The Spectacle Blog

MLB Notes for July: Why I Feel Kind of Sorry for the Chicago Cubs

By on 8.1.15 | 2:32PM

We have now passed the MLB trade deadline and have commenced the dog days of summer. Let's see how the 30 teams are faring since the All-Star Break and why I feel kind of sorry for the Chicago Cubs.

AL East

The New York Yankees have gone 10-2 since the All-Star Break and enter August six games ahead of both the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays and eight games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays. But the Yankees cannot rely exclusively on A-Rod and Mark Teixeira much less their bullpen to bail out their starters. The Yankees did not improve their club much during the trade deadline adding only Dustin Ackley from the Seattle Mariners who has gone from prospect to suspect. 

Jim Who?

By on 8.1.15 | 1:29PM

I realize the headline above is not necessarily fair to Jim Gilmore. After all, he did serve a term as Governor of Virginia, was the Chairman of the RNC and has also been President of the Free Congress Foundation.

Hell, Gilmore has as much right to run for President as Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson any of the other 11 GOP hopefuls.

But when I saw Gilmore at Center Seat with the panel on Special Report with Bret Baier following his announcement he did not say anything that grabbed my attention nor did he come off as someone who could inspire a nation's confidence. Even if he somehow gets on a debate stage I don't see how he could make much of an impression unless he has a Gary Johnson moment. Of course, that Gary Johnson moment would have to consist of original material. However, given his military background and expertise in intelligence, he could be a potential Secretary of Defense or head of the CIA in a Republican administration. 

Lynn Anderson, R.I.P.

By on 8.1.15 | 12:40AM

Country singer Lynn Anderson has died of a heart attack after being hospitalized with pneumonia. She was 67.

Anderson is best known for her rendition of the Joe South penned "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden" which topped both the country and pop charts in 1970 and led her to be a fixture on American TV during the 1970's and 1980's. She was also a breeder of equestrian horses. 

Anderson actively toured and just last month released an album of gospel music. Yet "Rose Garden" proved to be her most enduring hit.


“Rowdy” Roddy Piper, R.I.P.

By on 8.1.15 | 12:11AM

Professional wrestler and actor "Rowdy" Roddy Piper died in his sleep of a heart attack on Thursday night. He was 61.

Although Piper's wrestling career began in his teens in his native Canada, he would reach prominence in the mid-1980's as Hulk Hogan's arch rival at the first Wrestlemania. After years as one of wrestling's most hated villains, he would become one of its most beloved stars. Heel or face, Piper had no rival on the mike with his Piper's Pit show.

Piper also occasionally acted in TV and in movies most notably in the 1988 cult horror flick They Live. 

A decade ago, Piper was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. But he continued to periodically make appearances with the WWE. 

Here is Piper being interviewed by Arsenio Hall back in 1989. Where has all the time gone?

Wilmer Flores Now Sheds Tears of Joy

By on 7.31.15 | 11:32PM

I got home late tonight and was surprised to see the Mets-Nationals game in the 12th inning.

Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the 12th to give the Mets 2-1 win and bring them within two games of the Nats in the NL East. Flores drove in both runs for the Mets and made a spectacular play which prompted a standing ovation. As he ran the bases, Flores cried tears of joy.

Forty eight hours ago, Flores was inconsolable when he learned that he had been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Carlos Gomez only to have the deal nixed. What a difference a couple of days makes. 

Two days ago, Wilmer Flores was a face in a crowded city. Now he is for the moment a New York folk hero.


Mets Land Cespedes Plus Other Trade Deadline Deals

By on 7.31.15 | 5:09PM

The trade deadline came and went about 20 minutes ago.

Minutes before the deadline, the New York Mets acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for two minor league pitchers — Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa.

In 102 games for Detroit, Cespedes was hitting .293 with 17 HR and 61 RBI. This more than makes up for the Mets not getting Carlos Gomez from the Brewers who has since been traded to the Astros. The Mets were reportedly trying to get outfielder Jay Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds for Zack Wheeler, but that didn’t come to fruition. I’m guessing no tears were shed.

This is Cespedes’ fourth team in a year. At last year’s trade deadline, the A’s dealt him to Boston for Jon Lester and the A’s haven’t been the same since. Despite being productive for the Bosox, he was dealt to Detroit for pitcher Rick Porcello, who isn’t being mistaken for Pedro Martinez. Cespedes will provide protection for Lucas Duda in the middle of the order. He also has a cannon for an arm in the outfield. This should make this weekend’s series against the Nationals interesting. The Mets are currently three games back of Washington in the NL East.

More Double Standards on Israel From UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

By on 7.31.15 | 4:27PM

Let me begin by stating that I do not object to the UN Secretary General condemning the act of arson by Jewish settlers in the West Bank that resulted in the death of an 18-month Palestinian child nor do I object to him characterizing it as a terrorist attack.

But I do dissent with Ban’s condemnation in two respects.

First, I object to his rationalization:

The absence of a political process and Israel’s illegal settlement policy, as well as the harsh and unnecessary practice of demolishing Palestinian houses, have given rise to violent extremism on both sides. This presents a further threat to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for statehood, as well as to the security of the people of Israel. The Secretary-General urges both sides to take bold steps to return to the path of peace.

Boston Beats Beijing in Olympics Contest

By on 7.31.15 | 1:49PM

News comes this morning that Beijing has been awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics, beating out Almaty, Kazakhstan. Which touches on a point I made in this morning’s Boston Herald

Columnist Anne Applebaum predicted a year ago that future Olympics would likely be held only in “authoritarian countries where the voters’ views will not be taken into account” — such as the two bidders for the 2022 Winter Olympics, Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Fortunately, Boston is not such a place. The voters’ views can be ignored and dismissed for only so long.

Indeed, Boston should be celebrating more than Beijing this week. A small band of opponents of Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics beat the city’s elite — business leaders, construction companies, university presidents, the mayor and other establishment figures — because they knew what Olympic Games really mean for host cities and nations:

Pinkwashing Is Just Plain Eyewash: Thoughts on the Stabbings at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade

By on 7.31.15 | 12:04PM

Yesterday, six people were stabbed at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade by an ultra-Orthodox fanatic named Yishai Schlissel. One of the people is in critical condition. In 2005, Schlissel stabbed three people at the same event.

While a majority of religiously observant Jews in Israel oppose homosexuality, it is clear that this majority also abhors what Schlissel did, including the Chief Rabbis of both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Judaism. Religious objections aside, one cannot have someone wantonly stabbing people. Schlissel is clearly a public menace and must be jailed for a very long time.