SocraticGadfly: 10/12/14 - 10/19/14

October 18, 2014

#Cardinals 2014 postmortem — Mike Matheny leads the dead

Now, with the St. Louis Cardinals losing the NLCS to the San Francisco Giants, and for the second time in three years, we can do an overview of the year.

First, with the injuries to Yadier Molina and Michael Wacha (more on that later), it's arguable that the Cardinals shouldn't have gotten as far as they did. Maybe not even into the playoffs.

Ditto with the "return to earth" of Matt Carpenter in particular, and the team's batters in general, on batting average on balls in play.

On the other hand, as Bruce Bochy outmanaging Mike Matheny shows, it's also arguable that the Cards shouldn't necessarily have been worried so much about those two injuries. Matheny's "my guys" approach lead to way too much playing time for Allen Craig before GM John Mozeliak fixed that issue by trading him for John Lackey. It lad to way not enough time for Kolten Wong until after midseason, when Matheny finally stopped playing Mark Ellis so much. And it may have led to not enough time for Oscar Taveras in the playoffs.

That mismanagement was on display in the last two innings of Game 4 of the NLCS.

First, I would have stayed with Adam Wainwright on the mound in the bottom of the eighth, rather than bringing in Pat Neshek to start the inning. Waino had settled down for several straight innings. If Neshak was needed mid-inning, bring him in then; the double switch for the ninth, on batting, was still in play, so you could have brought in Peter Bourjos for Matt Holliday at the same time.

Next, the top of the ninth?

I can see having Daniel Descalso pinch-run for Matt Adams. It almost worked. The Cards avoided a force at third, or a double play overall, on Wong's at bat. But, pinch-hitting Taveras for Bourjos? No. If it fails, you've depleted too much of your bench at once for what is now, in essence, an extra-inning situation. Save Taveras for a key pinch-hit at bat for a pitcher.

Now, the bottom of the ninth.

Wacha should not have been in there in general, "mystifying" Jayson Stark, hordes of Cards fans, and local scribes, many of us using words much worse than "mystifying."

Here’s Stark:
Matheny, unlike the Giants' Bruce Bochy, seemed to manage as if it were the second game of a three-game series in mid-May. He offered several explanations for his decision to use -- and keep using -- Wacha in the ninth: He wanted to avoid lefty MarcoGonzales, whose arm had showed signs of wear over the past week; he thought bringing in (Randy) Choate would cause the Giants to pinch hit for Ishikawa; he was preparing for the possibility of a lengthy extra-inning game and had kept Wacha in reserve for just that. …
 Everyone watching was trying to think along with Matheny. He was clearly playing by the proscribed rules — don't use your closer on the road in a tie game, for one — but those are conventional, regular-season rules.
"You've got to think about how long you're going to have to go if you're tied," Choate said. "Obviously, I want to be in the game, but if they pinch hit for Ishikawa ... it was do or die, obviously." 
His voice trailed off as he worked the last two buttons of his shirt. "I don't know," he said, almost to himself. "I don't know."
And of course, even if he started the inning, Wacha definitely should not have been allowed to stay in to give up a three-jack to Travis Ishikawa after getting in trouble earlier in the inning. Trevor Rosenthal, if not starting the inning, should have been in to bail out Wacha at that point, at least.

Now, because of his Cards' past, etc., there will be no groundswell to fire Matheny, unlike at the Los Angeles Dollars, where the naming of Andrew Friedman as new man in charge has many Dollars fans salivating at the possible dismissal of Don Mattingly.

But, it should generate more discussion.

Matheny not only seemingly has not grown this year, I think he's regressed.

And, John Mozeliak, if he's not going to change managers, then has the onus on himself of how to get Matheny to be a better manager.

Mo also has a few player decisions for next year.

No. 1 is Lance Lynn. I say that Mo should look beyond just Lynn's first arbitration year. I suggest buying out all three, plus his first year of free agency, at a suggested price of 4 years, $50 million. Lynn found his late-season endurance this year and has been injury-free.

No. 2 is looking at the possibility of a relatively inexpensive upgrade at backup catcher behind Yadi. If he gets hurt again, Tony Cruz has already shown he's not the answer.

No. 3 is seeing if Lackey wants to sign an extension beyond his MLB minimum for 2015. I'd offer 2 years, $25 million. It's a reasonable payout for his age 37 and 38 years. That gives the Cards a solid top 3 through 2017 while looking at the longer term of Wacha, Shelby Miller and others.

I'll talk more about offseason roster issues in weeks and months ahead.

Some additional preliminary thoughts here at the Post-Dispatch. More here on what Mo might shell out in salary next year, hinting that he's OK with going beyond this year's $115M.

Update, Nov. 17: The post-mortem changes with the big Miller-Heyward trade. My analysis here.

October 17, 2014

#Twitter smack talk from #baseball history

Old Hoss Radbourn, first
Twitter smackdown artist
and verschizzle master.
Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie getting Twitter smack, from the official Orioles account among other places, for wearing a not totally innocuous, but not highly offensive, T-shirt at the Game 3 ALCS post-game presser reminds me, that in the spirit of Old Hoss Radbourn, we need to look at some great player-to-player Twitter smackdowns of the past, at least of the postseason.

Here's two classics, one from 1932 and one from 1988, to get us started.

@CharlieRoot: That ball’s still traveling. I called it. You blew it. Don't deny it. — @TheRealBabe

Or, here’s some more verschnizzle we should have had on Twitter, from the late 80s:
@TheEckMan: Put that in your ‘stache and smoke it. — @GibbyGotGrit

Moderner times? This should have been a classic, from 2011:
@LilWash @LowerThanLowe: I will see YOU and YOU tomorrow night! — @FreeseFrame

Or, a few years earlier, from 2009:
@MrNovember: Don't gloat yet. I got five rings before you. — @MrOctober

Or even an in-game one, maybe, from 1954:
@ForBetterOrForWertz: Ball, meet glove. Indians, meet the end. — @SayHeyKid

October 16, 2014

Say Hey, that Willie Mays still hasn't grown up

Willie Mays says 'Hey'
when he finally gets up
Sports writer and columnist Gerald Eskanazi went on to become a sports and general life biography/autobio ghostwriter.

And, shock me!

Athletes aren't all they're fluffed up to be, even long after retirement.

Eskanazi ghosted Carl Yastremski's bio, and also ghosted the original ghostwriter on Willie Mays' bio. 

Shades of one of Tricky Dick Nixon's most famous utterances, he's a "ghostwriter's ghostwriter"!

He gives some dish here at CJR.

First, about Willie:

After mailing the final chapter to his agent, I left for San Diego and the Super Bowl. That’s where I got a call at my hotel from Willie’s agent, suggesting the “mensch” chapter—“to show how he’s grown as a person, how he’s learned to accept a different kind of responsibility now that he’s no longer an athlete.” 
That sounded like a fine idea. For the first time, I was given Willie’s phone number. ... I called Willie, and he was enthusiastic about talking about his post-baseball career. ... But I had been around enough athletes to know how to stroke him and to be empathetic. So he told me how he failed to keep appointments, bemoaning the fact he had lost a $100,000-a-year job as an official greeter at a Las Vegas casino because of lateness; of how he no longer could rely on the club to give him a wake-up call to get somewhere or to make his travel plans. But he sounded to me as if he’d come to grips with those difficulties, and to my surprise he readily agreed tp pick me up around noon on Tuesday at the airport near Carmel, CA.
Well, having read two bios of Mays (neither one of them Esternazi's "deep-ghosted" one), I know the reclusive part is true.

I also find it funny as hell talking about an African-American from the Deep South becoming a "mensch."

That said, had Willie grown up?

Erm, not ’zactly:

I arrived there ready to meet the new, responsible Willie. Ten, 15, 20 minutes after landing I looked around. No Willie. 
Half an hour later, I called him. 
“Willie?” I said. 
“Who’s this? he replied. 
“Jerry. Jerry Eskenazi,” I said. 
I explained I was the guy who was writing his book, and where was he? He got a bit agitated. He complained he had just gotten up, he had things to do, he had this and he had that. I told him there were no cabs around. I didn’t even know where he was staying. He agreed to pick me up.
I'm also not surprised by this.

Yaz just said 'Fuck it.'
Yaz? Things start out great.
Yastrzemski, on the other hand, was eager to talk and to meet. … 
A major theme of the book was his work ethic—how he had gotten up early working the family’s onion farm on Long Island as a kid; how he tried to beef up his smallish frame. When the book came out, we did a book-signing at the flagship Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue, and it was the biggest event in the store’s history. We did some radio and TV shows in New York as well. The contract called for him to do eight interviews.
So far, so good. Well, don't count those chickens, Jerry!

Because they don't often hatch:
After our whirlwind tour, I drove him to the LaGuardia shuttle to catch a flight to do Larry King’s radio show in Washington, his eighth interview. After that, I hoped, would be even more of Yaz’s lucrative book signings and appearances in Boston—sure to sell a ton of books. 
“Tell me, Jerry,” said Yaz, who was pocketing more than $100,000 as an up-front advance. “How many books do we have to sell to start getting royalties?”
I told him, about 40,000.
“Fuck it,” was his literary reply. “We’ll never sell that many. I don’t think I’ll do any more appearances.”
Also, for readers who think non-fiction books are a huge seller, this should be a reality check. And, for editors, as well as authors or ghosts, who dream of bucking the trend? That's why Barnes and Noble has those stands and buckets of $5 remaindered books.

So, kids, and kids at heart? Don't believe the PR that's called an "as told to" or is in any other way a ghostwritten book, sports or otherwise.

And, that's part of the big issue. 

Besides that, as the book publishing industry cuts corners almost as much as newspapers, ghostwriters will get paid less and less, and in the future, they'll be doing Skype or Google Hangouts to visit with the subjects of their ghosting. 

No more freebie golf trips to Carmel!

October 15, 2014

Jesus mythicism raises its uninformed head again, along with other religious ignorance

As do many other bits of ignorance, at a recent guest post at philosopher Massimo Pigliucci's webzine.

The post, which was about a philosophic take on "An official guide for demon hunters," had a number of readers, including yours truly, eventually comment on matters of defining what a religion is, as well as specific comments about variants of specific religions.

Steven Johnson and Mario Roy were both egregious in the latter area.

Roy, among various things, claimed repeatedly that the Essenes were not part of mainstream Judaism 2,000 years ago at the turn of the eras. Johnson later claimed that I was basing my refutation of Roy on Josephus, when I'd never even mentioned him.

I quote Wikipedia:
Many separate but related religious groups of that era shared similar  mystic,  eschatological,  messianic, and ascetic beliefs. These groups are collectively referred to by various scholars as the "Essenes." Josephus records that Essenes existed in large numbers, and thousands lived throughout Roman Judaea.
Tis true that Josephus may have overstated their numbers. Or, he may not have. Per Wiki, let's remember that the Roman historian Pliny the Elder mentioned them before Josephus did. 

Johnson then defended Morton Smith's "Jesus the Magician." He claimed that possible forgery by Smith of the so-called Secret Gospel of Mark was irrelevant to scholarship, or lack, or points of view, in "Magician." He also claimed that people accusing Smith of forgery had an anti-gay bias.

The reality is here — whether it was more serious academic fraud to poke at the eye of an anti-gay Christianity of the 1950s, or more a prank, is hard to tell. But it was one or the other, as some sort of forgery.

Because comments on essays there close after five days, I didn't have the chance to make final responses on this, Coel's totally non-shocking defense of Jesus mythicism or other things.

I have my own blog to do that now, though.

StevenJohnson Yes, per Aravis, if you can’t see how “goes to character” is an issue, or potential issue, with Smith, you’re seemingly either accidentally or willfully blind as a bat on issues of academic fraud and more.

Second, I never mentioned Josephus by name, so how can you even know what I think about him? If you’re referring to my replies to Mario, I was referring to modern scholarship about Judaism at the turn of the eras.

Your definition of “skepticism” is also wrong.

Coel and others: Mythicism has its roots in late Victorian Britain, where it became fashionable to also question the historicity of Gautama (likely as historical as Jesus) and Zoroaster (likely not historical). It originally had much thinner academic backing than its relative thinness of today. A good overview of some basic issues is on RationalWiki.

That said, in Christian mythicism, there is both a “narrow” and a “broad” version. The narrow version being that Jesus never existed AND that the character in the Christian NT is not based on one, or more than one, actually  existing versions. A “broader” mythicism agrees with the first half of the above sentence, but not the second half. For example, at about the same time as the “narrow” mythicism was proposed, a broader version said that Jesus was based upon another Jesus, theoretically among the Pharisees crucified by Alexander Jannaeus a century before the dating of the life of Jesus in the Christian gospels.

Indeed, the Talmud has this version. Whether it’s something out of whole cloth, or reflects some tradition, now lost, is unknown. That said, per Rational Wiki, Christian father Irenaeus had Jesus dying under Claudius, interesting for the man who knew of the four “canonical” gospels.

At the end of the link above are several explanations of how Jesus mythicism got started. I find none of them convincing, and this is only the less whacky ones. (The more whacky ones include “Acharya” and her claims that Jesus came from a mishmash of Levantine astrological myths, and Joseph Atwill — even more whacky, if possible, and it is possible — reviving the old nonsense that the Romans, of all people, invented the Jesus myth.

October 14, 2014

#WendyDavis has a filibuster win after all on reproductive rights — at least for now

Photos via Houston Chronicle
I'll be damned.

The Nine, shockingly, overturned the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and said that the part of last year's Texas abortion law that shut the state down to just eight clinics should be blocked from implementation.

Again, I'll be damned:
In an unsigned order, the justices sided with abortion rights advocates and health care providers in suspending an Oct. 2 ruling by a panel of the New Orleans-based U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that Texas could immediately apply a rule making abortion clinics statewide spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades. 
The court also put on hold a separate provision of the law only as it applies to clinics in McAllen and El Paso that requires doctors at the facilities to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The admitting privileges remains in effect elsewhere in Texas.

That part is at least interesting; I don't know if it's related to the largely Hispanic nature of both areas, their being on the border, or what. We'll see how that plays out.

It may be in part due to wanting some basic access to abortion without too much distance encumbrance, as the Chron notes. The New York Times reinforces that, noting that Texas had no clinics open west or south of San Antonio.

Plus, this may ultimately turn out to be a long-term as well as a short-term win.

Here's that part:

Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas said they would have ruled against the clinics in all respects.
Those gents represent just three votes.

Anthony Kennedy, the court's swing vote on abortion, is not on that list. That's a "tell" right there.

Interestingly, neither is the chief, John Roberts.

One of both of those two may ultimately, per the unsigned order, decide that admitting privileges is not a "bridge too far." We'll have to stay tuned.

Like me, Lyle Denniston of Scotusblog sees at least hints of some bright lines in this ruling. Lines which the current court will not cross, tenuous as they may be.

Per multiple blog posts by friend Perry, this is typical of Abbott, Dan Patrick, and their ilk among the hardcore right on this issue. They give themselves an inch, then decide to take a mile, that "mile" ultimately being to outlaw abortion entirely. Well, at least for now, contra Think Progress, it looks like Roe v. Wade stays safe.

That said?

Too bad Davis has spent the majority of her campaign running away from her own filibuster.

#Dodgers make big move with Friedman; Mattingly firing talk heats up

Andrew Friedman, Dollars-bound / Photo via CBS Sports
After a week or so of rumors, the Los Angeles Dollars, as Ken Rosenthal has called them, have swept in and gotten their hoped-for baseball genius.
(Tampa Bay) Rays executive vice president of baseball operations and GM Andrew Friedman has left the team to join the Dodgers, both teams have announced. Friedman takes over as the Dodgers president of baseball operations and (will?) be allowed to hire his own GM. …
 Friedman's role will presumably be similar to Theo Epstein's with the Cubs. Epstein is the team's president of baseball operations and Jed Hoyer is the GM. Ned Colletti, who had been the Dodgers GM since 2005, will remain with the team as a senior advisor to Kasten.

Very interesting. Of course, a guy named Ned Colletti was holding that position. Kasten and company booted him upstairs to a yet-undefined senior management position. 

Is manager Don Mattingly next? Analysts say that he doesn't fit Friedman's style, whatever that may be. And let's not forget that Magic Johnson is a part owner of the Dodgers. That's the Magic who, as a Lakers player, got Paul Westhead fired as head coach AFTER he'd won an NBA title, in favor of Pat Riley. And, of course, Riley turned out better. So, don't tell me Magic isn't tempted. Semi-jokingly, the #grit-laden hero of the Dollars' last World Series, Kirk Gibson, is available.

And, the Dollars' loss of the National League Division Series this year was capped with a managerial decision that drew plenty of head-scratching, namely,  the benching of Yasiel Puig, still arguably the team's best everyday player despite being in a slump.

I don't know if Mattingly is gone. But, when your managerial decisions make Mike Matheny look brilliant and even Ned Yost above average?

Joe Maddon, your new LA Dollars manager in waiting?
(Reinhold Matay / Associated Press)
The Rays' current manager, Joe Maddon, is getting some speculation, of course. He's under contract for another year, though. A low-market team like the Rays would charge a high price to trade him. Does Friedman want to wait a year? Would Mattingly want to wait a year with the feeling that, short of winning a World Series, he's a very lame duck? If he asked for a buyout, would anybody else want to come in as a full-season interim?

Also, does anybody know if Maddon wants to live in LA half the year (or more) or not? I think that’s the first question newly-elated Dodger fans should be asking; and Tampa fans shouldn’t totally lose heart. OTOH, he was a protege of Mike Scioscia, so he's been in SoCal before.

Maddon, meanwhile, is saying the right things for Tampa fans right now.
Maddon said he and his wife recently moved into a Tampa home once owned by former USC and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach John McKay. 
 "I'm really embedded here pretty well," he said. "The roots are pretty strong. We have a great infrastructure here. We have a great operation. We have great people. 
"There's so much to like. There's only one negative. That's the ballpark. It's a big negative. But that's about it." 
That said, how could he do otherwise? If he said "I love LA," then Bud Selig's kicking him, Friedman, or both, in the ass for tampering.

And, per this 2013 ESPN story, he sure seems to be happy where he is now, not just as a manager, but in general.

On the third hand? He can name his price on a new contract. Would it be the moon? Would Tampa pay? Surely not, on the second rhetorical.

My thought? If Friedman really wants him, and he really wants to move, if the price is mainly money (to the degree Rob Manfred will allow) and draft choices, pull that trigger.

Next question is, will Friedman get the Dollars over the National League playoffs hump and into the World Series, whoever his manager is, where they've not been since 1988? In the last decade, their traditional rivals, the Giants, sport two WS wins, and old-time NL foe Cardinals have two wins and two other appearances.

It's not guaranteed. With a Dollars-sized payroll come Dollars-sized expectations to show how "Moneyball" performs on financial steroids. It's my contention that the alleged father of "Moneyball," Billy Beane, turned down the chance to be Theo Epstein in Boston before the Sawks hired the real Theo, for precisely that reason. (Sandy Alderson is as much the actual father of "Moneyball" as Beane.)

And, with a payroll that could approach $250M next year, especially with dead-armed middle reliever Brian Wilson exercising his $9.5M player option, and semi-dead-armed starter Dan Haren an idiot if he doesn't do the same with his $10M player option, that's a lot of lux tax money to pay in Los Angeles. That's not to mention the retirement, and pitching hole that needs filling, of Josh Beckett, and the free agency of Hanley Ramirez, either.

October 13, 2014

#Krugman guzzles #Obamiac Kool-Aid, the full party jug, gets an F for #fail

Paul Krugman is "doowwwn" with his Obama bromance!
Paul Krugman, possibly the best of the New York Times' op-ed columnists (of course, that could be seen as similar to the best bagel in Bismarck, North Dakota, and besides, overall, Gail Collins is better), once an Obama critic for the president having the Teddy Roosevelt-quipped "backbone of a chocolate eclair," now calls him "one of the most consequential, and yes, successful, presidents in American history."

Man, Krugman could't do much better, or rather, worse, if he were paid White House PR flak. And, if he were paid, it would be by the soft bigotry of low expectations count, because that's what ultimately drives twaddle like this.

Here's Krugman's tout list:

His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it's working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it's much more effective than you'd think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.
I'll go through that in detail in a minute.

First, Krugman dismisses the likes of Cornel West, who call him a fake progressive. Actually, I'd dismiss West by calling him a fake whiner; the reality of Obama's neoliberalism on fiscal issues, sellout on civil liberties issues, and other things, were all visible before the 2008 general election — a general election in which West avidly supported Dear Leader.

On health care, Krugman ignores that Obamacare was:
1. Written by AHIP and Mod Max Baucus;
3. Dilatory to the nth degree in its passage — whatever Dear Leader wanted should have been passed long, long before Scott Brown was elected to the Senate from Massachusetts
3. Based on Dear Leader lying all along about his stance on single-payer.

But, that's all pre-passage stuff.

Let's look at post-passage stuff.
1. More and more information that the most neoliberal parts of Obamacare, like electronic patient records, are nowhere near what they were cracked up to be
2. A horrible rollout (hey, Krugman, per Mike Dukakis, the fish rots at the top, especially on a "signature achievement")
3. Relatively modest proof so far of restraint of medical inflation rates.

Specific to that link on EPRs? From that story:
Frustrated medical professionals across the country told The Dallas Morning News that the expensive systems — the technology used by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, part of a $200 million investment by its parent company — are often unwieldy and problematic.
 (Experts) have documented cases where patient histories and other information have seemingly vanished from software or ended up in the wrong place.
 And researchers have found that emergency room doctors are more frenzied in keeping up with data demands because of the complicated systems, even hiring personal scribes to input information for them on the fly.

That said, per the story, EPRs were actually fobbed off on the American public by Shrub Bush. But Obama gleefully embraced them.

Krugman touts a drop of about 10 million people without health insurance. Nice, but far short of the 25-30 million mentioned not too many years ago.

Krugman then claims single-payer wasn't politically feasible. I'd argue it was before Scott Brown was elected, at least. But, because it was never in the playbook of a man who, during the 2008 primaries, didn't "get" the need for the individual mandate, or else was lying on that issue too, what else can you say?

Financial reform? Here's Krugman:
You often hear Dodd- Frank, the financial-reform bill that Obama signed into law in 2010, dismissed as toothless and meaningless. It isn't. It may not prevent the next financial crisis, but there's a good chance that it will at least make future crises less severe and easier to deal with.
Well, if that ain't praising with faint damns, what is? I'll skip past the rest of this section, because it's that bad. It's ugly. It's doubly bad in that Krugman doesn't even mention Tim Geithner's hiring by name. It's triply bad because Krugman brings out the "soft bigotry of low expectations" card by comparing US recovery from the Great Recession to that of the European Union.

(Of course, Obama's whole presidency, when discussed by Kool-Aid drinkers, whether regular ones or Johnny-come-latelys, benefits from the "soft bigotry of low expectations" compared to Shrub.)

Krugman then dismisses with a light shrug Obama's approach to war crimes, etc., not even mentioning Dear Leaders "we tortured some folks" phrase.

And, the violations of civil liberties that got EXPANDED by Dear Leader?

Krugman mentions them not at all.

Hell, David Frum could have written something just like this from the other side of the aisle about Shrub.

Seriously, while Obama may not be in the bottom 10 of US presidents so far, he's closer to that than to the top 10.

 And,  two other asides.

First, I guess Krugman is OK with surrendering his civil liberties.

Second, we have two-plus years of encomia like this? Oy.

#WheelchairKen can't stand #AbortionBarbie calling him out for not sharing his wheelchair

That's in essence the faux outrage that the Greg Abbott campaign machine is ginning up over Wendy Davis' "Justice" ad, below:

Sadly, not just the non-liberal mainstream media, but the theoretically actually liberal portion of the national commentariat, like Mother Jones, has fallen for Abbott hook, line and sinker. 

I Tweeted about this back on Friday, when I  first read Abbott's faux outrage machine cranking up, and sent a copy of my Tweet Saturday to the twit from Mojo. Slightly edited, for full sentence type reading, it says:

, (aka)  (is) upset (at) being hinted at as by minions of pers(on) (his) minions call .

Hence the header for this piece.


Here is a good explainer. At the end, Davis staffer Joel Benenson offers a good explainer to Mojo twit Ben Dreyfuss, twit George Stephanopoulos, twit Donna Brazile, and the likes of unnamed twit Michael Lind:
“The ad’s not aimed at Donna Brazile. The ad is aimed at voters in Texas,” he said. “I’m confident that the ad is effective and working and is consistent with the strategy of our ads in this campaign that depicts Greg Abbott as an insider repeatedly siding with insiders and against average Texans.”

Or this, from another Texas blogger, which gets at the heart of the issue: Greg Abbott had a tree fall in him while jogging. He sued, got tens of millions of dinero, then, when he got into statewide office, supported so-called "tort reform" that pulled the economic ladder back up after himself.

Now, why did I say "unnamed twit Michael Lind"?

Because neoliberal (fancy speak for "fake liberal") Lind, who unlike Ben Dreyfuss is a native Texan, and brags about it to boot, pulled the same bullshit when Rick Perry was indicted. And, I hadn't kicked him enough yet over that.

Friend Perry has even more on the faux outrage.

Per my Tweet, when Wheelchair Ken formally disavows the Abortion Barbie meme that his minions have been mouthing for nine months, then and only then does he have even one scintilla of right to run the faux outrage machine. Until then, he can shut the fuck up.

Likewise, until faux liberals Ben Dreyfuss, Michael Lind, George Stephanopoulos, Donna Brazile and others get a clue, they can shut the fuck up, too.

It should be added that "Wheelchair Ken" has enver been a regular meme among either top staffers for or top donors t Davis. The reverse is not true with Abbott. In fact, one of the places where "Abortion Barbie" first took off was in the Orange County area, among some of those big out-of-state donors that Abbott denies having.

Update, Oct. 15: Hey, Wheelchair Ken? Davis' filibuster from last year is now, at least for now, at least a partial legal winner.

October 12, 2014

#Cardinals GM Mozeliak throws Taveras under the bus

Oscar Taveras
I don't know if top outfield prospect Oscar Taveras is going to be the greatest thing since Mike Trout, twice as good as Randal Grichuk, no better than him, or the biggest "phenom" since Clint Hurdle.

I do know that, as I have blogged before, I get tired of GM John Mozeliak saying one thing at one time about Taveras, especially his defense, then later claiming something else.

When he was called up for the first time, Cardinal general manager John Mozeliak chided people whom he called "junior GMs" for saying that Taveras should be playing center field rather than one of the corner outfield spots.

But ... as I noted in that blog post ...

That's just like what Mo himself said about Taveras, about 18 months ago.
Oscar Taveras, 20, is being developed as a center fielder, and on Thursday general manager John Mozeliak called him “one of the most prolific hitters I’ve seen in our organization probably since Albert Pujols.” Taveras won the Texas League’s equivalent of most valuable player award after batting .321 with 23 home runs, 94 RBIs and a organization-high .572 slugging percentage. In six games already this fall for the Dominican Winter League, Taveras has a .364 average with two homers. Projected initially as a right fielder, Taveras has improved enough for the team to think his athletic ability will translate to center.
The blog's content links to a Post-Dispatch story by Derrick Gould, so it's all legit. Well, actually, it links to P-D feed of Goold stories, not one individual one, but still.

And, now, Mo has gotten even worse:
Mozeliak said Taveras never has been viewed by the organization as anything but “an average defensive player.” Taveras probably has slipped from that modest plateau.

“When you look at what you’ve been seeing out of somewhat like a (Randal) Grichuk or (Jon) Jay, when they’re out there, there is a difference,” he said. “Given everything that’s going on right now, the manager (Mike Matheny) is choosing defense over offense.”
So, which is it, Mo?

Or do you want to confess that you made a major scouting/development estimate error in 2012?

Then, there's this piling on:
Regarding Taveras’ weight gain, Mozeliak allowed: “He looks like he’s put on some weight. It probably doesn’t help. Does 20 pounds help you?”
Well, if he has added 20 pounds, are you just noticing this now? It's not like he swallowed 3 months' worth of Homer Simpson's donuts overnight, is it?

And, if this is Mo's way of "sending a message," it seems pretty douchy to be doing it, in public, in the middle of the postseason.

Also, this would be the same Taveras who just tied Game 2 with a pinch-hit homer.

I guess we can add this to the douchyness of how Mo and Mike Matheny handled Shelby Miller in last year's playoffs. I'm still not sure which one is more to blame.

The longer his tenure, the more and more Mo, not just Matheny, drops off in my eyes.

Even if Mo did make a general comment about Taveras' conditioning when he was called up, I don't recall a specific "20 pounds" crack. And, to look at their post-season opponent right now, did Brian Sabean make a crack like that about Pablo Sandoval in 2012?

I also find it, er, interesting, that the Post-Dispatch has this story in its pages not at all, at least not on its website.

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