The Spectacle Blog

Cubs Hire Maddon; Fire Renteria

By on 11.1.14 | 12:50AM

The Chicago Cubs have changed managers. They have hired former Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon who suddenly became available when he opted out of his contract with the Rays one week ago. 

Because the Cubs hired Maddon, they fired Rick Renteria who had two years remaining on his contract. The Cubs went 73-89 in Renteria's only season at the helm of the Cubs. Renteria managed the Cubs to a last place finish, but stood only 15 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals. 

The happiest guy about this hiring outside of Wrigley Field is Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. When Maddon opted out many (including myself) believed that he would follow his old boss Andrew Friedman to L.A. 

Maddon will be formally introduced in his new position on Monday.

I am curious if Maddon's longtime bench coach Dave Martinez will join him on the North Side of Chicago or if he will manage the Rays in 2015. Martinez began his playing career with the Cubs. 

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Canada’s NDP Leader: Parliament Hill Shooter Not a Terrorist

By on 10.31.14 | 2:23PM

Tom Mulcair, the leader of the NDP and leader of the official opposition, has stated that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who murdered a Canadian soldier standing guard at Canada's War Memorial before storming Parliament Hill, is not a terrorist.

Instead, Mulcair characterizes Zehaf-Bibeau's actions as "a criminal act." Mulcair, "When you look at the history of the individual, attempts to get help, even to be in prison to get help if that turns out to be the case, I think that we're not in the presence of a terrorist act in the sense that we would understand it."

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Poll of the Day: McConnell Up 5 on Grimes

By on 10.31.14 | 2:21PM

Last week, they were in a statistical dead heat according to this same poll. This week, McConnell is one point in the safe zone, outside the margin of error. Since no one actually believes Mitch McConnell is serious about his plan to thwart Obamacare if the Republicans retake the Senate, either Kentucky Republicans are feeling a new sense of warmth and unity, or everyone's just actually terrified they could end up with Alison Lundergan Grimes representing them in Congress.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has opened up a five-point lead over Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes and appears well positioned to win a sixth term, according to the final Bluegrass Poll before Tuesday's election.

McConnell leads Grimes 48 percent to 43 percent in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, with Libertarian candidate David Patterson pulling 3 percent.

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Mary Landrieu Says She’s Losing Because Everyone is Racist and Sexist

By on 10.31.14 | 1:29PM

Mary Landrieu is neck and neck with her Republican challenger for Louisiana's Senate seat, and it seems to be the first time she's faced any sort of a serious challenge. For that matter, it seems to be the first time she's ever accidentally wandered into her home state, which, she seems to forget, is responsible for pulling the lever for her next Tuesday. 

In an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd, Landreiu, who has been elected to serve as Louisiana's Senator three times, suggested that the reason she's doing so poorly now is that everyone in the South, including Louisiana, is a big, fat, powerful woman-hating sexist. Oh, and if we're really going to parse out the details, they're also a bunch of racists.

“I’ll be very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans. It’s been a difficult time for the president to present [Barack Obama] in a very positive light as a leader.”...

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Milton Wolf Endorses Pat Roberts

By on 10.31.14 | 11:51AM

Good for Milton Wolf.

The man who made the conservative case in the Kansas Senate primary against incumbent GOP Senator Pat Roberts has now endorsed his one-time rival. This is a good thing. Everybody from Sarah Palin to Ted Cruz and Rand Paul has been in Kansas to close ranks behind Roberts, who is locked in mortal combat with a so-called “independent” who is really an Obama supporter. Every Senate seat now counts — big time. Dr. Wolf gets it, and has made a point of saying so. Here’s his statement:

Dr. Milton Wolf

My fellow patriots, in regards to the United States Senate race in Kansas...

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Will The Golden Era Veterans Committee Elect Anyone to the Hall of Fame?

By on 10.31.14 | 10:39AM

Yesterday, it was announced that the following nine former players and one executive will be given consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Golden Era Veterans Committee. The Golden Era is defined as the period between 1947 and 1972:

Gil Hodges

Jim Kaat

Minnie Minoso

Tony Oliva

Ken Boyer

Luis Tiant

Billy Pierce

Maury Wills

Dick Allen

Bob Howsam

Pierce, Wills, Allen and Howsam are new additions to the ballot while the rest are holdovers. Howsam, who constructed the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati, is the only non-player on the ballot. Candidates require the votes of 12 out of 16 members (75%) of the Golden Era Committee. In 2011, the Committee elected Chicago Cubs legend Ron Santo. It was something of a bittersweet selection as Santo had died the previous year. Kaat was two votes shy of getting in while Hodges and Minoso were three votes shy and Oliva was four votes short.

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Thoughts on Shoshana Edwards & That “Verbal Street Harassment” Video

By on 10.31.14 | 9:49AM

You are probably aware by now of that video showing a woman named Shoshana Edwards walking through the streets of New York in silence for 10 hours and the reactions to her appearance. Well, not quite 10 hours. Try about two minutes worth. In any case, these comments are characterized as "verbal street harassment". The video ends with a solicitation to end "verbal street harassment" by giving money to an anti-street harassment organization called Hollaback!

The video has prompted a backlash because a majority of those who were shown speaking to Edwards were racial minorities and dressed in street clothes. The director of the film, Rob Bliss, regrets the "unintended racial bias."

Some of the comments she gets are crude. The most unsettling instance in the video occurs when a man walks beside her in silence for five minutes. If a complete stranger walked beside me for five minutes I would most certainly be uneasy.

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Kevin Youkilis Announces Retirement

By on 10.30.14 | 10:32PM

After 10 seasons in the big leagues, Kevin Youkilis has called it a career. Youk spent the bulk of his career with the Boston Red Sox and also played with the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees before playing briefly in Japan last year.

Youkilis was known for his intensity and his ability to get on base dating back to his time as a minor leaguer when he earned the nickname "The Greek God of Walks". Despite the nickname, Youkilis is actually Jewish.

Youkilis made his debut with the Red Sox in 2004, but had a very minor role in the team's first World Series title in 86 years. Originally a third baseman, Youkilis moved to first and became a regular in 2007 when the Red Sox would win their second World Series title in four years. He would earn a Gold Glove that season. His best offensive year came in 2008 when he hit .312 with 29 HR and 115 RBI. Youk would finish third in the AL MVP balloting behind Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau and his teammate Dustin Pedroia. 

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All that Golf Hasn’t Helped Obama’s Golf Game, Says Michael Jordan

By on 10.30.14 | 4:44PM

Michael Jordan has never played golf with Barack Obama, but when Ahmad Rashad asked him who his dream foursome would be, Jordan left out the President. His reason? Despite the cool 200 rounds of golf the President has played during his term in office, his game hasn't improved enough to pose a challenge

Michael Jordan was not subtle on that point, at least.

Michael Jordan was interviewed by Ahmad Rashad recently. Rashad asked Jordan who his dream foursome would include, and Jordan said President Barack Obama isn't getting an invite.

"I've never played with Obama but I would," said Jordan. "But no, that's okay, I'd take him out. He's a hack, it would be all day playing with him.

"Do you really want to say that to the president of the United States?" asks Rashad.

"Don't worry about it," said Jordan. "I never said he wasn't a great politician, I'm just saying he's a sh---- golfer."

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Tom Menino, R.I.P.

By on 10.30.14 | 3:02PM

Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino passed away today of cancer. He was 71.

Menino, a Democrat, was the mayor of this city for two decades (1993-2013) and thus the longest serving mayor in the history of Boston. In all, Menino was elected five times. Menino's health began to decline during his fifth term and decided against running in 2013. He would be succeeded by Marty Walsh.

It is true that Menino had an autocratic style (as demonstrated with his refusal to grant Chick-fil-A a licence to open a restaurant due to its opposition to same-sex marriage). His public speaking style earned him the nickname Mumbles. I remember Menino appearing in a public service ad with Red Sox legend David Ortiz and it was so much easier to understand Big Papi had to say in his second language than Menino did in his first.

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