Last Lancelot Links ended with this Q&A from David Simon of “The Wire,” and it's so good I decided to begin this Lancelot Links with it—in case you didn't get a chance to read it the first time around. Simon's view of the world is basically my view of the world—just, like, lots more articulate.
Tired of reading? Feeling like Chance the Gardener and just want to watch? Here's a joyous end-of-the-year video from Matt Shapiro (who's 17? Really?) on our 2009 cinematic moments. Nicely done, kid. I saw it via Jeff Wells' site and he had the audacity to complain it was a week late. Jeff wants his end-of-the-year celebrations before the end of the year—even though some of the best movies aren't released until the end of the year. And in most cities not even then. Two words for Jeff Wells: Chill the fuck out.
Opinionator subhed on The New York Times' site: “Is 'the system worked' this White House’s 'heckuva job, Brownie'?” Quick answers: 1) The former is about a disaster that didn't happen, the latter is about a disaster that did; 2) the former is something Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, the latter is something Pres. Bush said; 3) the former defended a bureaucratic system put in place by the Bush administration; the latter defended an incompetent and party loyalist. So my opinionator answer to the Times, and to Tobin Harshaw, who hasn't impressed me thus far, is no. The subhed, though, is an early candidate for most fatuous of the year. Heckuva job, Tobin.
In the Times', and Tobin's, favor, of course, the system didn't and doesn't work. I see old men made to take off their shoes and belts at airport security, and yet this guy, with all of the alarms he sets off, waltzes in with a bomb in his undies? But blaming Napolitano for one comment doesn't answer the question: What to do? How do we keep the system efficient and safe? I don't have answers. I just know fatuous when I hear it.
Via Rob Neyer's “Sweet Spot” column on ESPN.com, I saw this bizofbaseball.com piece on the spendiest MLB teams of the 2000s. Some highlights (or lowlights): Six of the 30 spent over $1 billion. The second-spendiest was...wait for it... the Boston Red Sox, who spent $1.3 billion. And the team who spent the most? Yeah: Your (or their) New York Yankees, who spent $1.87 billion. Quite a gap between 1 and 2. The thriftiest, or cheapest, was the Florida Marlins, whose $0.4 billion still got them a World Series title, but they're the anomaly. Most of the time, if you don't spend, you don't dance in October. The two spendiest teams are the only teams to have two titles in the decade.
Also via Neyer, who agrees with Jason Rosenberg's All About the Money (Stupid) piece blasting MLB Fanhouse writer Ed Price's headline: “No Rival to Red Sox in 2000s.” I agree the headline's silly, since the Red Sox had nothing but rivals. But I disagree with everyone who's given the meaningless title of “team of the decade” to the Yankees. Sure, based on the stats, the Yankees eke out the Red Sox—and blast by every other team. But baseball's not just about stats. It's about who's expected to win and who isn't, who pays to win and who doesn't, who wins all the time and who doesn't. The Red Sox are the team of the decade to me because they overcame not just a nearly 80-year legacy of operatic futility but they did so in a fashion no team's ever done. Down 3 games to 0 to the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, and behind in the ninth innng of Game 4, they managed to tie the game with a walk, a stolen base and a single, then win in extra innings on a David Ortiz homerun; then they won the next night in extra innings on a David Ortiz base hit; then they won behind the bloodied sock of Curt Schilling; then they tore the Yankees a new one in Game 7 for the greatest post-season comeback ever. Plus in their two World Series titles they never lost a game. They turned their franchise around entirely. The Yankees? Considering how they began the decade, considering how much money they spent, considering the history of their lofty franchise, they were actually kind of a disappointment. Besides, as everyone knows: Yankees suck.