Friday, April 25, 2003

YOU MAKE THE CALL
Bottom of the ninth, one run lead, bases loaded, one out.

Your best lefthanded reliever just gave up back to back walks (one semi-intentional) to load the bases. Righthanded batter coming up. Who do you bring in?

Well, if you're Tony La Russa, you bring in Cal Eldred, who has spent his entire career as a starter, has never been brought in to pitch in a situation like that before, and does not seem to be adjusting well to life in the bullpen. But he's righthanded.

Not surprisingly, Andruw Jones promptly hit a two-run single to win the game for the Braves.

Now, with Jason Isringhausen hurt, La Russa may not have had any better options. But the sad part is, the Cardinals had a good bullpen last year! They had Isringhausen, Dave Veres, Mike Crudale, Mike Timlin, Luther Hackman, and leter RIck White from the right side, and Steve Kline from the left.

But that's too imbalanced for La Russa, he likes to have more lefthanders so he can gain the slight platoon advantage by swapping between left and right handed relievers non stop in the final innings. It's enough to drive a viewer bonkers.

What's even more annoying about it is that the last two Cardinals' seasons have ended with a left-handed slap hitter (Tony Womanck then Kenny Lofton) driving in the winning run with a hit off the left-handed (and to be fair, usually very effective) Kline, despite Kline's vaunted platoon advatage. Might this be a clue that it's not as important as La Russa thinks.

Apparently not, since the Cardinals found it neccesary to completely revamp their perfectly good bullpen in order to have the requisite number of left-handers to enable La Russa's platoon gamesmanship. And we can see the results -- Cal Eldred being asked to come into the game in the ninth inning with men on base to get critical outs.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

REDEFINIG BIGOTRY
John Scalzi continues the quest to brand Rick Santorum as a bigot as follows:

Allow me to make the following suggestion to clear up the confusion, if in fact no one's done this before: Let's make concrete this distinction between desiring members of the same sex and actually having sex with them. Let's call the desire for members of one's own sex homophilia, and actually having sex with them homosexuality. Likewise, the desire for members of the opposite sex is heterophilia, while actually having sex with them is heterosexuality.
...
This is clarifying in a number of ways, but the most obvious advantage is that it helps pin people down. If "homosexual" simply means having sex with members of your own sex, then people like Santorum can no longer wiggle around saying "I have no problems with homosexuals." He will in fact have to admit he does have problems with homosexuals; the population he has no problem with is in fact the homophiliacs -- the relatively few ones that are heterosexual or asexual, that is. And that's not at all the same thing.

Santorum and others like him will no longer be able to deny that X is inseparable from X' -- In short, they'll have to admit their own bigotry, even to themselves. And what a refreshing change that will be

Except that if you redefine "homosexual" as those who engage in homosexual sex, then the statement "I have a problem with homosexuals" is not longer an expression of bigotry.

If someone were to say, "I have a problem with women," one could conclude that that person is sexist. However, if I redefine "woman" to mean "prostitute", then the sentence now has a different meaning altogether, and thus we can't draw the same conclusions.

In fact, this is quite clarifying. The "problem" is now based on that person's actions, "the content of their character" if you will, not a trait that is likely genetic in nature. Isn't this what we're supposed to be working towards? Seems to strange to call it bigotry.
MISSING THE POINT
On Santorum's recent comments, Andrew Sullivan writes:

Think about that: the number three Republican senator wants to allow the cops to police the bedrooms of straight couples to make sure there aren't any blowjobs. That's how far out there he is.

By that logic, any polictician who supports laws against incest "wants to allow the cops to police the homesto make sure nobody's sleeping with anyone they're not supposed to." Which, of course, was the point of what Santorium was saying.

Monday, April 21, 2003

NEW FORMAT IDEA
This discussion about the days of the all-Fray Breakfast Table has given me an idea for the blog -- instead of just posting whatever silly thoughts I have, I would have a dialogue with a different guest writer each week, about whatever they wanted to talk about.

Don't know if it'll work, but if you're interested in a "guest spot," drop me a line at the address over there.

Monday, April 14, 2003

SECRET OF BRAVES' SUCCESS?
Rob Neyer traces through how John Rocker's career went downhill. He pinpoints the trade to the Indians, rather than the controversial Sports Illustrated quotes, as the point where theings started to go downhill...

The answer, I think, is that he was lucky. And I think his luck just didn't hold after leaving the Braves. But he got unlucky in two ways. Not only did his luck not hold, but he went from being exceptionally lucky to being exceptionally unlucky. ... That said, if Rocker can still strike out 11 hitters per nine innings, he's probably worth a flyer. I'd like his chances a lot better if Leo Mazzone was again his pitching coach, though.

I tend to think it may have more to do with having Andruw Jones as the centerfielder than anything else. Quite simply, I think Andruw Jones is the most dominant defensive baseball player since Ozzie Smith.

It's kind of a joke to hear the Cardinals' announcers rave about what a great center fielder Jim Edmonds is. Edmonds is good, and makes a lot of spectacular plays, but he's not in the same class as Jones.

Friday, April 11, 2003

I SEE WHAT THE FRENCH WERE AFRAID OF
Fred Kaplan has an article laying out the changes the US military made to enable them to win this war.

I think there's a bigger factor, which is the impetus for change -- widespread information technology.

Robert Wright and others have been writing for some time about how the spread of information technology makes the world a more dangerous place. Terrorist cells no longer need a "base" of any kind, and fiery rhetoric and images can be spread throughout audiences that will react to it with terrifying results.

That may be true -- but I think it takes too narrow a look at what's going on. Before the war began, President Bush addressed some of his words to the Iraqi people and soldiers, and they heard him. Many Iraqi soldiers surrendered or abandoned their posts, likely thanks in part to their knowledge that they didn't stand a chance against the coalition forces, despite being flooded with propaganda to the contrary.

This, combined with precision-guided weapons, makes war significantly less terrifying and idea than it used to be. In fact, it could even result in a net reduction in killing.This is good news, since nobody likes killing, but possibly bad news because it makes warfare a less costly option, and thus more attractive.

This makes the US even more poweful. As information gets more perfect, fewer and fewer soldiers will be willing to take on the US military, even if their leaders want them to. This makes it much easier for the US to impose its will on the world, at little cost to itself.

Thus my title -- it is understandable that the French or other countries, would be wary of an excercise that makes the power of the US more apparent. The US must be extremely prudent in how it excercises this power. Because the only way to check it would be for the rest of the world to unite against it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

STRANGE SAMPLE
Wow, the the first mailbag column of the year from Rob Neyer did not include the words "sample size" anywhere in it.

The annual column where Neyer chastises his readers for making snap judgements on the small sample size of the first week of the season is practically a rite of Spring.

Maybe that's why the weather won't cooperate...
CASTING THE FIRST STONE
Reflecting on yesterday's Gospel, I got to thinking that a lot of those dissenting from the Holy Father's and bishops' judgement on the war in Iraq are using the suffering of the Iraqi people in the same way the Pharisees were using the prostitute. They didn't really care about her; they were using her sinfulness in order to get Jesus to sanction their violent solution to it.

In the same way, I don't think a lot of the folks expressing outrage about the terrible things Saddam does to his people would really give a darn about it if they couldn't use it to sanction the war we're facing now. But that's not enough -- they demand that the Holy Father bless this war, and say he's irrelevant if he does not.

But the Holy Father, like Jesus, refuses to see violence as the answer to sinfulness. And this refusal is not a dismissal or acquiescence to sin -- Jesus tells the woman to "refrain from this sin."

Maybe we should reflect on this before we ask the Holy Father and the bishops to bless our stone throwing.

Monday, April 07, 2003

DO ME A FAVOR
Slap me if, when someone brings some injustice to my attention, I ever respond with, "Well, where were you when this other injustice was going on?"

Slap me twice if the injustice that is being brought up is one carried out by an instutution I respect, and the injustice I bring up is or was being carried out by someone I consider a murderous thug.

Friday, April 04, 2003

"CHOICE"
A couple pieces on HMS blog show just how all this "choice" rhetoric plays in real life. I was especially moved by this response from a reader:

A timely story about our youth: My daughter attends a local public high school and is a freshman. She's a chorus geek and her friends (guys and girls) mostly come from that crowd. And a diverse crowd it is -- Muslim, staunch Presbyterian, assundry nominal and nondenom Protestants, Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic. They share many common traits, however -- moral, principled, articulate, loving, caring. A joy to be around. A few months ago, a classmate of theirs turned up pregnant (14). She got a
ration from the group about 'messing around with boys' -- and then they did what classmates do -- helped her keep up with her studies, included her at lunch, etc. These kids disapproved of what happened but were willing to support her through the pregnancy. Can't say the same for her parents. She disappeared for a week recently -- only to appear not pregnant. Not her idea but her parents thought is was best 'for her health.' As one kid put it, "The parents couldn't handle it -- thought her life was over. Can't they tell the difference between life-changing and life-ending???"

It seems like our kids are hungry for fruits and vegetables, and we're feeding them candy and soda because it's easier for us.

The Culture of Life holds the true path fulfillment, and it's what our children most deeply want. But instead, we're selling them "choice."

It's a terrible shame.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

AL JAZEERA
Interesting Slate piece on al Jazeera. I 've also bin a little it uncomfortable about how al Jazeera is portrayed as little more than a mouthpiece for Arab regimes. It has its biases, but so does the American media. The cheerleading tone of FNC's converage has made it almost unwatchable for me.

There's also this:

check out the most recent Lycos 50, a tally of the most-searched-for words and phrases on the Lycos search engine.


I can testify to that, as almost half the hits to this site have come from search engine queries on a misspelled versions of "Al Jazeera".

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

INSURING THE CULTURE OF DEATH
If you want to know if we live in a culture of death, take a look at what a typical medical insurance company covers and doesn't cover.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

NEW PROGRAM
I think a good name for this would be the "Allied program requiring inviting laymen For ordination of laity".
I AM NOW A HOMEOWNER
which may explain my paltry blog output.

I'll be back with my long-awaited baseball preview later.