Friday, May 08, 2009

A Tale of Two Joes: Baseball Musings

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

One of the most famous opening lines in literary history could well describe Joe Torre’s passage through the Bronx as manager of the storied New York Yankees. From 1996 to 2007, Torre managed the Yankees to consecutive postseason play, winning ten American League East Division titles, six American League pennants, and four World Series titles, while earning a .605 winning percentage.

All of this got tossed overboard after Torre published his kiss-and-tell book, mildly titled “The Yankee Years,” ripping into his former employer and certain players, whom he called “prima donnas.” But Torre reserved some of his most acid remarks for A-Rod, according to the NY Post:

Alex Rodriguez, was called "A-Fraud" by his teammates after he developed a "Single White Female"-like obsession with team captain Derek Jeter and asked for a personal clubhouse assistant to run errands for him.


And that’s not all. Torre headed for the sunny climes of California to manage that other team that had fled NY for LA, the Dodgers. In doing so, he made sure to torch any and all bridges to the Yankees. As Yogi Berra said, “when you get to a fork in the road, take it.”

Today, another Joe is managing the Yankees: Joe Girardi. He’s well known to Cubs fans as a capable defensive catcher and game caller. When he was a Cubs player, I met his parents once in a bar on Milwaukee Ave. Or so they said (I had no reason to disbelieve them.) They were nice folks, proud of their son.

Joe Girardi is a nice guy, some would say a player’s manager. But managing the Yankees and all those prima donnas Torre blasted may be too much for Girardi. I get the impression that Girardi is as tightly wound as Willie Randolph was when managing that other NY team, the Mets, in a slow, painful, downward spiral, till he was abruptly and summarily fired.

By the numbers, the two Joes are a study in contrasts:

Which of these Joes would Yankees fans want to see managing the team?

- Joe Torre
- Joe Girardi
- Neither Joe

Question for Cubs fans: Is Lou Piniella overrated as a manager? I’ve never understood his penchant for yanking starters after six innings, no matter how well they’re doing on the mound. I saw two blown Cubs games in which the starters were stellar and the floodgates opened up once Lou decided to yank them after six.

PS - The Dodgers' red-hot record is imperiled now that Manny Ramirez is out for 50 games after testing positive for steroids.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Feliz Cinco de Mayo, Hermanos y Hermanas!

On May 5, 1862 an outnumbered and ill-equipped Mexican army defeated the occupying French Army in the Battle of Puebla. This event was the cornerstone of Mexican resistance to foreign occupation. Today, the date is observed voluntarily in the U.S. to commemorate the cultural experiences and great contributions of Americans of Mexican ancestry to our society. The Battle of Puebla, pictured below:

Viva Mexico y Estados Unidos!

So Much for "Rebranding."

The GOP has picked Jeff Sessions from Alabama to replace Arlen Spector as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The selection of Sessions, pictured below:

clearly shows the direction of the so-called "new" GOP. The direction is to retrench and intensify their ties to their ever-shrinking base.

Sessions (JEFFERSON BEAUREGARD SESSIONS) is a bigot, by his own words. He called a black U.S. attorney a "boy" and admonished him about how he spoke to "white folks." He had good things to say about the Klan until he found out some of them smoked pot. When Reagan appointed him to the federal bench, even the senator from Alabama (although a "Democrat," Howell Heflin was a Democrat from a WAAAY different time) voted against him. Senators just did not do that then, to vote against someone from their state.

So it looks like the GOP has taken yet another step to solidifying their position as the majority party of the Confederate States of America.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Condi Rice: 'Waterboarding Diplomacy'

Former GWB Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice made this mind-boggling, and PROBABLY CRIMINAL, statement to a Stanford student because, AS ALWAYS, the mainstream media was asleep at the switch:


WHAAAT?? Condi Rice has the AUDACITY and INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY to invoke not only the “I was just following orders” but the “emperor’s clothes” defense?

We should not be surprised by this unguarded statement -- only that the buttoned-up, controlled, and anal Ms. Rice was sufficiently goaded by an insistent student demanding an answer into letting her guard down and incriminating herself.

Well, we had 'Ping-Pong Diplomacy' and 'Shuttle Diplomacy' under Nixon/Ford, so 'Waterboarding Diplomacy' seems like the appropriate term to describe Condoleeza Rice's legacy. After all, Condi Rice, who served a corrupt imperial president, was simply channeling the role model of ALL corrupt imperial presidents: Richard Nixon.

And here is Condi Rice's eery channeling of Richard Nixon. (Really, any other interpretation would be far-fetched.)

Lady, if the Attorney General gets serious about investigating this, you’re not going to be a poli sci professor at Stanford, you're headed straight for that other BIG HOUSE!

Hmm … I wonder what course she’ll be teaching; here’s a thought:

WATERBOARDING DIPLOMACY: WAR AND TORTURE AS A FOREIGN RELATIONS TOOL. (Course requirements: Must pass Stanford test revealing a totalitarian anti-democratic mindset.)

UPDATE: After her initial faux pas, Condi Rice yesterday was GRILLED by a 4th grader, and had to try to defend the legality of "all methods" of interrogation used by the Bush regime. "This is NOT (pleasepleaseplease) a Frost v. Nixon moment," she insisted plaintively.

Right. Nailed by a 4th grader. Which raises more questions about the state of our mainstream media, but that's another topic. For now, KUDOS to Misha Lerner, a student at the Jewish Primary Day School in our nation's capital, who asked the tough question the "pros" were too reticent or scared to ask.

Days we should remember

They seem like distant and unrelated memories. First, May 1886:

and May 1970:

The bloodshed on these distant May 4ths though evolved from common threads. The protesters rallied for things that we should no longer consider to be controversial--an eight-hour workday in Chicago and in Ohio, the end of America's unholy war in Vietnam. What had begun as peaceful demonstrations turned into violent confrontations in both cases from an unfortunate combination of arrogance and incompetence. Those in power used similar phrases to refer to the labor activists and the antiwar protesters. Both were dirty, un-American anarchists viewed as somehow less than human. The results, tragically but predictably, are Haymarket and Kent State.

A.A. Milne in the Swine Flu Era

Thanks Nick!