Whatever happened to Derek Jeter? Six days after his baseball career ended at Fenway Park, buy he must be enjoying the sudden onset of privacy at home in Tampa, patient or somewhere else. Aside from overseeing a new website, Jeter has time, while adjusting to a new phase of his life, to think about the last phase, his season-long farewell tour. Our guess is that he found it, in equal parts, rewarding and exhausting. He might agree, in retrospect, with critics who say it was unfair to him and the team for Joe Girardi to play him as much as he did. And who can blame him if he secretly deplored the dubious profit-making done in his name – the hike in ticket prices to games wherever he appeared, and maybe even the unregulated sale of the many “Jeter” souvenirs?
Of course, having launched his new enterprise, Derek is aware of a national truism “You can’t blame people for trying to make a buck.” When the enrichment effort is done in a corner-cutting manner, however, as surely happened during the tour, it deserves more than a shrug. Shady profiteering has become part of the culture, whether at ballgames, banks, or – now, in particular – in the promotion of war fever. The Nation magazine has identified three former generals as promoters via the mainstream media. The three – Anthony Zinni, Jack Keane and James Mattis – are now “paid directors and advisers to some of the largest military contractors in the world.” They pitch the need for more U.S. clout in the Mideast without mention of their contractor connections; the three are simply identified as retired military brass. Who are the corporate beneficiaries of their calls for more offensive weaponry and even thousands of “boots on the ground?” The infamous “Blackwater,” (now known as Academi), General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, etc.
When well-heeled boppers like them go to bat, it’s hard to set them down, even when conflicting needs are life-enhancing. The Boston Globe’s James Carroll describes the dilemma: “When confronted with (matters of life and death)…recourse to violent force (can) seem clarifying and empowering. So Obama yields. But the outcome is sadly predictable. It is not only that war trumped the other grave problems at the United Nations… Environmental degradation, refugees, disease, resurgent nationalism, proliferation: Visceral American war-making will make everything worse. Again.”
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Futility: Speaking of previously noted “holes” in the Tigers lineup, they yawned devastatingly in the top of the ninth of yesterday’s 7-6 loss to the Orioles: Brad Ausmus had to send up three light-hitting infielders – Andrew Romine, Hernan Perez and Eugenio Suarez in a desperate, and futile, effort to avoid falling behind 2-0 in the best-of-three series.
The Other Hand: Delmon Young, who pinch-hit the winning runs home in the eighth made Baltimore GM Dan Duquette look like a genius, especially since he also beefed up his pre-playoff roster by dealing for clutch-hitting Alejandro De Aza and lights-out lefty reliever Andrew Miller.
Looking for Mr. Right: “Right-handed bats are something we’ve always been looking for, which is why Cespy (Yoenis Cespedes) was such a great guy to have, no question. But it’s always been our Achilles heel, finding right-handed bats to complement the lefties. And listen, it’s a challenge for the league, too.” – Oakland GM Billy Beane (to SF Chronicle’s John Shea)
The Lester Defense: On the Jon Lester deal that cost the A’s Cespedes and looked particularly bad in the wild card loss to the Royals, Beane said this: “We wouldn’t have gotten to the playoffs without Jon Lester.”
Catching High Praise: Ron Darling (on TBS) on KC’s Salvador Perez: “He’s generally acknowledged now as the American League’s counterpart to Yadi Molina.” Darling is always worth listening to. But he’s not perfect. Thursday night, he called Mike Trout a “five-tool player.” Trout himself acknowledges that he has a less-than-superior outfield arm.
Free Samples: A sampling of playoff games TV coverage finds the work of broadcast teams, generally, above-average. An unfortunate exception: the Fox team that covered Cardinals-Dodgers yesterday. The superb Joe Buck was saddled with two minimally experienced newcomers, MLB-TV’s Tom Verducci and Harold Reynolds. Both were over-eager to contribute color; their remarks were flat, with a forced quality that caused us to abandon Joe B and the audio part of the broadcast.
(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome when addressed to the skipper at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous Nubs may be found by scrolling below.)