Daily Archives: February 9, 2007

Oakland A’s sign Shannon Stewart to play LF

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I think this is a good move. Shannon Stewart has been a good ballplayer who has had severe plantar fasciitis, a potential treatable disorder. It’s not a big gamble, as the money is relatively small and the upside is pretty good. Stewart had a workout for several teams at the end of January in Florida, and evidently did ok. Certainly the A’s would have had him take a physical exam also. Here is the money fact: both Toronto and Minnesota had astroturf fields. Oakland has natural grass; this should make a big difference for Stewart.

Now, the problem with Stewart is that he doesn’t have a lot of power for a LF; he was more of a speedy CF/leadoff hitter with some pop,before his feet fell apart. He always has a good on base percentage, scores a lot of runs, and is an adequate fielder, more suited to LF than to CF.

Assuming his health is adequate, Stewart is gonna be an okay player for the A’s, a not-atypical Billy Beane player. I would suggest that they not play him in consecutive games on artificial turf. At the end of the year, He should have been able to play 120 games (more if he DH’s) and will be a contributor; if you compare his value and salary with those of Alfonso Soriano and Juan Pierre, I imagine that Stewart will be a relative steal.

How a team can be smart enough to pull off this deal and yet also dumb enough to give Mike Piazza 8 million is beyond me.


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Iran takes the bait, threatens counterstrikes against US. UPDATED

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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

It seems to me that Iran should be very careful in responding to Buscheney’s campaign of provocation. They would do well to take it to the UN. Threatening the US is exactly the wrong thing to do. I’m sure Buscheney is smiling tonight.

Iran’s supreme leader said Thursday that if the United States were to attack Iran, the country would respond by striking U.S. interests all over the world. The comments by Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei came the same day that another top official, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Javad Zarif, warned in a column in The New York Times that efforts to isolate Iran would simply backfire on the United States, increasing sectarian tensions in the volatile Middle East, including Iraq.


n another sign of the tensions, Iran’s intelligence minister also said Thursday the government had detected a network of U.S. and Israeli spies, and had detained a second group of people who planned to go abroad for espionage training, state television reported. It gave few details.

Also Thursday, Gen. Ali Fadavi, a navy commander in the Elite Revolutionary Guard, told state-run radio that Iran successfully test-fired a cruise missile over the Oman Sea and the northern Indian Ocean. Iran routinely tests missiles.

Fadavi said the missile, with a 350-kilometer (217 miles) range and a 500-kilogram (1,102 pounds) warhead was fired in low-level flight from a launcher. The missile, he said, can detect its target quickly and is capable of destroying any type of warship.

You can be sure that there will be two responses from the Bush administration tomorrow:
a) the White House: “who?what? us? golly, I don’t know what Iran is getting upset about….”
b) State Dept or Defense: “against US citizens, ships or servicepeople will be treated as an act of war against the US”

UPDATE: what did I predict?

The White House dismissed threats from a top Iranian official on Thursday, saying the United States has no intention of going to war with Iran.


“Khamenei from time to time makes these unprovoked statements and we would certainly hope they are not directed at the United States because President Bush has made it clear we have no intention of going to war with Iran,” said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.


of course, the WH always denies “war”, not “attack,” which was the term used by Khamenei.

Interestingly, Sec. of Defense Gates pooh poohed the whole deal; this is definitely not following the Buscheney script, imho:

In Seville, Spain, where Robert M. Gates, the American defense secretary, met Thursday with NATO defense ministers, he seemed to play down the significance of the strong language from Iran.

“My impression is that they make threats like this from time to time,” Mr. Gates said. “We have no intention of attacking Iran.”

I continue to think that Gates may be adding some sanity to the equation.

UPDATE: Gates apparently got a long distance call from the White House after his Thursday quote hit the papers; here is what he is saying today:

Gates told reporters Friday that markings on explosives provide “pretty good” evidence that Iranians are supplying either weapons or technology for Iraqi extremists.

“I think there’s some serial numbers, there may be some markings on some of the projectile fragments that we found” that point to Iran, he said.

Gates’ remarks left unclear how the U.S. knows the serial numbers are traceable to Iran and whether such weapons would have been sent to Iraq by the Iranian government or by private arms dealers.


So much for the idea that Bob Gates is gonna provide some sort of brake on the Buscheney Iran Express.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Condoleezza Rice: tell me again, what is her job?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq, John McCain for president of Del Boca Vista, Middle East, Politics