erik lundegaard

Tuesday October 20, 2020

Dodgers vs. Rays: a World Series Comparison

This was kind of fun to put together. Definitely a tale of Haves and Have Nots:

OVERALL WIN % .528 .477
2020 WIN % .717 .667
PRIOR NAMES Grays, Atlantics, Bridegrooms, Grooms, Superbas, Trolley Dodgers, Robins Devil Rays
FANS' QUIRK Leave before 9th inning Fans? 
BEST HISTORICAL PLAYER (bWAR) Clayton Kershaw (69.6) Evan Longoria (51.8)
BEST 2020 PLAYER (bWAR) Mookie Betts (3.4) Brandon Lowe (2.1)
RETIRED NUMBERS 1 (Pee Wee Reese), 2 (Tommy Lasorda), 4 (Duke Snider), 19 (Jim Gilliam), 20 (Don Sutton), 24 (Walter Alston), 32 (Sandy Koufax), 39 (Roy Campanella), 42 (Jackie Robinson), 53 (Don Drysdale) 12 (Wade Boggs), 66 (Don Zimmer)
HALL OF FAMERS Wee Willie Keeler (1939), Dazzy Vance (1955), Zack Wheat (1959), Jackie Robinson (1962), Burleigh Grimes (1964), Roy Campanella (1969), Sandy Koufax (1972), Duke Snider (1980), Walter Alston (1983), Don Drysdale (1984), Pee Wee Reese (1984), Leo Durocher (1994), Tommy Lasorda (1997), Don Sutton (1998) n/a
GREAT BOOKS WRITTEN ABOUT The Boys of Summer, Baseball's Great Experiment, Sandy Koufax, Opening Day, I Never Had It Made, 1947: When All Hell Broke Loose in Baseball n/a
ALL-STARS ON 2020 SQUAD Clayton Kershaw (8x), Mookie Betts (4x), Kenley Jensen (3x), Cody Bellinger (2x), Corey Seager (2x), Alex Wood, Blake Treinen, Walker Buehler, Justin Turner, AJ Pollock, Joc Pederson, Max Muncy Charlie Morton (2x), Brandon Lowe, Austin Meadows, Blake Snell
2020 PAYROLL  $107.9 million  (2nd) $28.2 million (28th) 

How odd is it for the Dodgers to be the Haves? Historically they've been so Have Nots, particularly vis a vis the New York Yankees. At the same time, just add it up. They have the second-most postseason appearances in MLB history (34), and the second-most number of pennants (21), one more than the Giants and two more than the Cardinals. Where they lack? This very thing. Titles. Rings. They have six, nothing to sneeze at, but that puts them sixth all-time, behind the Giants (8), Red Sox (9), Athletics (9), Cardinals (11), and, of course, the damn Yankees (27). 

The Rays have no titles. One of six teams with none: Rangers, Padres, Brewers, Mariners, Rockies. 

I think the saddest of the above comparisons is retired numbers, mostly because the Rays' retired numbers are just sad. Zimmer was a Rays coach for the 11 seasons before he died. And yes, he was great, a flamboyant baseball character, but better known for being on other teams. And ... coach? Not a manager? How many coaches have had numbers retired? But the worst is Boggs. Played all of two seasons with the Devil Rays, his last two seasons, where he accumulated a bWAR of 1.2.

And on the other side? Not just the left-hand of God, Sandy Koufax, but Jackie Robinson, a player whose impact on the game was so great his number has been retired by every Major League team. Including the Rays.

The most important comparison, though? 2020 win percentage. It's kinda close, and that's all that matters. Plus the Rays are younger and better rested. Plus they're the team that took out the Yankees, so ... respect.

I'm rooting for 7.

ADDENDUM: I guess I'm rooting for Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher of his generation who stumbles in the postseason. Last night, during Game 1, he didn't stumble. He gave up a hit to the first batter he faced, a walk to the third, and a homer in the Xth, but that was it. Good line: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 8-1 K/BB. Trouble is, he's had a lot of good lines in the post. Then the eruptions. I'm hoping for none the rest of the way. 

Posted at 06:52 AM on Tuesday October 20, 2020 in category Baseball   |   Permalink  

Monday October 19, 2020

Son of a Scalia

“Since Donald Trump entered politics, he has surrounded himself with grifters and figures of gross incompetence. [Secretary of Labor Eugene] Scalia is part of a smaller cohort: distinguished conservatives who have joined the Administration to advance their own ideological goals. A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where he edited the law review, and a partner at the white-shoe firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he has specialized in labor-and-employment law and administrative law, Scalia has an intellectual pedigree that most members of Trump's inner circle lack. Temperamentally, he has little in common with the bombastic President. Yet, like virtually everyone in the Republican Party, Scalia has chosen to view this Administration chiefly in opportunistic terms. His longtime agenda has been curtailing government, and at the Labor Department he has overseen the rewriting of dozens of rules that were put in place to protect workers. As the coronavirus has overrun America, Scalia's impulse has been to grant companies leeway rather than to demand strict enforcement of safety protocols.”

-- Eyal Press, “Trump's Labor Secretary Is a Wrecking Ball Aimed at Workers,” in The New Yorker. And yes, Eugene is the son of. Seriously depressing article. Make sure you read it.  

Posted at 12:56 PM on Monday October 19, 2020 in category Law   |   Permalink  

Sunday October 18, 2020

Joe Morgan (1943-2020)

When I was a kid growing up in Minnesota in the mid-1970s, the most imitated batting stances, in no particular order, were:

  • the sudden Killebrew crouch
  • Stargell's pinwheels
  • the Carew leanback
  • Joe Morgan chicken flap

I was in an AL city, there was no interleague play, but I saw Morgan and the Big Red Machine all the time. They were always in the thick of it, and Morgan, who died last Sunday, was one of their in-the-thick-of-it-iest players. Or was he? His overall postseason line isn't good: .182/.323/.348. Cf., Pete Rose: .321/.388/.440. Or Johnny Bench: .266/.335/.527. Both are better than their career numbers, Morgan's is way worse. I do like the leap from his awful BA to his pretty good OBP. That's so Joe. Here's a fun stat: In the 1976 NLCS against the 103-win Philadelphia Phillies, which the Reds swept, Morgan went hitless in three games: .000 BA. Guess what his OBP was? .462. Then he went on to win the 1976 World Series MVP in a four-game sweep of the Yanks, with a .333/.412/.733 line. That may have been one of the few postseason contests where I rooted for the Reds. I didn't like them. I liked Morgan and Bench and Tony Perez I guess, but my antipathy for Pete Rose trumped all.

Did we know how good Morgan was? Maybe a little. He was NL MVP two years in a row, '75 and '76, the stolid, sparkplug center of that insane lineup, so we kind of knew. But OBP wasn't yet a thing. Advanced measures weren't a thing. WAR wasn't a thing. There's a great story about Morgan's first spring training with the Reds after he was traded from the Astros in Nov. 1971 as part of an eight-player deal. He was practicing laying down bunts when Pete Rose yelled at him. “Hey, we don't do that shit here!” They didn't sacrifice. No, they took. Like Paul Muni, they stole, and Morgan wound up second to Lou Brock for most stolen bases in the 1970s. And they hit. And they hit with power. And that kind of atmosphere was exactly what Joe Morgan apparently needed.

Prior to the trade, he'd had some good seasons, particularly his 1965 rookie year (he finished second in the ROY voting) and 1971. But from '72 to '76, this is where Morgan ranked in terms of bWAR for position players in all of Major League Baseball—NL and AL:

  • 1972: first
  • 1973: first
  • 1974: second 
  • 1975: first
  • 1976: first

By bWAR, he's the 21st greatest position player of all time. He's ahead of Yaz, Clemente, Brett, Griffey Jr., Carew, Boggs, Kaline. He's ahead of Bench and Rose. I think we thought he was good; I just don't think we thought he was that good. 

So it's funny to note, as Joe Posnanski does in his obit, that Morgan hated bWAR. All the advanced stats showed what a great player he was and yet he hated all the advanced stats. You gotta smile.

Posted at 08:12 AM on Sunday October 18, 2020 in category Baseball   |   Permalink  

Saturday October 17, 2020

Voting Day

Tweeted this the other day:

That was ... Thursday? Just two days ago? Wow. Like everything in the Trump era, it seemed like forever. 

Yesterday evening, Friday evening, our ballots finally arrived. I was going to fill mine out with a glass of hopefully celebratory bourbon but instead waited until this morning with a cup of coffee. I remembered Election Night 2016, that horrible evening, when it suddenly seemed clear that Trump would win, and I immediately stopped drinking. I decided I needed to have my wits about me if I was living in a country dumb enough to elect Donald Fucking Trump president of the United States. So I wanted to send him out with that same feeling. This morning, sitting at my desk, The Stranger endorsements up online, and my Covid-era album, George Harrison's “All Things Must Pass,” playing, I had at it. I went federal office first, tackled the rest (maintain ... maintain ... fuck Tim Eyman, man), then walked both my wife's and my ballots over to the nearest ballot drop box—the one at Seattle Central on Broadway. I think I did that a few years ago? Maybe 2014? That one was a weekday evening and no one was around. This was a cool, drizzly Saturday morning, and in the span of two minutes I think I saw a dozen people drop off their ballots. Almost everyone smiling behind their face masks. It was a good feeling. 

Other differences? I added my email address on the back of the envelope in case there were questions. And I kept the “Remove this stub” stub so I can track the ballot and make sure it's counted. I know Washington isn't a focus but I trust nothing about this guy. 

Again, it felt good. Keep it up. Vote. Assume nothing. Seventeen days.

It's not always going to be this gray.

Posted at 12:11 PM on Saturday October 17, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Friday October 16, 2020

Sasse-ing Trump

'What the heck were any of us thinking, that selling a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?“

Yes. What the heck were any of you thinking? 

For the past four years, Ben Sasse, U.S. Senator from Nebraska, always seemed like one of those potentially reasonable Republicans who might speak up about the damage Donald Trump is doing to the executive branch, the federal government, American democracy itself. Might is the key word there. He always sounded like he might say something ... and then he wouldn't. And disasters would continue apace.

Three weeks before the 2020 election, during a telephone town hall with constituents (Sasse is running for re-election, too), he finally let loose. Highlights:

  • On COVID: ”He refused to treat it seriously. For months, he treated it like a news-cycle-by-news-cycle P.R. crisis.“ Trump's leadership during the crisis wasn't ”reasonable or responsible, or right.“
  • ”The way he kisses dictators' butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uighurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He hasn't lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong Kongers.“
  • ”The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor.“
  • ”He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors,“ he added. ”His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He's flirted with white supremacists.“

About fucking time. Imagine holding all this in for years. For years

And why is he talking now? Apparently it's the fear of a blue tsunami. It's less the damage Trump is doing to the country, in other words, than the damage he's doing to the GOP:

[Sasse] predicted that a loss by Mr. Trump on Election Day, less than three weeks away, ”looks likely,“ and said that Republicans would face steep repercussions for having backed him so staunchly over four tumultuous years.

”The debate is not going to be, 'Ben Sasse, why were you so mean to Donald Trump?'“ Mr. Sasse said, according to audio obtained by The Washington Examiner and authenticated by The New York Times. ”It's going to be, 'What the heck were any of us thinking, that selling a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?'"

Welcome to the party, pal. Looking forward to those steep repercussions. 

Posted at 08:10 AM on Friday October 16, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  

Monday October 12, 2020

Movie Review: These Wilder Years (1956)


I couldn’t help but think of “Public Enemy.” And not because the movies are similar.

In an early scene, Steve Bradford (James Cagney), the CEO of a Detroit steel company, walks through his office and into a board meeting. The area is carpeted, bland, airless, sterile. There’s no life in it. There was always life and grit in the sets of early Warner Bros. movies, and this is the opposite of that. I actually thought of the offices of bosses in ’60s TV sitcoms. It was like Mr. Tate’s office on “Bewitched.” I think of the difference between Putty Nose’s backroom and Mr. Tate’s office and wonder how American went so wrong.

But that’s just the beginning. You really see the difference with the Cagney character.

Before he walks into the board meeting, Bradford asks his secretary who’s in there, and she tells him—to a  man—and he compliments her on her great memory. The exchange is brief but irrelevant. You wonder why they kept it. It moves nothing forward.

Then he’s on an airplane, and an entire high school football team is on the same flight with him, which is odd in itself, and he’s seated next to the guy who, yes, lost the big game by dropping the ball in the end zone (Tom Laughlin, in his film debut). So he dispenses fatherly advice: “You ever hold onto any?” “Yeah. Plenty.” “Try to remember those.” And sure, you get why that’s in there. It’s a metaphor. It’s foreshadowing. Steve dropped a big one 20 years ago when he walked out on his pregnant girlfriend, and that’s why he’s traveling back to his hometown. He’s trying to rectify his mistake. But the airplane conversation is more than that. Because it keeps happening.

From the airport, he takes a cab and sits in the front seat like a regular joe, and he and the toothless cabbie talk, and Steve gives him a big tip so the guy can get himself some new chompers. At the orphanage, he throws a ball back to kids playing in the field, then dispenses advice to Suzie (Betty Lou Keim), the 16-year old pregnant girl: “Don’t cry about tomorrow, he says. “Wait til it’s yesterday.” She takes a shine to him, as does the head of the orphanage, Ann Dempster (Barbara Stanwyck), who should know better. I mean, she should really know better. It’s not just the boy he was, it’s the man he became. Because as determined as he was to leave his son back then, he’s now just as determined to find him. He all but threatens Ann.

Steve: I’ve got a lot of two things: time and money. And I’ll use either one or both. Whatever it takes. You know, I could’ve sent somebody to do this for me. And they’d have gone about it quite differently.
Ann: How?
Steve: Bought it. Bought the records, the court, maybe even this place. Maybe even you.
Ann: What in the world would you do with me?
Steve: Take you to dinner. How about it?

That pivot is such bad writing. He mentions buying her, then segues into buying her dinner? Like it’s charming? But it works, of course. Because movies. At the least, she invites him to her place for dinner, but there’s an emergency so it’s just Steve and Suzie, and … Wait. So Ann Dempster, the head of this orphanage, leaves a 16-year-old pregnant girl alone with a strange man who abandoned his child 20 years ago? That doesn’t seem so smart. But I guess it’s OK because he’s a famous CEO? Suzie gives him a drink and the Evening Gazette but he’d rather hang with Suzie in the kitchen. They talk. He asks her about her, which leads to how she wound up 16 and pregnant, and she cries, and he dispenses more advice, and by the time Ann shows up he’s sent Suzie to the movies while he’s drying the dishes—“Paying for my supper,” he says. A regular joe. And that keeps happening. There’s all these little bits in there, nudging us, until it finally hits you: Ahhh. They want us to like him. And that’s where the real contrast with “Public Enemy” comes in.

In “Public Enemy,” Cagney plays a low-level gangster who shoves a grapefruit in a woman's face and chillingly kills his old mentor, Putty Nose, in cold blood, and yet Warner Bros. constantly has to remind us: You’re not supposed to like this guy. They put up disclaimers before and after. They called him a problem that “we, the public, must solve.” And all for naught. Because we still like him. Martin Scorsese calls Cagney in “Public Enemy” the birth of modern acting because he was so vibrant and real. He has an energy and an honesty. And yet here he is 25 years later, and now it’s MGM, not Warner Bros., but they’re doing everything they can to make us like this guy ... and it doesn’t work. It sets you back on your heels. They tried to get us to like Jimmy Cagney … and couldn’t do it.

What’s the difference?
Why did he make it? Cagney and his wife adopted two children so maybe that’s partly why this story appealed to him. His biographer, John McCabe, also mentions that Cagney liked his experience with MGM in “Tribute to a Bad Man” and quickly agreed to follow up with this one. He also gets to play white collar rather than blue, and rich rather than not, and contrite rather than sneering, so maybe all that appealed, too. But I doubt he thought much of it. It’s one of the few movies of his he doesn’t mention in his memoir. At all. Not a whisper. 

It’s his only movie with Barbara Stanwyck. It’s kind of funny watching Public Enemy and Baby Face being the upstanding adults in postwar America. The ’50s were the era when Hollywood discovered teenagers—parents were staying home with the TV—and here they pair stars from the previous generation with the up-and-comers. The movie is the debut of not only Laughlin but Michael Landon, as well as the first credited role for Dean Jones. Most of these guys have bit parts, though. I didn’t even catch Landon, to be honest. The up-and-comers are Keim and Don Dubbins as Mark, Steve’s 20-yeaar-old son, who’d also been in “Tribute to a Bad Man,” and wound up with a good journeyman career: 123 credits until his death in 1991. Keim, though, didn’t make it out of the ’50s. She nabbed a few more roles, than nabbed a husband—Warren Berlinger, who also had a good journeyman career—and she called it quits. Her last role was in the TV series “The Deputy” in 1960.

So, dilemma: Cagney wants to see the son he abandoned, Stanwyck is polite but reminds him, “The adoption laws are very strict”; and that’s the battle for most of the movie. And for all the effort of director Roy Rowland and screenwriters Ralph Wheelwright and Frank Fenton to show us Cagney’s a regular guy, they never give him reason enough for abandoning the boy or seeking him out now. The opposite:

Ann: Why did it take you so long?
Steve: Because it took a long time to get what I wanted.
Ann: And now you’ve got what you wanted.
Steve: Yeah. I got it. And something else. I got older. And I got lonely.

That’s it? Good god, Tom Powers is a picture of responsibility in comparison. Steve is even worse when explaining to the high-powered SCOTUS lawyer he brings in. James Rayburn (Walter Pidgeon) asks the same question, “What took you so long?” and at first Steve simply replies “What’s the difference?” before adding, impatiently, “Shall we say, I was busy? That enough?” The lawyer then finds a loophole, they take Ann to court, and Steve plays the victim. For a scene or two. This forces Ann to produce the original 1936 adoption papers in which the younger Steve turns out to be a major asshole:

Mr. Bradford said he would not assume any responsibility toward Emily Haver or the baby. That he would not marry the girl. He said he would not pay anything toward the expense of her confinement and that it was none of his business how she got along. He said to the welfare representative and before the witnesses, “Why do you say I’m the father of the child? It could be any one of 16 other guys.”

Classy. Pidgeon in his last MGM role is even-toned and well-cast. I like what he says to Steve after the judge dismisses the case: “You gambled that there are people who wouldn’t do unto you what you would do unto them.” But it’s Stanwyck who gets the best lines: “We all make our beds and have to lie in them, whether we sleep or not. Isn't that all there is to it?” And when Steve seems to dismiss her as an idealist dreamer who has sacrificed her life, she responds, “No, I didn’t. This is my life.”

Forgive me?
After Steve is foiled in court, the rest of the movie tumbles into place. Outside the courtroom, Ann tells him that Suzie had an accident and is in the hospital asking for him. Because he’s such a great guy, I guess. So he goes, helps out, she has the baby, and in the afterglow of all that he does what any man would do: He goes bowling. And that’s when Mark shows up; and in the bowling alley, then the adjacent café, then out on the street, the two have several long, pained conversations, in which Mark admits to hating him at times and admiring him at times, and Steve looks variously uncomfortable and tortured and apologizes without apologizing. He says: “Look, what does a man say? What do I say? I’m sorry? Forgive me?” Sure. But try it without the question mark, dick.

It’s not just that he’s not a good person; Cagney’s acting isn’t good, either. Or it’s not interesting. You used to never be able to say that about him. In the end, Steve asks if there’s anything Mark needs, and Mark, the calm, responsible one, says “I needed this tonight. Just this,” and sticks out his hand. I like that Steve looks pained here, as if thinking: “Goodbye? So soon?” Or that he wanted to hug him but has to settle for a handshake. And then Mark walks away, while Steve paces, head down, and finally looks up to see his biological boy walking away in the distance and says quietly, “So long, son.” And the camera pulls back so we see a lone man on a lonely street corner. 

And we have six minutes left in this thing.

What happens? Why he adopts Suzie, of course. Or I think that’s what happens. Seems odd, since I don’t think her parents have cut her off or anything. But he goes home with her and the baby—a man who’s suddenly both father and grandfather all at once.

It’s definitely a movie of its time: a weepy ’50s melodrama—Douglas Serk without the artistry, and without a person in color in sight. Among its working titles were “Somewhere I’ll Find Him,” “All Our Yesterdays” and “All Our Tomorrows.” All bad. They went with “These Wilder Years,” says John McCabe, “for no discernible reason.”

Posted at 09:22 AM on Monday October 12, 2020 in category Movie Reviews - 1950s   |   Permalink  

Sunday October 11, 2020

No-Name Rays Topple Big-Name Yanks

Read the body language: Chapman: Uh oh; Brosseau: Oh, yeah.

And here endeth the lesson. And the Yankees' season.

And the Tampa Bay Rays have joined the pantheon! 

I don't have cable, because Comcast, and I don't subscribe to MLB TV because it's not user-friendly and doesn't allow you to watch your home team. So in normal years I usually go to my local bar, Quarter Lounge, and watch postseason games there. It's a fun crowd. Well, this isn't a normal year, and if Covid hadn't ended the Quarter Lounge then redevelopment already would have. It was scheduled to go under the wrecking ball in August. Not sure when I was last at the QL. February? I left not knowing I would never be back.

Long way of saying I “watched” the do-or-die Game 5 of the ALDS between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees via's play-by-play gamecast. I expected to watch just a little of it, but I was editing copy, and it was a good background image, and oddly riveting. The Yankees' $324 million pitcher, Gerrit Cole, aquired in the off-season, started on three-days rest for the first time in his career and seemed to be flubbing it. In the first innning he scattered two walks and a HBP to load the basess but got out of the jam. Still I was looking at his pitch count—something like 26 pitches that inning—and was hoping for a quick exit. But he settled down. Bottom of the second, he struck out the side. Bottom third, 2 Ks and a popout. You went back to the first and realized nobody had hit the ball out of the infield yet. That wouldn't happen until the bottom of the fourth, which would've been another 1-2-3 inning save an E-6. So he still had the no-hitter going. 

Meanwhile, in the top of the fourth, Aaron Judge sliced a leadoff homer to right. 1-0, Yanks. 

The Rays answered in the bottom of the fifth: Austin Meadows hit one to right, Judge had a bead on it, leaped, and crashed his head into padding that was overhanging the wall. Home run! I'm no Yankees fan, by any means, but the overhang thing seems way stupid. Guys have been leaping and bringing back homeruns forever, and it's a great highlight, and this impedes that. It's dangerous. I hope the Judge is OK.

But that made it 1-1. Rays kept using pitchers for two, two-plus innings. Their no-name squad. Someone really needs to do a “Moneyball” on the Rays org. Year after year, with no money and barely a fan base, they compete and thrive. Would love to see how they do it. (Here's the beginning of an answer from Eno Harris at The Athletic.)

In the sixth, Yankees got two on but didn't score. In the sixth, Rays chased Cole and got two on and didn't score. Just one baserunner in the seventh (Mike Zunino, E-5) for both teams. Top of the eighth, Judge walked but didn't move. And that set up the bottom of the eighth.

With one out, while Mike Brosseau battled Aroldis Chapman, I thought, idly, hopefully, “Hey, a run here and the Yanks will be three outs from the end of their season. Wouldn't that be great?” Brosseau wasn't even a starter. He's 26, this is his second year in the Majors, and he's had fewer than 250 plate appearances career. I guess he's brought in to face lefties. He's got exactly as many plate appearances against lefties as righties (120 for each) but his OPS against lefties is higher by 200 points. He's got 11 career homers—eight against lefities.

Chapman is a lefty. 

If Brosseau was known for anything it was a Chapman incident last month. The Yankees had been losing to the Rays all year, but they had a 5-3 lead with two outs in the ninth on Sept. 1 when Chapman threw a 101-mph at Brosseau's head. Yes, at his head. It was a punk move, and when Brosseau struck out to end the game, apparently the Yanks engaged in some trash talking—another punk move—and benches cleared. It wasn't the beginning of the bad blood but it was a nasty part of it.

So that was the background; that was the history. Friday, Chapman got him 0-2 quickly, then Brosseau worked it to a 3-2 count, and kept battling. Here's the full at-bat, the 10-pitch at-bat. Chapman was battling, too. Only one of the balls was obviously a ball. The others were just off the plate. A worse umpire might've called them strikes. But Brosseau worked it and worked it and worked it. And on the 10th pitch he went deep. As longtime Yankee left-fielder Brett Gardner positioned himself to grab it if it bounced off the wall, it landed and rattled around about two rows deep in the empty Covid-era seats. If I'd been at the QL, I would've been going crazy. I would've been high-fiving guys. Instead, I just walked into the living room, where Patricia was watching one of her shows, and said, with a stupid smile on my face, “The Rays are ahead.” 

But still the ninth. The middle of that lineup. Giancarlo Stanton, who's had, what, six homers this postseason, led off, and reliever Diego Castillo started out 2-0. Yikes. Then three straight strikes. All looking. Shades of Carlos Beltran. Next up, Luke Voit, who led the Majors in homers this year. K inserted, as a famous, departed announcer once said. That left Yanks 3B Gio Ursella, who'd had a good season and a bad postseason. And he didn't throw away his shot. First pitch, he rifled it toward left field—but 3B Joey Wendle leaned to his right and speared it. And the celebrations began. These kids deserve more. They deserve crowds. Maybe next year.

Biut now we can add the Rays to the pantheon of teams that have knocked out the mighty New York Yankees and helped us all sleep a little better. Since 2001:

  • D-Backs, Angels, Marlins, Red Sox, Angels (2)
  • Tigers, Indians, n/a, 27, Rangers
  • Tigers (2), Tigers (3), n/a, n/a, Astros
  • n/a, Astros (2), Red Sox (2), Astros (3), Rays

Welcome to the party, pals. Carey, start spreading the news. 

Posted at 10:11 AM on Sunday October 11, 2020 in category Yankees Suck   |   Permalink  

Saturday October 10, 2020

Trump, and the Worse Devils of Our Nature

“When our leaders encourage domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit. And when a sitting president stands on a national stage refusing to condemn white supremacists and hate groups, as President Trump did when he told the Proud Boys to ”stand back and stand by“ during the first presidential debate, he is complicit. Hate groups heard the president's words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry. As a call to action. ... 

”Instead of uniting the country, our president has spent the past seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, and fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division. He has proved time and again that he is more focused on his chances in the upcoming election and picking fights with me and Democrats across the country than he is on protecting our families, front-line workers and small businesses from covid-19.

“As a result, at least 212,000 Americans are dead. More than 60 million have filed for unemployment. And still, the president has not developed a national strategy on testing, protective medical equipment or masks.”

-- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who was the target of a plot by 13 men to kidnap and kill her because she tried to keep her state safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and was demonized by Trump and right-wing media for doing so. In an Op-Ed in The Washington Post 
encouraging unity.

Twenty-four days away from Nov. 3.

Posted at 12:29 PM on Saturday October 10, 2020 in category Politics   |   Permalink  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard