Tough Break; Big Win; Paul Newman, 1923-2008; First Presidential Debate

My daughter broke her left wrist at her soccer game this morning, the same wrist she broke three years ago.  As she got the ball and headed up the middle of the field, a girl a bit bigger than she from the other team bowled her over before getting the ball, an unnecessary and, to me, dirty play.  GLG landed on her left wrist and side hard.  She’s in good spirits but I was pissed about the play.  It took some restraint not to yell out about it, but my concern was with my daughter first, and nothing good would have been accomplished by upbraiding a pre-teen kid.  That ends soccer season for her unfortunately, and disrupts her playing piano.

The world lost a great actor and decent human being today with the passing of Paul Newman, dead at the age of 85.  Best known for starring roles in “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof,” “Hud,” “The Hustler,” “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” “Cool Hand Luke,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Sting,” “Slap Shot,” “The Verdict,” “The Color of Money,” “Blaze,” “The Hudsucker Proxy” among many others, Newman was also a race car driver and owner as well as a kind-hearted philanthropist.  His Newman’s Own brands raised well over $200 million for charitable and educational purposes since the company’s founding in the 1980s, donating all post-expenses earnings to various causes.  You’ll certainly be missed, Mr. Newman.

Big win last night, with the Yankees exploding for 19 runs to beat the Red Sox 19-8, scoring in every inning but the sixth.  I didn’t see it because by the time it got started after a lengthy rain delay, the presidential debate was on and that was must-see TV for me.  Also, after the debate, I was just exhausted and called it a night.  Abreu scored four times and drove in 100 runs for the 6th straight year joining A-Rod and Pujols, Cody Ransom looks like candidate number 1 to replace Wilson Betemit as bench help with two homers and a 3-3 night, Cano had 2 doubles and drove in 5 runs, A-Rod had his 102nd RBI and Giambi drove in his 96th, JD homered (his 17th, with 71 RBIs, batting .305), Nady was 3-5 with 4 runs, Brett Gardner was 2-6 with 4 RBIs, and Chad Moeller was 2-4 with an RBI.  The #6-9 hitters were 10-20 with 6 runs and 10 RBIs.  Pete Abraham brought up a good question, speculating what might have happened had Girardi benched Cano in May.  It’s a fair question, though merely academic at this point. Seven two-out RBIs and 3 sac flies–color me impressed, if long overdue.

After going 0-2, Jeter came out, won’t play today and is unlikely to play tomorrow with a sore hand.  It looks likely that he’s done for the year.  If so, it would be his 10th .300 season and 4th straight, a remarkable accomplishment all the more so because he was in all likelihood playing injured after Cabrera hit him on the hand. Still, quite a year–.300, most hits in Yankee Stadium, 2,535 and counting for his career. Here’s to a healthy 2009 for him and the Yankees, for it couldn’t be much more unhealthy.

Phil Coke finally allowed a run in the fifth, the first of his major-league career to leave his ERA it a whopping 0.66.  He’s been a good late-season call-up without question and deserves a full shot at the 2009 squad.  Good to see Robertson pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit and fanning 3.  He too deserves a shot, and hopefully gets to finish a nice but uneven 2008 on a high note.  Aceves got touched up a bit, allowing 4 runs earned in 4 IP, but three of those were in the first on two homers. One iffy outing in six appearances to end 2008 from Aceves.  He deserves a shot as well.  If these three don’t make the 2009 roster–and I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of them on it, depending on off-season moves–SWB is not a bad option for any of the three to be ready and active.  All three have impressed me.

Gardner sure is making the most of his playing time, another good sign.  Mike Sommer must be like a proud Papa.  He’s 13 for his last 33 (.394) and is 18-59 (.305) since being called back up.  Just as importantly as the progress in his hitting, he’s played a terrific center field, making spectacular plays and tracking down many balls with ease with his blazing speed.  I sure could live with some variation of Melky’s 2006–7 HR, 50 RBI, .280/.360, 12/17 stolen bases in 130 games.  Yet within that amount of games, I doubt that he’ll get seven homers (unless they’re in-the-park, and I won’t rule that out) without developing some power and fast, but you could expect a lot more than 12 stolen bases (since he has 11 in 40 games this year) and, with continued progress, the .280/.360 is realistic.  We’ll see, but his progress gives the Yanks lots of options for 2009.  To me, he’s at worst the Yanks’ fourth outfielder since Matsui’s knees make him iffy in the field and he seems a likely DH candidate–if he stays.  There’s no way Gardner shouldn’t be in the mix for 2009.  He’s too important, too good in the field, and too downright disruptive on the bases not to be on the team and playing.

On last night’s debate, call it a slight win for Obama for last night’s topic–foreign policy–was supposed to be McCain’s bailiwick.  I didn’t see it, though McCain wasn’t awful.  McCain was forceful and displayed some knowledge, but his constant refrain about Obama’s alleged “naivete” was laughable when one listened to Obama, who was informed, clear, and well-spoken on foreign policy.  It just didn’t hold from McCain.  Obama also has his opposition to the war on Iraq on his side, which McCain supported, although I was more than a little uneasy by his seeming desire to wade more heavily into Afghanistan, long-ignored trouble spot that it is.  Despite Kissinger’s attempts to patch it up today, he did echo what Obama said about meeting with Iran without pre-conditions, so Obama was right on that.  McCain is trying to conflate meeting with Iran with giving things away to Iran, and the two aren’t the same as any cursory investigation would reveal.  I also think McCain’s going to have difficulty selling the American public on his floating a spending freeze on everything but the military and veterans’ affairs when there are deep, long-neglected needs this country has–infrastructure, education, high-speed broadband for localities and businesses, national health care, job development in the private and public sectors, and much more.  McCain didn’t stumble (except on the name of Ahmadinejad, thrice) or fare poorly, and both candidates started out nervously, to me.  Obama is clearly better spoken and more poised, important in debates but somewhat cosmetic overall–though there is the importance of actually communicating ideas that I consider important. What was important to me was how prepared and organized Obama was, often listing points and policy prescriptions that McCain usually failed to do.  This is important in its own right, and reveals down the road that Obama just has more ideas and initiatives that he successfully conveys, and McCain doesn’t–especially on the economy.  McCain lacked specifics in many answers, especially early. Interestingly, McCain avoided eye contact practically throughout the whole night with Obama, from the opening to the closing handshakes and during the “face-to-face” time.  There’s a lot to infer from that–disdain, anger, fear, disrespect.  Regardless, that McCain couldn’t bring himself to so much as look at Obama showed a lack of respect, confidence, and poise.  Obama was just much better on his feet, not too surprisingly.

It wasn’t a make-or-break night for either candidate, but telling is that during the debates, self-described independents reacted much more strongly to Obama than McCain during the live response polling, especially over the economy and the wars.  That’s not a good sign for McCain.  Those may shake out differently over the next couple days, but Obama should feel that he fared pretty well on what was considered McCain’s “turf.”

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Published in: on September 27, 2008 at 1:35 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i’m VERY sorry about GLG–

    about the debate–the desired result for obama was to come off as ‘presidential”–which he did. obviously in this country of sheep it doesn’t actually matter what either candidate says unless it’s some kind of zinger–the taget audience in this debate is the small % of the population who are both undecided and “independent” – in two polls Obama was the winner 61-39 in one and 62 -38 in another. good news indeed when one considers the prospect of sarah palin one
    ( more) malignant tumor away from the white house.

  2. CBS poll of undecided voters

    results:

    Who Won the Debate?
    Obama 39%
    McCain 24
    Tie 37

    Effect on Opinion of Obama
    Better 46%
    Worse 8%
    No change 46%

    Effect on Opinion of McCain
    Better 32%
    Worse 27%
    No change 47%

    Is Obama Prepared to be President:
    Pre-Debate: 44% Yes, 53% No
    Post-Debate: 60% Yes, 39% No

    Is McCain Prepared to be President:
    Pre-Debate: 79% Yes, 20% No
    Post-Debate: 78% Yes, 21% No

  3. Thanks for the well wishes on GLG, Mike.

    Here’s an interesting take on the debates from James Fallows, someone who to me is must-reading:

    http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/09/on_strategy_and_tactics.php

    This is in good part on what I relied for the information on the political undecideds polled about the debate, and I think it’s telling. Granted, polling information is always small-sample representative, and is both malleable and subjective (related, I know). But this says a lot about people’s impressions and how Obama, as Fallows says either consciously or implicitly, likely understood that based on his comportment. Worth a look:

    http://www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/09/what_sayeth_the_undecideds.html

  4. McCain was indeed transparently angry. I think it goes beyond the debate or even the campaign.

    John McCain suffered unimaginably in service to the rest of us. When his sacrifices are denigrated or ignored by those who never endured such treatment, his anger is understandable. I believe this instance is more revealing than the debate.

  5. thanks for those links jason.

    i’m sorry john mc cain is an angry hypocrite as well. i’m quite fearful of his erratic behavior and grandstanding if he were to inhabit the oval office. i’m even more fearful of sarah palin- not just because of her ultra-right wing ideas but quite frankly not only is she completely unqualified for the job- she has shown herself to be an imbecile.

    the pick of her alone should disqualify mc cain to be president.

  6. it’s hard not to admire Paul Newman for putting his money to work in such productive ways, such as his Newman’s Own line–high quality stuff and the proceeds go to good causes… very smart.


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