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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

And the Stream goes on ...

File under either "WTF?" or "Those Crazy Malaysians …"

Wow! Here's the kind of thing that makes it harder on all of the rest of us. I guess our word isn't good enough any more. Like the guy who ruins your gesture of a Valentine's Day bouquet of flowers by filling his lover's room with roses. Kinda. Then again, this perhaps goes beyond that analogy. Miracles of surgery aside, this is just stupid, and reminds me of certain mid 1980s Sam Kinison sketches … "Going away for the weekend with the guys? Well, I guess you won't be needing [pop!] this, then will you?" Ouch.

In other news ...

long regional nightmare is over. The resolution isn't what most of us pined for, but at least we don't need to see Roger Clemens' fat head on local sports reports any longer.

Globe Blogger Eric Wilbur
makes many good points, including the prediction that we'll now begin hearing Dontrell Willis' name once every 33 seconds until we reach the trading deadline. But, Wilbur most reassuringly writes that, when someone is in trouble, he needs to first look within himself:

Meanwhile, in Triple-A, the Sox already possess a pair of promising 22-year-old pitchers: Lefty Jonathan Lester, who has rebounded from a difficult spring and is now 3-4 with a 2.98 ERA for Pawtucket, and Craig Hansen, the one-time closer of the future who has started three games with the PawSox. In his last outing over the weekend, Hansen allowed just one hit over four innings.

Yes. Phenom Watch a go-go! Two stoppers in the wings, and tonight we find out why the brass opted to call-up Sea-Dog David Pauley to fill David Wells' place in the rotation. Oh, what intrigue have we? Pauley last pitched for Portland on Saturday, pitching well before the Sea Dogs rolled-over for the Rock Cats (Minor League baseball fever …. Catch It!). The Press Herald observed of Pauley's performance:

Although Pauley wound up with the loss, he did so in commanding fashion. Fifteen of his first 16 pitches were strikes, and 64 of 93 overall. He opened with a strike against 24 of the 30 batters he faced.

Five times he set down the Rock Cats in order, and for the first time in 37 Double-A starts, he pitched through the eighth inning. His line: six hits, three earned runs, four strikeouts, one walk (only after three fouls on a full count) and 14 groundouts.

Sounds good … Meanwhile, Lester gets ready for his impending call-up, despite a mediocre outing last time out. Apparently, all wasn't bad:
Lester, the top prospect in the Boston farm system, had difficulty finding the strike zone last night (three walks, three strikeouts) and worked just one 1-2-3 inning, but showed composure in the fourth when he worked himself out of a bases-loaded jam.

Former Red Sox Jose Offerman (4-for-5, 2 RBI, 2 runs) led off the inning with a single to right-center, then Michael Tucker followed with a single to left. Second baseman Jeff Keppinger drew a one-out walk to load the bases. But Lester struck out designated hitter Tagg Bozied and got catcher Joe Hietpas to line out to first to end the inning.

Craig Hansen apparently continues to pitch well as he prepares for whatever duty the big club asks him to perform in the second half. This despite his apparent concern over occasional lapses in control. As the Pro Jo reported:
When Hansen handed the ball over to Hertzler, he had given up just one hit and struck out three over his four innings of work. Throwing consistently in the mid-90s with more than half of his 70 pitches going for strikes -- including a third-strike slider to Anderson Hernandez that literally spun him around -- the 22-year-old right-hander's "stuff," in Johnson's estimation, was "electric."

But what Hansen couldn't get out of his mind after the game was the four walks he allowed.

"That's one thing I hate is just walking people," he said. "That's one of my pet peeves right there."

Electric!!! That's what we want. No comfort. Keep 'em hungry; no satisfaction is permitted.

At least the Clemens story is now official dead. It got so tiring, so quickly. I think it was best explained in this
strong parody of Mr. Gammons' role in the foolishness. Excuse the Myspace link, and please avoid any page views of the sassy vixens and such. They're all 45 year old guys … not that I'd know or anything. Wait … what … I may have typed too much …

The Herald's Tony Masserotti tried to
see the glass as half full in spite of the evidence, writing last night that rumors about Roger Clemens' agreement in principle to pitch in Houston this year were unfounded. Sure! The Red Sox only remaining hope to that point was:
Even before the season began, sources familiar with Clemens’ thinking said he would watch the teams closely because he had an interest in pitching only for a club with a legitimate chance at winning the World Series.

Yeah. Doubtful. Even if the Red Sox had a legitimate shot, Clemens and the Hendricks Brothers never had any inclination to put him in anything other than an Astros uniform this season. All of the gestures indicating Clemens would return to either Boston or New York provided nothing more than leverage for Hendricks A & B to bilk the Houston club out of ever more dollars.

Mazz, playing some kind of Jekyll & Hyde thing, this morning yielded that Clemens wasn't coming to Boston:
Clemens? Please. Don’t hold your breath. Agent Randy Hendricks and the Astros denied a report yesterday that Houston had agreed to terms with Clemens on a new contract, but we all know how this game works. When it comes to announcing deals, teams and agents want to make certain the ink is so dry it cannot smudge. Rain Man himself couldn’t be more anal retentive.

Ironically, for each additional penny wrenched from an already cash-strapped club, Clemens made it less likely that the 'stros will have any shot to make the playoffs, much less the World Series. In a division where the Reds are already doing it with smoke and mirrors and the Cardinals are likely to get serious at any second, there is little room for Houston to squeak its way into the mix – Rocket or no Rocket.

This whole story is, in the words of Angry L.A. Greg, shambolic. And yet, the news types keep pumping out the stories, and perpetuate the sham. Sad, sad!

In Other, Other News …

Some politicin' types are getting ahead of themselves, noting the strange confabulation that might arise if
Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House. Frankly, I suspect she will perform well in the post, hammering party members into submission and giving no quarter to the newly marginalized Republican minority. This New Republic's "The Plank" blog appears skeptical about a report in The Hillthat many Red State Democratic candidates are standing-by Pelosi despite fears that her loosely-liberal tongue might scare off magenta-tinged moderates. NY Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin is outright hostile to her continuing party leadership, noting, "Every time she opens her mouth, she threatens to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory."

Wonkette ponders the impact of denied trips to the plastic surgeon on the same votin' types. Heavens! As she notes, "With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?"

And Mr. President, you're
no Harry Truman!.

We Can't Get Enough of This Guy!

Frank Rich hammered on Al v. Hillary with his
classic flair (subscription required), on Sunday. Rich recognized that Gore is emerging as a man of conviction – what formerly endeared liberals to Hillary – just as Hillary's new fatal flaw is becoming apparent:
Mrs. Clinton does look like a weak candidate -- not so much because of her marriage, her gender or her liberalism, but because of her eagerness to fudge her stands on anything and everything to appeal to any and all potential voters. Where once she inspired passions pro and con, now she often induces apathy.

However, the good vittles in Rich's column focus neither on Hillary's weaknesses nor Al's global warming hub-bub, but on Al's overall political viability. Rich is far from convinced, or even flattering to Gore's RiverDance with a 2008 candidacy (at one point likening "An Inconvenient Truth" interchangeably as a Benetton ad and a "Live with Regis and Kelly" taping). But somewhere in here lies some compliment from New York's biggest harper:
… there are at least two strong arguments in favor of Mr. Gore. He was way ahead of the Washington curve, not just on greenhouse gases but on another issue far more pressing than Mrs. Clinton's spirited crusade to stamp out flag burning: Iraq.

An anti-Hussein hawk who was among the rare Senate Democrats to vote for the first gulf war, Mr. Gore forecast the disasters lying in wait for the second when he spoke out at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Sept. 23, 2002. He saw that the administration was jumping ''from one unfinished task to another'' and risked letting Afghanistan destabilize and Osama bin Laden flee. He saw that the White House was recklessly putting politics over policy by hurrying a Congressional war resolution before the midterm elections (and before securing international support). Most important, he noticed then that the administration had ''not said much of anything'' about ''what would follow regime change.'' He imagined how ''chaos in the aftermath of a military victory in Iraq could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.''

Take it as a compliment … even if it's delivered with the back of Frank's hand. And for the record, Frank, I'll similarly take this bit as a personal tribute:
He may not be able to pull off the Nixon-style comeback of some bloggers' fantasies, but by pounding away on his best issues, he could at the very least play the role of an Adlai Stevenson or Wendell Wilkie, patriotically goading the national debate onto higher ground.

Well, that's something to shoot for, eh? Forget about it. And why? Because Gore's opponent won't have the pop culture adoration that Ike bore in 1952 and 1956. Nor does any Republican sit in as comfortable seat as FDR sat in 1940, i.e. popularly supported war president.

But that's nitpicking, isn't it? I guess it's only necessary for me to suggest that Frank Rich is too skeptical and that Gore's vindication will arrive after his
movie comes in a close second to MI: 3 from now until mid-July. That will be the test.


Anonymous Buffalo Josh said...

There are positives to Gore remaining an outsider. In some ways he can do more good away from an office. He can make a case for the environment and not have to fall back on promises made for votes. I'd
compare it to Lance Armstrong and his increasing value in the war on
cancer. Armstrong is obviously popular enough and marketable enough that he could be a representative from Texas (I'd guess a landslide win). Once
he got caught up in that muck the whole get cancer effort might drift. As an outsider he can do a lot more and put a lot more pressure on the people confined by votes and resumes.

So...while I see the positive to Gore not running the negatives scare me. He has the one thing going for him that no other Democrat nationally can boast...he can win a popular vote. He already did it in 2000. He's southern
so he doesn't irk the wackos and even holds the potential to pull over some moderate Republicans.

He's the only candidate I can really look at and say "He can win". All the others are retreads or lightning rods for the opposition. I guess the ideal solution is for Gore to run but make no bones about it that he is running to turn around the environment. If he wins it is an issue he promised would be central to his presidency, and if he loses
he can quickly fall back to his outsider working to change things

I think he has to run.

2:44 PM

Anonymous Speedway Tim said...

I agree with you mostly, but I don't see that big of a change so far in the mainstream press people. I have at least three of them (John Dickerson/Slate, Matt Miller/Fortune and former Clinton White House guy, and Gwen Ifill/PBS) all do the same thing they did last time: "Well, I see he has some points, but he's a know it all nerd who is too pedantic." In other words they would slam him just like they did before.

Oh, and the crazies pity him and hate him. Let's recall this is a Southerner who didn't win one Southern state (except Florida), including his own.

Al Gore's biggest mistake was not using Bill Clinton in the South. Clinton would have won him Florida and Arkansas and saved me from W. His second biggest mistake was not fighting the news media's slurring of his positions. Democrats HAVE to fight back.

That said, I think you are dead on that he is the only guy who can win.

I say we form a political action committee and live off the kick backs And corruption!

Who is with me?!

2:48 PM

Anonymous Buffalo Josh said...

You mention Clinton ... I think he would be more valuable to a Gore Campaign than to a Hillary campaign. Campaigning for Gore he is an ex-president that can reach a cord with people emotionally.

On the other hand if he campaigns for Hillary it would be nothing but vitriol "sham marriage, Billary, killed drug dealers, Whitewater revisited" etc. If Gore is the nominee the best campaigner on the democratic side can actually participate. If Hillary is the nominee the best campaigner on the democratic side has to hide for weeks and show up occasionally to clap lovingly on stage for his wife while saying nothing.

2:50 PM

Anonymous Hanover John said...

The other thing - and I will say this knowing I will get beat up - is that Gore is too detailled for the mainstream to follow and understand ... Sure – we like him because we follow politics, read up on political issues and generally don't walk around with our heads up our arses ... but Gore does not give the succinct answers and furthermore he does not REPEAT them enough for the stupid and the contagious …

The one thing you can say about Bush is that once given a message - he will repeat it in every speech (even when he knows it is a lie) until every citizen has heard it at least 3 times. I saw a speech today on immigrant reform and the first 15 minutes was exactly the same as the speech he gave on Iraq 2 weeks ago and Tax relief 5 weeks ago.

3:03 PM

Anonymous Buffalo Josh said...

Separate point:

I may stand alone on this one but Roger Clemens is a buffoon.

Even worse are the Astros for allowing him to be a buffoon.

How does a guy that was saving himself for the post season pitch in the World Baseball Classic? How is he then not ready to throw April 1/May 1 if he was working out the whole time? Is he new to the league? Has the entire league changed during his 4 minute "please someone love me. Shower me with kisses. Adore me" retirement? Oops, I should type 2nd retirement. And why the heck now does he need 3 minor league starts? Doesn't that go against him "saving up his bullets" for games that matter? I hated him as a Yankee, and I loathe him as an Astro.

I hope the entire league lights him up like an electric chair. He even said he would have started the season at the normal time if it wasn't for all the know, like autographs, showing up for games, shagging fly balls, all those huge hassles. He doesn't even have to leave Houston yet he was hassled.

He's an idiot. The Astros are idiots for allowing him to do it, and I hope he goes 6-13 with a 5.65 era.

And I'm grateful to Yahweh that he is no longer a Yankee. Thank you Yahweh.

3:06 PM


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