April 06, 2018

#StlCards and Mo's cheap trades — Ozuna biting them back

Marcell Ozuna, another
less than perfect trade by
John Mozeliak?
I said in my season preview that I don't think the Cards did enough upgrading in the starting rotation plus position players. Marcell Ozuna is nice, but he's had a high variability level. I said at the time I preferred Christian Yelich. The Brewers found a way to acquire him. Mo and Girsch have never indicated that he was unavailable at the time they got Ozuna. (More on that later.)

And now, we find out that Ozuna's shoulder problem, per the second slide on this Derrick Goold quick hits, was known to the Cards last year. We also, again, find Goold playing PR for the team.

If the team knew, did they consider backing off? Did they get Miami to take less than the Marlins first wanted?

Let's look at what the Cardinals paid for Ozuna and the Brewers for Yelich.

The Cards gave Miami Sandy AlcantaraMagneuris SierraZac Gallen and Daniel Castano. The Brewers, for Yelich, gave the Mariners Lewis BrinsonMonte HarrisonIsan Diaz and Jordan Yamamoto.

If you're the Birds, do you throw in, say Jose Martinez instead of Sierra? Jordan Hicks instead of Gallen or Castano that they did send? And, that's your initial offer for Yelich instead of Ozuna? And, if necessary, both Martinez plus Hicks? Or, say Harrison Bader instead of Sierra, and Hicks? I do, or whatever reasonable gets the Yelich trade done.

And, if Mo and Girsch for whatever reason, wanted Ozuna first? Yeah, the Cards lineup didn't have huge power last year. But, Paul DeJong does. Gedd Gyorko is decent himself. So is Tommy Pham.

Due to better cost control, more stability in his career to date and more? I take Yelich over Ozuna and said that repeatedly. That was before finding out the Cards knew about his shoulder.

April 05, 2018

#Masters2018 thoughts and semi-predictions


No, Red Shirt won't cover his apparel with a 5th green jacket. (Mono P/Flickr)
First off, straight out of the chute? I'd like Rory to win. Would be great for him to get that career Grand Slam and to put his 2011 collapse out of mind. Would also be great for a game of golf where casual fans either have to eventually let go of Tiger Woods Red Shirt or else stop being even casual fans. If Rory gets his slam (and assuming Philly Mick doesn't get "revenge" at this year's US Open at Shinnecock or wins any US Open) you then have the "rivalry" of Jordan Speith needing the PGA for his slam. And other young guns like Thomas and Koepka to at least add a second Slam win to their games.

That said, bearing in mind what Hank Haney and several others have said about how it's a lefties course today? (There's over 390K hits for that on Google; one piece even notes lefties have a specific advantage at the nerve-rattling 12th. Many people, including triple winner Nick Faldo, say that modern equipment makes a cut easier to hit than a draw. In that same piece, Phil agrees that 12, especially, is better for lefties.) Phil has won again, but I don't think he has the length to contend there. Bubba Watson, on the other hand, has gotten hot and straight himself recently. He might be my No. 1 as far as likelihood, Justin Rose 2, Rory 3, Jason Day 4 .... 

Tiger ... 10th? 15th? He's got the length, and earlier this year has been OK with the putter. But, driving accuracy sucks. Driving is indeed for dough at Augusta National. But, what if accuracy offsets that? Or a small putting sample size goes awry? Or that Augusta's walking length, with hills ... well, if not injures a back, at least tires it a bit? Phil? 15th?

Out of the full field, I don't see too, too many other serious contenders. Speith appears too far away yet from being a contender, even though this course seems to like him. Rain is in the forecast for Saturday, along with winds approaching 20mph, though removed for today. But it did rain fairly hard Wednesday morning. That and a cool start Sunday could hurt a short player like him. OTOH, Zach Johnson won in 2007 when Sunday was almost frigid. And, don't forget that Rory's had a good record on majors with rainy tracks.

It's a small field, once you remove older champs like Olazabel, Langer, Singh, Immelman, Lyle and Woosnam who won't make the cut. Faldo, interestingly, is firmly retired. Maybe in a few years, he'll be added to Nicklaus and Player as an honorary starter.

Hideki Matsuyama, Jon Rahm and Thomas Pieters are the few others that jump out at me for this year. Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey as sleeper picks do nothing for me.

And speaking of lefties, will Li Yuxin take top amateur honors?

April 04, 2018

#MLK50 and #JFK, and #LBJ and the #MuellerTime FBI

First, MLK and JFK.

They aren't even close in terms of political morals. If you believe Camelot was real, click that link. If you still believe Camelot was real after that, whether on Vietnam, Cuba, or other foreign policy adventurism, Jack as first neoliberal president or other things, please go away and never bother me again.

Second, MLK, LBJ and the FBI. Per this cartoon, if you're "normalizing" today's FBI, also please go away. NOTE: This is NOT to support two-siderism, to say that Devin Nunes is anything but a Trump stooge or anything else. But, both Hillbots AND a fair chunk of Berniecrats among Dems need a reality check, too.

And, speaking of Democrats, to tie to MLK another way, namely, police violence? When Dems trot out "Oh the SCOTUS" again in 2020? A ruling like this, where Kagan and Breyer said that's it's OK for cops to shoot black people, is a good rebuttal.

What if there were no successful "Maccabean revolt"?

The revolt is of course, connected with Hanukkah, not Passover, but, with the Ahed Tamimi conviction and other Israeli ramp-ups against Palestinians, and us nearing the end of Passover, this deserves pondering.

First, what am I saying?

That, per this academic piece, Antiochus the V granted Jews restoration of full Temple rights not too long after Antiochus IV Epiphanes died. And that Antiochus V was petitioned for such by Menelaus. And that Judas Maccabeus did not magically conquer, then cleanse and restore, the Temple.

What I am saying is that the "framing" by 1-2 Maccabees (and lesser extent by Daniel) is both historically and theologically inaccurate. Critical scholars have long known that what happened 168 BCE and ff was more than just a revolt; it was to some degree a civil war, just like the "American Revolution." This idea further extends what that means. And, per analogy, the Maccabean "patriots," just like the American ones, wrote history and the Loyalists and Hellenizers had to suffer in silence. And, to the degree it was a revolt, non-theological political drives may have been part of the cause.

I have said elsewhere that Judaism, just like Christianity, has supersessionist elements. (Most religions do; Navajo religion incorporates — and won't admit – large chunks of Puebloan belief.) One of those elements, as I have noted elsewhere, was the Maccabees' forced conversion of Idumeans, like the ancestors of Herod. Another may have been restrictions, and attempts at conversion, of Samaritans. Per that first link, they rejected being lumped with Jews at the time of the Revolt. Surely this would have drawn some punishment, not at 164 BCE or immediately after, but decades later. And this likely carried into Christian New Testament times.

And, of course, this has effects today.

April 03, 2018

TX Progressives talk Sema, Beto, P Bush, Julian Castro

The Texas Progressive Alliance believes that everyone counts and everyone should be counted as it brings you this week's roundup.

Geoff Campbell aka Miami Gator on Twitter, interviewed Sema Hernandez about her meeting with Beto O’Rourke. She apparently has more of his respect. He apparently still doesn’t have her endorsement; she, and your author, await the phrase “Medicare for All” to leave Beto’s lips.

Socratic Gadfly offers some updates on what now clearly appears to be a weird triangle in Marlin between Houston real estate "flippers," a former VA hospital building, and the General Land Office and P. Bush.

David Bruce Collins has moved on from Harris County Greens (at least for in-person meetings) and gives his report on happenings at Socialist Alternative.

Jobsanger tries to figure out why Boomers and “silents” are allegedly voting against their own interest, when actually, being richer, having investment income, and knowing that any Social Security cuts won’t hurt them, actually ARE voting their own interest by tilting GOP.

Jim Schutze sees how chickens are about to come home to roost in Dallas on
Off the Kuff takes two more looks at precinct data in Harris County from the primary races.

Neil at All People Have Value again made the point that there is authoritarian/Constitutional crisis on the way.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Luke Amphlett criticizes the San Antonio ISD handbook on SB4, the so-called "sanctuary cities" law.

Texas Observer notes a Fort Bend County commissioner wants to gut the Open Meetings Act.

Therese Odell sees a chance for the Roseanne reboot to open a national dialogue on important issues, but fears it will take the easy way out.

Durrel Douglas unveils a project aimed at placing more Black people on government/NGO Boards and Commissions.

The Texas Living Waters Project reminds us that urban wildlife and people need healthy creeks and streams, not channelized ditches.

Amy Pearl asks who "walkability" is for.

BeyondBones explores the origins of timekeeping.

Guest Texan Aviva Shen examines the primary ouster of McLennan County DA Abel Reyna.