Monthly Archives: September 2008

The Last Day of the Season

The Philadelphia Phillies- a team I’ve heard from their own fans throughout the season is “horrible,” “not-well-run,” “doesn’t know how to win,” and “isn’t committed to winning,”- clinched its second consecutive NL East title Saturday, and won again Sunday for a season win total of 92. But if you throw out the last two years, the Phils haven’t been to the playoffs since 1993! They suck!
In round 1, the Phils will play a team that, literally, hasn’t made the playoffs since 1982, the Milwaukee Brewers. Luckily for the Phils, though, Brew Crew ace C.C. Sabathia will only probably get one start in the five-game series, and with Ben Sheets struggling the rest of the Milwaukee rotation doesn’t exactly strike fear in Phillie hearts.
The Brewers’ win coincided with yet another collapse by the New York Mets, who closed out Shea Stadium by losing 4-2 to the Marlins. So yes, the year after the Johan Santana trade, the Mets did not make the playoffs but the Twins still may.
The Twins end the regular season with a half-game lead, with the White Sox set to play a makeup game Monday against what’s sure to be a highly motivated Detroit Tigers team. Hated ex-Phillie Freddy Garcia will start the game for Detroit; I’ll be rooting for Tigers victory, since if the Sox win that leads to a one-game playoff on Tuesday, which is Rosh Hashanah, and I won’t be able to watch. Funny, considering that Game 1 of the ALCS in 1987 was on Rosh Hashanah- and last Rosh Hashanah, Terry Ryan resigned as Twins GM.
There’s only one October. Now with 100% less Dane Cook!

Paul Newman, RIP

The fine actor, and one of the biggest movie stars of the 20th century, passed away on Friday. I long enjoyed Newman’s movies, especially “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Sting,” and “Slap Shot,” one of the all-time great sports movies. I’m also partial to the criminally underrated 2003 Sam Mendes film “Road to Perdition,” which was Newman’s final major role. He will be missed.

Harris vs. Palin

I may not agree with what Sam Harris has to see about religion, but he’s dead on about Sarah Palin in Newsweek this week:

What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she representsand her supporters celebratethe joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance… There is simply no other walk of life in which extraordinary talent and rigorous training are denigrated. We want elite pilots to fly our planes, elite troops to undertake our most critical missions, elite athletes to represent us in competition and elite scientists to devote the most productive years of their lives to curing our diseases. And yet, when it comes time to vest people with even greater responsibilities, we consider it a virtue to shun any and all standards of excellence. When it comes to choosing the people whose thoughts and actions will decide the fates of millions, then we suddenly want someone just like us, someone fit to have a beer with, someone down-to-earthin fact, almost anyone, provided that he or she doesn’t seem too intelligent or well educated.

It’s a tremendous relief to me that America seems to be catching on to what a ridiculous fraud Palin’s candidacy is.

The First Debate

I call a virtual tie, with perhaps a slight lead to Obama. No major, major gaffes, and no knockout blows delivered. I’ll have more complete thoughts in a North Star column at the end of the weekend, but a few notes:
– Obama may have won without actually winning, in the sense that he sounded authoritative when talking about the issues. Clearly, he has a good grasp of this stuff, and those questioning his experience may very well have been convinced. Obama also got more comfortable as the night went on, and overall performed much better than in most of the primary debates.
– I appreciated the complete lack of Jeremiah Wright/William Ayers/flag pin questions, although Obama was wearing a flag lapel pin and McCain was not. So thanks, Jim Lehrer.
– Great question by Lehrer on how the two candidates would adjust their spending plans as a result of the current economic crisis. So great, in fact, that neither candidate answered it and Lehrer asked it three more times. On Time #3, McCain proposed a spending freeze, which he didn’t mention the first two times, nor any other time in the campaign up to this point. I think maybe he made it up on the spot.
– I don’t understand how McCain can gin up outrage over $3 million for a study of bear DNA, while saying he may very well support the $700 billion bailout. One one of those numbers is just a wee bit bigger than the other.
– I was surprised that Israel/Palestine was not a major topic of the debate; I’m guessing it was scheduled to be but got pushed either due to time constraints or because of the inclusion of the economy stuff. But I was glad that Obama made sure to call Israel our “stalwart ally.” Did you hear that, old Jews in Florida? He called ISRAEL our STALWART ALLY.
– The vice presidential debate next Thursday has a chance to shatter Bill Simmons’ Unintentional Comedy Scale. It’ll either be totally hilarious or totally horrifying, and probably both.