The Spectacle Blog

Had to Call It Something

By on 10.30.15 | 1:40PM

One of the commenters on my “Sign of Decay” blog item correctly points out that what we’re calling candidate debates are in fact not debates, as anyone who has seen a real debate knows. (Those encounters back in the day between William F. Buckley Jr. and John Kenneth Galbraith were great fun — the forensic equivalent of the Ali-Frazier fights.) So why are these current simultaneous candidate press conferences called debates when no one is debating anyone else? Chirping at one another from time to time, but hardly debating.

Another Sign of Decay

By on 10.30.15 | 10:52AM

I’m surprised and disappointed. The L.A. Times is reporting that Nielson, the TV rating folks, claim more people watched the Tuesday night Republican debate than watched a really swell World Series game on at the same time (full disclosure — I’m pulling for the Royals). If this is correct — i.e. if Nielson’s sample is representative and its measuring technology sound (not everyone agrees they are) — then this is yet another sign of intellectual and moral decay in the land of the not-as-free-as-we-used-to-be and the home of the Atlanta Braves.

It’s an occasion of great sadness to imagine that more Americanos would rather watch a bunch of politicians fencing with and being hectored by a bunch of left-stream journalists than enjoy baseball’s fall championship showcase. This hit me with the same force as the jolt I endured on learning that sushi is available in some Major League ball parks. Enough to make a grown man weep.

Where Rubio Has an Edge Over Cruz

By on 10.29.15 | 4:07PM

There is little doubt that the two GOP candidates who came out of last night's debate the strongest were Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Obviously, it remains to be seen if this will be reflected in their poll numbers. It might be a bigger challenge for Cruz as much of his natural support is with Trump, but if he starts to cut into Trump's support then watch out. Let's put it this way. If Jeff Lord turns his attention from Trump to Cruz then we know that the ground has shifted.

With this in mind, I think it is safe to say that Cruz excites conservatives more than Rubio. But if Cruz wins the Republican nomination, I don't see him beating Hillary Clinton. If you were to ask Hillary's camp to pick between Rubio and Cruz, I bet they would say Cruz without hesitation.

Padres Name Andy Green New Manager

By on 10.29.15 | 2:49PM

While the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins have hired themselves experienced, but recently fired managers in Bud Black and Don Mattingly, respectively, the San Diego Padres have gone in a different direction and have hired Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach Andy Green to be their new manager. Green reportedly beat out former Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire for the job.

Originally drafted by the D'Backs in 2000, Green spent parts of four seasons in the majors with Arizona and the New York Mets as a utility infielder. He also played baseball in Japan.

Green joined the D'Backs in 2012 as a minor league manager for their Single-A affiliate in Missoula, Montana and later their Double-AA affiliate in Mobile, Alabama before joing the D'Backs coaching staff in 2015. At 38, Green is the second youngest manager in MLB. Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays is five months younger than Green.

Paul Ryan Elected Speaker of the House

By on 10.29.15 | 11:04AM

With 236 votes from members of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan has been elected Speaker of the House.

Watching Ryan walk through the House, smiling, talking, hugging Democrats and Republicans alike, I have more hope than I've had in a long time that at least in this one branch of government we will see some return to true debate, civility, and a much better discussion with the public about the meaning and importance of proposed laws.

I do not expect that it will be easy or perfect; the House, and the Republican Party itself, have too many months and years of division, anger and hyper-partisanship.

Nor do I want (or expect) Ryan to "go along to get along"; part of the reason I've supported him for so many years, despite occasional votes I have disagreed with, is that I believe Ryan to be a man of true principle and deep understanding, but who also realizes that politics is the art of the possible.

Blue Jays GM Anthopoulos Resigns

By on 10.29.15 | 10:33AM

Now this is a shocker. Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos, whose bold acquisitions of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, led the the team to the AL East title and their first post-season appearance since 1993, is leaving the team.

Anthopoulos has evidently resigned because of differences with new team President Mark Shapiro who is replacing the retiring Paul Beeston. Shapiro, who had been the President of the Cleveland Indians since 2010 and with the Tribe since 1991, wanted total control over personnel decisions notwithstanding Anthopoulos' success.

Mattingly to Manage Marlins UPDATE

By on 10.29.15 | 10:17AM

The Miami Marlins have reportedly hired Don Mattingly to be their new manager.

Mattingly, who parted ways with the Los Angeles Dodgers a week ago, has agreed to a four year deal to manage the club.

All I can say is good luck. It's not that the Marlins lack talent. They've got an abundance of it with the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Fernandez, Justin Bour, Dee Gordon, Adeiny Hechevarria and Christian Yelich. The problem is that Jeffrey Loria is the boss. Mattingly is the Marlins' eighth manager since 2010. In 2015, the Marlins had two managers — Mike Redmond and Dan Jennings. Redmond was fired in mid-May. While I agreed with the firing, the Marlins inexplicably replaced him with Jennings, the team's GM who only coached high school baseball 30 years ago. The Marlins finished 19 games back of the New York Mets in the NL East this season.

Saloon Series — Gin and Regulation: A Lesson in a Bottle

By on 10.29.15 | 8:34AM

There is a bottle that sits on my desk which serves as irrefutable proof that less regulation is better than more. 

Pull the stopper top and a remarkable aroma plumes forth. “I’d wear this as cologne,” a colleague remarked. He’s a clean-cut fellow, mind you, not a gutter dipsomaniac. “That’s really nice,” exclaimed another.

This 90-proof liquor’s scents come from juniper, cucumber, lemon, sage, lavender, black pepper, red bell peppers and pimento. It is Uncle Val’s Peppered Gin, made by 35 Maple Street Spirits in Sonoma, Calif.

Gin, you ask? Is that not the water-clear hooch from the United Kingdom that smells like pine needles? Yes, often gins are made in the London Dry style (think Beefeater). But gin need not ooze juniper.

Nationals to Name Bud Black New Manager

By on 10.28.15 | 11:39PM

It appears that Bud Black will be named the new manager of the Washington Nationals

Black, a former big league pitcher who was a member of the 1985 World Series champion Kansas City Royals, managed the San Diego Padres from 2007 until June 2015 when he was dismissed. The Padres only had two winning seasons under Black and never reached the post-season. They would miss the NL Wild Card in 2007 and would collapse at the end of the 2010 season.

But the Nationals have the kind of talent he could have only dreamed of in San Diego (saving for the free agent and trade acquistions the team made last off-season). The Nats wanted an experienced manager who had a good rapport with players. With this in mind, the final two candidates were Black and ex-Giants, Cubs and Reds manager Dusty Baker. 

Cueto Tosses Complete Game Two-Hitter to Give Royals 2-0 Lead in World Series

By on 10.28.15 | 11:11PM

I spent a majority of the evening watching, tweeting and writing about tonight's GOP debate.

But I peeked in on Game 2 of the World Series during the commercials and watched the final couple of innings at the conclusion of the debate.

Johnny Cueto has been very inconsistent with the Royals, but tonight he was in top form tossing a complete game, two-hitter en route to a 7-1 victory over the New York Mets. Cueto becomes the first AL pitcher to throw a complete game in the World Series since Jack Morris threw 10 innings in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Morris' complete game gave the Twins a World Series triumph against the Atlanta Braves. As for the Royals, they now have a 2-0 lead in the Series. 

So much for my prediction that the Mets would win in five. The series will resume in New York on Friday.