(Posted: 12/2/11; e-mail update 12/3)
Join the belated cheers for baseball’s man of the year Justin Verlander. Cheer him, canada ampoule not just because he won both AL MVP and Cy Young awards (first to do it since Roger Clemens in 1986), store but because of the way he responded to the honors. Verlander said he was glad he won them, mainly, for hard-hit Detroit, which needed its morale raised.
It is doubtful Verlander will be hailed on the cover of news magazines at the end of the year. Protesters in Tahrir Square or Zuccotti Park are likely to be graphically remembered for the political game-changing they contributed here and in the Mideast.
The winner of the political equivalent of our player-of-the-year award in Australia holds a prominent place on Team Obama’s enemies list: he’s Julian Assange, founder of WiKi Leaks, the outfit that embarrassed high-power clubs by letting the world know what their game was. The Pulitzer-like award Assange earned was for excellence in journalism. The down-under panel honored him and his team, citing their “courageous and controversial commitment to the finest traditions of journalism: justice through transparency.”
In a line-drive reproach to the O-team’s bean-balling of Assange and its bruitish, bush-league treatment of the imprisoned Bradley Manning, the Australian awarders paid this tribute to the honorees – and, indirectly, to its government, which has distanced itself from our defense of secrecy: “By designing…a means to encourage whistleblowers, WikiLeaks and…Assange took a brave, determined and independent stand for freedom of speech and transparency that has empowered people all over the world.”
Attentive fans in Skipper Obama’s ballpark seem to be indifferent rather than empowered. Appropriate boos have been slow in coming.
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Straight-Talking Skipper: A lot will be said about Bobby Valentine, now that he is Boston’s new skipper. Bobby is known, among other things, as a “know-it-all.” From a baseball standpoint, that may be a close-to-accurate description. During an ESPN Sunday night broadcast of a Rangers game, last season, he said Texas center fielder Julio Borbon wasn’t very good, and didn’t belong in the lineup. That struck at least one viewer as an unusually blunt assessment. To the untrained eye, Borbon didn’t seem all that bad. Within a short time, however, he was back in the minors. Bobby could tell where he belonged.
Wishful Thinking in Metsville: After running down several other possible destinations – Miami, Washington, Detroit, etc. – SI’s Joe Sheehan concludes that Jose Reyes could wind up back home with the Mets. That seems unlikely…unless Sandy Alderson, et al, remain comparatively quiescent during hot-stove season. With no big- or medium-ticket signings, the Mets would have enough to keep their franchise player with the franchise. The Marlins’ signing of Heath Bell makes them a bit less likely competitors for Reyes’ services in the NL East.
Readying Rockies: No team is salivating so openly about next season’s debut of a second wild card than the Rockies. Colorado made roster and payroll room late last month by sending utility infielder Ty Wigginton to the Phillies. The Rox then reinforced their rotation by getting Tyler Chatwood, just 22 this month, from the Angels for catcher Chris Iannetta. To replace Iannetta they signed ex-Reds free agent Ramon Hernandez. A team quickly putting together the pieces of a wild card-seeking puzzle.
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