying the media prominence his successor is receiving. But he has expressed confidence that the work he’s done will not be forgotten. Vox’s Ezra Klein examines how realistic such optimism will turn out to be:

“One way to think about (Obama’s belief that much of what he’s accomplished will survive) is to look at the Bush baseline that structured Obama’s administration. Obama ran against Bush’s two wars (Iraq in concept, Afghanistan in execution), and while both are technically over, neither has completely ended. Obama ran against the Guantanamo Bay prison, but it remains open. Obama ran against the Bush tax cuts, but he ultimately made most of them permanent…Trump and congressional Republicans will, similarly, find themselves working from the Obama baseline. Take Obamacare — as much as Republicans loathe it, they know it’s delivering insurance to more than 20 million people, and many of those people are their own constituents. They admit openly that they can’t repeal it without some kind of replacement.”

That revision, when it comes, will clearly take many months, if not years, to complete.

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Cold-Stove Stuff: The most sought-after free agent: Carlos Beltran. Why, economy: he can be signed to a short-term contract, and be as productive as most expensive long-termers. Decision-time for Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion: he can accept an $80 million, four-year offer from the Blue Jays, or look to do better elsewhere.


(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome. 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.