The Spectacle Blog

Astros Name Hinch New Manager

By on 9.29.14 | 9:27PM

The Houston Astros named A.J. Hinch as their new manager. 

Although the Astros were much improved in 2014, GM Jeff Ludnow saw fit to fire Bo Porter earlier this month. Tom Lawless managed the team until yesterday.
Hinch previously managed the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was hired during the 2009 season to replace Bob Melvin (who currently manages the Oakland A's) despite never having any managerial or coaching experience. By the middle of the 2010 season, the D'backs dismissed Hinch in favor of Kirk Gibson (who himself was fired a few days ago). The D'backs were 89-123 under Hinch.
Shortly after the D'Backs dismissed him, Hinch was hired by the San Diego Padres to head up their scouting department, a position he held until resigning in August. 
Hinch seems like a guy with a lot of ideas, but I'm not sure they translate well in the dugout.
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Netanyahu at UN: ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda One and the Same

By on 9.29.14 | 8:21PM

Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly with his usual moral clarity. The sort of moral clarity for which President Obama hates him.

His key line was, “So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas.”

He also included Boko Haram in Nigeria, Ash-Shabab in Somalia, Hezbollah, An-Nusrah in Syria, the Mahdi Army in Iraq, and al Qaeda in his condemnation of “militant Islam.”

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Oklahoma Beheading Suspect Released Early From Prison

By on 9.29.14 | 3:46PM

It has been revealed that Oklahoma beheading suspect Alton Alexander Nolen (a.k.a. Jah'Keem Yisrael) had been serving time in state prison serving a six year concurrent sentence for cocaine and marijuana possession as well as assault of a state trooper. Nolen went to prison in March 2011, but was released in March 2013.

Oklahoma has a law which states that inmates must serve a minimum of 85% of their sentence if it is for a violent offense. However, under Oklahoma law, the drug offenses are considered non-violent.

Anyway you look at it, had Nolen not been released from prison early then Colleen Hufford would still be alive.

On the other hand, it appears that Nolen converted to Islam while in prison and may have been radicalized there. In which case, it is entirely possible that Nolen could have been even more dangerous had he served his full sentence.

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Twins Fire Ron Gardenhire

By on 9.29.14 | 2:50PM

The Minnesota Twins have fired manager Ron Gardenhire after 13 seasons. Only Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels has had a longer active managerial tenure in MLB.

Gardenhire succeeded Tom Kelly as the Twins' skipper in 2002 and guided the team to the AL Central title. The Twins would win five more AL Central titles under Gardenhire, the most recent being in 2010. That season Gardenhire won AL Manager of the Year.

However, the Twins had trouble in the post-season. They advanced to the ALCS in '02, but were eliminated in the ALDS in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2010. On four of those occasions, they were bounced by the New York Yankees.

But at least they were winning back then. The Twins have had four consecutive losing seasons and have finished in last place in the AL Central in three of those seasons including 2014. The Twins finished 20 games back of the Tigers this season.

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My 2014 MLB Post-Season Predictions

By on 9.29.14 | 12:29PM

The 2014 MLB post-season gets underway tomorrow with the AL Wild Card matchup between the Oakland A's and Kansas City Royals. Without further adieu, here are my post-season predictions for 2014:


AL Wild Card - Oakland A's vs. Kansas City Royals

Winner: Royals

ALDS #1 (Best 3 out of 5) - Kansas City Royals vs. Los Angeles Angels

Winner: Angels in four

ALDS #2 (Best 3 out of 5) - Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles

Winner: Orioles in four

ALCS (Best 4 out 7) - Baltimore Orioles vs. Los Angeles Angels

Winner: Orioles in five

ALCS MVP: Steve Pearce, Baltimore Orioles


NL Wild Card - San Francisco Giants vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

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Four Observations of Obama’s Latest 60 Minutes Interview

By on 9.29.14 | 12:15PM

I did not watch President Obama's latest interview with 60 Minutes. However, I did read the transcript this morning and would like to make the following four observations:

1. When I Walked Into Office We Were in Two Wars. Well, Guess What!

Although Barack Obama has been President for nearly six years, he acts like he took office six months ago. When Steve Kroft asked if Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and Ebola were the most significant challenges of his presidency, Obama replied, "But if you think about what I walked into when I came into office, we had not only two wars still active....

Let's stop right there.

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Hong Kong Protests: Now This is an Occupy Movement I Can Support

By on 9.29.14 | 10:05AM

For the past four nights there have been massive protests in Hong Kong. Residents of the former British colony are angry that open elections will not be permitted in 2017. All candidates running must have Beijing's approval (re: they must be members of the Communist Party). Authorities in Hong Kong have used tear gas to dispel the protesters, but instead they have only grown in numbers.

When London returned Hong Kong to Chinese control in 1997, the Chinese promised "one country, two systems". Hong Kong has a degree of autonomy unknown in mainland China, but now Beijing is encroaching on that autonomy.

As with Tiananamen Square, this began as a student protest movement. But it has quickly grown into a broader movement. It has been dubbed the Umbrella Movement as umbrellas have been utilized as a means of protection from tear gas. It has also been dubbed by Occupy Central. Now this is an Occupy movement I can support.

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A Thought for Paul Konerko

By on 9.28.14 | 11:39PM

Tomorrow I will have an article up on Derek Jeter.

Over the past few weeks, Jeter had been praised as a credit to the game.

While all of this is true, Jeter isn't the only player who retired today who conducted himself in an exemplary manner. 

Today, Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko called it a career. There were no dramatic base hits, but White Sox fans bid him well just the same. After brief stints with the Dodgers and Reds, Konerko found a home in Chicago  in 1999 and became a fixture  on the South Side. Konerko probably won't get into Cooperstown, but he was named to six AL All-Star teams, drove in 100 or more runs six times, collected over 2,300 hits, belted  over 400 HR and won a World Series ring in 2005. Any way you look at it he had a very good career. 

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Tigers, Cardinals win AL/NL Central; A’s Hang on for Wild Card

By on 9.28.14 | 9:36PM

The 2014 post-season is all set.

The Detroit Tigers clinched the AL Central with a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins. David Price pitched a gem for the Tigers. It is their fourth consecutive AL Central title. 

The Tigers were favored to run away with the AL Central, but went back and forth all season with the Kansas City Royals. However, the Tigers went 13-6 against the Royals this season and that gave them an edge. Detroit will face the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS. 

As for the Royals, they will host the Oakland A's in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday. The A's beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 on a brilliant outing by Sonny Gray. The A's have gone 22-33 since trading Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox. Cespedes drove in 33 runs for the Red Sox. When you consider that 14 of their 33 losses were by one run, the A's might not have been in such a predicament had they held onto Cespedes. But they are in the post-season nonetheless.

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Jordan Zimmermann No-Hits Marlins on Final Day of Regular Season

By on 9.28.14 | 7:47PM

Jordan Zimmermann ended the 2014 regular season with a no-hitter against the Miami Marlins. 

The Nationals beat the Marlins 1-0. Their only run was a HR by Ian Desmond. Christian Yelich made the final out when defensive replacement Steven Souza made a spectacular catch in left to end the game.

The losing pitcher was Henderson Alvarez. On the last day of the 2013 season, Alvarez no-hit the Detroit Tigers.

Zimmermann's no-no was the fifth of the 2014 season. All of them were tossed by NL pitchers - Josh Beckett, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum as well as Cole Hamels and the Phillies bullpen. 

Zimmermann might be the most underrated pitcher in all of MLB. That ended today.


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