Thursday, August 10, 2006

Baseball will survive MLB

Strikeouts are boring. They're Fascist. Throw some ground balls, it's more Democratic.
Crash Davis, from Bull Durham

Good read, Reed Johnson

I was always one against change, but especially if it was change-for-greeds'-sake. Like the way MLB marketed the game to inspire dumb-awe at home runs(which are fascist). So when MLB re-juiced the ball again in 1995(also in 1920), I was against it. Selling spectacle dumbed-down the game on all levels, including the story telling.

But according to one cagey veteran, what's happening on the field with this "nuclear" baseball, may well bring the game back to the fundamentals. Just like us Baseball Fundamentalists like.

The centre of it is, the ball comes off the bat faster. This obviously effects offence, but it also significantly influences defense, and pitching too.

Formerly 3-2 games are now 8-5 games. Since each run is worth less than in the previous era, the number of opportunities available to effect the out come of each game increases. Every opportunity to plate a run must be maximized, making base running and on base percentage more important.

Anything you can do to stop runs from scoring has become very important. So speed and professionalism in the out field is a must. You can't have a Jose Cansecos out there.

On the offensive side, 20 home run guys are 40 home run guys. Line drive hitters get 20 homies 'with out even tryin'. More shots get to the gaps for doubles. The check-swing-homer has appeared; the batter is trying hold up on a pitch, and it goes over the wall in the corner! I think I've seen it in The Bronx and at Fenway too.

So yes, specialized freaks (and I mean that in a nice way) can pound out 75 homeys a season. But they demand freakish cash as well.

A cheaper team can win by choosing 100M champions out of college or off the grid iron,(two places where the stat. is kept). Your outfielders should have great range and great read. They have to get to those spots quicker when tracking down the line drives or lickity split grounders. Coaches could also look for baseball I.Q. and professionalism: Can the player be taught, will they learn the foot work needed to be an exceptional defensive player, are their heads in the game, do they love team baseball?

The hardest thing to do in sport is hit a baseball pitched by a major league pitcher, said the great Ted Williams, a hitter. Hitters are rare and homey hitter are very expensive; line-drive-hitters are cheaper. Also, because they suck, line-drive-hitters usually get to the majors through the practice of the art of hitting; so they see more pitches, which is harder on pitchers. Most often homey hitters rely on their unfair advantage, god given talent and not on the study of the game. Or in other words, they strike out a lot.

The line drive is penultimate in today's game, hit it past them, you win, cut it off or catch it, you win.

This bodes well for the game. The free enterprise tactics of the New York Yankees are forcing smaller market teams to re-think the game. I haven't read 'Money Ball', but I assume they're talking of the same things.

The change is afoot! And this Baseball fundamentalist approves!

Oh, I almost forgot; we really don't need the DH now to encourage more scoring. We've got a nuclear baseball for that. So lets just put it away now - OK?

Friday, August 4, 2006

New In Theaters This Summer...

  • Steve McQuit in 'The Blog'
  • It came out of the web!
  • And then it attacked the nations chemical industry!!


Who ownes the rights to 'The Blob' anyways? Where's the remake or Part ll? I'd bet Union Carbide, bought the rights to it. And it'll never be produced again.


Economist, J.K.Galbraith Offers Lessons from the Terror Bombings of WWII.

Total war, as we're seeing in Lebanon, includes Strategic Bombing.

In that the Israeli tactics are, not an appropriate response to what is not a critical threat to the country, it is a war crime.

Photo: Reuters

During the London Blitz in 1940-41, 43,000 people lost there lives. Out of this came the Area-bombing of German cities, an attempt to derail the Nazi war machine. We should have no illusions, destroying the war capability of the Nazis from the air meant destroying factories and transportation networks. Around these factories and roads and train tracks live the people who work them. This was the first lesson in the horrors of Air Power.

But it went further than that. As the tide began to turn; as the allies began to develop fighter escorts that could fly deep behind German lines, the thinking changed. Area bombing of German cities came to be seen as a second front that our Soviet allies had been begging for.In the Strategic Bombing Survey, economist J.K.Galbraith determined 300.000 German civilians were killed and 750.000 were injured in the area bombing campaign. 73 million died on both sides in the war over all in only 5 years. Air Power meant Mass Death.

The tactic should be considered a war crime. If our mothers and fathers
could have voted on it, I'm sure they would have passed the law.

In 1945, a different kind of mass death was designed and tried on Dresden. A non-industrial city full of refugees and wounded, a city of the arts and culture. With no warning, Strategic Bomber Command immolated the entire city in a raid in two horrendous waves. All those who didn't leave before, before.. Before they would never. Estimates go as high as 200,000 civilians killed. The British, choose 45,000 dead. As I am a Canadian, I must report a conflict of interest - roughly
half of those sorties were flown by Canadians.(this is based on a break down of nationalities of pilots in the RAF at the time.)

"We're all sons-of-a-bitches now", the nuclear physicist Robert Oppenheimer said. He was commenting after viewing the 'results' of the Strategic nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, August 6,1945.

If there's no good guys any more then I'm afraid the gig is up. We cannot choose total war and throw out civilization. There must be limits, therefore the UN should pass a resolution against the use of area bombing. It is state
terror, and thus President George.W. Bush's representative Mr. Bolton should lead the way.

"But were not aiming at the houses." goes the familiar refrain nowadays, "And we have smart bombs!". Smart bombs are great for taking out infrastructure as a precursor to invasion, or to decapitate the enemy's command.

But what of this vengeful flattening of cities? Stalingrad showed us that razing the place doesn't avoid the street to street fighting all generals want to avoid; the enemy actually ends up with
better cover. It has no purpose other than terror, to clog the roads with refugees, which disrupts enemy maneuvers. If this is not a crime, watch the starvation now beginning in Lebanon, watch how asymmetrically it plays on TV.

It's been
book since WWII, to neutralize a strongly defended city that would slow down your fast advance go around it, and siege it so it doesn't get out and crawl up your back. This is no picnic for non-combatants either, but at least it leaves an opportunity for escape, or to negotiate a walking exit, before the artillery starts. This window for civilians should be standard operating procedure. After all that's what we're fighting for isn't it, the ones we leave behind at HOME?

In April 2004 a large part of the city of Fallujah, Iraq was flattened with air power and artillery.

Read the link Rahul mahajan. He's lucky to be alive, they drove right into a free fire zone controlled by the insurgency. Luck, just plain luck.

The siege of the city started slowly and built for two weeks. First the US commander turned off the electricity. What he was saying was, "Go now."; Now, no water, "GO!"; Road blocks choke the food supply, "GO!!". But now incompetence (or worse), there were mixed messages at the road blocks. Some US forces weren't letting people out!

The word must have spread like wild-fire with in the dying city, forcing innocents to make choices about their lives and the lives of their children -
choices they didn't need to make!

The local insurgency adapted in the horror and came back a month later, more professional and disciplined in organization and tactics, and perhaps in numbers too.

Area bombing doesn't work as a tool of counter insurgency.

I can hear King George W. Bush the ll, somewhere down the road to the New American Century codify, "We will have a free and democratic world empire, even if we have to kill all the voters and destroy all the institutions to do it!"

As J.K.Galbraith said, concerning allied area bombing during WWII, "random cruelty and death inflicted from the sky had no appreciable effect on war production or the war."

  • You can't bring enlightenment with random death.
  • You can't get oil from blood.
  • You can't win friends with shrapnel.


Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Israel's tactics seem confused, unless their headed for Damascus

What's being spun in the media with regards to Israeli tactics(or lack there of) in south Lebanon paints them as red faced Zealot kicking some butt in reponse to the killing and kiddnaping of several of it's soldiers. Because smashing things around the house isn't stemming the rage, like a rage-aholic, first it's the dishes, then the walls, now an assault.

This view appeals to everyone concerned; it reflects a adolescent reaction seen amongst the ignorant; Western media eat it up because it's an simple story confussed busy western voters havn't time for depth.

For Iran and Syria, thinking of their enemy as confused or insane provides them a convenient rationalization to avoid thinking a regional war might be at hand, and thus preparing for it.

If one wanted to take Damascus a number of 'musts' exist; Firstly, ensure the war doesn't leak out of the immediate area, Israel, Lebanon, Syria. Secondly, the Syrian Army must be drawn to a fight and its mechanized capability destroyed, preferably in the Syrian desert. Thirdly US forces must end up in control of Damascus when the fighting stops.

To accomplish this, imagine a 'hard cup' southwest of Damascus, accompanied by a small operation to secure the Turkish boarder to the north; an advance on the centre by a large creeping force, and a fast main force that slices along the Jordanian boarder, completing the encirclement of Damascus.

What caught my interest today was the fighting in Ba'labbak. With-in this plan the city represents the northern arch of that 'hard cup'.

UPDATE: August 9, 2006 Thinking the same thing at, 7 days later, no connection.

Also, check my link from the article to the opinion of Edward Luttwak, senior adviser to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. He thinks the best way to stabalize Iraq is disengagement. With in this plan US forces would withdraw to US bases inside Iraq. Using air power and special operations commandos US commanders could create a 'Balance of Tensions' inside Iraq. This frees US forces to then 'stabalize' other regional players; like Syria and Iran.