The Nub

The Downside of Domination on Both Fields

What we know (or think we do) at the end of the first month of the season: the Cubs are going to run away from NL opponents, generic including the Nationals. They’ll make it, as widely predicted, to the World Series. We know Cubs fans will be the envy of their 29 counterparts. And we know, too, that, as the runaway proceeds, Joe Maddon’s team will be both widely admired AND MLB’s most hated club. That’s the price of domination. Teams that played in back-to-back Series – the A’s of 1988-89-90, the Braves of 91-92, the Blue Jays of 92-93, the Phillies of 08-09, and, of course the Yankees of ’96 and 98-99-2000-2001-2003 –all felt the whiff of away-fan resentment. It hasn’t happened to the 14-15 Royals yet because they’ve snuck up on us.

There’s a similar reaction prevalent in many of the quadrennial presidential series and, particularly, in the intra-party playoffs leading to the final match-up. Hillary Clinton ought to be bracing for a campaign devoid of a level of enthusiasm she’d like. She experienced comparative indifference when running against Barack Obama in 2008. Then she confronted an exciting young opponent seeking to make presidential history. Now, her differences with 74-year-old Bernie Sanders are more pronounced and could damage her in the likely presidential playoff against Donald Trump. Bloomberg,net’s Al Hunt ticks off Hillary’s potential obstacles, beginning with economic issues, on some of which Trump sounds more like Sanders than Clinton:

“…taxes, health care and regulating Wall Street…On national security, too, as Clinton hasn’t much moderated her interventionist bent. She was a leading advocate for the 2011 military action in Libya. The aftermath of the invasion turned out disastrously and Obama has expressed his regrets. She hasn’t…If she is the Democratic nominee, she’ll need Sanders followers in the autumn. She (can’t) rely on Trump’s unpopularity…If it weren’t for Trump’s (record polling negatives – 65-24 pct.), the story would be about Clinton’s negatives. In the same (Wall Street Journal/NBC News) survey, she was viewed unfavorably 56-32.”

Hillary surely knows how she can soften much of the progressive resentment she’s encountering: express sincere support for many of the “revolutionary” policies pitched by her rally-generating Dem adversary, Bernie..

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Where Did He Come From? We’re talking about the MLB hitting leader Aledmys Diaz; he’s the 25-year-old Cardinals shortstop from Cuba who replaced Ruben Tejada, who, in turn, replaced injured Jhonny Peralta. A .380 BA breakout over 14 games with Triple-A Memphis late last summer earned Diaz promotion to the Cards this season. He is hitting .420, with four HRs in 21 games – a surprising performance helping the Redbirds remain in flight in the NL Central.

Jeter Redux? Californian Eric Byrnes says (on MLB-TV) he has no doubt about the identity of the current player who comes closest to comporting himself – on and off the field – as did Derek Jeter. He’s Buster Posey, the Giants’ catcher and acknowledged team leader.

Byrnes’ ‘Bests’: Byrnes’ regional pride was manifest earlier this week in these other insights: “The Giants are the best team in Baseball…ATT Park is the best ballpark.”

Streakers: Mets +7, Marlins +6, Pirates +5, Dodgers – 5


(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.