10/12/2012 archive

2012 AL Division Series- Orioles at Yankees, Game 5

Alex Rodriguez benched for decisive Game 5 vs. Orioles

Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY Sports


4:02PM EDT October 12. 2012 – Alex Rodriguez’s epic playoff struggles compelled New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi to do what was once unthinkable: bench his $29 million third baseman.

Rodriguez’s track record in decisive games is about as bad as it can get: 0-for-13 in his career as a Yankee, dating to Game 7 of the 2004 AL Championship Series.

“I think he’s just going through a difficult time,” said Girardi, who said he made the decision at 1 p.m. on Friday and informed Rodriguez via telephone. “He’s meant a lot to our organization. But he’s struggled against right-handers in this series. So I made the decision to start Chavvy today.”

“It’s never about Joe,” Rodriguez said. “I always have to look in the mirror. I’ve got to do what I can do, whatever I can do, to help the team.

“Don’t assume that you’ve heard the last from us, or me.”

The Yankees Still Owe Alex Rodriguez $114 Million

Cork Gaines, Business Insider


If Alex Rodriguez were a free agent this off-season, would anybody give the aging slugger a $100 million contract? Would anybody even think about giving the 37-year-old a five-year deal?

Well, that is the scenario facing the New York Yankees who still owe ARod $114 million over the next five years. And that number goes up to $120 million if Rodriguez hits 13 home runs in 2013, matching Willie Mays’ 660 career home runs.

That’s a lot of money for a guy that has hit 34 home runs in the past two seasons, combined! That’s a lot of money for a player that is not even good enough to be in the lineup for tonight’s crucial win-or-go-home game five against the Orioles.

Live Analysis: A.L.D.S. Game 5, Orioles vs. Yankees

By JUSTIN SABLICH, The New York Times

October 12, 2012, 2:05 pm

Rodriguez is certainly not the only Yankees batter struggling mightily in this division series. Just look at these numbers from some of the team’s other power hitters.

Robinson Cano: 2 for 18, 0 HR

Curtis Granderson: 1 for 16, 0 HR

Nick Swisher: 2 for 15, 0 HR

With friends like these, what starting pitcher would feel good going into a must-win game?

In this particular case CC Sabathia (15 – 6, 3.38 ERA), who with Hiroki Kuroda are the Yankees’ only real Aces.  The Orioles will try and benefit from the implosion with Jason Hammel (8 – 6, 3.43 ERA).

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman; Triumph of the Wrong?

In these closing weeks of the campaign, each side wants you to believe that it has the right ideas to fix a still-ailing economy. So here’s what you need to know: If you look at the track record, the Obama administration has been wrong about some things, mainly because it was too optimistic about the prospects for a quick recovery. But Republicans have been wrong about everything.

About that misplaced optimism: In a now-notorious January 2009 forecast, economists working for the incoming administration predicted that by now most of the effects of the 2008 financial crisis would be behind us, and the unemployment rate would be below 6 percent. Obviously, that didn’t happen.

Why did the administration get it wrong? It wasn’t exaggerated faith in the power of its stimulus plan; the report predicted a fairly rapid recovery even without stimulus. Instead, President Obama’s people failed to appreciate something that is now common wisdom among economic analysts: severe financial crises inflict sustained economic damage, and it takes a long time to recover.

John Nichols: Richard Milhous Ryan: No Specifics, Just a ‘Secret Plan’

Richard Milhous Nixon said in 1968 that the war in Vietnam was the critical concern of that year’s presidential contest, the one issue that had to be addressed by the candidates.  And he addressed it with a “secret plan” to end the war. No details during the campaign, the Republican nominee for president explained; voters just needed to trust him and he would cut the right deals once elected.

Paul Ryan says in 2012 that budgeting to cut taxes for the rich while at the same time doing away with deficits is the critical issue of the presidential contest, the one that has to be addressed by the candidates.  And he addresses the issue with a “secret plan” to cut taxes and balance budgets. No details during the campaign, the Republican nominee for vice president explains; voters just need to trust him and he will cut the right deals once elected.

Michael Weisbrot: Why Chavez Was Re-elected

For most people who have heard or read about Hugo Chávez in the international media, his reelection on Sunday as president of Venezuela by a convincing margin might be puzzling.

Almost all of the news we hear about him is bad: He picks fights with the United States and sides with “enemies” such as Iran; he is a “dictator” or “strongman” who has squandered the nation’s oil wealth; the Venezuelan economy is plagued by shortages and is usually on the brink of collapse.

Then there is the other side of the story: Since the Chávez government got control over the national oil industry, poverty has been cut by half, and extreme poverty by 70 percent. College enrollment has more than doubled, millions of people have access to health care for the first time and the number of people eligible for public pensions has quadrupled.

Tracy Bloom: Romney’s ‘Etch A Sketch’ Abortion Positions

GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney “reaffirmed” his staunch pro-life abortion position on Wednesday, saying his stance on the hot-button issue hasn’t changed. At least not since he became pro-life midway through his political career.

Like on many issues-taxes, health care, stem-cell research, minimum wage, immigration reform, etc.-Romney has flipped-flopped positions in a seemingly concerted effort to appeal to a certain ideological group of voters. This is not an earth-shattering revelation by any stretch of the imagination, as evidenced during the presidential primary when his Republican rivals challenged him on his evolving abortion stance. And after Romney suggested Tuesday that abortion-related legislation would not be a major part of his presidency, he was forced once again to clarify his position.

“I think I’ve said time and again. I’m a pro-life candidate. I’ll be a pro-life president,” Romney said Wednesday, attempting to convince social values conservative voters once again, perhaps for the final time, that he’s their man.

E. J. Dionne: Sherrod Brown’s Lessons for Obama

If anyone can testify to the problem of giving really rich people a chance to tilt the political playing field, it’s Sen. Sherrod Brown.

A proud labor-populist, Brown seems to invite the hostility of wealthy conservatives and deep-pocketed interest groups. The amount they have spent to defeat him went somewhere over $20 million this week.

Brown can live with that. His uncompromising advocacy on behalf of workers, toughness on trade, and progressive policies on a broad range of other issues have allowed Brown to build a formidable organization across Ohio, and a large cadre of small donors.

David Sirota: A GOP Shift on Taxes?

When it comes to tax policy, Mitt Romney is not merely a spinner, an equivocator or a run-of-the-mill dissembler. He’s a liar. Hyperbolic and overwrought as that label seems, it is, alas, the only accurate description for someone who would, in February, promote a proposal to cut taxes “on everyone across the country by 20 percent, including the top 1 percent” and then appear at an October debate and insist that the very same proposal “will not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans.”

For the most part, analyzing such hideous dishonesty is where political reporting has started and stopped. How big a liar is Romney? Was he lying in the first statement or the second one? These are, no doubt, important questions-and to answer but one of them, it’s obvious Romney was lying in the most recent one. As the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center reported, the Republican nominee’s proposal, if enacted, would “result in a net tax cut for high-income tax payers and a net tax increase for lower- and/or middle-income taxpayers.”

However, critical as such short-term fact checking is, it misses the much bigger news embedded in all the subterfuge. In short, it misses the genuinely mind-boggling fact that a Republican nominee for president is now campaigning for president on a promise to not cut taxes on the wealthy.

On This Day In History October 12

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 12 is the 285th day of the year (286th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 80 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1810, Bavarian Crown Prince Louis, later King Louis I of Bavaria, marries Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

The Bavarian royalty invited the citizens of Munich to attend the festivities, held on the fields in front of the city gates. These famous public fields were named Theresienwiese-“Therese’s fields”-in honor of the crown princess; although locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wies’n.” Horse races in the presence of the royal family concluded the popular event, celebrated in varying forms all across Bavaria.

Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and the world’s largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modelled after the Munich event.

The Munich Oktoberfest, traditionally, takes place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October. In 1994, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival will go on until October 3 (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the first Sunday is October 2 and 18 days when it is October 1. In 2010, the festival lasts until the first Monday in October, to mark the 200-year anniversary of the event. The festival is held in an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called Wiesn for short, located near Munich’s centre.

Visitors eat huge amounts of traditional hearty fare such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezn (Pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Kasspatzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).

First hundred years

In the year 1811, an agricultural show was added to boost Bavarian agriculture. The horse race persisted until 1960, the agricultural show still exists and it is held every four years on the southern part of the festival grounds. In 1816, carnival booths appeared; the main prizes were silver, porcelain, and jewelry. The founding citizens of Munich assumed responsibility for festival management in 1819, and it was agreed that the Oktoberfest would become an annual event. Later, it was lengthened and the date pushed forward, the reason being that days are longer and warmer at the end of September.

To honour the marriage of King Ludwig I and Therese of Bavaria, a parade took place for the first time in 1835. Since 1850, this has become a yearly event and an important component of the Oktoberfest. 8,000 people-mostly from Bavaria-in traditional costumes walk from Maximilian Street, through the centre of Munich, to the Oktoberfest. The march is led by the Münchner Kindl.

Since 1850, the statue of Bavaria has watched the Oktoberfest. This worldly Bavarian patron was first sketched by Leo von Klenze in a classic style and Ludwig Michael Schwanthaler romanticised and “Germanised” the draft; it was constructed by Johann Baptist Stiglmaier and Ferdinand von Miller.

In 1853, the Bavarian Ruhmeshalle was finished. In 1854, 3,000 residents of Munich succumbed to an epidemic of cholera, so the festival was cancelled. Also, in the year 1866, there was no Oktoberfest as Bavaria fought in the Austro-Prussian War. In 1870, the Franco-Prussian war was the reason for cancellation of the festival. In 1873, the festival was once more cancelled due to a cholera epidemic. In 1880, the electric light illuminated over 400 booths and tents (Albert Einstein helped install light bulbs in the Schottenhamel tent as an apprentice in his uncle’s electricity business in 1896). In 1881, booths selling bratwursts opened. Beer was first served in glass mugs in 1892.

At the end of the 19th century, a re-organization took place. Until then, there were games of skittles, large dance floors, and trees for climbing in the beer booths. They wanted more room for guests and musicians. The booths became beer halls.

In 1887, the Entry of the Oktoberfest Staff and Breweries took place for the first time. This event showcases the splendidly decorated horse teams of the breweries and the bands that play in the festival tents. This event always takes place on the first Saturday of the Oktoberfest and symbolises the official prelude to the Oktoberfest celebration

In the year 1910, Oktoberfest celebrated its 100th birthday. 120,000 litres of beer were poured. In 1913, the Braurosl was founded, which was the largest Oktoberfest beer tent of all time, with room for about 12,000 guests.

I have very fond memories of Oktoberfest. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Europe, do it in late September because this is a must see and experience.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Cross posted from Docudharma

Illegal immigration in America started on October 12, 1492 when Christopher Columbus bumped into an island in the Bahamas thinking he found the western route to India. We all know how that turned out.

The history of the treatment of Native Americans by the illegal immigrants from Europe is abominable and continues to this day. Of the over 500 treaties the United States government signed with Native American tribes, the government has broken or violated every one. That’s quite a foreign policy record.

Twenty-two years ago South Dakota renamed the second Monday in October Native American Day in honor of the indigenous people who suffered near-annihilation after Columbus opened doors to the New World. This is how Native Americans commemorate the day:

Diana King is an enrolled member of the White Earth Indian Nation in northern Minnesota. For the last 12 years, she has taught at the Waubun High School, which is located on a reservation. “Columbus Day is a chance to teach about who we once were, what has become of us since Europeans arrived on our shores and who we are today – a struggling but surviving people,” King says.

Each October, King creates a bulletin board that illustrates a rich display of indigenous life on the American continents circa 1492.[..]

“I want teachers to teach more about Indian civilization just like they do with Egyptian or European history,” she says. “Our … history did not begin with Christopher Columbus.” [..]

“Even though 70 percent of our students are Native, most of our teachers are non-Indian,” she says. “When I started here there were no Ojibwe language classes and there was no after-school program for Native students. Working with teachers to help educate them about our students about their culture and the issues they face living on the reservation is critical to promoting success.” [..]

“We should have been wiped out,” she says. “It’s a miracle Native people still exist. I have never liked the word ‘conquered.’ We are still here after 500 years. And maybe every time Columbus Day comes around, we should rethink who the real heroes are: the explorer or the survivors?”

On Columbus Day, Indigenous Urge Celebration of Native Culture & Teaching of the Americas’ Genocide

Also from Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman interviews Native American Activist Dennis Banks who shared his experiences and view about this day:

On “Columbus Day” – known to many as Indigenous Peoples Day – we’re joined by Dennis Banks, a legendary Native American activist from the Ojibwe Tribe. In 1968, he co-founded the American Indian Movement. A year later, he took part in the occupation of Alcatraz Island in California. In 1972, he assisted in AIM’s “Trail of Broken Treaties,” a caravan of numerous activist groups across the United States to Washington, D.C., to call attention to the plight of Native Americans. That same year, AIM took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, D.C. In early 1973, AIM members took over and occupied Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for 71 days, which some have come to call Wounded Knee II. Earlier this year, he led a cross-country walk from Alcatraz to Washington calling for the release of imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Banks shares his thoughts about Columbus Day, the U.S. treatment of American Indians, and his own story of growing up in the BIA boarding school system.

Please sign the petition to President Barack Obama: Clemecy for Leonard Peltier.

Thanks to my friend Izzy, aka Black Eagle.

2012 AL Division Series- Tigers at As, Game 5

So, gritty bailed out Automobile City or Occupy gassing fascists.

Hmm… do like that song.

Allow me to remind you of Lesson #1– stay away from Verlander (17 – 8, 2.64 ERA).  Against him the As oppose Parker (13 – 8, 3.47 ERA).  One is a 130 pitch game winning machine, the other is pleased with his performance against the core of the Tigers’ line up.

And that latter story is what will control the Tigers’ fortunes tonight.  Their offense has been uncharacteristically poor this series.  Fielder has hardly hit at all and Triple Crown Winner Cabrera hasn’t had any runners to score.

Like the first game I expect a low scoring snoozefest the Tigers can easily lose if their bats don’t wake up.  I suspect Richard will hardly be able to stay awake until the final out even with the promise of Yeongam practice to follow.

This game will be broadcast on TNT.

Biden/Ryan Debate Open Thread

The unseen reader asks- “Is this it?  Is this all you’re going to do?  Don’t you realize this is a Manichean Ragnarok struggle between All That Is Good, Holy, and Pure against the Powers of Darkness and Evil!”


And I’m sure listening to all the play by play blather of the Villagers and their toadies and bootlickers will make you an ever so much more informed voter.

Normally I’d indulge you and force my bleeding eyes to gaze upon the ritual spectacle but you know…

it will all be there tomorrow.

Tonight there is a chill in the air and an impossibly green diamond in the middle of a sea of faces.  There is the crack of the bat and the thump of the glove, pristine white uniforms soon to be stained with effort.  High drama, low comedy, apple pie and Chevrolet.

Take me out to the Ball Game.

But if you can’t contain your outrage I’ve thoughtfully provided a space below.

Live Stream

2012 AL Division Series- Orioles at Yankees, Game 4

Well, forget the Orioles and the Playoffs because now it’s starting to get personal.

Just the way I like it.

Among my Yankee rooting friends and relatives the reaction to Ibenez’ substitution for ARod and subsequent hitting of both the game tying Home Run, boosting his formerly losing team into extra innings and game winning Home Run on the very first pitch of his next at bat has not only been universal, it has been unanimous.

Why is ARod playing for the Yankees?

Ok, so I’ve cleaned it up a little, seven letters divided into two words beginning with ‘t’ and ‘f’ usually are inserted between “Why” and “is”, but we try and keep it clean for the kiddies and I think you get the picture anyway.

Those people (aka Yankee fans) tend to focus on the depressing statistics- 12 post season at bats so far this year with 1 hit and 7 strikeouts to show for it.  ARod’s defenders, and there are a few, point out his regular season OPS (yes, I had to look it up) is 116 points higher tha Derek Jeter’s and over the stellar .900 or higher that “puts the player in the upper echelon of hitters.”  Even in post-season ARod is .011 ahead.

One of the flaws of this metric is that it doesn’t mention that the average OPS for all of Major League Baseball is .749 so ARod is a mere .196 better at all than just some random player.

Another flaw is that it ignores what every Yankees fan instinctively knows.  The Yankees are not a team built for succeeding in the regular season and making the Playoffs.  That is a given.  The Yankees are a team of greatness built to win World Series, and over time they’ve been remarkably good at meeting those expectations.

This is what George Steinbrenner, for all his faults, understood that the corporate beaureaucrats at CBS did not.  He was willing to do what ever it took within the rules of the game to deliver a consistently winning product.

And that is why ARod is still playing for the Yankees.  At the time of his acquisition he was an offensive force that in the hands of any other team would increase their competitive advantage against the Yankees.  As a Yankee he may be no asset or even a liability, but at least he’s not out there being a thorn in their side.  They paid and will pay way too much for any marginal contribution he has made and they’ll never be able to trade him because no team will take the contract of this washed up has been off their hands and because doing so would be to admit they made a mistake.

Did they make a mistake?  Perhaps, but if so one they can easily afford financially.  The question is whether the fans can stand to have him around anymore.

The Yankees also buy pitching and tonight they’re sending Phil Hughes (16 – 13, 4.23 ERA) against the Orioles Joe Saunders (9 – 13, 4.07 ERA) but it’s not about the Orioles, it never is until you beat the Yankees.

ARod will bat 5th.  Jeter will bat 1st as DH due to leg injuries from a foul tip.