SocraticGadfly: 10/17/21 - 10/24/21

October 23, 2021

Mike Shildt part 3: Cards fans kissing Mo's ass

So now the backlash comes over the backlash over Cardinals president John Mozeliak firing Mike Shildt.

"Differences of opinion," per Shildt in  his presser presumably included roster management and talking about roster management in public, or not. In short, whether the manager should kiss the head honcho's ass in public.

But, per the backlash to the backlash, there's also day-to-day roster management of the roster you have, and a lot of fans and blogging fans are saying that Shildt was blowing this long before the wild-card loss.

First? Even if, as Schoenfield alleged at Red Satan, this all boils down to his decision to use Alex Reyes at the end of the wild-card game to face Chris Taylor, or that decision as a microcosm of pitcher handling, did that still necessitate this haste? I say not, unless you're a junior Nero.

That said, even without this undue haste, firing Shildt?

The Cardinals outperformed their Pythagorean this year by five games. They were even last year and -1 in 2019. They were at Pythag in 2018, but much below for the first three-fifths of the season when Mike Matheny was still in charge. As the PD notes elsewhere, Shildt had a better season than Mo.

Will Shildt land on his feet? Ben Frederickson and John Alba are among commentators suggesting the Padres should scoop him up and fast to replace Jayce Tingler. And, reports have it that the Padres have started kicking his tires.

As for the replacement? Rick Hummel says that Nolan Arenado, he of long-term contract and opt-out options, should have some say on a replacement.

Whoever it is, Derrick Goold says Mo has to nail this one.

Is Shildt perfect? No.

Has he arguably had bullpen management problems? Yes. Or too much Matt Carpenter too high in the order? Yes.

He's still a player's manager, and again, a good one.

As for what Mo did to address Shildt's lineup complaints? 

Don't be this guy, on Twitter 10 days ago when discussing Shildt's presser:

To which I responded:

What else can you say? That this guy kisses Mo's ass, too? That he thinks Mo's making it rain when he's peeing on my leg?

Jon Lester is dealt with above. J.A. Happ also was a sub-100 ERA plus and high in other sabermetrics, though not as bad as Lester. Happ maybe treaded water; Lester was still a sinking rock. Period.

Wade LeBlanc? Broke 100 on ERA+, but other sabermetrics were worse than Lester.

That leaves two of the five mentioned pitchers, T.J. McFarland and Luis Garcia, as adding value as late acquisitions. And, both of them had already been used in the wild-card game before Shildt called on Reyes, as had Giovanny Gallegos. If you're going fault Shildt for that? He's managing for one game to win the one-game wild-card playoff. Be more serious.

And, giving credit to Mo? Let's call it luck. Both McFarland and Garcia hadn't made the big league rosters with playing time this year with the Nats and Yanks. Mo got lucky on the cheap. 

And, all lefties on this list are of limited value with the new three-batter minimum rule.

But that's not as bad as this guy:

There's only one Carpenter on the Cards roster, of course, and if you're hating on Shildt so much as to sarcastically say Matt Carpenter was a better option, you got problems. If you seriously believe that, you've got even bigger problems.

Again, Shildt outperformed Pythag in two of four seasons, and the Padres were quick to indicate their interest in him.

And, as I said before, I'd STILL take Shildt over  Matheny on managing pitching, and Mo's hook with him was twice as long.

And, Mo would probably like these ass-kissers as junior GMs. Such brilliance from some of the Best Fans in Baseball™, and yes, I like trolling Cards fans who display a certain level of ignorance mixed with arrogance.

October 22, 2021

Is this the year LeBron breaks down even more? And, if so, what about the Lakers?

No, this is nowhere near idle speculation.

LeBron James is sixth in career NBA minutes played.

Well, sixth in regular-season minutes.

Because of the length of today's playoffs, and how often James-led teams have done deep, he's already third in total combined minutes, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone , and first in career playoff minutes.

(Update: Basketball-Ref, in acknowledgement of length of playoffs, now combines regular-season & playoff minutes in a new stat. Lebron is 2nd.)

Remember the tail end of their careers?

(Update, March 20, 2022: First, congrats to the King on passing the Mailman. Second, while he still trails both him and Kareem in career regular season minutes, he passed three others already this year into third place. He also has passed everybody but Kareem on combined regular season plus playff minutes.)

Remember how few minutes per game Kareem played his last couple of seasons? Remember the Mailman's ignominy with the Lakers?

By the end of this year, unless it's as badly injury-shortened as last year, the King will be past the Mailman in total minutes and trailing only Kareem. 

Minutes management will be big for Frank Vogel this year.

IF LeBron buys in. The King — who is not a exercise physiologist or anything similar — said this week that load management won't reduce his injury risk. He's wrong, even about fluke injuries like his high ankle sprain last year. Play a couple fewer minutes a game; sit an occasional second game of a back-to-back. You let yourself heal a bit more, plus, just by being out there fewer minutes, you reduce the odds of fluke injury. And, to me, the sitting the second games of back-to-backs should be mandatory, especially if that's a road-game back-to-back.


Even with the Clippers missing Kawhi Leonard for, what, half or more of the regular season, the West will be tough. I've seen the Lakers picked at third, and think even that may be a challenge. The Suns, almost certainly, the Jazz, and even the Nuggets if Michael Porter continues to build, along with Aaron Gordon, could all finish ahead of them. Maybe the short-handed Clippers. Maybe even the Warriors, if Klay Thompson is approximately where he was before his rash of injuries and Jordan Poole breaks out. If all of that happens, the Lakers are sixth, guaranteed to play the first round on the road, and pretty much guaranteed on the second round, if they win the first, and barring a rash of upsets. And, we haven't even talked about Luka Doncic and the Mavs, among other teams.

So, if you're load-managing James, how do you stay in the top half of the West?

(Interjection: Red Satan thinks the Lake Show is the top team in the West, something I find laughable, as well as perhaps pandering to readers to watch any Lakers games it might broadcast.

 Update, Oct. 25: Red Satan has dropped the Lakers to eighth in its first Power Ranking of the regular season. The Jazz, Nuggets and Dubs are all ahead of them in the West/)

Play Anthony Davis more? Remember his own injury history.

Turn the keys over to Russell Westbrook and load manage both LBJ and AD? But, isn't there the temptation that Russ reverts to old habits (and hurts team chemistry in doing so) when he's given the keys as the first option?

And, this top-heavy team has few other options. Like the 2004 Lakers, it's signed veteran wanting rings, but who are past prime themselves. It's "top heavy," and probably stuck. Carmelo Anthony? 18 years. Dwight Howard and Trevor Ariza? 17. Rajon Rondo? 15. Melo's in the top 30 in career regular season minutes and Howard is in the top 50. Lil Russ is just outside the top 100. I know a lot of fans have some idea about how old the Lakers are, but not an idea that they're THAT old.

This is also a team, while filled with players with past great defensive performances, may be challenged as much as skilled on that side of the ball, especially against quicker teams with a lot of motion and a lot of high-octane breaking.

I'd personally be surprised if they make it past the second round.

And, they're "stuck" next year as well, with all three amigos on the books for essentially the same salaries.


In my full preview of the West, in brief?

  1. Suns
  2. Jazz
  3. Nuggets
  4. Clipps 
  5. Warriors
  6. Mavs
  7. Lakers
  8. Blazers

Yes, I think LeBron and the Gang could fall as far as No. 7. (That said, the whole 4-7 outlook seems kind of muddled, and any one of the top 3 will fall if they have a major injury.)

October 21, 2021

Texas Progressives look for an opposing viewpoint to stupidity

As many in Texas have heard, Southlake Carroll was hoist on a petard created by a mix of itself and the Lege's HB 3979, the anti-critical race theory law, when a school administrator said the Holocaust needed an alternative point of view. Wingnuts in the Lege like Kelly Hancock are of course blaming schools and school districts, not themselves, for a law that's hugely vague as well as, of course, being hugely craptacular. The Monthly goes in more depth. Chris Hooks note that it's a part of coarsening attacks on school boards by parents. And now, this stupidity has made it all the way to the LA Times op-ed pages.

StartleGram columnist Bud Kennedy notes Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley is, even more forcefully than before, calling out Danny Goeb and Christofascist Tim Dunn for wrecking his Texas Republican Party. Abbott's "no vax mandate" appears to have been his latest trigger. He also claims that it's not just that Abbott is responding to Don Huffines; rather, Whitley says, he's got his eye on the White House and is trying to out-DeSatan Ron DeSantis. That said, if The Donald runs in 2024, Abbott will put his tail meekly between his legs again. DeSatan may not.

Well, the Supremes officially can't dodge the anti-abortion SB8 now. The Biden Administration appealed the Fifth Circuit's reinstating the law for now, overruling a federal district judge's injunction. Team Biden is asking for the Fifth Circuit's ruling to be paused while the appeals court hears the substance of the state's appeal from the district court. This boils down to the same issue that we faced this summer: Can John Roberts convert Brett Kavanaugh?

Steve Vladeck explains why the Fifth Circuit was wrong in its order allowing SB8 to remain in effect.

In stupidity, judicial version, Smilin Sam Alito proves critics' point, and in part over SB8, and does so in part by trying to block full, free and frank discussion of this. A side note: Notre Dame forfeited academic respect by signing off on his press-muzzling in advance.

Battleground Texas live-tweeted the House hearing on the proposed Congressional map. (And, you may be a Twitter addict if you wade through that entire thing.)

Off the Kuff was on top of the Greg Abbott max ant-vaxx fiasco. 

The Observer reports that, despite Supreme Court rulings, the Border Patrol thinks "tonks" don't deserve medical care.

It's always Banned Books Week in Texas prisons.

In stupidity, sports division, SocraticGadfly talks baseball, specifically, why the Cards suddenly fired Mike Shildt.

Former La Habra, California police chief Alan Hostetter, arrested as part of the Jan. 6 insurrection, is being allowed to defend himself. Hostetter, a Three Percenter wingnut even before this time, asked to defend himself, so he can expose the "FBI corruption." Getcha popcorn, and Judge Royce Lambeth will probably be ruling about 90 percent of his requests and blatherings as out of order.

Iowa's first Black state Democratic chair has received lynching threats over an anti-Trump op-ed in the DeMoines Register.

The Nobel in economics went to a team that conclusively showed higher wages are not inflationary.

Progress Texas offers recommendations on the eight Constitutional amendments on your ballot. 

Texas Monthly brings news of a nude Texas cavers calendar. The Bloggess heard a very different version of Talking Heads' "Wild Wild Life" song than you or I did.

October 20, 2021

ConservaDems, Status Quo Joe and sheepdogging Bernie and climate change

Oh, it's fun with the Overton Window gang that can't shoot straight!

Status Quo Joe is caving in to Big Coal Boss Hogg Joe Manchin on the climate change of Build Back Better, or Can We Build Something, or whatever. Maybe if we put some of Sinema's Big Pharma Big Bucks drug products inside wind turbines, would she kill Manchin? ConservaDem Jon Tester can stand up for Biden's bill; why can't they?

Meanwhile, St. Bernard of Sanders, fulfilling the sheepdogging of his past and most recently mentioned by Counterpunch for that, blames the media for not knowing what's in the bill. Since there's really not a fixed bill yet, even as Sleepy Joe gives away more, this is sheepdogging. Of course, nobody's asked Bernie about those F-35s for the Vermont National Guard. It's always good to be selectively against more defense spending.

To break the Senate impasse, or Boss Hogg's obstruction, Ron Wyden is now proposing a carbon tax! I'm all for it, but it has zero political chance unless Wyden attaches a carbon tariff, which is the globally right thing to do anyway. I've said more than once, more than ten times, that a carbon tariff, at least to a degree, forces the whole world onto the same carbon emissions page. Sure, there's international measurement issues and cheating concerns. But, there's the same thing with private biz on carbon offsets and cap-and-trade as I type.

But a carbon tax has other devilish details all its own. First, how high do you set it? Second and related, how much below the final price do you start at to phase it in? Third, without making it too painful, how do you do something besides direct rebates to help out carbon taxpayers? (I've argued with Chris Tomlinson and others that there HAS to be some pain for it to work.)

Credit to Wyden for phasing out fossil fuel tax credits as part of his bill. It's stupid indeed for something like the House Ways and Means carbon tax idea to keep them in place.

At the Atlantic, via MSN, Robinson Mayer supports the Clean Energy Program, which Boss Hogg reportedly opposes instead. It's true that we need more renewable energy, especially to recharge electric cars in the future beyond replacing fossil fuel electricity. But, this doesn't have to be an either-or, and shouldn't; both-and is what we need. It's carrot and stick, large scale. Meyer does have one point. A carbon tax leaves the gummint possibly becoming dependent on that revenue. What happens when it does get phased out? This is like funding National Park Service repair catch-ups with money from Interior oil and minerals leases.

This all said, per the one link near top? Tester isn't signed off on all climate change plans, though he is interested in electric tractors, should they come around. (Actually, even with bigger farms, if you're out west and got rooftop solar? An electric

Finally, as the Pentagon is the country's biggest carbon emitter, how do you tax it?

October 19, 2021

COVID week 80: Jobs and housing and calling bluffs

The "Great Resignation" is accelerating, per the Atlantic. COVID, and its modest uptick in federal safety support net aid, was just the fulcrum prying this open.

But, the British version of Wired is expecting a "Great Boomerang." Anthony Klotz, a prof here at A and M, says he doesn't expect everybody to return to something like their old jobs immediately. Indeed, he says that it could take five years. Inflationary pressures from the Great Supply Chain Snarl could speed that up, as I see it, if inflation is worse for a longer period of time. Others think that for other reasons it will also get shorter. Related question: Will this further increase gig work rather than permanent and in-house jobs for the longer term?

Is the Lege, Senate half's, attempt to give federal COVID relief money to homeowners only, and not renters, a bill of attainder? That's unconstitutional under state as well as federal constitutions, and this renter wants to know if Team Biden will raise an objection if it's not challenged in the state court system.

Those vaccine lotteries? In arguably the largest real-world test of behaviorial science / behavioral economics / behavioral psychology, they have been a big fat fucking fail. Somebody alert Dan Ariely, then Danny Kahneman and disciples of the late Amos Tversky.

The horse dewormer fans won't give up on lawsuits trying to force hospitals to use it on their loved ones, almost certainly unvaccinated. Were I a hospital CEO, I'd consider making a deal: ivermectin for a jab, the shot coming first.

Four states didn't have ICU bed room for an unvaccinated man who eventually died of a COVID related hematoma, and who in confusion started yanking tubes from himself hours earlier. Get a shot, and no, no "thoughts and prayers" for the family if they abetted his antivaxxerism. 

Worldometers has the US death count at nearly 750K and it's surely low. Don't believe lower estimates.

And, you can't call bluffs on the families of patients who have led to a surge in violence against doctors, nurses and other hospital employees. 

I personally wound up blocking somebody on Twitter. They weren't a Great Barrington type COVID obstructionist, or a fellow traveler like John Ioannidis. They weren't even totally a true COVID contrarian. But, they were a COVID zero summer and Overton Window shifter who wouldn't look at their own illogic. John Nutt, apparently British, was a zero-summer by saying only the science research he posted counted. On masks, most of it was by a Lisa Brosseau. She's legit, but claims that cloth and surgical masks are almost worthless in workforces. Problem? She didn't actually say worthless, and other studies, maybe smaller, disagree. (That said, I think some of her work is meta-study). Overton Window problem? We weren't talking about masks of various types in the workforce only; we were talking about various types of masks in general. Illogic? He said he opposed both mask and vax mandates (and to others in comment threads on various Patheos sites), but said he supported the government buying N95 or KN95 or better masks for workers across the country. Even Britain isn't doing that, not with Bojo trying to slash the NHS. And, if it did? It would buy those masks on the presumption people would use them, and if it worried they didn't? It would MANDATE them.

October 18, 2021

St. Anthony of Fauci gets butt-hurt again

He claims that people who disagree with him are rejecting "data and science" and are "conspiracy theorists."

Not all of us, you butt-hurt bureaucrat.

Let's see.

You're the guy who:

1. Told a Platonic noble lie about masks and never apologized. Not noble in the end.

2. Told another Platonic noble lie about the percentage of the population that needed to be vaccinated for "herd immunity" and never apologized, busted by his own emails. Not noble from the start.

3. Has told and continues to tell a definitional lie to claim the US hasn't funded "gain of function" research at Wuhan Institute of Virology. And hasn't apologized.

4. Claimed early on the flu would be worse than COVID. And, hasn't apologized.

See a pattern here? It's not following the science. It's following the bureaucratic motivated reasoning. 

If anybody is right in being butt-hurt, it's non-tribalists like me. BlueAnon will sadly remain suckers for your play-acting.