World Series

So the Phillies are off to a good start and I’ll be pulling for Pedro (the former Red Sox ace) to help the Phillies win tonight.  There is a theory that Sox fans are watching the series hoping that the Phillies can beat the Yankees, that if the Phillies were playing the Angels we wouldn’t care so much.  Could be true.  But as Tony Mazzarotti wrote in today’s Boston Globe

The transformation of Rasheed Wallace is complete, the enemy of the people now serving as the man of the hour. As seamlessly as Wallace has joined the Celtics on the floor this season, he made a similarly fluid entry last night in his first home game at TD Garden.

In Boston, Rasheed now dresses in white.

“I didn’t know if the fans wanted to keep it personal and still call me those names or what,” Wallace mused in the wake of the Celtics’ 92-59 annihilation of the outmanned, overmatched and outclassed Charlotte Bobcats. “It was cool though.”

Cool, indeed. Cool as Wallace entered the game to chants of Sheeeeeeeeeeeeed with 4:06 remaining in the first quarter, cool as Wallace drilled his first two shots, both 3–pointers, helping the Celtics build a 22-11 lead in the opening quarter. Cool even as Wallace dressed in front of his locker following the game, when he donned a black sweat jacket bearing the name and logo of the Philadelphia Phillies, as sure a sign as any that he has embraced Boston as firmly as Boston already has embraced him.

‘Sheed, it seems, plays by the same rules many of you do. If he is not necessarily rooting for the Red Sox, he is at least rooting for whoever is playing the Yankees.

The Celtics, by the way, are 2-0.

So to Red Sox fans, the New York Yankees are still the evil empire.

But why is today October 29 and just the 2nd game of the Series is being played tonight?  The answer is in provided by Tyler Kepner in a New York Times story from last Sunday.  Some of the reasons are:

¶When baseball scheduled the World Baseball Classic for March 2009, the players wanted two more weeks of spring training games after its conclusion. So pushing the Classic later would have further delayed the start of the regular season, and the players would not have been ready if it had started sooner.

¶The calendar did not help. Except for the Sunday night opener, the schedule always begins on a Monday, and the first Monday of April 2009 was the sixth. Teams do not want to start the season with a weekend series, because they already draw well on weekends. Opening on a Monday allows teams to sell out a weekday game that would otherwise be a hard sell.

¶The idea of starting the regular season in late March and playing only in warm-weather cities and domes is considered too problematic to be realistic. If both teams in New York and Chicago open on the road, that means overlapping home dates later. And the teams in warm-weather cities and domes would complain about losing dates for later in the season, when they can sell more tickets than they can in late March and early April.

¶The idea of shortening the regular season from 162 games is unrealistic, because teams would not willingly give away moneymaking home dates.

So you have a combination of greed and the quirks of the calendar that will have fans in New York and Philadelphia freezing in their seats.  And another thing:  Why no day games?

Back with some random observations

I haven’t posted for a while for a number of reasons.  The two major reasons are first, I have been spending a lot of time on the computer at work and didn’t want to come home and do the same (rather watch the Red Sox) and, second, because the health care debate was beginning to depress me.  I’ve been kicked into starting to post again by what happened over the weekend  on the golf course in Lakeville, MA.

In case you haven’t heard the news, a swastika and Obama were carved into the 18th green.  This picture is from the Boston Globe.

lakeville_swastika_101309.jpg

President Obama is coming to Boston in a couple of weeks to support Deval Patrick.  The FBI, Secret Service, and Lakeville police are investigating.  The Globe reports

Lou Mincone, the public club’s assistant manager, said he was stunned by the vandals’ gall, and baffled by the senseless, hateful act.

“What would motivate anyone to do such a thing?” he asked incredulously. “To use the president’s name like that? It’s crazy.”

Mincone, who discovered the damage, said the vandals dug the message more than an inch into the turf, likely using a tool or sports cleats. He said the message, which was about 10 feet by 15 feet wide, was written sometime Sunday night or Monday morning

It took a while to do,” he said. “It wasn’t a five-minute deal.”

This is what the climate surrounding the election of a black man to be President has brought.  The tea baggers with the posters of the President as Hitler, the Rush Limbaugh’s, the Glenn Becks, and the Michelle Bachman’s.  I have been jolted out of my hiatus.

The Red Sox are all done.  And likely done is Jason Veritek.  We need to sign Jason Bay, figure out what ails Josh Beckett, hope Matsuzaka stays thin and strong over the winter, and that Papi finds his mojo.  Go Phillies!

The Senate Finance Committee compromised away real health care reform to court the insurance companies and the Republicans.  So the night before the vote the insurance companies issue a report that they will have to raise rates anyway and only Olympia Snowe voted for the bill.  To show what an Alice in Wonderland world this this, the President thought this was progress.  At this point he probably thinks, well, let’s pass something and fix it later which is the point I am rapidly reaching.

The insurance company report was issued by a group called America’s Health Insurance Plans.  According to the story in the New York Times

“The overall impact will be to increase the cost of private insurance coverage for individuals, families and businesses above what these costs would be in the absence of reform,” said Karen M. Ignagni, president of the trade association.

The report says that the cost of the average family coverage, now $12,300, will rise to $18,400 in 2016 under current law and to $21,300 if the Senate bill is adopted. Likewise, it said, the cost of individual coverage, now $4,600, will average $6,900 in 2016 under current law and $7,900 under the bill.

The study provides ammunition to Republicans attacking the legislation and might intensify the concerns of some Democrats who worry that the bill does not provide enough help to low- and middle-income people to enable them to buy insurance.

Scott Mulhauser, a spokesman for Democrats on the Finance Committee, said: “This report is untrue, disingenuous and bought and paid for by the same health insurance companies that have been gouging consumers for too long. Now that health care reform grows ever closer, these health insurers are breaking out the same tired playbook of deception. It’s a health insurance company hatchet job.”

I am becoming increasingly convinced that nothing can get done in this country because everyone is too worried about the effect on their profits.  Regulation of the finance industry, health care reform, tort reform.  In every instance those opposed worry about their own bottom line.  What ever happened to the idea of the common good?

Belated note on the Phillies Victory!

Since the Red Sox didn’t make it into the Series this year, I’m overjoyed that my birth city team has won.  I’m sorry, but the Tampa Bay Rays fans were not worthy of a championship.  What is this business of ringing cow bells in an enclosed stadium anyway?  And as Charlie Pierce said in today’s Boston Globe  “Obama draws bigger crowds buying the paper every morning than the Rays did in the middle of a pennant race.”

The Red Sox re-signed Tim Wakefield.  I assume Curt Shilling will be retiring.  I expect more changes this winter.

Great season, Sox! Go Phillies.

The Red Sox didn’t quite have it this year.  Too many injuries for one thing.  Papi, Lowell, Beckett in particular.  I’m happy they made it to the play-offs this year. As Bob Ryan writes in the Boston Globe,

The sum and substance of it all is that this new era of Red Sox success is ongoing. This team took a lot of hits this year and still came within a game of the World Series. No team has accomplished more in this new century. http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2008/10/21/no_ifs_about_it_season_was_a_success/

Having grown up in the Philadelphia part of New Jersey, I grew up watching the Phillies on TV.  I was a Phillies fan except when they played the Brooklyn Dodgers.  (one of my first loves was Sandy Koufax.) The first live game I went to was a Phillies Double Header with my father.  So I’m with Joe Biden.  Go Phillies!