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Monday, August 13, 2018

OTP 2018 August 13: ‘Don’t confuse sports with politics,’ Kosovo tells Bosnia

Kosovo’s team was scheduled to play against the Bosnia and Herzegovina side on Thursday, the first day of the tournament which runs until August 16.

However the Kosovo Basketball Federation (FBK) told local media that by late Wednesday it still had not received an answer from Bosnia’s nearest embassy in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, about the status of the team’s visa applications.

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 13, 2018 at 08:31 AM | 484 comment(s)
  Beats: politics

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

OTP 2018 August 7: Book Explores Trump, Taft and Other Presidents Baseball Ties

“William Howard Taft, all 300 pounds of him, was a big act to follow in every sense of the word. Taft was an amateur baseball pitcher in the 1880s. He wanted to became a major league pitcher, but he settled instead to become President, and in fact later became the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. As Chief Justice, he scheduled his speaking engagements around the country in Major League cities, so that he could give a speech and then go out to a ballgame in the afternoon,” Smith said.

Smith explains that while two of the game’s most famous rituals are associated with our 27th commander-in-chief, he should only receive credit for one.

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 07, 2018 at 08:13 AM | 1114 comment(s)
  Beats: off topic, politics

Monday, July 30, 2018

OTP 2018 July 30: Now Running for Office, Adam Greenberg. You May Remember His First At-Bat.

Greenberg dug in for the first pitch, slightly bending his knees. It was a 92-mile-an-hour fastball.

“You get three-tenths of a second,” Greenberg said. “The first tenth I’m thinking don’t bail because if it’s a curve I look stupid, and it’s strike one. The second tenth I realized the ball wasn’t breaking. By the third tenth, my only thought was to get out of the way, and the only thing I could do was to turn into the catcher.”

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 30, 2018 at 08:22 AM | 1266 comment(s)
  Beats: beaning, cubs, off topic, politics

Monday, July 23, 2018

OTP 2018 July 23: How sports and American politics made each other

In January 1942, as the United States committed itself fully to World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt decided that baseball, then the national pastime, should sustain civilian morale during the lengthy struggle ahead. He implored its commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, to make sure the games went on, despite worldwide armed conflict. And so they did. Professional baseball players, Roosevelt argued, “are a definite recreational asset.”

Roosevelt did not extend that consideration to professional football players, whose sport did not register politically. As a result, the National Football League nearly shut its doors during World War II. So many players were called to serve that several franchises had to merge. In fact, the league didn’t take off until it closely associated itself with national politics. For the past half century, the intertwining of American football and politics has sustained both pastimes.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 23, 2018 at 08:42 AM | 1431 comment(s)
  Beats: football, off topic, politics

Monday, July 16, 2018

OTP 2018 July 16: Why Does President Trump Balk At Attending Baseball Games?

As the World Cup finale plays in my living room, it’s seems like the right time to reflect on “America’s pastime” – baseball – and its curious standing these days.

The sport gets it close-up on Tuesday night, when the Major-League All-Star Game is played in the nation’s capital. President Trump is not expected to be attendance, though he easily could zip over to the festivities upon his return from his meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 16, 2018 at 10:24 AM | 1502 comment(s)
  Beats: off topic, politics

Monday, July 09, 2018

OTP 2018 July 9: Why It’s Hard to ‘Stick to Sports’

A quote attributed to the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren reads: “I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.”

But even in Warren’s lifetime, the sports page was full of things that moved outside the realm of sports accomplishments into the political world of page one: Jackie Robinson breaking the baseball color line, Muhammad Ali’s successful fight to overturn his criminal conviction for refusing military service in the Vietnam War, Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ black power salute from the victory stand of the 1968 Summer Olympics, the enactment of Title IX to expand opportunity for girls in sports, and Curt Flood’s lawsuit to break baseball’s reserve clause.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: July 09, 2018 at 08:02 AM | 1010 comment(s)
  Beats: off topic, politics

Monday, June 25, 2018

OTP 2018 June 25: Charles Krauthammer’s Love Of Baseball Leaves A Lasting Legacy

In recent days, many of Charles’ admirers had honored his formidable body of work and conservative convictions. I’m here to pay respects to his love of baseball, which made him and the world a happier place.

“If you believe, as do I, that God created baseball as a relief from politics, I herewith offer, as a public service, a column about [Bryce] Harper & friends,” he wrote in an exquisite column for The Washington Post in 2016.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: June 25, 2018 at 11:43 AM | 2113 comment(s)
  Beats: politics

Monday, June 18, 2018

OTP 2018 June 18: How Life Imitates the Congressional Baseball Game

“This game is a situation of which, you’re a product of your political success, so if you have a good political year, you have a good recruiting year for this game.” So said former Rep. David Bonior, D-Mich., many years ago about the Congressional Baseball Game and the teams each party gets to field.

Washington is host to the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, known among fans as the midsummer classic. But Capitol Hill has staged its own midsummer classic every year for more than five decades, the Congressional Baseball Game.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: June 18, 2018 at 08:15 AM | 1775 comment(s)
  Beats: off topic, politics

Monday, June 11, 2018

OTP 2018 June 11: Sports, politics conflicted 50 years ago with mourning of RFK’s death

If you think the intersection – and conflict – of sports and politics is something new, well, you haven’t been paying close enough attention to either for a very long time.

Don’t think so? Check out President Trump’s pardon of the controversial African-American heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who held the title more than 100 years ago. His reign was consumed by the politics of the day. So it is no surprise that the debate over NFL players and the national anthem remains a divisive topic.

Anything that is going to have the powerful symbolism of sports —and the ability to unite, as we have seen right here in Washington during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup playoffs run — is also going to generate enough passion to divide as well, in death as well as life.

That was the case 50 years ago, as Major League Baseball tried to cope with the proper way to mourn the death of New York Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy on June 6, 1968.

 


Monday, June 04, 2018

OTP 2018 June 4: How Dr. Alan Nathan Became Baseball Fans’ Favorite Physicist

Nathan said he expected to simply read the book and share on what he learned, and that would be that. But thanks to a local reporter who heard his initial talk and interviewed him about it for the Sunday paper, Nathan is still sharing what he’s learning almost two decades later. Not long after that initial talk, Nathan had a sabbatical from the University of Illinois, so he decided to spend it studying the physics of baseball more closely. He almost immediately found a fascinating rabbit hole of study that helped change a long-held perception in baseball.

“Grip on the bat, while the ball and bat are in contact with each other, plays no role whatsoever in the collision itself. And that pretty much goes against what you might call conventional wisdom,” Nathan said.

“Not scientific wisdom, but baseball wisdom,” he adds, elaborating that at the moment when the ball strikes the bat, the hitter’s grip doesn’t matter at all. In fact, he could even let go of the bat altogether—at that point of contact—and it would not change how the ball was hit.

 


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

OTP 2018 May 28: Don’t turn down WH invitation: Former Nats manager on Powerhouse Politics podcast

“Baseball is not about politics, it’s just about going out and enjoying the game,” Johnson says of his experience managing a team in the nation’s capital in comparison with managing teams elsewhere, such as the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Games at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., are often a “who’s who” of the political world, including Supreme Court justices, leading Democratic and Republican congressional leaders and high-profile media figures. Johnson says when they come to the game, they put aside politics.

“You don’t think about politics you just think about baseball,” Johnson says about the unifying nature of professional baseball in the nation’s capital.

 


Monday, May 21, 2018

OTP 2018 May 21: President takes British royalty to a baseball game, May 15, 1991

The 65-year-old queen, dressed in a below-the-knee blue and red dress, black gloves and three strands of pearls, entered the Orioles dugout along the third base line. She formed a receiving line with her husband and the president, clad in a navy blazer, and Barbara Bush. The first lady wore a blue and white floral print dress.

While the VIP guests took their positions designated by their names on 3-by-5 cards, the song “Brown-Eyed Girl” played over the stadium’s public-address system. Their images appeared on the video screen in right-center field.

“I’ve been playing baseball for 10 years, and I’m used to a normal atmosphere,” said Cal Ripken Jr., the Orioles shortstop, after exchanging handshakes. “This is a lot different. There’s a lot of excitement.”


Monday, May 14, 2018

OTP 2018 May 14: Political leadership, fans needed to bring baseball to Portland: Guest opinion

Today I’m not writing to promote the virtues of Major League Baseball or Portland as a baseball city. I’m writing from the perspective of one who worked on the last successful effort to bring a professional sports team to town—the Portland Timbers—and as someone who has worked in state and local politics for nearly 30 years. Few situations are fraught with as much politics as bringing a professional sports team to a community. If you look closely at cities that have experienced these debates, you’ll often find a combustible mix of political, financial and cultural issues that run deep and can linger for years.

 


Sunday, May 06, 2018

OTP 2018 May 7: George F. Will Is the Umpire on Politics and Baseball

I sat down Washington Post columnist and author George F. Will in Austin, Texas, in late March to chat about the current administration and America’s favorite pastime — baseball. We discuss politics in the age of polarization and the future of America.

Baseball is the sport of America’s future, Will argues, as parents stop letting their children play football because of the dangers of lifelong head and body injuries.

 


Monday, April 30, 2018

OTP 2018 Apr 30: Republicans in Congress return to baseball field nearly a year after gunman opened fire

As a light rain trickled down Wednesday, Republican members of Congress returned to a baseball field where a gunman critically wounded teammate Rep. Steve Scalise and shattered their sense of security nearly a year ago.

“Today is an emotional day,’’ said Texas Rep. Joe Barton, manager of the Republican congressional baseball team. “But it’s also a rebirth, a renewal. I’m proud of the team.’‘

On June 14, Republican lawmakers practicing for their annual charity baseball game against Democrats found themselves scrambling to dodge gunfire from a man behind a chain-link fence.

 


Monday, April 23, 2018

OTP 2018 Apr 23: The Dominant-Sport Theory of American Politics

All true, and I have joined in the tut-tutting. Yet I can’t help noticing that the people making these criticisms are mostly a bunch of white guys born in the 1960s. I came along near the start of that decade, so I’ve seen a few cultural shifts in my day, and the first one came via early-1970s headlines proclaiming “Baseball No Longer the National Pastime,” after polls showed that football had become America’s most popular sport. Pundits lamented football’s rise (“violence punctuated by committee meetings,” in George Will’s memorable phrase, though he was certainly no stranger to the press box at Redskins games), and indeed, the change coincided with a trend toward greater complication, bureaucratization, and crudity in American life. After brushing off the 1980s soccer scare, football remained unchallenged for decades.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 23, 2018 at 08:10 AM | 1350 comment(s)
  Beats: nba, nfl, off-topic, politics, soccer

Monday, April 16, 2018

OTP 2018 Apr 16: Beto strikes out but is a hit at baseball fundraiser

“I guarantee you he didn’t just get three pitches and three strikes like his old man,” said O’Rourke.

He can afford a laugh, since he has dusted Cruz in fundraising by taking in an eye-popping $6.7 million in the first three months of this year. That’s more than twice the $3.2 million gathered by Cruz, whose tally counted money from multiple campaign entities including a political action committee.

O’Rourke won’t take PAC money, a stand that’s expected to put him at a fundraising disadvantage as the general election nears. He said Saturday that he and his supporters are “doing this 100 percent the right way. There are no political action committees, no corporations.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: April 16, 2018 at 08:18 AM | 1328 comment(s)
  Beats: off topic, politics, strikeouts, texas

Monday, April 09, 2018

OTP 2018 Apr 9: A Curveball From the New Tax Law: It Makes Baseball Trades Harder

As President Trump congratulated the World Series champion Houston Astros at a White House ceremony last week, he also heaped praise on himself and congressional Republicans for passing a sweeping tax cut last year. He hailed Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the House’s chief tax writer and an Astros superfan, as “the king of those tax cuts.”

What he did not mention is that the new tax law Mr. Brady helped draft, and which Mr. Trump signed, levies a large new tax on the Astros, and similar franchises across professional sports.

 


Monday, April 02, 2018

OTP 2018 Apr 2: This Opening Day, keep baseball pure—and keep the politics out of it

In a year when American culture seems to be dissolving before our very eyes in the shadow of a political discourse that often seems as turbid as it is abhorrent, there’s always baseball.

I grew up the daughter of a man who loved baseball; over the years my Mom learned to enjoy it just as much. My dad played it, listened to it, watched it, collected cards of players he admired. I can’t even pinpoint my first baseball experience, such is the way the entirety of the game enveloped around and melded into my childhood memories.

 


Monday, March 26, 2018

OTP 2018 March 26: He struck out at baseball, but made it big in politics. Now he’s returned to his first love

In 1937, a group of standouts from the Negro baseball league, as it was known, was lured to the Dominican Republic for a barnstorming tournament against the country’s home-grown talent. Soon enough, the sun-and-fun adventure became a life-and-death proposition; the competition, it turned out, was for the benefit of the homicidal dictator Rafael Trujillo. The instruction given the visiting all-stars was simple: “You better win.”


While baseball is at the heart of the book, “The Pitcher and the Dictator” — the pitcher being the legendary Satchel Paige — the story is about much more, including gunboat diplomacy, the blood-drenched history of the Dominican Republic and, not least, the prevalence of racism and repression in mid-20th century America.


“One of the great ironies,” Smith said in an interview, is the visiting black players were “coming from the land of the free, home of the brave, and they’re going into one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world. Yet in some sense they have more freedom in that repressive dictatorship than they do in the United States.”


Monday, March 19, 2018

OTP 2018 March 19: Spending bill could quash Minor League Baseball players’ wage claims

A massive government spending bill that Congress is expected to consider this week could include a provision exempting Minor League Baseball players from federal labor laws, according to three congressional officials familiar with the talks.

The exemption would represent the culmination of more than two years of lobbying by Major League Baseball, which has sought to preempt a spate of lawsuits that have been filed by minor leaguers alleging they have been illegally underpaid.


Monday, March 12, 2018

OTP 12 March 2018: Trevor Bauer thinks Major League Baseball trying to silence him on Twitter

Last February, Bauer made waves on Twitter when he argued over politics with his followers. He tweeted that almost all of the Indians supported Donald Trump and told another user they were “welcome to quit life.”

Bauer has been much calmer as of late and that could be because MLB stepped in. The 27-year-old hasn’t tweeted that much this offseason and when he does it’s been about things like the Olympics and his training.


Monday, March 05, 2018

OTP 3 March 2018: Texas Wesleyan baseball coach fired after rejecting Colorado prospect over politics

A college baseball coach in Texas was fired Thursday partly because of an email he sent to a high school prospect in Colorado. Texas Wesleyan University’s coach told the senior that Colorado players have failed drug tests in the past and the university doesn’t take a chance on students from the state.

At a Thursday morning press conference, University President Fred Slabach announced coach Mike Jeffcoat was fired because of the remarks and for violating National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics rules regarding player eligibility. Slabach said the school had been investigating the rule violations for about a week and reported them to the NAIA on Thursday.

 


Monday, February 26, 2018

OTP 26 February 2018: Hope springs eternal in baseball and politics

This is a special time for baseball fans. Major league baseball is ready to begin another season, with spring training officially opening this week. With some exceptions, fans in most cities can at least dream of watching their team play in the postseason and maybe even compete for the World Series championship. For them, hope springs eternal.

Ditto for the Democratic Party. 2018 appears to be a “wave year,” with an opportunity to win control of the House of Representatives, maybe even the Senate, and then use those majorities to place a major constitutional check on a president almost all Democrats loathe. Once that victory is secured, Democrats dream of finding the perfect candidate to win back the presidency in 2020. Just who that might be is not clear yet, but Democrats are hopeful that it is only a matter of time before the next Messiah arrives to lead them to the promised land. Unfortunately, hope is not a strategy in baseball or politics.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: February 26, 2018 at 07:48 AM | 1688 comment(s)
  Beats: off-topic, politics, spring training

Monday, February 19, 2018

OTP 19 February 2018: Does Buster Posey Have a Post-playing Career in Politics?

Buster Posey is one of the most accomplished catchers in baseball history. At 30 years old, he already has a Hall of Fame resume.

In eight full seasons with the Giants, Posey has won National League Rookie of the Year, NL MVP, four Silver Slugger awards, a Gold Glove, and is a five-time All-Star. While he still has plenty of years left, Posey has naturally thought a bit about what he would like to do once his playing days are done.

But, politics? Well, kind of.

 

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: February 19, 2018 at 08:04 AM | 2205 comment(s)
  Beats: buster posey, giants, off-topic, politics

 

 

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