'The Sox need the formulas for Chemistry'
Reader No. 1 touches on the Sox 'chemistry' issue that I've been mulling for a few days now. First, Reader No. 1:
The boil bursts, and everything comes out on the table. Jackie McMullan parks it, asking all the right questions.
As Jackie points out, a lot of people looked at decisions in 2003-2004 and said the answer was Moneyball/Sabermetric principles. Not wrong, but not complete: the Sox need the formulas for Chemistry. Hopefully Theo and company are not so smart that they can figure out this challenging new set of skills for competitive advantage.
Tito, thanks for 2 World Series, best for the future.
Here's my thoughts: I believe the Sox are boring. They're soulless. OK, maybe they don't need a Manny. But they also can't have too many Drews either. Every team, no matter what sport, needs spark-plug personalities -- leaders. They need leaders in the military, corporations, nonprofits, classrooms. The leaders can't all be coaches, generals, chairmen and teachers. They also need to come from the rank-and-file. The Sox didn't have 'em. Papi almost fits the bill, but he's a little over the hill and has always struck me as more of a sergeant. The need for leadership is something "Moneyball" management has never addressed and can never address.
P.S. -- Rereading Jackie's article, I should note that Justin Pedroia was a team leader by example, day in, day out. But they needed more. Not just "leaders" per se. But people who respected leadership.
The Long-Suffering Sox Fan Shtick is Back!
From the NYT
The ghosts were supposed to be exiled, the curses broken.
But if the Red Sox fail to make the playoffs, and in historic fashion, those good feelings could be washed away and a new curse may emerge for fans to suffer under.
Next up: How baseball is a metaphor for life, tired Shakespearean analogies, interviews with Doris Kearns Goodwin, a new curse name (nominee: Curse of Manny), etc.
Of course, the NYT was lecturing us after the 2004 World Series: ‘With Nothing Left to Win, Fans of the Red Sox Suddenly Feel a Loss.’
… We suffer when we win. We suffer when we lose. No matter what, we suffer. Ah, Red Sox fans! Ah, humanity! …
As for the Sox this year, they bore me. They’ve bored me all year. And last year. They’re a boring team with a completely overrated pitching staff. ... Previous anti-poignant-pain posts here
P.S. -- At Soxaholix
, Marty is throwing cheap shots again.
'Amy Bishop pleads insanity in University of Alabama shooting'
I think it's safe to say she is not exaggerating.
Are 401(k)s Ponzi schemes?
Everyone is talking about whether Social Security is nothing more than a big Ponzi scheme.
But has anyone made the same argument about the private 401(k) plans of average American investors? Just throwing out the idea. Think of all the recent rogue trader stories we’ve been reading of late. They and their non-convicted financier colleagues ultimately get first dibs on “institutional” money invested by mutual fund companies, etc. They extract fees. They take home huge portions of investment-return profits. They pay themselves first – and then retire first (often buying professional sports teams as a post-retirement hobby – but I digress). The average investors get what’s left over.
But even the left-over crowd depends on a healthy stream of new investors (i.e. the young) to keep pumping money into the system to prop up or drive up the prices of stocks, commodities and other investment products, until the left-over crowd can retire, leaving the newest investors (i.e. the young) holding the left-overs bag. The entire process repeats itself … until the system collapses, like, say, what happened in 1929 or 2008.
Of course, one could argue the 401(k) game is nothing more than a generational version of Musical Chairs – just like Social Security. Still …
As I said, just throwing out the Ponzi-scheme parallels, since so many seem determined to bash Social Security these days, including financiers, who’d just love to get their hands on all those privatized Social Security dollars via 401 (k) accounts.
Hey, look! It’s a ghost from rogue traders past!
It’s the banking system, stupid – Part XXXVIII
Five months after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, yours truly wrote a piece headlined “It’s the banking system, stupid.”
Three years later, the same argument
One can throw Keynesian government spending at our current economic problems. One can advocate Supply-side tax cuts. Others can push for deficit reduction or higher taxes on the rich. But it all ain’t going to matter much as long as the big banks aren’t lending.
Another day, another financial rogue trader
It's a wonder
anyone defends our financial system anymore.
If you want to see an inspiring 9/11-associated documentary, check out Nova’s Engineering Ground Zero
. It’s superb. While watching it, I was awed by the devotion and determination of workers to achieve their collective goal: To rebuild Ground Zero, with the highest priority being to finish the 9/11 Memorial
by today’s 10th anniversary of the attack. They simply were not going to miss today’s deadline. They didn’t. …
I don’t have much else to add to all that’s been written about 9/11 over the past few days. I’ll just say that some relatives and I visited New York about two and half weeks after the attack, deliberately going there to “spend dollars” (remember that appeal?) and to pay homage. The saddest moment was venturing down to southern Manhattan and, to my surprise, still seeing that horrible gray dust covering empty store fronts, back-alley fire escapes and window sills. The gray dust got to me. I felt like I was violating hallowed ground.
National Guard troops were everywhere, manning barricades and blocking off streets. The NYPD were also there in force. The somber tourists -- and that’s what we were, tourists -- were politely kept back as unseen construction crews could be heard loudly hammering and digging away behind buildings that blocked views of Ground Zero. It was the same inspiring devotion and determination that I mentioned above, albeit it was tinged then with an almost overwhelming sense of sadness and disbelief.
The President and those evil Teamsters, Part II
Someone emailed me to say he didn’t understand my post the other day
on the Teamsters. Perhaps I was too rushed and cryptic when I wrote the post. So let me be more explicit: I was making fun of the conservative bee-hive indignation
over President Obama’s association with the Teamsters, putting past presidential ties with Teamsters into larger historical perspective, starting with Ronald Reagan’s embrace of the ethically challenged union in 1980 and 1984. I could have gone back much further in presidential history.
The conservative movement’s latest gotcha point of the week (i.e. Obama and the Teamsters) has been utterly fascinating to watch unfold. I think it was either Tom Bethell or Joseph Sobran, both conservative writers, who used to describe liberal activists as worker-bees, buzzing around their hives (Mother Jones, Village Voice etc.) awaiting their orders and then launching coordinated bee-hive attacks on their ideological opponents, even if they didn’t have a clue what they were talking about. I always loved that bee-hive metaphor – and I’ve simply applied it to conservative activists. Most of them are nothing more than conservative worker bees at this point. …
Not that Obama’s association with the Teamsters isn’t troubling. But it’s no more troubling than Reagan’s or Nixon’s associations with the Teamsters, who have a long history of throwing their amoral support behind whatever party isn’t issuing indictments against them at the moment.
The Hack-Progressive Alliance: ‘A pernicious paradigm’
At Sal DiMasi's sentencing hearing yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf
didn’t explicitly refer to the unholy alliance of liberals and hacks on Beacon Hill, i.e the Hack-Progressive Alliance. But he sure came close to it:
Wolf referenced letters sent to the court from some of DiMasi’s former colleagues as examples of the moral tone deafness on Beacon Hill. He cited rationales offered up by Rep. James Fagan and Rep. Frank Smizik in particular:
“Mr. Smizik said the day you were convicted in the Boston Herald, ‘I’ve never seen a better speaker. It’s a shame that somebody who did a good job gets caught up in something like this.’ You were essential to creating it. It seems to be an attitude that if somebody supports causes that you care about, some corruption is to be expected, and I think that’s a pernicious paradigm.”
More on the Hack-Progressive Alliance here.
The Patriots: No Super Bowl this year?
doesn’t think the Patriots will make it to the Super Bowl, largely because there’s no way Brady can repeat his MVP performance from last year and because the Pats can’t possibly match their low turnover rate from last year. … Sounds statistically smart to me. But I’ll just go with my non-statistical gut: Teams aren’t as intimidated by the Pats as they used to be; BB hasn’t paced the team well heading into the playoffs over the past few years; the secondary is still a big question mark; the Packers, Jets and others just seem sharper and hungrier… Btw: Great Packers-Saints game
last night. … Barnwell via Reader No. 1.
The President and those evil Teamsters
I, too, am outraged by the president's embrace of the Teamsters
and his later inaction in the face of overwhelming evidence of their unacceptable behavior and associations:
In 1980, Ronald Reagan forged a close political relationship with (Teamsters president) Jackie Presser. During Reagan's 1980 campaign for president, Jackie Presser served as one of Reagan's hosts at a private luncheon for Teamster and other union leaders and escorted Reagan to private meetings with Teamster officials. After the November 1980 presidential election, Reagan named Presser as a labor advisor to his transition team. The media soon reported that Presser was reputed to have links to organized crime and that he was the object of a DOL civil suit for financial malfeasance. Reagan and his advisors claimed to have been unaware of the accusations, and Presser denied having any ties to organized crime. Just days after the story broke in the national press, however, New Jersey State Police witnesses testified that Presser was the primary contact for the DeCavalcante crime family of New Jersey and the Patriarca crime family of Boston whenever crime figures needed loans from Teamster pension funds. The courtroom testimony intensified the pressure on the Reagan transition team.
Democrats and leaders of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), a Teamster reform group, demanded that Reagan remove Presser from the transition team. But Reagan aides said that the transition team had completed its task and the issue was now moot.
Oh, I forgot. It wasn't that
president's ties to the Teamsters. Or another
president's ties to the Teamsters. It was the current president's
ties to the Teamsters. Sorry. My indignant mistake.
The Debate and Perry's lack of experience
Hub Blog didn't watch the GOP debate
last night, but Reader No. 1 did:
My own take: the debate, the party and the voters were well-served by having eight distinctive personalities onstage at the same time.
Brian Williams questions clearly showed the MSM bias, but he did a fine job of managing time and interactions after the intro (overly focused on the 2 frontrunners) and other than the abrupt end (though I did not miss eight concluding statements).
Perry's lack of prior experience in these forums showed. He was less smooth than Romney or Huntsman, less in command that Gingrich. I suspect he will improve, he needs to improve or he won't be President.
Huntsman alternated between great (talking about his record in Utah, critique of Obama) and useless (giving aid to the "anti-science" arguments).
I agree that the polls will tighten up at this point.
The Unimaginative Class
The Imaginative Class once again shows how unimaginative it really is, to wit: They want to change the name
of Bulfinch Triangle/West End to "SoCa." Get it? SoHo. SoCa
. Just like how they tried to change the name of the Sound End to SoWa. ... Readers are dumping
all over the idea. Rightly so.