The Spectacle Blog

I Don’t Understand Why the Nats Acquired Jonathan Papelbon, Plus More Angels in the Outfield

By on 7.28.15 | 10:37PM

I knew the Philadelphia Phillies would trade closer Jonathan Papelbon. But I didn’t think he would be traded to the Washington Nationals.

But Papelbon is the Nats’ new closer and the Phillies have pitching prospect Nick Pivetta.

I don’t get this trade and I’m sure former Nats closer Drew Storen doesn’t get it either.

It’s not like Storen was struggling. In 38 appearances this season, Storen is 1-0 with a 1.73 ERA with 29 saves. Papelbon is 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA with 17 saves in 37 appearances. Don’t get me wrong. Papelbon's numbers are good for having pitched for the worst team in MLB. But Papelbon is seven years older than Storen (34 vs. 27) and making more than twice as much money ($13 million vs. $5.7 million). And yet the Nats have signed Papelbon through 2016 while Storen becomes a free agent and the Nats are apparently prepared to have him walk away. In the meantime, Storen will have to pitch the eighth inning.

Royals Acquire Ben Zobrist from the A’s

By on 7.28.15 | 6:42PM





Another of Larry Thornberry's old Tampa Bay Rays favorites has been traded away by the Oakland A's.

Last week, it was Oakland dealing Scott Kazmir to Houston. Today, the A's have dealt super utility man Ben Zobrist to the Kansas City Royals for minor league pitchers Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks.

Originally a 6th round draft pick by the Houston Astros in 2004, Zobrist was traded to Tampa in July 2006 in the Aubrey Huff deal. Zobrist would become a mainstay in the Rays lineup for nearly a decade, is a two-time ALL All-Star and was a key contributor to their AL pennant triumph in 2008. His best season came in 2009 when he hit .297 with 27 HR and drove in 91 runs. He also played on Rays teams which reached the post-season in 2010, 2011 & 2013.

NFL Upholds Brady’s 4-Game Suspension (Or If Only Democrats Were This Tough With Hillary)

By on 7.28.15 | 5:16PM

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s 4-game suspension.

Although Brady might try to get an injunction against the suspension, I doubt the courts will take up the matter.

It appears that what got Brady in the end was destroying his cellphone. Over at Forbes, Bill Whalen draws parallels between Brady and Hillary Clinton:

Someone who should be taking note of how Deflategate has played out is Hillary Clinton , the proprietor of Servergate.

Brady reportedly destroyed a cell phone.

Hillary destroyed thousands of emails.

Brady didn’t fully cooperate with the league.

Hillary’s relation with the Republican Congress: anything but harmonious .

Obama Admin Throwing Israel a Bone With Pollard Release

By on 7.28.15 | 4:38PM

Jonathan Pollard, the American convicted of spying for Israel three decades ago, will be paroled on November 21.

Both the Obama Administration and Pollard’s attorneys say his release has nothing to do with the Iran nuclear deal. I’m not buying it. If the Iran nuclear deal wasn’t in place, Pollard’s release wouldn’t be a topic of discussion. The Obama Administration is throwing Israel a bone in a futile attempt to recompense for the horrendous Iran nuclear deal that puts its very existence in jeopardy.

More Gridlocked Than Ever

By on 7.28.15 | 4:16PM

Yesterday, the Senate passed a six-year transportation bill that increases spending on highways and transit but only provides three years of funding for that increase. As theWashington Post commented, “only by Washington’s low standards could anyone confuse the Senate’s plan with ‘good government.’”

Meanwhile, House majority leader Kevin McCarthy says the House will ignore the Senate bill in favor of its own five-month extension to the existing transportation law. Since the existing law expires at the end of this week, the two houses are playing a game of chicken to see which one will swerve course first and approve the other house’s bill.

Obama Says He Could Win a Third Term… And He’s Probably Right

By on 7.28.15 | 2:57PM

During his speech in Ethiopia addressing The African Union, President Obama departed from his text to talk about his favorite subject -- himself.

“I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” said Obama with a straight face, “I think if I ran, I could win.”

Needless to say, I and many others would quarrel with the first half of his statement. But I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the second half.

Say what you will about Obama. The man knows how to run a campaign at least when he is at the center of it. Sure he has a lot of help from a sympathetic and sycophantic media. But Obama and his team know the Alinsky playbook inside and out: pick your target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. They know how to make the other guy or gal (in the case of Hillary Clinton) the issue. And if that doesn’t work he can always make sure his opponents are disqualified from running.

Zero Emission Vehicles Pollute

By on 7.28.15 | 1:29PM

A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, "Environmental Benefits from Driving Electric Vehicles?" shows the moniker ‘zero emission vehicle,’ attached to electric cars is misplaced. In a finding that may surprise some, Stephen Holland, of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and his coauthors discovered, depending upon one’s location, purchasing a zero emission car can reduce pollution locally, but nationally it tends to increase pollution overall.

In response to concerns about air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, federal and state governments have pushed the development and deployment of zero emission vehicles through a combination of federal and state subsidies and mandates.

The Federal Government provides a $7,500 subsidy for the purchase of each electric vehicle. Some states add to the federal subsidy with their own financial inducements. California, for instance, provides rebates and tax credits to purchasers of zero emission cars, truck and agricultural utility vehicles. Each year the state also requires an increasing percentage of car and truck manufacturers vehicles sold in the state to be zero emission. 

Jon Stewart: Obama’s Messenger Boy

By on 7.28.15 | 12:22PM

Evidently, President Obama has summoned Jon Stewart for private Oval Office conversations. Here is what Politico has to say about it:

Jon Stewart slipped unnoticed into the White House in the midst of the October 2011 budget fight, summoned to an Oval Office coffee with President Barack Obama that he jokingly told his escort felt like being called into the principal’s office.

In February 2014, Obama again requested Stewart make the trip from Manhattan to the White House, this time for a mid-morning visit hours before the president would go before television cameras to warn Russia that “there will be costs” if it made any further military intervention in Ukraine.

Tulo Traded to Toronto

By on 7.28.15 | 12:04PM

Now here’s a blockbuster deal. The Colorado Rockies have traded shortstop Troy Tulowitzki along with relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to the Toronto Blue Jays for shortstop Jose Reyes and three minor league pitchers.

When the Rockies were in the midst of a 10-game losing streak in May, the possibility was raised that Tulowitzki could formally ask to be traded. Just over two months later, this has now come to pass. I just didn’t expect that he would end up in Toronto.

Ten Weak Reasons to Support Ex-Im

By on 7.28.15 | 11:53AM

Rep. Carolyn Maloney supports reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, whose charter lapsed on June 30. She recently took to the Huffington Post to give 10 reasons to support Ex-Im. Here’s reason 1:

Exports play an important role in the U.S. economy, supporting nearly 12 million jobs in 2014.

Ex-Im did about $27.5 billion worth of business last year, amounting to about 1.2 percent of America’s $2.35 trillion in total 2014 exports, and less than one-sixth of one percent of America’s $17.7 trillion 2014 GDP. From this, Rep. Maloney concludes that Ex-Im supports nearly a tenth of the entire U.S. workforce!