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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

OTP 22 August 2017: The myth of baseball’s depoliticalization

The cornerstone of a democratic republic is civic engagement in service of civic virtue, to be aware of fellow citizens’ struggles and to doggedly fight injustice and oppression. In today’s America, much of this engagement is missing, and it is viewed less as a responsibility held by every citizen than the task of few professional groups. But when it comes to Nazism, it should be the duty of every person, doubly so for white people, to vociferously denounce the individuals and the ideals themselves, to stamp them down in every area of society. The silence of white MLB players is thus telling of the way baseball players in the past have interacted with politics and its relationship to the larger degradation of American democracy.

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 22, 2017 at 07:43 AM | 321 comment(s)
  Beats: politics

Monday, August 14, 2017

OTP 14 August 2014: The American Pastimes of Rock ’n’ Roll, Baseball and Poetry

Maybe poetry and politics don’t mix. “I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of American liberty lighting the world,” said Stephen Miller, a White House senior adviser, when he was challenged, recently, about the Trump administration’s proposal to restrict immigration. “The poem that you’re referring to was added later. It’s not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty.”

The poem, “The New Colossus,” was written by Emma Lazarus, who is being celebrated at the 92nd Street Y with works by 19 young poets inspired by her words. While the text wasn’t finally affixed to the base of the statue until 1903, the poem was commissioned in 1883 — three years before the statue opened — to raise money for the pedestal. Speaking of poems, more than 700 commercial, university and independent presses have contributed 3,000 items to the 2017 Poets House Showcase through Aug. 26 at Poets House in Battery Park City.

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 14, 2017 at 07:18 AM | 3273 comment(s)
  Beats: politics

Monday, August 07, 2017

OTP 7 August 2017: Women’s Rights, Baseball And Politics: 12 Talks Not To Miss At Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival

“Tweets, Leaks, and Turmoil: Covering the Trump White House”

This sold-out opening panel (the only event that requires paid tickets) features the subject that has embroiled the nation and every corner of social media: the White House.

Ashley Parker (Washington Post) and Glenn Thrush (New York Times), highly regarded White House correspondents from dueling papers, will discuss covering the administration in a period of uncontrolled leaks, Twitter feuds and shake-ups. Specific details will likely be determined by whatever President Trump tweets that day.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 07, 2017 at 07:39 AM | 2147 comment(s)
  Beats: books, politics

Monday, July 31, 2017

OTP 31 July 2017: Here’s What Christie Said to Heckler

No, not Margaret Heckler.

Brad Joseph told a Milwaukee TV station he was at the game rooting for the visiting Chicago Cubs when a nachos-toting Christie “got in my face” after he heckled the governor.

“I called him a hypocrite,“Joseph said. “I thought it needed to be said. He then turned around and got in my face for what seemed like a long time but was probably only 30 seconds or a minute.”

Joseph said Christie initially said, “‘Why don’t you have another beer?’ which I thought was a decent comeback, and I thought that was kind of funny. Then he started calling me a tough guy.”

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

BDC Posted: July 31, 2017 at 10:13 AM | 2052 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cubs, nachos, new jersey, politics

Monday, July 17, 2017

OTP 17 July 2017: Love is baseball, family. Keep the politics out

This is baseball, and it’s our cocoon, our special time together, protected from the harder realities of life. Here, the sun is always shining, even if it rains.

If you don’t understand that, you’ve probably never lifted a child up over your head to watch adults scramble after a ball or circle the bases after crushing a home run. Or maybe you’ve never slid head first into a mud puddle without a care of how you would get past your mom and into the laundry room. Maybe you’ve never sat for hours on a rickety old bus with ice on your ankle, sprained from sliding into home, but smiling because you were safe.

Maybe you should have; if not, maybe you should try now. You are never not welcome to go sit in the bleachers and cheer on the players at a youth game, even if you cheer for both sides. Leagues always need volunteers. I coached for 35 years after playing, so I know.

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 17, 2017 at 08:54 AM | 3063 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball, ffs, politics

Monday, July 10, 2017

OTP 10 July 2017: Jim Bunning’s Brethren: Baseball Men Who Went Into Politics

But if Bartolo is anything like Jim Bunning, he could go into politics, following the example of the tall right-hander who passed away on May 26 after 224 wins, 3,760.1 innings, and 23 years in the House and Senate as a representative and later senator from Kentucky.

John Tures, a political scientist at LaGrange College, compiled a list of players who went into politics. As with baseball itself, many have tried, but few succeeded, and certainly none so spectacularly as Bunning, whom the Veterans Committee inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996. (That happened while he was a member of the House of Representatives. Two years later, he ran for the Senate and won. His newfound Hall of Fame status surely cannot have hurt his chances.)


Wednesday, July 05, 2017

OTP 4 July 2017: On July 4, Palm Springs celebrates with family, fireworks, baseball

Thousands gathered in Palm Springs to celebrate the Fourth of July on Tuesday with distinctly all-American traditions: family fun, fireworks and a baseball game.

As temperatures climbed above 110 on Tuesday afternoon, valley residents gathered to await a Palm Springs Power baseball game and fireworks show. They bought water, beer and snow cones as the opening pitch approached.

“It’s very American,” said Rafael Candelario, a Marine stationed at Twentynine Palms who drove to Palm Springs for the day. “We’re big baseball fans. Every year for the last four or five years, it’s (been) a great tradition to have.”

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 05, 2017 at 07:54 AM | 723 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball, ffs, fireworks, politics

Monday, June 26, 2017

OTP 26 June 2017: Confederations Cup shows how sports media in Russia differs from politics

And a lot of those perceptions are based on truth. Though a lively and influential group of independent outlets still provide critical news coverage in Russia, their staffers are under continual pressure, and are menaced regularly with legal and financial threats (and on occasion even physical harm) over unfavorable stories, which often obligates them to commit self-censorship. According to the watchdog group Freedom House, Russia’s news press is classified as “not free,” television often “functions as a propaganda tool for the government” and the media is “also expected to conform to official narratives.”

Yet much of the sports media here seems to exist on a different plane. State-run television outlets in particular are as slanted as ever, but while some might imagine a situation similar to North Korea’s—where sports news famously included reports on leader Kim Jong-Il’s fantastic golf round in which he (allegedly) shot 38-under par for 18 holes and recorded five holes-in-one—the reality is that many of the sports outlets in Russia are critical, if outright acerbic, in their coverage.

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: June 26, 2017 at 07:46 AM | 1465 comment(s)
  Beats: politics, soccer

Monday, June 19, 2017

OTP 19 June 2017: Bipartisan baseball: Dems best GOP, give trophy to wounded Scalise

The game at Nationals Park carried on a century-old bipartisan ritual, this one tinged with worry about Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and their determination to answer the attack by coming together in sport. Democrats won in an 11-2 blowout.

In a final flourish of bipartisan camaraderie for the night, Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, his team’s manager, accepted the trophy, then gave it to his GOP counterpart, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, to put in Scalise’s office on behalf of the Democrats. After accepting it gracefully, Barton cracked, “Next year we won’t be so nice.”


(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: June 19, 2017 at 07:20 AM | 1275 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball, ffs, congress, politics

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Rovell: Senators aim to stop use of municipal funds to finance stadiums

Cory Booker, D-N.J., and James Lankford, R-Okla., are sponsoring a bill that would prohibit teams from using municipal bonds, whose interest is exempt from federal taxes, to help finance stadium construction.

. . .

The largest federal subsidies, according to the report, include the New York Yankees ($431 million), the Chicago Bears ($205 million), the New York Mets ($185 million), the Cincinnati Bengals ($164 million) and the Indianapolis Colts ($163 million).

 


Monday, June 12, 2017

OTP 12 June 2017: McCain Stays Up Late to Watch Baseball

The obvious baseball/politics tie-in of the week:

Arizona Sen. John McCain is blaming his convoluted line of questioning at Thursday’s James Comey testimony on his decision to stay up late the night before to watch a baseball game.

Many on Twitter were left scratching their heads after the 80-year-old Republican senator grilled Comey during the hearing about why the FBI closed its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, while continuing its probe of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

McCain responded by releasing a statement that read: “I get the sense from Twitter that my line of questioning today went over people’s heads. Maybe going forward I shouldn’t stay up late watching the Diamondbacks night games.

I just see this as McCain setting good priorities.  Prepare to investigate threats to our democratic way of life, or watch baseball?  Seems like one of the easier choices a politician could face.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: June 12, 2017 at 06:08 AM | 1635 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, politics, why are nl west games on so late

Sunday, June 04, 2017

OTP 5 June 2017: Venezuelan big leaguers strike back

Back to baseball this week, as patriotic players highlight resistance to a disastrous President. 

Since March, massive anti-government rallies have erupted in Caracas and other big cities, with demonstrators protesting the country’s runaway inflation, deadly shortages of food and medicine, and the politician they blame for pushing Venezuela into crisis: current president Nicolas Maduro.

At least 60 protestors have died in clashes with government forces. As the conflict deepens, a series of Venezuelan sports stars have spoken out in support of the demonstrators, hoping their profile can help publicize the country’s entrenched problems and jump-start solutions.

“We are listening. Here we are supporting (demonstrators),” said Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera in a recorded interview with ESPN. “All they’re doing is not in vain. We’re fighting for a better Venezuela.”

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: June 04, 2017 at 09:59 PM | 2151 comment(s)
  Beats: endy chavez, miguel cabrera, pablo sandoval, politics, venezuela

Monday, May 29, 2017

OTP 29 May 2017: Should we double check with Rod Laver?

Political controversy in sport is global, as witness this episode from Down Under:

Margaret Court said last week she would not travel on Qantas because the boss of the airline, Alan Joyce, supported same-sex marriage.

A volley of controversy followed. It was even suggested that the Melbourne Park court named after the winner of 24 grand slam titles be renamed. It is amazing how stupid some of our community can be.

Should we double check with Rod Laver on his thoughts? What if he doesn’t agree on same-sex marriage either? We’re going to need a bigger spanner.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: May 29, 2017 at 08:27 AM | 1834 comment(s)
  Beats: australia, politics, tennis

Sunday, May 21, 2017

OTP 22 May 2017: George W. Bush photobombs a sports reporter

Former president George W. Bush attended a Texas Rangers baseball game Wednesday evening, and happened to be heading to his seat with drink in hand right when sideline reporter Emily Jones was live on TV.

So Bush did what any normal person would do — seize the opportunity to be on TV and make a funny face.

Mark my words, the Donald will be doing this a couple of decades from now, and we’ll all be nostalgic for the innocent, rosy days of 2017.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: May 21, 2017 at 08:10 PM | 1731 comment(s)
  Beats: journalism, politics, rangers, television

Monday, May 15, 2017

OTP 15 May 2017: A sport dominated by politics

And that would be … cricket – what were you expecting?

Tanya Alfred draws our attention to the world-threatening problem of climate change — which more than 97 per cent of climate scientists agree on’ — and bemoans the lack of a strategy from the English Cricket Board (ECB) for how cricket is organised today and its lack of preparation for the future.
In 2016, for instance, the Indian Premier League was forced to relocate matches from Maharashtra because of a water shortage. Bangladesh is threatened by extreme river floods, rising sea levels and high temperatures.
Zimbabwe has uncertain precipitation patterns, as does the southern part of Australia, while England is predicted to get more rainfall.

Does MLB have a climate-change contingency plan? I am sure Rob Manfred would consider it.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: May 15, 2017 at 08:43 AM | 2684 comment(s)
  Beats: cricket, politics

Monday, May 08, 2017

OTP 8 May 2017: FIBA to allow Muslim athletes to compete while wearing hijab

Nothing to do with baseball this week, but an important development at the intersection of sport, religion, gender, and politics:

Muslim women now will be able to compete in basketball while wearing hijab, thanks to a rule change by the international governing body for the sport.

The ruling, which takes effect Oct. 1, is the culmination of a study by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) that began in September 2014 and follows a trend in which more governing bodies are allowing athletes to balance their religious beliefs with their athletic pursuits. FIFA, the world’s soccer governing body, has allowed players to wear hijab since early 2014.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: May 08, 2017 at 07:30 AM | 1817 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, muslims, politics, women in sports

Monday, May 01, 2017

OTP 1 May 2017: “Season of Lies” mixes baseball, politics

Dennis Hetzel has crafted “Season of Lies,” a new novel featuring the Chicago Cubs becoming enmeshed in a dirty presidential campaign.

Now that the Cubs have finally won a world championship, their chances of building a new baseball dynasty are threatened by sinister circumstances beyond the team’s control, when star pitcher Trey Von Ohmann decides to endorse President Luke Murphy for re-election, much to his teammates’ consternation.

Heh, remember when you knew a book was fiction if the Cubs won the Series.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

BDC Posted: May 01, 2017 at 06:14 AM | 1799 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, fiction, politics

Monday, April 24, 2017

OTP 24 April 2017: Talking politics (and baseball) with the mayor

Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett on politics:

“Who thinks it is acceptable for a kid to come Downtown with a handgun in his pocket?” he asked. “Who thinks it is OK for kids who aren’t even 18 to be walking around with guns? I don’t think you can find anyone who thinks that is acceptable.”

Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett on baseball:

“Some call it slow, or even boring. But it’s deliberate for a reason. It’s a situational game. Every batter, every pitch, presents a different situation and a different challenge. What I love about baseball is that I’m 60 years old and I’ve been watching baseball for as long as I can remember, but I’m still learning.”

I’m with him on gun control and agin’ him on pace of play.  What say others?

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

 

BDC Posted: April 24, 2017 at 09:06 AM | 972 comment(s)
  Beats: indianapolis, politics

Sunday, April 16, 2017

OTP 17 April 2017: Baseball, giant American flags, and patriotism

Craig Calcaterra on a ginormous pre-ballgame flag in Atlanta:

While patriotism is a laudable trait — and while I consider myself to be a patriotic American — to suggest that flag-waving is exclusively done by those with noble and pure intent is simply laughable.

Do I think the Braves were making a political point with their giant flag on Friday night? No, not particularly. At least not anything beyond the efforts made by every baseball team which wishes to make its fans feel like going to the ballpark is not merely a commercial experience but a uniquely American one. Especially on Opening Day. And, well, especially when they just made those fans hand over their tax dollars for a new ballpark the team didn’t really need, so hey, let’s make sure we create the impression that this is about more than the Braves’ bottom line.

But let us not pretend for one second that displays of conspicuous patriotism haven’t spiked dramatically in our country over the past 16 years.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: April 16, 2017 at 08:23 PM | 1402 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, politics

Sunday, April 09, 2017

OTP 10 April 2017: More sports teams want in on 50-50 raffles

[Texas] lawmakers in 2015 approved a plan to let 10 professional sports teams in Texas hold … 50-50 raffles during sporting events, and voters also approved the plan.

[Team] officials said they were “very pleased” with the support they saw from Rangers fans during the first year of the Texas Two Split.

“We were able to raise significant funds to support Rangers Foundation programs, including the construction of the new Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, presented by Toyota, as well as to support community initiatives like the Line of Duty Fund that supported the families of the Fallen Officers from July’s tragedy in Dallas,” said Karin Morris, executive director of the foundation.

I am never sure how much good these multiple layers of foundations and sponsored projects do for anybody.  And I’m not fond of that much vigorish.  But some aren’t as choosy, because even on a weeknight the Rangers tend to take in $15-$18K in this raffle, or about a dollar for every fan in the park. What does the BBTF collective think of 50-50 raffles, as public policy?

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: April 09, 2017 at 08:34 PM | 1484 comment(s)
  Beats: charity, gambling, politics, rangers

Monday, April 03, 2017

OTP 3 April 2017: The Nationals Leave Politics Aside

Honestly, if Adam Eaton said something on Twitter that I disagree with, I would probably think he was the other Adam Eaton anyway.

Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said he issued no new directives after the 2016 election than he has in the past. … “I’m all about players speaking out when they feel like speaking out. They’re grown men,” Rizzo said. “You’ve seen it when people on our roster have said negative things toward me and my decisions. I salute their right to express their opinion.” …

Adam Eaton said he stays away from Twitter because he has “gotten crushed” for sharing his opinions before.

“For me, it’s not worth it to speak your mind as an athlete because you do get burned,” Eaton said. “Even if 95 percent of the country agrees with you, there’s that five percent that doesn’t. And if a media personality picks it up and disagrees with you, you’re in trouble.”

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

 

BDC Posted: April 03, 2017 at 08:11 AM | 1356 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, politics

Sunday, March 26, 2017

OTP 27 March 2017: Trump, Healthcare, and the Art of the Botched Deal

OK, there’s just one easy-ground-ball baseball metaphor in this story.  And Donald Trump started college the year the Mets moved to Queens.  But it is the week’s big political news:

When Donald Trump was growing up in Queens, the local baseball team, the New York Mets, was the lowliest franchise in the National League. The Mets were so bad that the manager, Casey Stengel, once famously asked of his team: can’t anybody here play this game?

That’s the central question now in Donald Trump’s Washington. On Friday afternoon, the House GOP leadership pulled its bill overhauling Obamacare rather than experience a humiliating defeat.

When he arrived in Washington, many wondered whether Donald Trump could play this game. Just two months into his presidency, the answer is glaringly obvious: he cannot.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

 

BDC Posted: March 26, 2017 at 10:10 PM | 1221 comment(s)
  Beats: casey stengel, mets, politics

Sunday, March 19, 2017

OTP 20 March 2017: This fighter for civil rights has baseball in her DNA

An interview with Bay Area activist and baseball fanatic Sunny Schwartz.

The S.F. Giants are gutsy and sincerely community-minded. They not only put money where their mouth is but they put their principles in action. They raised awareness of our [restorative justice] program. Graduates from our program stood shoulder-to-shoulder with survivors of violence in the ballpark before a game, saying they’d do the right thing. The Giants also took on AIDS awareness in the early ’90s. Today that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but back then it really was. They’ve also taken on domestic violence. Our first Strike Out Violence Day was in 1998 or ’99.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: March 19, 2017 at 09:58 PM | 2086 comment(s)
  Beats: activism, ballpark weddings, giants, politics

Sunday, March 12, 2017

OTP 13 March 2017: A Week in Breitbart Sports

DJ Gallo spends a week reading Breitbart Sports so we don’t have to:

I always endeavor to watch sports, if for no other reason than to gain a brief escape from the rest of our hyper-partisan culture. But then I happened to discover that there is something called Breitbart Sports. Yes, Breitbart.com, the flagship website of the nationalistic, alt-right. The angry white man to the New York Times’ old gray lady, the publication whose headlines (and longtime publisher) have somehow come to inform the most powerful and misinformed man in the world, is slinging sports news and takes with the rest of us.

The idea of sport as a uniter made it through the first world war, but could it withstand an association with Breitbart?

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

BDC Posted: March 12, 2017 at 07:18 PM | 1534 comment(s)
  Beats: espn, nba, nfl, politics, tim tebow

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Travis: ESPN Cutting Nearly $100 Million In On-Air Talent

#StickToSports

Two years ago ESPN cut several hundred behind the scenes jobs to save hundreds of millions of dollars in yearly costs. Since that time ESPN’s subscriber losses have accelerated, averaging over three million lost subscribers a year. Now new jobs cuts are coming, only this time you’re likely to know some of the casualties—Outkick has heard from a variety of different sources that ESPN is cutting up to $100 million in on-air salaries.

Yep, on air. This means you’re going to know many of the people leaving the network.

The cuts will come via buyouts and expiring contracts that won’t be renewed and when those layoffs start becoming apparent many will recognize that what Outkick has been writing for a couple of years now—ESPN is in a world of trouble and doesn’t know how to stem a rapidly collapsing business model.

ESPN’s collapse is the biggest story in sports yet most still haven’t realized it.

That business collapse at ESPN has caused a panic at the network, a desperate grab for relevance that has led to a pronounced leftward move. ESPN’s trying desperately to stay relevant as ratings collapse and subscribers flee. The decision? “We’ll be MSESPN, the home for far left wing politics and sports!” Only, it’s not working.

Renegade (((JE))) Posted: March 07, 2017 at 06:00 PM | 260 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasting, cable, espn, jobs, politics

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