Open Thread: Cruel Stats

GO SOX! - promoted by Bob_Neer

“But baseball was different. Schwartz thought of it as Homeric – not a scrum but a series of isolated contests. Batter versus pitcher, fielder versus ball. You couldn’t storm around, snorting and slapping people, the way Schwartz did while playing football.You stood and waited and tried to still your mind. When your moment came, you had to be ready, because if you fucked up, everyone would know whose fault it was. What other sport not only kept a stat as cruel as the error but posted it on the scoreboard for everyone to see?”

Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding

Spring springs on the day of the Home Opener. It’s the law.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they’d a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

PS. The crowd was so into it because they were betting on the game, which was probably fixed.

But no matter, we all know it’s perfectly legit now. The huddled masses yearn to breathe the free air at Fenway. Play ball!

And this, if you like, is an open thread.

Recommended by judy-meredith.


24 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Great opening line

    Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934, and offers, as do most Boston artifacts, a compromise between Man’s Euclidean determinations and Nature’s beguiling irregularities.

    From Updikes tribute to Ted Williams

  2. Gloves off

    Well … gloves tugged at, anyway.

    Martha Coakley, Steven Grossman vying for delegates

  3. Grantland on Ortiz

    Andrew Sharp, specifically.

    Can you imagine if another athlete had tricked the president of the United States into a #selfie cell phone promotion?

    If LeBron did this, Skip Bayless would declare a state of emergency on First Take. If Richard Sherman does this when the Seahawks visit the White House this summer, there will be congressional hearings. If Dwight Howard ever did it, he would be exiled from the United States.

  4. Truly open

    How do people feel about the Mozilla controversy?

    I honestly have to agree with Andrew Sullivan on this one. The Duck Dynasty guy said truly hurtful things, the Chik fil A CEO and company gave money and food to gay conversion groups-those things were wrong. Mozilla is within it’s rights to sack the CEO, and from a corporate perspective his leadership credibility was probably shot, but I don’t like the idea of online orchestrated campaigns against anti-marriage equality individuals. Perhaps it’s because I know a lot of loving religious people who ‘arent there yet’ but aren’t bad people either, or maybe because like the first liberals Mill and Voltaire I think the freer the speech and the more open the marketplace of ideas the better. Opposition to equality is a losing proposition and it’s only a matter of time until it fades into the dustbin of history, why be as vindictive and bullying and get people fired like Phyllis Schafly did during her prime? How many more gay marriages does that legalize?

    • I dunno

      I hear what you’re saying about not chasing out of employment everyone who disagrees with you. But people should have some way of expressing that some things are really not acceptable to them. Let’s say, in the 1960s, a CEO had given money to a campaign to amend the U.S. Constitution to overturn Brown v. Board. Should people in the Civil Rights movement have continued to give that company business?

      To me, donating to take people’s marriage rights away is at least as bad as anything the Chik-Fil-A guy or Duck Dynasty guy did. It’s actually worse than the Duck Dynasty guy – his rants don’t strip people of legal rights.

      That this kind of campaign works is a sign that there are enough people who care enough about the issue to change browsers over it. Unfortunately, since the Supreme Court seems hell-bent on letting corporations and wealthy individuals corrupt our democracy, and since people in that top tier are taking such a disproportionate share of the national income, actions like this may be the only real check on political donations by the wealthy.

      On balance, I’m OK with it. Not least because I suspect that if liberals didn’t engage in such tactics, it would be another case of unilateral disarmanent. I recall all the dipshits who harassed the Dixie Chicks or wouldn’t go to French restaurants in 2003, even though the Dixie Chicks and the French were right all along. Two wrongs usually don’t make a right, but if we do otherwise we’ll see progressive people continue to be harassed for their beliefs while right-wingers get a pass.

    • Sorry, but I agree with Michelangelo Signorile on this one.

      Michelangelo Signorile article on the Huffington Post, I believe makes it clear that the board of the Mozilla group were willing to go all out to defend this guy when it was only the “Proposition 8″ issue, but then they found out that they would need to further defend him against contributions to Pat Buchanon for President in 1992 and Ron Paul’s campaign, both of which were blatently anti-Semitic in tone. It is only after the 2nd and 3rd shoe dropped that he offered his resignation, but while it was just the Anti-Gay stuff, he stood fast. Considering the Mozilla Manefest making it clear that Mozilla was actively trying to be an organization that claimed the following, “The Mozilla project uses a community-based approach to create world-class open source software and to develop new types of collaborative activities. We create communities of people involved in making the Internet experience better for all of us.”

      In my opinion, if I found out that someone who was both anti-Semitic and anti-Gay had suddenly become the chair of the Mass Democratic Party, knowing the planks of the party platform, I don’t think it would be a stretch to object to that person holding the chair, similarly, given the Mozilla Manifesto, I don’t think it is a stretch to say that a person who has demonstrated his use of “money” is free speech, to speak in this way, runs counter to the overall Mozilla Manifesto.

      • Full Disclosure: Pat Buchanan's speech at the 1992 Republican Convention is why I will NEVER be a republican.

        It wasn’t so much that this hateful little POS of a person was saying what he was saying, but it is more the fact that audience was filled with republicans cheering his every word. I fully understand Godwin’s Law but it was the first time for me, early during the AIDS Crisis, that watching the Republicans cheer his verbal diarrhea, was like watching a pre-WWII speech by Hitler. Seriously! It was not the insane rantings of this pathetic little speck of a man, but the crowd of Republicans cheering that turned me FOREVER A DEMOCRAT!

        • 1992...

          …was the last set of conventions before I was old enough to vote, and I watched both to give myself an idea as to which party I wanted to register with. The GOP convention was scary that year and likewise is a huge factor in my becoming a Democrat.

    • What did Sullivan say?

      Full disclosure: I’m curious about your point; I don’t really care what Sullivan said. He’s mean-spirited and intellectually inconsistent.

      I don’t know why people are so eager to bash the left, but they are.

      • From Andrew Sullivan's blog

        “At a time when we are demanding passage of the Employment Non-Discrmination Act so that companies can’t just up and fire LGBT employees because they don’t agree with them — as they can now in about two-thirds of our states — we need to think very long and hard about we should demand someone be removed from his job for exercising his constitutional rights as part of the cornerstone of our democracy: a free and fair election.

        We say that LGBT people shouldn’t be fired for something that has nothing to do with their job performance. I think that principle is good enough to apply to everyone, including Eich. And there is no evidence that I can find that his donation affected his ability to do the job he was hired to do. Eich made his donation out of his own pocket. He didn’t do it on behalf of Mozilla, he didn’t do it with Mozilla funds or through a foundation sponsored by Mozilla. And he certainly didn’t own Mozilla, which is a non-profit organization. It was his own dime on his own time,” – Jim Burroway.

        I’d say the gay rights movement just all but provided an amicus brief for Hobby Lobby, wouldn’t you?

        • No I would not

          First of all, the gay rights movement is diverse, and didn’t do this en masse.

          But more importantly, saying, in effect, “Leave the bigot alone” is false equivalence. He would have been left alone, if he didn’t act semi-publicly. I’m late to this, I don’t know all the details. But clearly it became public, and then more things became public, and now people who want to dope-slap the left (I don’t mean you, or jconway) are pouncing. They doth protest too much. Mozilla has a set of standards (except when the NSA calls, of course), and this man created bad PR, so he’s out.

          • There are a lot of issues to tangle

            And I am trying very hard to avoid the kind of blanket pronouncements people are making one way or the other on the issue.

            One point the article Mike cote linked to made clear was this one to quote Michelangelo Signorile:

            None of this is about government censorship. It’s about a company based in Northern California that has many progressive employees, as well as a lot of progressives and young people among the user base of its Firefox browser, realizing its CEO’s worldview is completely out of touch with the company’s — and America’s — values and vision for the future.

            That is entirely fair and consistent. I totally support Mozilla making a stance that it’s employees and it’s internal corporate values would be undermined by Eich continuing in his position. Just as A&E wasn’t ‘taking away’ the ‘free speech’ of the Duck Dynasty cast members.

            But I happen to think this phrase is correct:

            I’d say the gay rights movement just all but provided an amicus brief for Hobby Lobby, wouldn’t you?

            Even you were being sarcastic Mike, I actually think this helps the overly expansive view of religious freedom argument advance. It also entrenches gay marriage opponents as a victimized minority in the eyes of those on the fence and they will increasingly argue, in the eyes of the law. He was fired for holding a political belief, how is that dissimilar to the private firms in Hollywood that black listed leftists during McCarthyism?

            I think boycotts should be used selectively to advance an overall purpose. He gave a paltry sum to gay marriage opponents, plenty of people gave far more to Bush 2004 and gave money to Romney. I’d rather we focus on anti-Koch boycotts then give A&E more viewers, give Chik Fil A more customers, or target specific individuals within organizations for their views. On the list of enemies of gay rights he was hardly public enemy number 1. It seems to be a scalp for the sake of collecting a scalp and flexing muscles, and it’s using the same tactic (firing people) that Schafly used during her anti-gay crusade that launched the religious right in the 70s. It seems illiberal to me not to tolerate dissent. People have a right to their opinion, and I the freedom fries analogy is entirely appropriate since it made a political opinion (opposing a dumb war) an antagonist of patriotism. It had the effect of shutting off a debate and forcing an opinion. People should come around on gay rights because it’s the right thing to do, not because they are fearing for their job.

            • Again, the point that Michelangelo Signorile article on the Huffington Post, is...

              that he wasn’t asked to resign when the Prop 8 stuff became public, the board of Mozilla was defending him on exactly those points, and he was going on the radio saying he was staying put. It was not until the 2nd and 3rd shoes dropped with the Pat Buchanan in 1992 stuff and the Ron Paul stuff, that the board finally said, enough is enough, we want you to resign. So I disagree that this was a scalp of the “Gay Left”, this is a company with a declared set of principles as part of its business model, realizing that if the continued with that Status Quo, they were being hypocrites. So the board asked for his resignation, I don’t see that as McCarthism, if anything, I see this as the Invisible Hand of the Market Place. With no sarcasm intended.

              • Further Disclosure: I hate the "Invisible Hand" phrase because it was coopted by Reagan, one of the worst presidents ever in my opinion.

                This is a call back to a previous thread, just so you know.

              • Like I said

                I am not going after gay rights groups on this, just pointing out that, as you stated, Hobby Lobby and it’s defenders could use this incident to argue that their culture is under assault on the one hand and employers can make ideological purity tests part and parcel when it cokes to their hiring practices. I think it shows our side bullying the other side into submission. For what it’s worth he hasn’t changed his views and it’s now more likely he and others that share it won’t since they will adopt a fortress mentality rather than embrace equality. This might’ve been the case anyway, but to me it seems illiberal and a silencing of dissent-even if we find that dissent intolerable does not mean those emotions should overrule our better judgment.

                Putting pressure on recalcitrant politicians is entirely different and frankly something the equality movement should do more of. The McCarthyism analogy was not the best, there is no coercive power of the state aligned in favor of equality (as of yet) to the same degree and the people affected and how they are affected is a lot smaller. But the idea of silencing an ideology you disagree with is there. It’s why I oppose Germany’s anti-Nazi laws or defend the Skokie marchers or Phelps protests. And this guy got fired for views that were mainstream amongst most Democrats just five years ago ( on gay rights-not Buchanan). To the extent that his money was speech we can beat his prejudiced speech with more and better speech.

  5. Jeb

    It would be more fun if his name was Jebediah.

    • I thought the Bush hubris in that article was fascinating

      Particularly the intrafamily dynamics, and also the fact that the Republican base has never been particularly enthusiastic about any of the Bushes but seems to be stuck with them all the same (sort of like liberals with the Clintons come to think of it).

      He definitely sounded sharper than he did during his aborted book tour last cycle. But this is a guy who will not have appeared on a ballot in over 10 years by the time he announces for 16′, is associated with one of the most unpopular incumbents in recent American history, and represents a branch of the party (compassionate conservatism domestically and neoconservatism abroad) that is at record levels of unpopularity within the hard right Tea Party infused modern day GOP as well as with swing voters and independents.

      Nobody wants a return to the high spending Medicare Part D corporate giveaways or Social Security privatization schemes that characterized the ‘compassionate conservative’ domestic agenda, and the base of neither party is particularly enthused about more overseas interventions. The only areas he appeals to independents: endorsing the common core and immigration reform are two areas where he is endorsing Obama’s stated policies which will be anathema to the base.
      He apparently was not well received at the Adelson primary, which has also been getting flak from unexpected quarters.

      The base wants a Cruz or Paul and will likely get it, particularly with Christie’s self-immolation and the unlikelihood of a Bush run.

      • It won't be Cruz or Paul.

        Every year we say look how crazy the GOP has gotten. Surely they will nominate a nutcase this time. They have always come around to nominating someone reasonably electable. I think the nomination is Jeb’s for the asking at this point. He’s not scary and has a claim to being next in line.

        • Out of the Mouth of Babes (i.e. Trolls).

          Don’t forget, the local troll said this not to long ago:

          I first saw Ron Paul back in 1988 when he went on The Morton Downey Jr Show. He got lots of guff, especially from Mort, and I thought he was a whacko. Now having watched the clip of the show on YouTube, he was so ahead of his time. I do look forward to voting for his son for president.

        • I just don't see a path

          Romney was barely able to win against subpar anti-establishment opponents. Paul has the built in fundraising support and base from his father, along with a wider amount of support from some within the GOP establishment and the religious right. If he can get the religious right who feel burned by the neocons to work with his existent paleocon/libertarian base within the GOP he would be a formidable foe. Cruz is getting a lot of Club for Growth/Freedomworks attention and cash. And I think they both have a big leg up over Jeb at the moment. His best hope would be for Santorum and Huckabee to get in. But Huckabee is pretending to run to buff up his book deal/fatten his tv contract.

          Walker can also slot nicely into the void Christie has left behind, without as much nose thumbing at the base (though just as many ethical issues lurking in the shadows). I don’t see Ryan running at this point, particularly since he has a shot at Ways and Means.

  6. My dad

    Gave me “The Art of Fielding”. Terrific, fun read. Hits a lot of my sweet spots, as it were. :)

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Tue 21 Feb 8:32 PM