Daily Archives: April 8, 2007

UPDATED. Alfonso Soriano: more times picked off base (1) than RBIs (0).

I predicted that AS was going to be a disaster for the Cubs, but even I couldn’t have guessed how badly he would start out. He better do SOMETHING pretty soon, cause the papers, the fans, and the manager are starting to notice. Other players have stepped up, but unfortunately, this is not the guy who responds positively to pressure. And of course his fielding is more like tripping through the tulips. Why in the world the Cubs decided to bat him leadoff and play center? I can only assume that Douglas Feith was involved in those decisions.

On the other hand, the Brewers are sending out Capuano on the mound today against the Cubs, not exactly a Cy Young award nominee. AS can’t hit good pitchers, but this is the kind of guy AS feasts on. If he can tag one, it’ll buy him another week before the boobirds start in on him. If he screws the pooch today, the whispering campaign will begin in earnest.

UPDATE: AS went a double for 5, no walks, one run scored, from the leadoff slot. Still no RBIs. Cubs got smeared.

I know it’s an admission of their huge mistake, but the Cubs should get real; AS should be playing left field and batting 5th or 6th, where his big strikeout-to-walk ratio won’t hurt so much. That’s where he belongs. Give Pinella another week or ten days; he said something about “when Soriano gets going..” Hey, Lou, this is Alfonso; he has his swing, and it sucks.

It’s just not that hard to pitch to AS. In baseball parlance: its just “by the book.” That means up and in, then down and away. He can’t hit either location. His swing is exactly like A-Rod’s except that his hands are lower, he loops more and uppercuts more, and that is why his weaknesses are similar to A-Rod’s, but worse. In the American League, there just aren’t that many pitchers who will buzz inside. In the National League, that’s par for the course. If you want to see the opposite of AF’s swing, watch Michael Young, or Manny Ramirez: hands high, no loop, some uppercut at times but usually not.

Furthermore, AS is not coachable. The Rangers had a hitting instructor named Rudy Jaramillo, the best in the business. Couldn’t do a thing with AS.

I don’t mean to bag on AS; he is what he is, God bless him. My gripe is that the Cubs didn’t and still won’t recognize what he is.  I mean, don’t they read the papers, didn’t they watch him play? That’s what management is paid to do.   And crappy management is why the Cubs are what they are.  No serious baseball person would build a team around Alfonso Soriano. Really. And whoever did it should get booted, cause the Cubs otherwise have a decent team. Think where they could be if they had used that money to get another free agent starter… I don’t know that they could beat the Mets but they could beat everybody else in the NL, conceivably.

UPDATE: USA Today on Monday points out that AS has no home runs or stolen bases, either.



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The US and Iran: Elliot Abrams’ sandbox (continued)


The NY Times today has a lengthy piece on the Bush administration’s cautious trial of diplomatic efforts vis a vis Iran. Elliot Abrams must be singed.  I expect he has spent most of the last week writing up anti-Pelosi talking points to be faxed to Suzanne Malveaux and other lazy reporters.  Abrams or one of his troop was undoubtedly responsible for the altered Reuters/Washington Post story yesterday, in which a US military officer reported the finding of an EFP factory in Iraq; the story was quickly altered to remove the EFP factory, and blame EFP’s on Iran.  Some of us did notice, Elliot.

The Times story, unfortunately, turns out to be a cover piece for US negotiations, and slams the Iranians at every opportunity. For example, this ridiculous statement:

 When it comes to the Iranians, this sudden interest in negotiation raises a different question than it does with the Americans: Are they serious about the conference, or is their active diplomacy primarily meant to divert attention away from their nuclear program, which continues to move forward unchecked?

The Iranians have always been interested in negotiations.  Day after day, they say it; they tried to accomplish negotiations in 2003 but were turned down by the US, as evidenced by a piece in the NY Times only a few months back. They shut down their nuclear program in 2004 to negotiate, and it got them nothing. It is the US which has refused to negotiate, by demanding that the nuclear program be shut down before they will negotiate; that is the point of the piece, for heaven’s sake.

I don’t expect much from reporters anymore. But I continue to be disappointed anyway.  It is typical of Times reporters in their “research” to ignore important relevant stories from their own paper. So editorial input is also disappointing.

So one way or the other, the Bush administration is being dragged kicking and screaming to the bargaining table, and war with Iran is a fading dream for Abrams and his bunch of crazies.

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Filed under Condoleezza Rice: tell me again, what is her job?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq

Frank Rich on McCain’s fiasco

Like his Letterman gaffe, Mr. McCain’s ludicrous market stunt was at least in the tradition of his old brand of straight talk, in that it revealed the truth, however unintentionally. But many more have watched the constantly recycled and ridiculed spectacle of his “safe” walk in Baghdad than heard him on a late-night talk show. This incident has the staying power of the Howard Dean scream. Should it speed America’s disengagement from Iraq, what looks today like John McCain’s farcical act of political suicide may some day loom large as a patriot’s final act of sacrifice for his country.
NYTimes select

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, John McCain for president of Del Boca Vista

Book Review: Hooked


Hooked: Pirates, Poaching and the Perfect Fish by G. Bruce Knecht. (nonfiction)

This is an excellent book, about the “Chilean Sea Bass.” The primary story is how Australian authorities chased an illegal fishing boat for thousands of miles through ice and storms. Interspersed throughout is the story of how the Pategonian toothfish became a menu staple at the best restaurants, after being renamed the Chilean Sea Bass, and how it has become endangered. It’s a page-turner, but also a thought-provoker.

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Filed under books, food/drink, global warming/environment, Outdoors, travel

After 4 years of occupation, US still using aerial attacks on Iraqis.

DIWANIYA, Iraq (Reuters) – U.S. forces launched an air strike in Diwaniya on Saturday as U.S. and Iraqi troops fought for a second day to wrest control of the city from Shi’ite militias.

A local hospital source and a resident said six people, including two children and a woman, were killed in the missile strike on a home in the centre of the city, 180 km south of Baghdad.

U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Bleichwehl said one person had been killed when a warplane fired on gunmen carrying rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

“The engagement was initiated by a tip that was called in by a local citizen. We had visual confirmation that there was a hostile target. There was no collateral damage,” he said.

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Mitt Romney, “lifetime hunter”: never owned a gun, never had a hunting license, compares himself to Jed Clampett.

I guess by comparing himself to Jed Clampett he means he is an invented character.


“The report that I only hunted twice is incorrect,” Romney said in a statement issued Friday. “I’ve hunted small game numerous times, as a young man and as an adult. I’m by no means a big game hunter. I’m more Jed Clampett than Teddy Roosevelt.”

Romney has been criticized for changing positions on issues such as abortion and gay rights during his campaign for the Republican nomination for president. Although he once supported strict gun control measures, he has spoken in favor of gun ownership rights while on the campaign trail and joined the National Rifle Association as a “Lifetime” member last year.

His staff refused Friday to provide details about his hunting history, including whose gun he used, with whom he hunted and whether he hunted in Utah as a college student or as an adult. He does not own a firearm, despite claiming to earlier this year.

The former Massachusetts governor issued the statement Friday after The Associated Press asked wildlife officials in Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Utah for any documentation verifying Romney had been a registered hunter.

Romney was born in Michigan, where he lived in the wealthy Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills. After completing his undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, he moved to Massachusetts in 1971. He received a joint law-business degree from Harvard University, launched a successful business career and raised his family.

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Filed under books, John McCain for president of Del Boca Vista, Politics