The Nub

The Shielding-Names Game in the Off-Field Media

“Haven’t we seen this collapse around the All-Star game before?” a Mets fan e-mailed the other day. His memory is right on. For the last few years, usa healing the Mets have been building up hope in the spring, generic only to fade as summer takes hold. The team’s light-hitting and shallow bench wear down in the warm weather. “Meaningful games” in late July are a pipe-dream. On the day of the message, MLB Now devoted a segment to the tailspinning Mets; former pitcher and team broadcaster Bobby Ojeda was a guest panel member. We were struck by how carefully fingers were pointed at injuries and ill-timed strategic moves, but not at individuals. We know MLB-TV’s role is to promote Baseball. We didn’t appreciate its additional tendency to serve as protective lobby for owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon and, to a lesser extent, GM Sandy Alderson. Fans know ownership’s unwillingness to spend to upgrade the roster is the big-market team’s basic problem. A policy of “leave the owners alone” destroys media credibility.

Similarly, the New York Times and much of the mainstream media hurts their reputation for objectivity by avoiding mention of those behind the last-minute victory of the Trans-Pacfic trade deal, which, in the words of Elizabeth Warren, makes it nearly impossible to enforce rules that protect hard-working families, but very easy to enforce rules that favor multinational corporations.” The Center for Responsive Politics lists more than 300 pro-business lobbying groups, including familiar names like Coca Cola, JP Morgan Chase, Wal-Mart, etc, that have gone to bat for anything but what Skipper Obama calls a “level playing field.”

And how about the seldom-mentioned names of the 13 Senate Democrats who voted with the pro-business side: Michael Bennet (CO), Maria Cantwell (WA), Tom Carper (DE), Chris Coons (DE), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Bill Nelson (FL),Tim Kaine (VA), Claire McCaskill (MO) Patty Murray, (WA), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Mark Warner (VA), Ron Wyden (OR) If it is true – and it is – that “names make news,”, those 13 should be identified; they may be in for trouble with attentive constituents.

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Fallback Plan: We expected to hear less talk in Mets-land about the need to conserve the innings of starters so there’ll be rested for the playoffs. But no, addition of another superfluous young arm – this belonging to Steven Matz – indicates Sandy Alderson, et al, are going to continue to play the six-man so-what? game. As if there’s a remote chance the team can return to playoff-competitive status. “Remote” as in “won’t happen.”

The Yankees’ Shaky Would-be Aces: Along with Mashiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, the team now have a third less-than-predictable ace in Ivan Nova. If nothing else, the trio’s marginal reliability could permit Adam Warren to take over the seventh-inning relief slot. Many, including John Flaherty on YES, believe, overall, that would be an upgrade.

Rookie Worth Watching: “Maikel Franco (.303/10/29) is already the Phillies best hitter, and, depending on the uniform Cole Hamels wears in another month, he might soon be the team’s best player. He trails Joc Pederson (.249/19/47) and Kris Bryant (277/10/43) for Rookie of the Year, but he is younger than both players and his rookie season should not be overlooked amidst a poor season in Philadelphia. Franco’s (walk-averse) approach is not one that a lot of players have success with in the majors, but Adrian Beltre and Adam Jones have shown that players can be very productive offensively with an impatient power bat as long as they can make contact.” – Craig Edwards, FanGraphs

Streakers: Natkionals + 7, Rangers – 6, Marlins – 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.