Friday, August 31, 2007

Something I don't know...

“A generous heart will never care to go part way;
it won’t be cowed
if there is passage anywhere,
but set out on the hardest road;
nothing can cause it misery,
and with faith soaring like a cloud
it feeds on something I don’t know
that one may come on randomly.”
- St. John of the Cross

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Richard Jewell, RIP

He saved lives by moving people away from a backpack which actually did turn out to be a bomb. He knew his purpose in life: public safety. He took his job seriously. Richard Jewell was an honorable guy, and a fine American. We are richer because he was our fellow citizen. Salute.

I shy away from calling him heroic, but I thought I'd give him props for exactly that which made him suspicious in the eyes of the FBI: the man took his job to protect the public and find evidence of foul play very seriously, and advanced the case, or would have, at least, had the FBI not immediately deemed him their chief suspect and branded him a psycho bomber.

The media was pretty eager to run with that story. "Local security cop finds bomb evidence FBI didn't, ergo he must be a crazed psychopath in on the crime." It's almost as if they don't believe someone could just have a quite-healthy interest in protecting the public from harm, or have difficulty accepting the possibility that someone not formally credentialed by a prestigious institution could have any talents to contribute to society.

Fear. Capitulation.

This Bloom County cartoon was censored by the Washington Post.
(double click to see larger image, or click on this link)

Censored! As in "CENSORSHIP"!

What the?

This is America, DANG IT! This is THE WASHINGTON POST! THE WASHINGTON POST will not stand for censorship! The Washington Post will always stand up for the 1st Amendment...

- except in the Danish Cartoons case:

Whew, those were scary days - those Jihad guys might've followed us home and killed us!
Indeed. It's true. The Jihadis might've. WaPo was correct that publishing the innocuous Danish cartoons would have exposed WaPo's employees to some additional level of mortal risk.

However, its also true - for anyone with the sense to see through the smokescreen about the Danish cartoons being offensive - that WaPo made their fundamental belief clear:

Standing up for the principle of free speech is not worth exposing our employees' lives to additional risk. For the safety of our employees, WaPo is willing to capitulate on that principle.

In fairness, it was a tough and difficult moral decision. Yet, also in fairness, WaPo capitulated out of mortal fear for their employees. Let's be forthright about what happened: if the Jihadis were not murderous fanatics, WaPo would've made an editorial decision to print the cartoons. As it was, WaPo's readers did not get the full story, as the readers could not see the cartoons which were causing all the hullabaloo.

So, I oughtn't be surprised that WaPo censored Bloom County. Look at that cartoon: is it religiously offensive? No. Is it sexually offensive? No. It doesn't approach being offensive in any way which decent and typical Americans consider out of bounds.

Therefore: why did WaPo censor the cartoon?

a) Fear of offending the very Muslim fundamentalists WaPo has spent 5 years assuring us comprise a super small and not very powerful or influential minority of Islam.

b) Capitulation to the threat represented by that super small and not very powerful or influential minority.

WaPo is willing to be dominated and controlled by that "small minority". Remember that the next time media congratulate themselves for "bravely" doing this, that, or the other - such as "bravely speaking truth to power". Heh. Bravely speak truth to George W. and Dick Cheney... They threaten you, for sure. Journalism awards for everyone! Pats on the back all around! A toast! To courage!

If ever our nation's principles and beliefs are much-influenced by the elite opinion makers of WaPo, et al, our nation will then be near to collapsing from the inside.

Our only hope is for our citizenry to largely reject the opinions of our elites. William F. Buckley famously agreed, in his own unique style:

I would rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than by the 2000 members of the faculty of Harvard University.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Berra-worthy Leonard Davis

"[Marion Barber's] got that mentality," Cowboys offensive lineman Leonard Davis said. "He thinks he's bigger than he really is, but I guess he bulked up."

Gone to Shreveport. Back on Tuesday.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Miss Teen USA 2007 - South Carolina answers a question

1. It's dirty pool to spotlight a teenager. This young lady is maybe smarter than I was at her age. It's just that this is 60 seconds of cliched fun.

2. I object to the inane question:
"Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a map. Why do you think this is?"

My fantasy answer:

Miss Teen S.Car:
That is an inane question. Via our public school system, we tried to force geographic education on that 20%. They chose not to learn, and we chose not to penalize them. If we want 100% compliance, we can institute the death penalty, and then more people will comply. Further, through attrition, we can guarantee 100% statistical compliance. The producers of this pageant will no longer have feel liberal guilt over that 20%. Sheesh. I can't wait for the Miss America pageant. This teen thing is bull.

Thoughts while meandering

through a room which had the 9:30 AM ESPN Sportscenter on the television:

I. If you're an Orioles pitcher like Rob Bell, it's frustrating to have given up 9ish runs in only 2ish innings of work.

II. If you're an Orioles pitcher like Rob Bell, it's doubly frustrating to have given it up to a Texas Rangers(!?) line-up in which 7 of the 9 in the batting order could easily be playing in AAA Oklahoma City (and mostly were playing in OKC only a month ago). Consider these seven non-battle-tested line-up stalwarts:

  1. Marlon Byrd
  2. Jason Botts
  3. Nelson Cruz
  4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
  5. David Murphy
  6. Ramon Vasquez
  7. Travis Metcalf.
Excepting Saltalamaccia, every one of those guys has been in OKC for some part of this season, and every one is wet-his-pants thrilled to be in the majors now. Not only do they have damp pants, they still have Triple A grit behind their ears. This seven, together with Catalanotto and Ian Kinsler, ran off 30 runs. It was a riot led by OKC escapees. Even Murphy was in OKC about a week ago. Michael Young sat for a rest when the Rangers had about a 10 run lead, and Travis Metcalf replaced him for the final 20ish runs - including a grand slam on his first swing. Metcalf started that day on the OKC roster, and in a hotel in New Orleans. He caught an early flight for Baltimore, so he could join the Rangers.

III. If you're Rob Bell, it's triple frustrating because ESPN is so infatuated with the game. It's a slow sports week, and you can't get through an ESPN show without some lackey throwing gasoline on the hype, as the full highlight package runs in the background. The entire nation is now intimately familiar with Ramon Vasquez' patented home run stroke. It sucks to be an Orioles pitcher. Even after football season gets going good, ESPN will still have Rangers rounding the Baltimore bases in the Sportscenter lead-in montage. Cue the music.

IV. With Michael Vick departed, ESPN will raise Vince Young to Babe Ruth legendary status. I love Vince - but he's not good enough, yet, to justify this hype. It can only hurt him. He's too young and too ... um ... he's just too young to understand how meaningless and unimportant it is. The massive hype could ruin him. Or, it could cause him to never reach his full potential.

It's hard to allow Norm Chow to tweak you and tune you when you cannot get a hamburger without seeing yourself aggrandized on a restaurant telecast of Sportscenter. You think to yourself:

Norm Chow is paranoid. I'm Vince Young! Look - I'm on TV again - coast to coast - for the 30th time today, the 100th time this week, and the 10,000th time this season. Norm worries too much. I'm fine. I'm ready. I'm Vince Young!
Soon enough, you get sloppy in your conversations and your interviews, and teammates notice it and roll their eyes. Next, because you are VINCE YOUNG, and therefore your team's losses must be your teammate's faults, you kinda sorta definitely interview-blame your teammates for a loss. It seems like nothing to you - but such a thing is actually a HUGE faux pas. Suddenly your career success is a bad bet - instead of the good bet it once was - and you don't even know it, because your image is still dominating most episodes of Sportscenter, and television idiots are still hyping the bejesus out of you in order to increase their ratings amongst the tricky Males 17-24 demographic. Yet: you think it's because you are the reincarnated - no, wait: BETTER than the reincarnated football Michael Jordan. You are 23 years old. How could you think anything else?

And it's all b/c that danged Michael Vick started dogfighting, and b/c ESPN is infatuated with QBs who can run like the wind, and they don't have Michael Vick highlights to hype anymore, and they need to sell advertising to companies with the hots for Males 17-24. You are a marketing asset for ESPN and the NFL, and you've no idea that - while IT IS about about your talent - it IS NOT about your being a championship quality QB. You've still got a ways to go in that area, yet you cannot see through the hype to the truth. For you: the hype is more dangerous than free safeties and zone blitzes. Your career could begin heading towards the trash can - slowly at first, then all at once. Look at Michael Vick: his QB career was completely stunted - stopped dead at "mediocre" - yet not one Male 17-24 ever knew it - including Michael Vick. Bad luck for you, Vince Young. Rotten luck. Like being an Orioles pitcher.

Hype sucks. And so does ESPN.

link to: Arlington vs. OKC

Friday, August 24, 2007

Reporters aren't exactly reporters either

"The next time someone trots out the adage about bloggers not being reporters, we're going to note that reporters aren't exactly reporters these days either."

The "Brady Now"

movement in Cleveland is good news for the Dallas Cowboys, who own Cleveland's #1 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. When Brady Quinn threw two touchdown passes in his first exhibition game, the Brady Now movement was born, and all Cowboys fans should have jumped for joy:

More Brady = more losses for Cleveland = higher draft pick for Dallas.

Let the QB controversy rage!
Brady Now!


Texas high school football resembles 6 man football

's wide open offense.

Sports Illustrated has a feature on Todd and Riley Dodge: the father/son + coach/player combo formerly from Southlake Carroll High School, and soon to be reunited at University of North Texas, where Todd takes over as head coach this season.

Todd Dodge's offense is notable, first, for basically utilizing one running play: an option where the QB can hand to the runner coming in front of him, or - if the backside DE chases - the QB can keep the ball and run to the area vacated by the chasing DE. They run the play to both sides behind Denver Bronco style zone blocking. They rarely use other running plays.

Second, Dodge's offense is notable for the no huddle intelligence and organization of the offensive players. Dodge's offenses frequently set two or three different times before a snap, and each time prepared to run a different play from the one they were prepared to run 6 seconds ago. Some games, the offense sets three different times on maybe half the offensive snaps. They still typically get snaps off with 10 seconds left on the playclock; and they can still get into a fourth set, and get the snap off, if they need to. How? Like this:

STEP ONE: Run previous play, unpile, set for [play 1] an automatic play if defense has a particular number of defenders in the box.

STEP TWO: Wrong number of defenders in box. Look to sidelines, receive new play, reset [for play 2].

Repeat for possible play 3 and play 4; then snap. Repeat the entire process for about 50 scrimmage plays per game.

Dodge runs a spread offense which is copied by several North Texas area high schools. The other schools NEVER run the offense with the same efficiency and precision as Southlake Carroll. The other schools are typically scrambling to snap the ball with one second left on the playclock, and after only one or two play changes at the LOS. Southlake Carroll wins b/c they are smarter, more organized, and more efficient.

Texas high school football is now a pass happy neo-flag football league. Why? Some conjectures:

  1. spreading the defense thin is superior offensive strategy

  2. cable tv and football highlights increase kids' knowledge of passing/catching/route running fundamentals

  3. video tape and coaching schools result in overall better quality coaching

  4. the football is both smaller and better manufactured - and is thus easier to grip, throw, and catch
#4 is a huge deal. Footballs used to be unwieldy boats. Now they are closer to nerf footballs. You can toss and catch a modern high school football almost as easily as you can toss and catch one of those big and soft Chicago-style softballs. Throwing a football pass is almost as easy as throwing from shortstop to first base in a park beside Lake Michigan. It makes a HUGE difference.

Yesterday's footballs were also heavier. You couldn't throw them as far or as zippy. Also, when you caught a hard pass with that heavy football: it could hurt - as in real pain. It does not hurt to catch today's lighter-weight and zippier footballs. All of this makes a HUGE difference.

Today's kids do not play outside + throw and catch as much as yesterday's kids. Yet, seemingly every h/s in Texas has their Varsity and JV and Freshman teams flinging footballs all over the field, and catching them. The smaller, more easily gripped footballs have changed the game. Grab one sometime. You can sling those babies.

In the SI article, Dodge explains the genesis of Southlake Carroll's widely copied offense:

...has its roots at Thomas Jefferson High, in Port Arthur, Texas, where Todd, a Methodist preacher's son, played quarterback from 1978 through '80. Under coach Ronnie Thompson, Todd threw the ball about 30 to 35 times a game, which was unheard of at the time in Texas [my emphasis -g]
Todd caught up with Thompson again in the late '80s, when Thompson was the offensive coordinator at South Garland High and Todd held the same position at nearby McKinney High. "Ronnie had put together a little package that included some Port Arthur, a little old University of Houston run-and-shoot and a little of Dennis Erickson's Miami Hurricanes pro-style one-back offense," says Todd, who drew on Thompson's expertise. "At McKinney we replaced the I [formation] with the spread, and we really lit it up. I've used four receivers out of the shotgun ever since."

Buddy Ryan believed he could defeat the Run and Shoot by blitzing it. He believed - much like a basketball press doesn't become really effective until the opponent tires a bit - constant pressure would tire a QB, and eventually cause him to turn the ball over, and/or become a bit gun-shy, and/or literally become injured.

In the history of football, defense has always caught up to every offensive trend. It will be interesting to see if Texas High School defenses eventually blitz the Southlake Carroll offense into reduced statistical output. It will be interesting to see how colleges defense Dodge's offense at University of North Texas. It will be interesting to see what success Dodge can have when he introduces the offense a) cold, and b) to mediocre/average players. How much better will Dodge's offense be in Year 3 than in Year 1? I don't know the answer. I'll be watching.

Buddy Ryan also disliked the Run and Shoot b/c it could not run clock when a team was ahead. Southlake Carroll seems to have fixed this problem via repeatedly pounding their option play at opponents. It is a power play - not a finesse play. Southlake RB Tre Newton ran for over 2,000 yards in 2006. Maybe the option play overcomes the stopped-clock problems of the Run and Shoot. Its the same option play Vince Young ran at Univ. of Texas, and nobody ever stopped it there.

I always suspected the Run and Shoot had problems when it butted right up against the end zone - especially inside the 5 or the 10 yard line. Southlake Carroll has never seemed to have a problem in this area.

I will be watching North Texas.
Be Mean, Green!
Um..... meanly cover them....
um.... in gaudy green?
So they are embarrassed to be seen in public? I'm kinda at a loss here.
Be Mean, anyway.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


this started as an email and ended as a blog post..

Rangers minor league SS Joaquin Arias has been injured during all of 2007. Soon enough, b/c Michael Young is playing in Arlington, Arias will probably be traded.

I am sad about Arias' injury. There was talk of him playing CF this season in OKC. I WOULD LOVE to see Arias in CF. He is beautiful when he runs. I have seen him twice in person, both times when he was in Frisco. He runs with long and lanky strides, and he just cruises, really - until he really needs it, THEN you can see him lean forward just a bit more, and you can see his stride lengthen as he seriously kicks it in gear and just EATS UP the ground. He is a beautiful, long striding blur. He runs like Nureyev danced. He gets there before anyone should.

Arias got 473 At Bats with OKC in 2006, yet he still needs seasoning. He walked 19 times in 2006, and hit below .300 for the first time in three seasons, ending at .268. If Arias can nudge those walks up to 40+ walks per 500 ABs - including cutting down on swinging at bad pitches, then he can be a seriously talented championship type of player. If he hits .300 in 500 ABs(and I think he usually will) 40 walks will give him an OBP of .380. GMs desire an Arias type hitter who can have an OBP of .370+.

Though it's maybe just a dream, I really want to see Arias in CF. Were I the GM, I would not trade him. He's got plus tools, and you could not get fair return for him at this time. IMO: he is such a naturally talented defender that he could be major league ready after one minor league season in CF. The bigger question for him is if he can develop better pitch selection while at bat.

Arias is an example of where MLB needs to revamp their thinking on how to develop players. Whether Arias makes it is now 0% dependent his already proven physical skills, and 100% dependent on his head.

What is his "head"?
The stuff covered in this post, i.e Arias' philosophic/religious/competitive understanding. Arias likely has the necessary intellect for learning. He likely has the optical-neurological ball-tracking skills to allow for an outstanding concept of the strike zone. What he doesn't have, yet, is the philosophic/religious/competitive grounding necessary to meet his challenge of developing an outstanding concept of the strike zone. He doesn't yet have the grounding to properly motivate him through the pain and struggle of the necessary process, and to see him through the failures along the way.

This is where the Rangers are failing Arias, and maybe all major league teams are failing their players. The Rangers are merely hoping Arias will make it through the transition to having a good concept of the strike zone. The process will be filled with failure, and will be filled with long nights in Nashville hotel rooms. Arias will be alone in the darkness, alone with that night's 0 for 5, and alone with his thoughts and fears. The Rangers are hoping. They are not - in any significant way - coaching him on how to philosophically think his way through the process and the difficulties. The Rangers are hoping. They are tossing out pats on the back, and baseball cliches, and "go get ems". Hoping is inadequate. Pats, cliches, and "go get ems" might not be enough - probably will not be enough. The shallowness of these methods does not respect the value of the asset Arias represents. Pats and cliches and "go get ems" can only affect Arias at a surface level. They will not penetrate to the level of true foundational philosophies and motivations.

I judge Arias has a 25% chance of really excelling as a major league batter, a 25% chance of being somewhere between mediocre and average, and a 50% chance of failing - and thus earning fewer than 100 lifetime MLB at bats. My estimates might easily be overly optimistic.

Given that Arias is an asset potentially worth millions of dollars in profit to the franchise, the franchise management is failing both Arias and the franchise. If the franchise, through philosophic/religious/competitive training, could increase Arias' odds of success by even 5%, then their efforts would be well worth the cost of the additional training. I think the franchise could increase Arias' odds of success by far more than 5%.

The Rangers have another talent coming right behind Arias whose major challenge is identical to Arias: CF Julio Bourbon must develop better strike zone judgment. Bourbon was the 35th overall pick in the 2007 draft. Agent Scott Boras negotiated a contract for Bourbon worth several million dollars, and which forces the Rangers to keep Bourbon on their 40-man roster.

That's a large investment in Bourbon. It would be wise if the Rangers - via better coaching of Bourbon's head - could increase his odds of developing good strike zone judgment, and thus increase the odds of recouping their investment.

"90% of this game is half mental."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Texas Rangers

1. First Base

Texas Rangers fan message boards are populated with knowledgeable fans. During the run up to the trade deadline, I would occasionally hear of trade speculation from the message boards of fans of other major other teams. Invariably, the trade scenarios on those message boards were unrealistic. Conversely, Rangers fan message boards (1, 2) were filled with quite excellent information.

However, I am tired of Rangers fans writing on and on and on about: Where are we going to get a first baseman for 2008? Here's the answer: A-N-Y-W-H-E-R-E.

First base requires less skill than any other defensive position. If the Rangers didn't have to protect Jason Botts' back condition: he could be their first baseman. He could still play first base for them about 20 games a year or so. Catalanotto could be the first baseman - and is, in fact, playing the position today in Baltimore. I wish Catalanotto was taller, yet he is still taller than Steve Garvey. Minor league hitting prospects: OF Victor Diaz, and OF Kevin Mahar, could play the position with just a bit of work. The Rangers could offer arbitration to Brad Wilkerson, as he has already shown he can play the position with excellence. Pick up another club's salary dumped yet decent hitter, give him one Spring Training of practice, and he will be your first baseman. A-N-Y-W-H-E-R-E. Trust me on this. Wringing hands over a first baseman is silly.

2. Center Field

The Center Fielder, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington(RBiA), will ideally be a burner. The grass plays very hard and very fast. The ideal Center Fielder will possess premium speed into the large and roomy gaps. The ideal Center Fielder will convert a number of potential doubles into singles, or even outs. The ideal Center Fielder is not available in this off-season's free agent market:

A) Tori Hunter - a solid and good player who is a] overrated, b] on the back side of his career at age 32, and c] will be massively overpayed at an estimated 5 yrs @ $15M/yr. Tori is having the ubiquitous career year at the plate in this, his free agent season. However, lifetime, he is a semi-impatient .260 hitter. He has medium power and doesn't walk enough. His speed is not premium. In his favor: he's a good clubhouse guy; and on the balls he gets to he makes ESPN highlight catches. This is not enough to win in the playoffs and in the World Series. In championship conditions, you want hitters who understand the strike zone(i.e. Ian Kinsler - a young player I judge to be a championship quality player for this reason). And, in RBiA, if you're going to pay the big money for CF, you want premium speed. I don't want Hunter.

B) Aaron Rowand - has better strike zone judgment than Hunter, and will cost less (an estimated 4 yrs@ $12M/yr), yet has even less speed. I don't want Rowand. I want speed.

C) Mike Cameron - 35 years old. Has a lesser bat than Hunter or Rowand. If Mike Cameron can still run, and if he would sign for 2 years @ $10Mish/yr, I am in on Mike Cameron. I don't know if he can still run well.

The good news: the Rangers don't need to sign anyone. I have a plan:

2008 Rangers CF:
David Murphy, acquired in the Gagne trade, can man the position for now. I like Murphy at the plate. To my eyes, he is a decent hitting prospect - somewhat in the Rusty Greer mode. I'm watching Rangers right now, and Murphy has three hits today. Murphy does not have premium speed, yet he has good speed which might be 32 year old Tori Hunter speed. Murphy is dang sure faster than Rowand. The Rangers could resign Marlon Byrd to provide CF insurance along with Murphy.

2009 Rangers CF:
Joaquin Arias, injured all of 2007, needs a year at AAA to refine his batting eye, and to learn CF. Arias is a blur with a big arm and great hands. Learning CF will be easy for him. He will take to it like he was born out there. Arias is a .300 hitter with good wrists and hands, and some power potential, yet he rarely draws bases on balls. His batting eye should be his major focus in 2008. I predict he will be major league ready in 2009.

2010 Rangers CF:
Brandon Boggs was a 2005 4th round pick out of Georgia Tech. A savvy, heady, barrel-chested lefty, Boggs is right at the edge of premium speed, but probably will never get there. Still, he is likely faster than Murphy, and possibly faster than Tori Hunter, and he takes the perfect angles and quick jumps to the ball of someone who has played CF his entire life. Boggs has an excellent batting eye, and is thus my favorite kind of high OBP, championship-quality prospect. Boggs hits for some power, and his arm is super-outstanding. He is 5'10", 210 lbs. Boggs plays in Frisco now, and is having a break-out summer as a prospect.

2011 Rangers CF:
Julio Bourbon is a 2007 2nd round draft pick out of Tennessee - the 35th pick overall. Bourbon is like Arias: super duper speed, good defender, good hitter, rarely walks. His arm is poor, his batting power is barely above poor. Like Arias, Bourbon's entire career will hang on whether he develops a good batting eye. Bourbon throws L and bats L.

Though every free agent signing is a necessary overpay: if a team is extremely judicious, it is okay to overpay here and there. However, the right kind of premium free agents are not available in this off-season's market, and it would therefore be injudicious to sign a premium free agent this summer. The Rangers have CF prospects coming - one after the other after the other after the other. This is a time for this franchise to be patient, and to let their own prospects ripen.

As I sign off on this post, in Baltimore, the Rangers lead the first game of a double header 20-3. Jason Botts, who has looked like the budding real deal since the day he hit Arlington this season, has two line drive hits. Saltalamacchia has looked overmatched this season, yet he also has two hits today. Murphy has three hits, and rookie 3B prospect Travis Metcalf just hit a grand slam home run. In same at bat: Kinsler just missed a home run foul to RF; then just missed a home run foul to LF. Kinsler's at bat was VERY impressive to me. Nelson Cruz' second hit of the day, a double, just set a franchise record as the 23rd base hit of this game. Before I could finish that sentence, Murphy lined to right for his 4th, and a franchise record 24th hit in this game. To the Rangers franchise: patience. Do not panic. Let the young guys ripen - in CF and elsewhere.

Television just showed a 10 year old Orioles fan. Down 21-3, he has fashioned his cap into an inside-out rally hat.

Update II:
Saltalamacchia just hit a three run homer for his third hit of the game. Rangers lead 24-3, and have 25 hits in the game. There is one out in the 8th inning.

Update III: Final Score: 30-3.

It would take a magazine article to run down this entire game. Rangers are the only team in the "modern" major league era to score 30 runs. You have to go back to the Chicago Colts (later: Cubs) of 1897 to find a team which scored more runs in a game. That's not a misprint.

When the Rangers scored their 30th run, 10,000+ people in the Baltimore crowd stood and gave the Rangers a standing ovation. Some Baltimore fans were pumping both arms into the air in celebration. Television started going around the ballpark, and scads of fans were pulling out their cellphones to call their friends.

The Rangers scored 25 runs in a 4 inning stretch - a major league record. Botts was 3 for 7, including a double and four strike-outs. IF Ramon Vasquez came into the game without an extra base hit in his last 50 ABs, then hit a pair of three run home runs. Murphy struck out in his first at bat, yet ended with 5 hits - including identical infield hits which were bounced up the middle before Murphy beat the second baseman's throws. The Rangers' 8th and 9th hitters: Saltalamacchia and Vasquez, combined for 14 RBIs.

For the Orioles, 36 year old Relief Pitcher Paul Schuey came in to get the final 6 outs. Schuey threw 36 pitches, struck out 5, and gave up 9 runs.

For the Rangers, because Wes Littleton pitched the last three innings, MLB rules dictate that he earned a save while pitching with about a 20 run lead. Littleton should commission a plaque for his trophy room: Wes Littleton; August 22, 2007; Cheapest Save in MLB history. Everyone needs a claim to fame.

The way baseball goes, I expect the Orioles to win the second game of the doubleheader by about a 4-2 score.

Check back, and I will link to the final box score.

Correction: I edited out a sentence saying 29 hits is a MLB record. The Milwaukee Brewers got, I believe, 31 hits in 1982. Milwaukee's number of hits was somewhere just above 30.

Note: Rangers won the second game 9-7. They just missed tying the record for most runs in a double header: 40.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cowboys rookie is legend in the making

in a Nate Newton, come up from nothing and beat the odds and have an affable personality sort of way.

Rookie FB Deon "Cricket" Anderson earned his nickname b/c - on a dare - he ate a cricket in the Alamodome locker room. It was probably no big deal for a player who, like Hollywood Rudy of Notre Dame, lived part of his Senior year in an empty room of a UConn equipment building. Deon seems like a real good guy who is trying to make his way in the world. I'm pulling for him in a big way. He has a serious chance to make the team - better than 50/50 at this point. A nice column in DMN.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hot Links

Mmmmm. Delicious.

New policy: Until at least Labor Day, no more blogging on Saturday/Sunday - except for sports blogging, which happens in the moment(!), and cannot wait for Monday. But - not much happening in sports right now. So, likely no weekend blogging until football season. Go Cowboys; go Horned Frogs; geaux Tigers; go Aggies; on Wisconsin; sic 'em Bears; be Mean, Green.

Which reminds: Baton Rouge, LA must be one of the best places in America for sports talk radio about college sports. The radio guys are SOOO knowledgeable there. During my brief visit to Baton Rouge, I learned LSU is a serious contender for the 2007 National Championship (Geaux!). I learned Wisconsin might deserve to be ranked higher than their pre-season ranking of #7. Wow. Geaux Badgers. Baton Rouge sports talk radio has their eye on you.

Also stopped in College Station and learned that - despite rosy pre-season predictions - true Aggie fans know, just as a matter of fate: A&M is gonna suck. They know it. They expect you to know it. They expect everyone to know it.

Human Interest Note: TCU, despite having a hole at QB, is pre-season favorite to win the Mountain West, and to have a good TCU team - aka a pretty salty team you might rather not play. Lately, TCU has been putting together pretty salty teams pretty often.

TCU has a DE who might be a top half of the 1st round NFL pick: Tommy Blake. Blake is about 270 lbs. He is very fast, and he makes plays: play after play after play. Blake is not a kid with "potential." He is a kid who's been wreaking havoc on the field since his Sophomore season.

Tommy Blake is also a nice, soft spoken, small-town-America kid from around Port Aransas. Grew up living with his grandmother - with no men around. He's the kind of kid who needed a lot of development out of h/s: physically, intellectually, and emotionally. TCU does wonders with such kids. Anyway, Blake was kicking a** and taking names for 7 days of preseason football. On the 8th day, NFL scouts showed up en masse on the TCU sideline: studying Blake's every move, making notes in their secretive notebooks, watching, watching, watching.

Blake freaked out a bit. He's a shy kid who doesn't welcome scrutiny. He sorta wanted to play in college, then have a quiet NFL career, then go home to live near Port Aransas. After that practice, Blake got dressed and drove 7+ hours to Port Aransas, to his beloved grandmother's house. Now, TCU coach Gary Patterson is going to have to fly to the Port Aransas area after Saturday's practice, then do his best impersonation of Bambi's father, and try to help Tommy Blake "buck up", so to speak.

Puns?! .... the media are dog-piling on top of Michael Vick .... Thank you! I'll be here M-F next week! Hot Links:

~1~ Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became an Evil Overlord
2. My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.
5. The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.
12. One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.
98. If an attractive young couple enters my realm, I will carefully monitor their activities. If I find they are happy and affectionate, I will ignore them. However if circumstance have forced them together against their will and they spend all their time bickering and criticizing each other except during the intermittent occasions when they are saving each others' lives at which point there are hints of sexual tension, I will immediately order their execution.

~2~ Short video about 2007 Dallas Cowboys facemasks. I've loved facemasks ever since childhood. My childhood favorite was James Street's facemask, circa 1969.
~3~ French President Sarkozy angers intellectuals by ............ jogging:

Mr Sarkozy has rekindled a French suspicion that the habit is for self-centred individualists such as the Americans who popularised it. “Jogging is of course about performance and individualism, values that are traditionally ascribed to the Right,” Odile Baudrier, editor of V02 magazine, a sports publication, told LibĂ©ration. Patrick Mignon, a sports sociologist, noted that French intellectuals had always held sport in contempt, while totalitarian regimes cultivated physical fitness.

~4~ The top gift from Italian parents to daughters graduating from High School is ____ ____.

~5~ Speaking of: though I don't watch Nip/Tuck, this is a wicked good mini promo for "a deeply superficial series". Season 5 will prominently feature Madonna.
Nip/Tuck also had a hip Season 4 promo.

~6~ and last: Atlanta Braves fans love Mark Teixeira. My favorite moment in any song is when the writer reeeeeaaaaaches for something that rhymes, and comes back with something quirky, such as "Berra."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jose Padilla found guilty on all three felony counts

Allahpundit and Ace laughingly empathize with the pain of The Daily Kos kids, the NYT, and WaPo. Goal post moving is observed, as in: Well, he may be going to prison for life without parole for conspiring to kill people for Al Qaeda, but nobody ever proved those original allegations about a dirty bomb.

Those who love America show it by denigrating and beating the s[***] out of her at every opportunity. Call it the Ike Turner school of patriotism.
Its amazing any Americans are upset about Padilla's convictions by an American jury. Though the government dropped the dirty bomb charges (due to the difficulty of conviction + the necessity of giving up intelligence information in order to convict), it's widely known that Padilla was captured while following a plan which would've ended with his exploding a dirty bomb amidst Chicago apartment buildings. I guess some Americans believe what is "widely known" equates to government lies.
Enjoy prison, Jose Padilla. You deserve it.

Slight shift of subject:

Here we see the security value of "aggressive interrogation" which "is not torture." Padilla was captured when terrorist Abu Zubaydah was aggressively interrogated. Zubaydah told the CIA exactly where and when Padilla would show up in Chicago, and exactly what Padilla would be doing. Viola! Padilla showed up exactly where and when Zubaydah said he would, and doing exactly what Zubaydah said he would be doing.

President Bush:

Within months of September the 11th, 2001, we captured a man known as Abu Zubaydah. We believe that Zubaydah was a senior terrorist leader and a trusted associate of Osama bin Laden. [...] Zubaydah was severely wounded during the firefight that brought him into custody -- and he survived only because of the medical care arranged by the CIA.
For example, Zubaydah disclosed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- or KSM -- was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, and used the alias "Muktar." This was a vital piece of the puzzle that helped our intelligence community pursue KSM. Abu Zubaydah also provided information that helped stop a terrorist attack being planned for inside the United States -- an attack about which we had no previous information. Zubaydah told us that al Qaeda operatives were planning to launch an attack in the U.S., and provided physical descriptions of the operatives and information on their general location.
We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking. As his questioning proceeded, it became clear that he had received training on how to resist interrogation. And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures.
Zubaydah identified one of KSM's accomplices in the 9/11 attacks -- a terrorist named Ramzi bin al Shibh. The information Zubaydah provided helped lead to the capture of bin al Shibh. And together these two terrorists provided information that helped in the planning and execution of the operation that captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
KSM revealed that Khan had been told to deliver $50,000 to individuals working for a suspected terrorist leader named Hambali, the leader of al Qaeda's Southeast Asian affiliate known as "J-I". CIA officers confronted Khan with this information.
Based on that information, Zubair was captured in June of 2003, and he soon provided information that helped lead to the capture of Hambali. [...] Hambali's brother was soon captured in Pakistan, and, in turn, led us to a cell of 17 Southeast Asian "J-I" operatives. When confronted with the news that his terror cell had been broken up, Hambali admitted that the operatives were being groomed at KSM's request for attacks inside the United States -- probably [sic] using airplanes.
KSM also provided vital information on al Qaeda's efforts to obtain biological weapons. During questioning, KSM admitted that he had met three individuals involved in al Qaeda's efforts to produce anthrax, a deadly biological agent -- and he identified one of the individuals as a terrorist named Yazid. KSM apparently believed we already had this information, because Yazid had been captured and taken into foreign custody before KSM's arrest. In fact, we did not know about Yazid's role in al Qaeda's anthrax program. Information from Yazid then helped lead to the capture of his two principal assistants in the anthrax program. Without the information provided by KSM and Yazid, we might not have uncovered this al Qaeda biological weapons program, or stopped this al Qaeda cell from developing anthrax for attacks against the United States.
Terrorists held in CIA custody have also provided information that helped stop a planned strike on U.S. Marines at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti -- they were going to use an explosive laden water tanker. They helped stop a planned attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi using car bombs and motorcycle bombs, and they helped stop a plot to hijack passenger planes and fly them into Heathrow or the Canary Wharf in London.

Do we want to stop biological and chemical and dirty bomb and anthrax attacks in Chicago and NYC? Do we want to stop the Houston shipyard from being blown to smithereens? We do not torture. This means we do not cause inhuman pain, and we do not cause permanent injury. We make terrorists cold, and we make 'em listen to very loud Red Hot Chili Peppers. I once went to a yard party and subjected myself to these exact hardships. Junkyardblog analyzed, in 2006, a NYT much hyped leak of the interrogation techniques used on Abu Zubaydah:
The shocking thing isn’t that we did these things to Abu Zubaydah. The shocking thing is that we didn’t do more. And another surprise is that these milquetoast interrogations yielded any useful information at all. That they did is a testament to the professionalism and prudence of the CIA interrogators who accurately gauged what Zubaydah could handle, and got he information with no more cruelty than was necessary.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Published Corrections Represent Two Percent of Factual Errors in Newspapers

according to a forthcoming research paper by Scott R. Maier, an associate professor at the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication:

The researchers then contacted a primary news source named in each of the stories and asked him to complete a survey about the accuracy of the piece. A news source was defined as a witness or participant with firsthand knowledge of the events described in the story. Only "hard," objective errors alleged by the news sources were included, and the study assumed that the factual assessments of the news sources were correct.

The results might shock even the most jaded of newspaper readers. About 69 percent of the 3,600 news sources completed the survey, and they spotted 2,615 factual errors in 1,220 stories. That means that about half of the stories for which a survey was completed contained one or more errors. Just 23 of the flawed stories—less than 2 percent—generated newspaper corrections. No paper corrected more than 4.2 percent of its flawed articles.

Obviously, a newspaper can't publish a correction until it learns of its error. But the studied dailies performed poorly when informed of their goofs. Maier found that 130 of the news sources reported having asked for corrections, but their complaints elicited only four corrections.
link to Slate article

  1. false circulation figures (representing fraud against advertisers),
  2. to false representations of accuracy,
  3. to false representations of reporting the truly important news (when, instead, media frequently withhold news which doesn't mesh with their agenda):

media is a scammified* industry which is well-populated by shallow, immoral pretenders.



List of journalistic transgressions, courtesy of Randall Hoven, of American Thinker.

Example 2:

A takedown of a Reuters article about bloodthirsty and racist Texas evangelical Christians.

Example 3:

Seattle Times Editor Scolds Staffers For Cheering Rove Resignation
By Ken Shepherd August 15, 2007 - 17:40 ET

Example 4:

Video: Boos in MSNBC newsroom during Bush’s 2003 SOTU, recalls Scarborough
posted at 11:05 am on August 16, 2007 by Allahpundit


Here, I will stop listing examples. I could go on for weeks.


*Scammified: should be a word. You know what it means.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Woman subjected to Coldplay karaoke cover does what she must

That's Hot Air's headline, and it cannot be improved upon. One of my favorite stories of this year:

SEATTLE (AP) — A woman attacked a karaoke singer belting out Coldplay on Thursday night, telling him he “sucked” before she pushed and punched him to get him to stop singing, bar staff said.

The man was singing “Yellow” when it happened.

“It took three or four of us to hold her down,” bartender Robert Willmette said.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Americans save Iraqi boy who fell into well

You'll never hear about it in NYT/WaPO/LAT/CBS/NBC/ABC.

Trailing clouds of glory

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

William Wordsworth

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What is meaningful? What is meaningless?

I watched my nephew practice high school varsity football. He's talented. He's knowledgeable. He's too slow, in his coaches' opinions, to be a starter at Middle LB. If he was equally as fast as the two kids ahead of him, one of them would be on the bench.

My brother and I both had the same initial reaction: my nephew must change positions, and find a place to be a starter (thus maximally helping the team). My nephew is a block of intelligent and tough granite. He could be an outstanding Offensive Guard, or an outstanding Nose Guard. At a minimum, he could go into the game as an extra blocking tight end.

My brother and I also had the same secondary reaction: maybe it's best if my nephew continues to play Middle LB, even if he is a backup, because he LOVES being a MLB - even if he is mostly a MLB in practice. He gets to call the defensive plays, he gets to call out offensive formations, he gets to move defensive players into proper position against offensive formations, he gets to be cerebral during the play: reading the OGs, and the FB, to determine where he should go after the snap. He loves this stuff more than he would love playing OG, and more than he would love playing NG. As for the team, they need a talented backup MLB who has practiced against the offense of that week's opponent, and who knows the proper defensive calls and the proper defensive positioning against each of the opponent's formations.

Whether my nephew ever starts or not is irrelevant to his life in any meaningful way. What is relevant is that he does the very best he can at his tasks. Let the circumstantial chips fall where they may. The virtuous action of doing his best is what is important. The virtuous action is the result my nephew is looking for.

The arbitrary decisions of humanly fallible coaches are not the results my nephew is looking for. They are, instead, circumstances beyond his control. As are the arbitrary presences of two faster MLBs on his team. Flukey circumstances are meaningless. Virtuous action is meaningful. Doing your best is meaningful. You can control what you bring to the task.

Meaningful (heh) change of subject:

I noticed one of my nephew's football teammates wearing number 26.

Consider number 26: virtually NO ONE ever wears it. It is an afterthought number.

Three good players who have worn number 26:
  • Steelers DB Rod Woodson;
  • Cowboys CB Kevin Smith;
  • Vikings RB Robert Smith.
Sports Illustrated named Woodson as the best player in any sport to ever wear number 26.

If I was coming into the NFL as a WR or a RB or a DB, and I might develop more talent than Rod Woodson, I would choose number 26. I would then have a chance to become known as "the greatest player ever to wear number 26." Meaningless, yet delicious! Rookies like WR Calvin Johnson and RB Adrian Peterson should consider wearing number 26. Either of them might become a better player than Rod Woodson.

Separately: almost no football player ever wore number 29. But RB Eric Dickerson did wear it, and he would be very difficult to surpass in talent. That number might belong to him for a long time. Sports Illustrated selects Pitcher Satchel Paige as the greatest number 29 of all time.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Excitement is easy to overdo

One Cosmos:

What actually provoked me to wonder about wonder was an essay by Dennis Prager on how Excitement Deprives Children of Happiness -- which is another way of saying that immersing children in over-stimulating activities will inevitably lead to an atrophied sense of wonder. As Prager writes,

"because we parents so delight in the excitement we see in our children at those moments -- because they seem so happy then -- we can easily fall into the trap of providing more and more exciting things to keep them seemingly happy at just about every moment. And they in turn come to rely on getting excited to keep them happy and to identify excitement with happiness. But excitement is not happiness. In fact, it is the ultimate drug."

Never before in history has so much excitement been available to people, but are they really any happier or fulfilled? I agree with Prager that

"all this excitement is actually inhibiting our children's ability to enjoy life and therefore be happy."

It "renders young people jaded, not happy.... That is why the frequent complaint of 'I'm bored' is often a sign of a jaded child, i.e., a child addicted to excitement and therefore incapable of enjoying life when not being excited."

I recognize this in my own life. I am - to some degree which I cannot quantify - an excitement/adrenaline junkie. I have used excitement as a drug - many times.

Excitement can be like a candy bar induced sugar high: ethereal; ephemeral*; and depressively mood-crashing after it passes.

Ruminating: have I used candy bars to create temporary excited feelings inside myself? I'm kinda thinkin yes....

*I like language, and I like to look up and study word definitions - and so: I naturally figure everyone else likes to look up and study word definitions also!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Michael Irvin goes into the NFL Hall of Fame

and opens his speech with a prayer, before intentionally baring his imperfections for everyone listening, then ending this way:
"You tell everyone who has ever doubted, felt they did not measure up or wanted to quit, you tell them to look up, get up, and don't ever give up."

Inspiring. What is it which we "don't ever give up" trying to accomplish?

My own answer changes over time. At this time, I say we "don't ever give up" virtuous action, as our spiritual growth is dependent upon narrowing the gap between ourselves and our ideal.

We "don't ever give up" spiritual growth. We seek truth, which is the same as seeking the divine. We are seekers.

We can never know God while we dwell in this realm. We can only seek God, and sense hints of Him, and of the higher realm of existence. This is spirituality. It is not the logic which resides only on an Earthly plane. It is the access to a higher plane which we know, mostly unconsciously, from somewhere deep in the core of our souls. We can consciously sense hints of it, but no more. Only hints. It is the best we can do. And then the wonder happens. The more we sense God, the more we then sense there is to know and to experience, and therefore the more we then seek Him out. The more we know, the more we realize there is to know, and the more we want to know. Paradoxically: the more we get, the more we don't get, and the more we want.

Michael Irvin is a guy who has trouble walking away from certain temptations. He put this aspect of his personality front and center for everyone listening to his speech. It was very brave, and very giving. He mimicked his desperate pleas to God, asking help to be a better father and husband. Michael Irvin is a genuine sinner, yet he is also a genuine and courageous person. His speech was moving.

As a football player, Michael Irvin was a modern day gladiator. He was 100% determination. In his day, he was also one of the strongest and most powerful athletes to ever play his positition. He went over the middle, knowing he was going to take the hit, and he did not care. He knew he could take the hit. He knew he was determined to win, and therefore would take the hit. It was a beautiful thing to watch. When an offense can complete numerous passes in the soft middle areas, a defense is in trouble.
Michael Irvin was one of the most versatile and well-rounded athletes to play his position. He was one of the hardest working guys ever to play for the Cowboys. He was one of the finest leaders and one of the finest teammates ever to play for the Cowboys.

I can't help but admire Michael Irvin the football player and teammate. And I can't help but like Michael Irvin the person. I understand succumbing to temptation.
Congratulations, Michael. Well done.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Interesting baseball moment

Random Detour:
With the Rangers down by four, Jason Botts and Nelson Cruz absolutely rip back-to-back line drive doubles, and all is right in my world. Botts and Cruz each have a chance to be better than good - they each have a chance to be special. They could conceivably anchor a future World Series line-up. As long as Botts and Cruz each get a double and a single(or a walk) in a ballgame, I don't really care if the Rangers win or lose.

Second Detour - note on Saltalphabetica:
He is kinetically wonderful - both at bat and in the field. Yet, at bat, he swings at everything. It's a bad sign. Pitchers are taunting him with pitches off the plate, and he cannot buy a hit.

The interesting baseball moment:

2:00 PM in Toronto, high on the North American continent. High and fierce sun blinding RF. Pop fly to short right - behind the second baseman. It's clearly Nelson Cruz' ball, and he is fighting the menacing sun with everything he's got, and it's clear he is good at fighting sun. He is focused, concentrated, and brave. You don't see that from every major league OF. Marlon Byrd charges in from CF, stopping 5 feet short of Cruz, and watches Cruz make the catch. The two immediately begin an animated conversation, and I realize Byrd wanted the fly ball b/c he (Byrd) had a better sight angle re: the sun. I also speculate, from something in the body language of the conversation, that the routine pop fly was in great danger of being missed in the fierce sun - right up until the actual moment it went into Cruz' glove. That sun was truly fierce.

To me, it's an interesting moment. It reminds of my own participation in a zillion routine plays which almost went awry. Maybe a funky hop happened at the last second, or the stadium lights got in my eyes, or a ball was momentarily lost in a white shirt in the stands. From the distant stands, the plays look completely routine. Only the player realizes how very near the play was to disaster.

Once, with bases loaded runners moving on a 3-2 count; I made a sprint from SS to short right-center; to catch a pop-up which a frightened 2B, CF, and RF were afraid to call for. We were all 15 years old. It was a Mickey Mantle League elimination game in Las Cruces. Pop ups did not come straight down in that elevated and thin air, and all of us were having trouble judging them. I intentionally ran beyond where all my instincts screamed the pop fly would've come down in Ft. Worth. It was still progressing. I ran beyond where beyond was. There was a cognitive dissonance party happening in my head. My acquired baseball memory was going crazy - jumping up and down and demanding that I stop and wait for the ball. Intellectually, I knew I had to go deeper.

The pop fly traveled on. I kept running. I was now beyond beyond where beyond was. I knew this was my ball. The 2B, CF, and RF were not confident defenders. They would be too terrified to try to catch this ball in this situation. On an absolute sprint, I sno-coned the ball into my webbing. I should've done a half-dive, so as to catch it fully in my webbing, but everything happens fast in that situation. I was considering going beyond beyond beyond where beyond was, when suddenly the ball was down, stuck partially in my webbing.

From the stands, this looked like a nice, yet semi-routine play. My manager, who watched us fight thin-air fly balls during every batting practice, knew different. He met me on the way to the dugout, and pronounced it "one of the best catches I have ever seen." He was right about the difficulty of the catch. Yet most of the people in the stands never knew it.

Jason Botts just ripped another line drive base hit - this time batting from the right side. A very good sign for that young man.

What is Nelson Cruz going to do?... ack: Cruz got ripped off when the RF made a shoe-top catch of his looping line drive. Botts made it back to 1B just ahead of the attempted double play throw.
It's waaaaaaay early in Botts' and Cruz' careers, but my baseball eyes like them. They could be better than "good". They both look far better than the last time they were in the major leagues.

Saltalphabetica now at bat, and looks terrible: he swings mightily at a curve in the dirt. He then tops a grounder in front of the plate for the second out.

Laird at bat. The Rangers send a stream of young, good looking hitters to the plate. Laird's having a rough season at the plate, yet I believe he will have a good offensive career. I believe Laird will be a championship quality hitter. And Laird is a leader. I like that - especially in a catcher. Laird now fans on high and outside heat. Sigh. Botts dies at second base.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Corruption accidentally on display

Democrats lost a vote in the House of Representatives, via accidentally and formally closing down voting during a moment when the Repub favored side of the bill had the most votes. Dems could've called for a re-vote in the near future - even as early as today. This would've been perfectly Constitutional action. Instead, Dem Leaders deliberately allowed Dem Representatives to continue casting votes on the bill, even after Dem Leaders had officially and formally closed voting on the bill.

Republicans raised a third world style ruckus in the well of the House - with fisticuffs and flying chairs being the only missing props. Repubs then staged a walk-out, followed by a parade to news microphones, to declare that such an action had never before happened in the history of the House of Representatives.

After Repubs walked out, Dems expunged all evidence of the vote from the official record. The few historians who will ever care will be unable to check the official record for evidence of the event. According to the official record, such an action still has never happened in the history of the House of Representatives!

What do we take away from this episode? This: Dems accidentally opened a window and exposed the emptiness at their core:

Dems are about winning. Defeating Repubs(evil) is moral. Losing to Repubs(evil) is immoral.

Dems are not about doing what is right/moral/ethical according to any traditional standard.

They are not even about following the Constitution of the United States.

Because Repubs are so evil, the moral/ethical thing is for Dems to win. Every time.

Traditional standards are supplanted by this: win. Defeat the newly formulated, modern definition of evil. It's the moral/ethical thing to do.

link to video

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Googling Baseball Contracts

Will have more, later, on Mark Teixeira: both the contract offered him and the trade.

In the interim, I think these numbers are interesting. I hope I didn't miss anybody. Chipper Jones comes in somewhere around $12M/yr-ish. Chipper negotiated his contract downwards, on the theory his contract was eating up too much Atlanta team salary, and preventing the Braves from signing needed free agents.

Hitter/fielder avg. $ per year, from larger to smaller:

Alex Rodriguez I 2001
10 @ $25.6 M/yr

Alex Rodriguez II 2001
My loose estimate of total contract value of 2001 contract after Rodriguez restructured the contract in 2004 - deferring money far into the future - thus losing present value during the life of the contract
10 @ $23 M/yr

Alex Rodriguez III 2004
Amount NY Yankees agreed to pay Alex Rodriguez during the remainder of his contract
7 @ $16 M/yr

Manny Ramirez 2001
8 @ $20 M/yr
You may be surprised to note I believe Manny is worth the money. He is a disciplined hitter who does not swing at bad pitches, and thus does not need batting line-up protection. I can't think of any Major Leaguer I would rather see at bat in a critical situation - except maybe Ichiro Suzuki. Manny helped the Sox to their first World Series victory since 1919. I say that accomplishment is worth $20 M/yr to the Boston organization.

Hitters I would most like to see batting for my team in clutch situations:

1. Ichiro: There is no way to pitch to Ichiro, and therefore no one can get him out. When Ichiro makes an out, it is simply good fortune for the opponent. It is simply evidence that men are not perfect Gods. There is nothing any pitcher can do that Ichiro cannot counter. And, when Ichiro wants to, he can hit with outstanding power. If he wanted to, Ichiro could hit .290-.300 with 40 homers a year.

2. Manny: Best combination of plate discipline and power.

3. Jeter: Based on lifetime results and skins on the wall.

4. Pujols: After Manny, the best combination of discipline and power.

Its interesting that Ichiro, Manny, and Jeter are/will be in the top 4 in salary. On Pujols next negotiation, he will break the bank. Free markets generally point to truth - and they do in this case. These guys are the best, and they make the most money.

If these guys were on the same team, the four of them would eat $72 M/yr before their teams even paid for a utility infielder. Put Alex Rodriguez at 3B, and Vernon Wells in CF, and ... aww heck, that's just a routine salary payout for the Yankees.

Ichiro Suzuki 2008
Rumored upcoming deal:
5 @ $20 M/yr

Derek Jeter 2002
10 @ $18.9 M/yr

Ken Griffey Jr. I 1999
Mariners' offer, rejected by Griffey: 8 @ 18.5 M/yr

Vernon Wells 2007
7 @ 18 M/yr

Mark Teixeira 2007
Texas Rangers offer, rejected by Teixeira: 8 @ $17.5 M/yr

Alfonso Soriano 2007
8 @ $17 M/yr
One of the worst contracts ever paid by a team. Soriano is a free swinger who must be protected in a batting line-up, and therefore is not worth this money. Soriano was paid to play a premium defensive position: CF, yet ended up at a corner outfield position. I like Soriano as a person. I like Soriano as a regular season player. I do not like Soriano as a World Series champion caliber player. His lack of discipline will hurt his team in such a pressurized venue. Because he is not a championship caliber player, I would not want Soriano on my team at any price. I would rather have Ian Kinsler - a young player who lays off of breaking stuff in the dirt, and therefore is a better championship player than Soriano. Ian Kinsler does not need line-up protection.

Carlos Lee 2007
6 @ $16.6/yr
Jesus Christ, dude. A clear overpay. Astros partly based their decision on Lee's ties to Houston, and partly based their decision on being willing to pay the price to win. A contract like this can hasten a team's books into the red. This can only be justified via the way it further binds Astros fans' hearts to the franchise, thus driving up the franchise's overall brand and overall value. $16.6 M/yr cannot be justified from an accounting standpoint. No way, no how.

Michael Young 2009
5 @ $16 M/yr
Worth it. Micheal Young is the face of the franchise, and is Paul Molitar/Derek Jeter reincarnated. Whatever the Carlos Lee signing does for the Astros brand, the Michael Young signing does 20 times over for the Rangers brand. They should make an image of Michael hitting a pitch, then - similar to what the NBA did with the Jerry West image - the Rangers should make the Michael Young image into the emblem of their franchise. They should put the Michael Young image on their caps, sleeves, and batting helmets. They should hang it on tapestries at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington. They should put the image on billboards. You wouldn't need words - just the image of Michael Young hitting a fastball. Message delivered.

Todd Helton 2003
9 @ $15.8 M/yr

Barry Bonds 2007
1 @ $15.8 M

Magglio Ordonez 2006
7 @ $15 M/yr
Stupid money. A Scott Boras special. Ordonez is not personable. He has no special ties to Chicago. He is not the face of any franchise. He is not Vlad Guerrero or Gary Sheffield level of talent.

Vladimir Guerrero 2004
6 @ $14.2 M/yr

Lance Berkman 2005
6 @ $14.2 M/yr

Jason Giambi 2002
7 @ $14 M/yr

Albert Pujols 2004
6 @ $13.9 M/yr

Gary Sheffield 2007
1 @ $13.8 M

Jim Thome 2003
7 @ $13.4 M/yr

Ken Griffey Jr II 2000
Reds offer, accepted by Griffey 9 @ $13 M/yr

Carlos Delgado 2005
4 @ $13 M/yr

David "Big Papi" Ortiz 2006
5 @ $12.5 M/yr
a bargain for the Sox. Papi could've gotten more from them - unless being a DH is a big drag on value? Put Papi in LF. He can play it as good as Manny.

Miguel Tejada 2004
6 @ $12 M/yr