SocraticGadfly: 4/29/18 - 5/6/18

May 04, 2018

It's 3,000 hits for Albert Pujols! What's next?

Albert Pujols: what's up
for 2018 and beyond?
With a single May 4, Albert Pujols becomes the 32nd player, and second active behind Adrian Beltre, with the retirement earlier this week of Ichiro Suzuki, to hit that milestone.

So, what milestones remain for him, with nearly four contract years left? (That's assuming Haloes owner Arte Moreno doesn't do something like Hank Steinbrenner did with Alex Rodriguez and essentially convert his playing contract into a personal services deal, which Pujols actually has already guaranteed at the end of his contract if he plays it out.)

First, this season on hits. He will pass Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, Wade BoggsRafael Palmeiro and Lou Brock by mid-June or so; indeed, he passed Clemente Friday night with a second hit in that game. Rod Carew, Ricky Henderson and Craig Biggio should then fall by the wayside by the end of July or so, putting him in the top 25. If, as is likely, he passes A-Rod, Ichiro and Dave Winfield by the end of the year, he's in the top 20.
Here's video:
In a bit of irony, he got that hit in Seattle the day after the Mariners pushed Ichiro into retirement. And the hit came off ex-Card Mike Leake.

Career in that department? Even allowing for nagging injuries and continued decline, he should get at least 3,550 hits, which would put him past Tris Speaker into fifth all time. (That's on an allowance of 155 hits this year and an average of 145 per year over the four remaining contract years. Another 81 — which might be a tough challenge — would give him 3,631, and Cardinals fans know who that's about.)

Beyond hits, he now joins A-Rod, Willie Mays and Henry Aaron as the only members of the 3,000 hits/600 HRs club. And, whatever his exact ranking at the end of the year on the RBI totals, with 65 more, he joins Aaron in a two-person club of 3,000 hits, 600 HRs and 2,000 ribbies.

With 620 homers, Ken Griffey at 630 is next on the chase list there. Mays at 660 is likely out of the chase until next year. If he plays out the contract, he should catch Mays for sure, probably A-Rod, and possibly Babe Ruth.

Aaron's mark for career extra-base hits is an outside possibility. Pujols needs 179 total, or about 45 a year, to pass Barry Bonds for second. He needs 216, or about 56 a year, to pass Aaron.

He likely wont catch Aaron on career total bases, but should pass everybody else for second.

And, Albert still has a decent shot at one all-time career record. Right now, he's 480 short of The Hammer on the career RBIs mark. Throwing out his injury-plagued 2013, he's met or beaten that mark every year with the Haloes. Ruth is in second, just 398 ahead of Pujols. Barring serious injury, Albert catches him. Even with more injury problems, he's just 270 RBIs away from passing A-Rod into sole third place.

And, on runs scored, he's got a shot of joining Ruth and Aaron in the 2,000-run, 2,000-RBI club.

Again, that's if he plays out the contract.

Per my comment above, how long WILL he stay around, if he can't play better than he did last year? (Allowing for Pujols' typically slow starts to seasons, he is playing somewhat – but not incredibly — better this season.)

Old Redbirds skipper Tony La Russa told the Boston Globe that he thinks Albert will know when it's time, if it is before his contract ends, and will accept that.

On the other hand, sports book author Jeff Pearlman tweeted this May 3:
And, to be honest, not primarily because I am a Cards fan but under general observations, Pearlman may not be all right, but he's not totally wrong, either.

That said, on his self-honesty, and his health? If he heats up, relatively speaking, from this April/early May, he could well finish with, let's say, a 110 OPS+. That's enough for him to play next year for sure.

And, on self-honesty, and related issues? This is all complicated by the fact he may be 40, not 38. Still takes nothing away from a great career. (And Trueblood is wrong that Albert's post-30 sticks out like a sore thumb if he's indeed 38; five other players on his list are like Pujols or worse.0

We'll examine 2020 and 2021 possibilities down the road.

Enjoy for now! Even you, Brad Lidge.

I still like the look on the face of Roger Clemens in the Astro dugout. And LOVE the look on the face of Nolan Ryan in the Astro exec box.

Or, Mike Shannon's version of the call:

Finally, some career highlights of The Machine:

May 03, 2018

We don't need no steenking chaplains!

Paraphrasing The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, that is, in essence, what James Madison said two centuries ago — at least about House and Senate chaplains.

And he was, of course, right. It's a violation of the First Amendment.

So, Congresscritters getting bent out of shape for soon to be ex-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan canning Father Patrick Conroy are bogus.

At a minimum, hire at least one chaplain outside the Judeo-Christian tradition. Start with an imam to refudiate Islamophobia, then hire a Buddhist monk or someone else from a non-monotheist tradition.

Then, if you want to continue lip service to the Town of Greece SCOTUS decision? Hire a humanist chaplain.

Better yet? Give more than lip service to James Madison and get rid of them.

Ryan claims he canned Conroy over pastoral care, not politics.

Some evangelical Protestants said a Catholic can't offer that type of care because he's unmarried and childless.

That alone illustrates one problem. But, arguably, by those lights, any Christian chaplain can't give pastoral care to those of other beliefs, especially if its a Religious Righter.

Also, I don't believe Ryan, especially given that he went Sierra Madre himself if he called Conroy "padre."

And, if this was over politics, maybe it won't have a huge effect in November, but just a couple of percentage points in borderline, Catholic-heavy House districts could matter.

May 02, 2018

TX Progressives watch Loopy Lupe Valdez, mayors,
school board president, shoot selves in the foot

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds you to vote in May 5 municipal elections if you have them, then runoffs in late May, as it brings you this week's roundup.

Speaking of … the Jolt Texas event, by Latin@ youth, endorsed Whiter than White Andrew over the Latina Loopy Lupe Valdez, saying she “ came across as ill-prepared or ill-informed .” Senate candidate Beto-Bob O’Rourke also faced scrutiny at the event.

Off the Kuff is all about the redistricting arguments at the Supreme Court.

Neil at All People Have Value posted a picture of the violence initiated by Board President Rhonda Skillren-Jones against lawful and peaceful citizens advocating for Houston school children at a Houston School Board meeting.

Stace at Dos Centavos also addressed Skillren-Jones’ actions, calling them same-old, same-old.

The Contributor notes that more than 100 mayors nationally are on the record supporting Net Neutrality. Austin’s Steve Adler is on the list as is San Antonio’s Ron Nirenberg. Even Brenda Gutner from San Angelo and Shelly Brophy from smaller yet Nacogdoches. But Houston’s Sylvester Turner, Dallas, Mike Rawlings and Fort Worth’s Betsy Price are AWOL.

SocraticGadfly offers up a profile of gadfly lawyer Ty Clevenger.

The Texas Observer reports the city of Dallas says it will cost too much to remove its Confederate War memorial and may instead add a lynching memorial.

G. Elliott Morris interprets the latest Congressional special election results.

The Dallas Observer catches “former fetus” Jonathan Stickland once again being a current idiot.

Raj Mankad cries out for pedestrian fatalities to be treated with the same sense of urgency as flooding.

Sanford Nowlin has some fun with Brad Parscale's rants about San Antonio bidding for the 2020 GOP convention.

Julie Hendricks ponders the architecture of a more resilient Houston.

Better Texas Blog brings good news and bad news on family planning.

Texas Living Waters Project wonders if reservoirs are an outdated approach to meeting the state's water needs.

Grits for Breakfast says the Texas Lege could learn from its revenge porn statute being declared unconstitutional – but probably won’t.

April 30, 2018

A better bio of Luther than Metaxas

It's actually Michael Massing's new parallel biography of Luther and Erasmus.

Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western MindFatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind by Michael Massing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There's not a lot of new stuff here for me, especially on the Luther side, but the dual biography concept, when done well, can stimulate some 'aha' and Massing generally does well.

The two biggies on differences are first, one of personality and temperament. Erasmus' irenic style never could have led a Reformation and Luther never could have calmed his down enough even to be the best of organizers of what a Reformation needed in terms of management.

As a result, Erasmus in general was more kindly disposed to human fraility and at least occasionally meeting people halfway. Had he been in Luther's shoes, he never would have treated Melanchthon as shoddily as Luther sometimes did.

As an aside, Massing also gives a good base-level explanation of how differences between Luther and Zwingli, in terms of how they developed their reformations differently, were sociological as much as theological.

I did learn a few tidbits, one of which I could have learned in Lutheran seminary, had it been taught there. And that is that Luther's polemics against the Jews weren't just a late-life, poor-health issue. They started with his lectures on the Psalms years before the 95 Theses. He later tamped them down, after the Reformation took off, in hopes of converting Jews. Until they didn't.

That said, it wasn't taught there. Growing up in the conservative wing of Lutheranism, there's an obvious reason a conservative Lutheran seminary wouldn't tell people that.

And, it was Karlstadt, not Zwingli, who first questioned the "Real Presence" in the Eucharist, and he did so on the basis of Greek grammar and not metaphoric speech common to Greek, German and English. Karlstadt pointed out that the "this" in "This is my body," can NOT refer backward to "bread" because it's a different gender in Greek. The Greek for "bread," the word "ἄρτος" in the nominative is masculine. "Τοῦτό" – the "this" in the next sentence," is a neuter, as is "σῶμα,' the Greek for "body." That, too was never mentioned in Lutheran seminary, probably because, although Luther railed against Karlstadt for this, he never refuted it — because, of course, he couldn't.

Now, Paul, who got this "revelation" about the Eucharist, was a Greek-speaker first and foremost. So, what does the "Τοῦτό" of 1 Corinthians 11:24 refer to? I've never read a modern critical commentary that addresses that in depth.

Conservative Lutheran exegetes may claim there was an "attraction" of genders. Zwingli, to my knowledge, may have thought that, or that it referred to "body," which would give a different reading. That would be something like "My very body is being given for you," which in its own way would support the standard symbolic interpretation of the Eucharist.

There is one notable error here that doesn't affect the flow, and a matter of framing that kind of does.

Given that the second big difference between Luther and Erasmus was on free will, and that BOTH had an Augustinian background, it would have been nice for Massing to include a little bit more about just how "minor" of a saint Augustine is seen as being in the East. He does talk a small bit about Orthodoxy's take on Augustine, but not a lot.

The outright error? Paul never claimed to be a Roman citizen, contra Massing. The unknown author of Acts claimed it for him.

View all my reviews

In case you're not a regular reader here, this is my review of Eric Metaxas' horrible take on Luther.

Cedar Hill: You can't yet vote the rascals out
but don't vote another one in!

First, I'm talking about the Dallas suburb, not the St. Louis exurb or other places.

Second, the rascals? Mayor Rob Franke and Councilman Chris Parvin, leaders behind this development scheme which benefits them and their cronies. More details about the land holdings behind the bond issue voted on last year for this here.

I'll admit that I'm surprised at Franke himself. I really shouldn't be. I'm not so surprised at other members of the Cedar Hill City Council who are mentioned. Nor at City Manager Greg Porter, who was a "yes man" when assistant city manager.

However, neither Franke nor Chris Parvin are up for re-election. Jami McCain is, but unopposed. Even worse, the city's planning and zoning commission chair, Chad McCurdy, wants to step up to the council, running against Valerie Banks, former CHISD trustee, and from what I remember of her, a decent school board member.

And, it's "interesting" that Franke stopped making potential land-holding conflict-of-interest disclosures in the same year, 2008, that the now-semi-tumbleweeds Uptown Village mall was under construction.

In addition, it's "interesting" that Franke's veneer of Christian piety appears to be just that and nothing more. I should have been more skeptical a decade ago, at the end of my journalism time there.

Next thing Cedar Hill needs is somebody to run against Franke when he comes up for re-election.


Update: Unfortunately, McCurdy one. And a reminder of past electoral shenanigans in the city.