The Spectacle Blog

We Need to Talk About the White House Easter Photo

By on 4.6.15 | 4:49PM

This is what the White House put on social media to celebrate Easter. Now, I know, every holiday, obituary and random event must, by law, be celebrated by this President with a photo of himself. 

But what on God's green Earth is happening here?

I feel like this is a poster for a depressingly dark independent "comedy" film I will never see, about a man and a giant imaginary bunny, sort of like Willard, but without the quality writing and with questionable casting choices. Does he see the bunny? Does he know its there? Is it really Joe Biden, performing the single most important duty of his Vice Presidency? Is this all a gloriously complicated scheme that will eventually be revealed to be the dawn of the New Order? 

My money's on Biden.

Hillary’s Hipster HQ Has Dem Mega-Donor Underwriter

By on 4.6.15 | 4:10PM

Hillary Clinton isn't cool, but like Barack Obama before her, she's not letting the Kleenex tucked up her sleeves and a few whiffs of Vicks Vap-O-Rub get in the way of constructing a "revolutionary" new image for her 2016 Presidential campaign out of whole cloth. Hillary, it seems, will get a makeover; gone are the scrunchies and high-waisted pantsuits of old and in their place is social media savvy, a team of communications experts, and a campaign HQ that's within spitting distance of at least four aritsan gelato places.

But even though, by outward appearances, Hip Hillary is on the scene and embracing the organic, handcrafted vegan latte and handlebar mustache lifestyle of trendy Brooklyn, the person finacing her move to NYC's outer limits is very familiar. He's a mega-rich mega donor who has been enjoying the perks of being a close Clinton crony since the days of the Lincoln Bedroom. 

Wilco Reverses, Will Play Indiana

By on 4.6.15 | 3:22PM

Late last week, Indiana cooked up a "fix" for it's Religious Freedom Restoration Act that declared definitively that people could not use the protections of the act to defend themselves when accused of discrimination in public accommodation. The fix closed a loophole created not by the RFRA itself, but because Indiana does not list "sexual orientation" as a protected characteristic in its public accommodation non-discrimination law. Now, if you live in a municipality that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, RFRA can't be used as a defense to that discrimination, but if you don't, well, nothing has changed.

Why is The MLB All-Star Game Only Being Hosted in NL Cities?

By on 4.6.15 | 3:16PM

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced today that the 2018 All-Star Game will be held in Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

With today's announcement it means that a National League city will host the mid-summer classic for four consecutive seasons beginning this year at Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark. In 2016, it will be held at Petco Park in San Diego followed by Marlins Park in Miami in 2017. If the 2019 All-Star Game is awarded to an AL city it would mean 5 years will have passed since the All-Star Game was held at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins.

Traditionally, the site of the All-Star Game alternated each year between an AL and NL park.  There have been exceptions. In 1950 & 1951, it was held in two AL cities at Chicago's Comiskey Park and Detroit's Briggs Stadium (later renamed Tiger Stadium). But this would be balanced out in 1952 and 1953 when it was held at Shibe Park and Crosley Field, the homes of the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds, respectively.

Feinstein Says Bibi Shouldn’t Criticize Iran Deal

By on 4.6.15 | 1:08PM

I find it interesting that Dianne Feinstein is the Democrat being tasked with telling Benjamin Netanyahu that he should "contain himself" and not criticize the Iran deal.

It is interesting because a) Feinstein is Jewish and b) did not boycott Bibi's speech to Congress last month although she said at the time she "would not be jumping up and down." But it gives the Obama Administration cover to say, "See even the Jews don't think Bibi is reasonable."

Feinstein is criticizing Netanyahu for not offering an alternative. But this assumes that Feinstein and for that matter the Obama Administration would be amenable to anything Bibi would have to offer. Obama has been clear in saying it's either this deal or nothing.

Here Are My Baseball Trivia Answers

By on 4.6.15 | 12:33PM

Here the answers to the baseball trivia quiz I posted here yesterday.

1. What Hall of Fame pitcher did Ronald Reagan portray in the film The Winning Team?

Grover Cleveland Alexander

2. Name the last pitcher to win at least 25 games in a season.

Bob Welch won 27 games for the Oakland A's in 1990. Sadly, he passed away suddenly in June 2014.

3. Name the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues.

Gaylord Perry won the AL Cy Young with the Cleveland Indians in 1972 and earned NL Cy Young honors in 1978 while pitching for the San Diego Padres.

4. Who hit the last home run at the old Yankee Stadium?

Back up catcher Jose Molina hit it against the Baltimore Orioles on September 21, 2008.

5. Who is the only catcher to have caught two perfect games?

Jeb Bush, Hispanic Voter?

By on 4.6.15 | 11:35AM

I feel obligated to cover this story because it's the first real "use your kid as a surrogate to fix an error" situation of 2016, even though the "Hot Scoop" from the New York Times seems a bit bland (though, admittedly, not as bland as it's BLOW THE LID OFF OF THE 2016 RACE scoop of last week, that Scott Walker, who is allergic to dogs, would be "running against tradition" by possibly not having a dog in the White House, though Clinton campaigned with a cat, Socks, and the Obamas have a hypo-allergenic Portugese Water Dog because someone in that family also has the dastardly pet allergy. 

Anyway, back in 2009, Jeb Bush "accidentally" checked the "Hispanic" box on his voter registration form. 

The Cubs Looked Like The Bad News Bears Out There Last Night UPDATED

By on 4.6.15 | 9:28AM

Yes, I'm the guy who picked the Cubs to win the NL pennant for the first time in 70 years.

Well, the Cubs bore more resemblance to The Bad News Bears than they did to a big league ballclub last night.

Jon Lester couldn't go five, they left runners in scoring position and they couldn't catch the ball. I think it was rather generous the Cubs only ended up with two errors (a throwing error apiece for catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero). Jorge Soler should have been charged with at least two errors in right field. He has no business being out there.

I just want to add that Wrigley Field looks awful. I understand they have to renovate. But the way the Red Sox did their renovations, they managed to take care of it in the off-season and they looked like they had always been there. Having a hotel and a shopping plaza is going to turn the place unWrigley.

There is a silver lining however. The Bad News Bears got better, much better. And so will the Cubs.

We Know Where the Strike Zone Is

By on 4.6.15 | 12:37AM

It’s great to have the Grand Old Game back. It was a joy watching the Cubs and Cardinals play one for real on ESPN Sunday night.

What detracted from my viewing pleasure though, other than the fact that I would have rather watched the Cubs start their season with a win than with a 3-0 loss to St. Loo, was that irritating strike zone graphic on the screen for every pitch. EVERY PITCH!

Earth to ESPN: Folks who like baseball enough to watch a three-hour game know where the strike zone is. We don’t need a distracting and annoying graphic like this. Just show us the ball game. Please.

Screen graphics in all televised sports are getting out of hand and need to be reined in. Getting rid of this stupid little square in front of the batter in ESPN games would be a great place to start.

I Knew The Braves Would Trade Craig Kimbrel But Not Today

By on 4.5.15 | 11:08PM

In my 2015 MLB predictions piece, this is what I wrote about relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel:

Craig Kimbrel is great in the ninth inning, but if the Braves aren’t in contention after the All-Star Break he might be pitching elsewhere.

Well, it looks like the Braves won't be in contention on Opening Day because today they traded Kimbrel along with Melvin Upton, Jr. (formerly known as B.J. Upton) to the San Diego Padres for outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin and two prospects. 

It looks like the Padres want to win now. Kimbrel has led the NL in saves in each of his first four seasons in the big leagues. In all, he has 186 saves under his belt before the age of 27. Kimbrel has yet to reach his prime. The Padres did have a credible closer in Joaquin Benoit, but Kimbrel is out of this world.

As for Upton, he is again reunited with younger brother Justin. The elder Upton has struggled since leaving the Tampa Bay Rays. However, given that the outfield is populated by Matt Kemp, Will Myers and his brother, Upton will be a fourth or fifth outfielder.