Saturday, May 22, 2004
The Tigers pulled themselves back to .500 today. They continue to be on track to set the record for the greatest year over year turnaround in the history of the major leagues.
The Greatest Texas Ranger of All Time
This is tougher than it looks because there's no obvious choice. The only Rangers to play more than 1000 games are (in descending order) Rafael Palmeiro, Jim Sundberg, Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Toby Harrah, Ruben Sierra and Rusty Greer.
We can pretty easily dismiss Sundberg from consideration; although he was a good catcher, he was nowhere near the catcher that Ivan Rodriguez was. Looking at the sluggers, it's pretty clear that Juan Gone did more for the Rangers than Palmeiro--141 more RBI, 51 more homers. Greer, Harrah and Sierra were good ballplayers, but they're not in the class of Gonzalez and I-Rod.
Pitchers? Charlie Hough, Bobby Witt and Kenny Rogers are the only pitchers to win more than 100 games as a Ranger; Hough with 139 is the leader. It's safe to say that Ivan and Juan are well above the level of the pitchers.
So we're down to a classic slugger versus defensive whiz with solid hitting. Rodriguez is clearly the superior defensive player, so we know Juan has to beat him thoroughly on offense. And, somewhat to my surprise, Gonzalez does just that, which is what makes the selection difficult.
First the basics. Gonzalez and Rodriguez had very similar careers in Texas, overlapping for many years. Rodriguez played 1479 games and had 1723 hits as a Ranger, Gonzalez played 1400 and reached base safely 1595 times. But Gonzalez scored more runs, 878-852, and knocked in far more runs, 1180-829, largely because he out-homered the catcher by 372-215.
This is a very, very tough call. In the end it comes down to who's established his claim on the Hall of Fame.
The Greatest St. Louis Cardinal of All Time
This isn't a difficult choice. Musial holds all of the Cardinals records, in most cases with numbers that were National League marks when he retired. Musial played 3,026 games in a St. Louis uniform; Lou Brock is the only other man over 2,000.
If the Media Covered Basketball Like They Cover the War on Terror
This is an older post, but it's really quite good
. Read down to the comments section, where Garnet Girl does a takeoff on "If the 9-11 Commission Investigated Gettysburg."
Friday, May 21, 2004
The Greatest Yankee of All Time
I'm going to go against type and say it's Yogi Berra. He held all the postseason records back when postseason meant the World Series. Ruth was a greater hitter, no doubt, but he delivered far fewer championships to the Yankees with four in 14 years (he had three others with the Red Sox) compared to Berra's astounding 10 World Series rings. Berra won 3 MVP awards and had many seasons when his performance was not far below those years.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
The Greatest Met of All Time
There are only eight players who have participated in over 1,000 games for the Mets. In descending order, they are Ed Kranepool, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Grote, Cleon Jones, Howard Johnson, Mookie Wilson, Darryl Strawberry and Edgardo Alfonzo. Strawberry's clearly the class of the bunch as a hitter, leading the team in runs scored, homers and runs batted in.
But Strawberry's totals are not eye-popping--252 homers, 733 RBI. Hard to argue that matches up with Seaver's 198 wins for the franchise. Gooden (157 wins) and Koosman (140) have the only arguments against Seaver from the pitching side. Koosman was only 3 games over .500 for the Mets, while Seaver was 74 games over and Gooden 72 games over.
Seaver had a better ERA (2.57 as a Met compared to Gooden's 3.10). He threw almost twice as many shutouts as the Doctor. He had a better strikeout to walk ratio. He's got the quantity stats and the quality stats.
Nick Berg's Dad Incredibly Stoopid
I suppose I should cut the guy a little slack, but this is
People ask me why I focus on putting the blame for my son's tragic and atrocious end on the Bush administration. They ask: "Don't you blame the five men who killed him?" I have answered that I blame them no more or less than the Bush administration, but I am wrong: I am sure, knowing my son, that somewhere during their association with him these men became aware of what an extraordinary man my son was. I take comfort that when they did the awful thing they did, they weren't quite as in to it as they might have been. I am sure that they came to admire him.
WTF? Mr Berg, you are a mental case. And what's more, I get the impression you were a mental case well before your son's tragic and regrettable death.
Movies That Are So Bad They're Good
1. The Contender. This one starts out slowly, but rapidly delivers laugh after unintentional horselaugh. It's hard to pick a favorite worst bit from this movie because there are so many. Is it the scene where Joan Allen (nominated for the Vice Presidency) tells a congressional panel that she's not religious because she doesn't believe in fairy tales? Is it when she is surprised to learn that anybody considers her having an affair with her best friend's husband to have been adultery? Is it when she and Jeff Bridges (playing the President) slip out of the White House for a little conversation and the Secret Service comes rushing up 5 minutes later, having lost the president? Is it Bridges' over the top moment when he comes down to Congress to deliver a "Have you no shame?" speech? No for me, it's the closing of the movie, when the words "For Our Daughters" flashes on the screen.
2. Showgirls. Girl who makes a living stripping and hooking wonders why all men are jerks. Hellooooo!
Why Are There Rich Liberals?
La Shawn Barber
points us to this excellent TCS article
. The writer, Keith Burgess-Jackson, is a professor of philosophy, and it is evident from the painstaking way he assembles his argument.
A recurring theme in liberal thought is that wealth and poverty are undeserved. Where we end up in the social hierarchy, liberals say, depends far more on happenstance than on merit. Some people are born to advantage, others to disadvantage. But luck shouldn't play a role in people's fates, they say, so society must intervene -- coercively -- to equalize wealth, or at least move in that direction.
To be fair, liberals don't think that all is luck. They realize that effort, initiative, discipline, risk-taking, hard work, and sacrifice play a role in where individuals end up in the social hierarchy. But they think it's a small and insignificant role. By the same token, conservatives don't think that all is merit. They realize that luck plays a role in where individuals end up in the social hierarchy. But they think it's a small and insignificant role.
Fortunately, most liberals grow out of liberalism by the time they reach middle age. I have. Several of my friends, family members, colleagues, and acquaintances have. But not all do. It's important to understand why some do not. I believe it's because there are degrees of guilt. The guiltiest of liberals -- those who worked least hard for what they have -- remain liberal the longest. Their guilt, which is unmitigated and intense, is projected indiscriminately and relentlessly onto everyone else. This is leveling with a vengeance. In this perverse way, liberals atone for their imagined sins.
Think of, say, Barbra Streisand. Fabulously wealthy and fabulously liberal. Now, don't get me wrong, I am sure Barbra worked hard to get to where she got to be. But I'm sure that she would also acknowledge the role of good fortune--she was lucky to be born with an excellent singing voice.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
The Greatest Of All Time
Thought I might develop something I threw out there about Randy Johnson being the greatest Diamondback of all time. That's a pretty easy one--four Cy Young Awards in a row, co-MVP of the 2001 World Series, now a perfect game, all on a franchise that is in only its seventh season. Luis Gonzalez is the only guy even close--five consecutive seasons of 100+ RBI, including 142 in the year the team won it all, plus of course the series-winning hit.
More Good Stories
points us to the story about Leane Palmer, a thoughtful military wife
... Capt. Palmer’s nomination struck true with the AVA. "While in Kuwait, temperatures were over 120 degrees," writes Capt. Palmer in the nomination. "My wife, being a good seamstress, found a pattern for neck coolers (ties with crystals that, when soaked in water, swell up with cool gel offering relief from the heat). I thought she might make 50 or 100. She made 300 and rallied people to help purchase supplies to make over 600. She ended up mailing enough for my entire battalion."
As somebody who's experienced 120 degrees (Phoenix has reached that mark three times while I've been living here), I can appreciate how a little cooling can have a great effect.
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
The greatest player in Diamondback history.
More E&P Amusement
Get this letter from an E&P reader
I couldn't agree more with Ted Rall's cartoon questioning Pat Tillman's hero credentials. (See "Ralls' 'Tillman' Cartoon Pulled by MSNBC.com".)
I am a combat veteran of Vietnam and the first Gulf war and retired Army chief warrant officer. My military service and duty to America spanned over 32 years. I also have a son that just recently returned from a year's combat service in Iraq.
I stand strongly on my belief that I have a right to protect my family, property, and borders of this country. However, I have no right (and neither does my son) to kill and murder for government.
How ignorant and absurd many Americans believe that the conflict we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, some 6,000 miles away, have something to do with protecting our freedoms (what's left of them).
Mr Salazar, would you describe your son as an "Idiot" or a "Sap", as Rall did Pat Tillman?
No doubt you believe that your son joined the combat service in Iraq in order to kill Arabs, as Rall stated about Tillman?
Perhaps you would care to list a freedom that you have lost recently?
I don't buy it--sounds like another guy with Micah Wright credentials.
What a Twit!
I'm pretty late to the fair on this one, but I just discovered the execrable writings of Greg Mitchell, the editor of Editor & Publisher. E&P covers the newspaper business, but apparently Mr Mitchell feels it should be leading the industry in terms of foreign policy coverage.
You guessed it. Mitchell is against the war. On May 7th, he decided
that the American newspapers were not bold enough, so he issued a call:
When Will the First Major Newspaper Call for a Pullout in Iraq?
Mind you, he's not starting an office pool, he's trying to prod somebody to do it.
After a month of uprisings in Iraq, an unexpected hike in U.S. casualties, and a prison abuse scandal that shattered goodwill in the Arab street, what do American newspapers have to say?
So far, not very much, at least in terms of advising our leaders how to clean up or get out of this mess.
Well, actually most of them do have an opinion on that topic, which is to stay the course (Republican newspapers) or stay the course and get the UN involved (Democrat newspapers). But since that is not Mr Mitchell's prescription, he decries the relative unanimity of opinion:
But then, they are not alone. Republicans have been cackling for weeks over John Kerry's inability to distinguish his position on the war from the president's -- after Bush agreed to bring into the picture the United Nations, NATO and anyone else who might bail us out.
The two candidates also seem to agree that sending more U.S. troops to Iraq might turn the tide. Most newspapers like that idea, too. Last month an E&P survey revealed that the vast majority of America's large newspapers favored this approach to Iraq: Stay the course.
But of course, they're all idiots, according to Mr Mitchell. The vast majority is always wrong! That's why newspaper editors need Mr Mitchell's publication, to tell them where they're going wrong.
There's no easy strategy for success, but the question is: are newspaper editorial pages ready to sustain that position now? And if that means calling for more troops, or remaining in Iraq at present levels indefinitely, are they willing to accept responsibility (along with the White House, Pentagon and Congress) for the continuing carnage and the unmentionable expense?
Two lies here. First, Mr Mitchell does think there's an "easy" strategy for success. Second, the expense will not be unmentionable; one suspects that Mr Mitchell mentions it quite often.
This, of course, must also be considered in the context of whatever other responsibility newspapers share for embracing the dubious pre-war claims on weapons of mass destruction and endorsing the invasion in the first place. In fact, one might argue that the press has a special responsibility for helping undo the damage.
Rolling my eyes here. When has the press ever
accepted the blame for anything it caused with its editorial policy? "Dubious pre-war claims on (sic) weapons of mass destruction"? They were so dubious that everybody believed them. Hillary Clinton and others who would seem to have no interest in supporting Bush on this issue say they had intelligence that indicated the same thing. I won't criticize him for missing the sarin gas because that happened after this piece was written, but surely the fact that even Germany & France's intelligence services believed Saddam had WMD should concern him.
That is not to say that calling for a U.S. pullout from Iraq is the only moral, rational or political choice. But if newspaper editors are not going to endorse that -- then what is YOUR solution?
Of course, Mr Mitchell pretends not to be hearing the solution--stay the course, perhaps with more soldiers and help from the UN/Nato, but stay the course.
Reading this piece made me understand more some of the other twit-headed columns
I've read in E&P.
Seven Little Hands for Iraq, A Big Hand for America
Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle has more on the men who had their hands cut off
by Saddam's men.
With their new prosthetics in place, the men immediately began shaking hands, smiling and hugging the specialists at Dynamic Orthotics & Prosthetics who made the limbs. They also celebrated the little triumphs. Aqar tied his shoes, and then untied them just to do it again. Others wrote their names.
Damn, is this a great country or what?
Four of Berg's Killers Caught--Updated
Lucianne is headlining this but no story so far.
Update: Here's the story
. Unfortunately, the one who's still missing is Zarqawi.
Monday, May 17, 2004
When I Was a Yankee Fan
I grew up in suburban New Jersey, just 20 miles or so from New York City. I was not a sports fan until about 8 years old, when I started becoming fanatical about everything that interested me--sports, Hardy Boys mysteries, bicycling, you name it.
My dad was a Mets fan. The Mets were a new team, having been born in 1962 (this was 1963). So, like any good boy, I became a Mets fan like my dad. I was a pretty good reader by then and I devoured books on the sport. And I quickly realized from the books that the Mets were a terrible team, one of the worst of all time.
At the same time, the Yankees were still atop the baseball world. They won the World Series in 1962 (the last they would win for awhile) and they won the American League pennant in 1963. My friends, who were Yankees fans to a boy, would laugh when I told them that the Mets might finish as high as eighth this year (an overzealous sportswriter, obviously, as the Mets never finished as high as eighth before the miracle of 1969).
So 1963 goes on and the Mets are sucking really bad and the Yankees are still the Yankees and I'm beginning to waver under the influence of my friends. Maybe I should root for Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and Whitey Ford and all those guys.
So one day I announced that I was transferring my allegiance at the dinner table. My dad said, gee, that's too bad, because I've got Mets tickets for Friday night. Of course I immediately swore undying allegiance to the Metropolitans.
Friday night rolls around and we go to the ballpark. Not Shea Stadium, but the OLD ballpark, the Polo Grounds. I vaguely remember that the ballpark was green all over--green seats, green grass, green girders. The Mets were playing the St. Louis Cardinals that day. Stan Musial was in his final season; I remember Dad telling me that he was a great ballplayer.
The Cardinals led the game 2-0 going into the bottom of the ninth. The Mets got runners on 1st & 2nd and the "Let's Go Mets" chant started up in the stadium. Duke Snider (playing his last season before the New York crowd) cranked a three-run homer into the right field seats, Mets win 3-2 and one little kid is a Mets fan for better or worse.
Of course it was mostly worse for the next few years. Fortunately the Yankees did were not tempting. In 1963 they lost to the Dodgers in the WS, while in 1964 they made their last gasp and fell short in seven games to the Cardinals.
After that, the Yankees sucked for awhile--well, more than awhile. It was the era of Hector Lopez and Ross Moschitto and Roger Repoz. Bobby Mercer when he looked like he was never going to hit. And the Mets just continued to suck and then one year I was up at my grandparents' lakefront house in August and I noticed that the Mets were in second place, about 8 games behind the Cubs and I started paying attention more and the Mets won just about every game they played done the stretch to scorch the Cubs by about 9 games at the end of the season. They demolished the Braves and then stunned the country by winning the last four out of five games from the Baltimore Orioles.
It was amazing. In 1973 they got into the playoffs despite having a barely winning record. Of course, they won the NL pennant and took the Oakland A's, who were in the middle of a three-year run as World Champs, to the seventh game.
They managed to play fairly well after that, but this was when fairly well didn't do it against teams winning 100 games. In 1976 they went 86-76, a respectable showing. They were 15 games behind Philadelphia, which lost in the playoffs to the Big Red Machine. Meanwhile the Yankees had suddenly become competitive. They won the AL East in 1976, then jolted the KC Royals with a bottom of the ninth homer by Chris Chambliss. (Whose daughter went to my high school, althought it was years after I was there).
They lost horrifically to the Reds, but my interest was piqued when they acquired Reginald Martinez Jackson that offseason. Reggie was, as the cover of Sports Illustrated had proclaimed, a SuperDuperStar. A lot of people scorn him, but I don't see how you can ignore the fact that he was clearly the best player on many championship teams, and that he performed particularly well in the big games.
So the Yankees go on to a great season while the Mets really start to stink. By this time I'm in my senior year of college. When the old man gets tickets to games, he and I don't go together, it's me and a couple buddies, and we usually get tanked during the game. The Yankees appealed to the lout in me--why watch the Mets, they weren't going anywhere, let's go watch the Yankees try to win a championship.
And of course they do, with Reggie providing fireworks. The following year I was finally out of school and working in New York City. The Yankees made an incredible comeback to tie the Red Sox, but there was a one-game playoff. I remember half the office was listening into Camelia's brother, who was narrating the game for us. Then I got lucky. The boss came around and noticed that my desk was perfectly clean. He asked if I was looking forward to catching the end of the game, and I of course nodded. "Why don't you get out of here now?" he said. So I did and I got to the Madison B&G just in time to see Bucky Dent foul one off his foot. I turned around and got a beer and when I turned back Dent hit a three-run homer into the screen.
Yankees win another World Series. This time they spot the Dodgers the first two games at Yankee, then come roaring back to win all three in LA and game six at home.
Next year the Yankees just aren't in it, and then Thurman Munson died, and everybody knew it was over. The Yanks managed to pull one more AL pennant out in 1981, but by then Reggie was gone and they gave away a series in which they had won the first two games.
By then I had moved out West. I rooted for the Yankees to be sure (the Dodgers were hated in Northern California), but that was about it for the Yankees and me. The 1977 & 1978 teams were fun to root for, but they're nowhere near the 1969 or 1986 Mets to me.
Another Good Military Blog
The Green Side is mostly made up of emails home
from a Major in the Marines to his dad. Great information, highly recommended. Here's a sample:
The Bronze Star and promotion are no big deal. Without being falsely modest, I was doing my job and many guys who did as much or more will have gone unrecognized.
The diplomatic efforts ongoing are a necessary part of our overall efforts to stabilize Iraq. You are correct that the corporals and sergeants are none too happy about some of the perceived bureaucracy but at the end of the day we understand that it is part of the democratic effort. Believe me, we will take no chances with our Marines and will be prepared to destroy any threat that surfaces during these patrols.
I got hunch thirty years from now this guy is NOT going to have a license plate
that reads BRNZ STR1. Thanks for your service, and stay safe, Dave!
Hat Tip: The Daily Blogster
Oh, Those Weapons of Mass Destruction!
The sarin story
"The former regime had declared all such rounds destroyed before the 1991 Gulf war."
It is the first time chemcial agents have been found in Iraq since the US-led war began.
Sunday, May 16, 2004
Is Franken On the Ropes?
Drudge pointed us to Dead Air America's site for selling crappy, overpriced merchandise. Interestingly, there is NO Franken Merchandise
available. Knowing Air America's business acumen, I suspect this means that they sold so much of it, that they decided to stop carrying it.
No, actually it means that O'Franken isn't going to be a factor for much longer. Randi Rhodes, who may be foul but at least seems to know what she's doing behind a microphone, is the only AA personality being hawked
at this point.
Dead Air America: 4% of Products Made In USA
Drudge highlighted that they're selling thongs. The hilarious part is that they're selling 23 items
, and ONE
is advertised as made in the USA! And guess what? Just to make it perfect, it's a tee shirt that they want $25 for!
The Night of March 30th
Climatologist Patrick J. Michaels has a superb kayo
of the junk science behind The Day after Tomorrow.
The movie makers maintain that much of this has already started. Disaster is heading our way pronto. The picture's Web site reminds us, for instance, that just last May, we had a record number of tornados for one month, and that more than half of the deaths that occur in hurricanes now are due to inland floods rather than coastal damage.
Both these observations prove either that "The Day After Tomorrow" is full of high-tech distortion, or that the movie's makers live in a reality-free environment. Here are the facts: The number of tornadoes is going up because of dramatic improvements in detection technology. As the first weather radar network went online in the 1960s and '70s, tornados rose in proportion with the increase in the number of stations. They then leveled out until the newer-generation Doppler radars became operational in 1988, when the number of twisters again rose proportionally.
Great article. Hat tip to Instapundit
Detroit Tigers Update
Through today, the Tigers are 18-19, a .486 winning percentage. If they win games at the rate of a .472 victory percentage for a 77-85 season, they will set the record for the greatest turnaround in one year.
Unlike last year, the Tigers do not lack for individual stars. Pudge Rodriguez is leading the league in RBI, while compiling the fifth highest batting average. Rondell White is tied for second in the lead in RBI. Mike Maroth has won 4 games already.