1st and Five - The Weekly Tendown October 10-16 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cody Ross.  The Greatest Man Alive. 

Here's Tendown 48.

First: 7 Consecutive One Run Games
You're going to get as little Tendown as I can get away with today; when I gave this week was Friday, with a long preview of both league championship series, and a look back at each of the previous NLCS appearances by the Giants, with a reflection of the way that I experienced all of them.  It's not bad; I can't match it with anything today. 

Here are the scores for our last 7 playoff games.

2003 NLDS Game 3 - Lost 4-3
                    Game 4 - Lost 7-6
2010 NLDS Game 1 - Won 1-0
                    Game 2 - Lost 5-4
                    Game 3 - Won 3-2
                    Game 4 - Won 3-2
2010 NLCS Game 1 - Won 4-3

I don't know if that's a record, but I'm going to keep saying it is until it gets some traction.  Somebody tell McCarver we've played in 7 straight one run postseason games.  This is why they call it torture. 

Cody Ross hit two off Halladay last night - he's hitting over .350 in the postseason.  Sanchez goes tonight - here was his record against the Phils this season:  13 innings, 2 ER, a .114 BA against (he led the NL in batting average against this season).  He also led the NL in walks; one of the reasons why my forecast suggested that we might lose Games one and two is that a Lincecum loss to Halladay would put a ton of pressure on Sanchez - and that might lead to some wildness.  He's gonna strike out some guys; he's gonna walk some guys - if we get through the fifth tonight and they haven't gotten to him, I think we're gonna win the game.  Sanchez is a guy I wouldn't want my team to face - it's a patient team that gets him, one that drives up pitch counts, like the Yanks/Rays.  The Phils high OBP should give them, even with their early season performances against Sanchez, the slight advantage tonight.  Objectively, the Phils should have a slight advantage in every game, with 1-2 a little heavier advantage than 3-5.  But essentially its no more than a mildly weighted coin flip - which is why I picked them in 7.

But now we're up one...

And if we win tonight...

As I mentioned in one of the previews to the NLDS, we're the best team in baseball when we score 3 runs - we're the second best team in baseball when we score the first run - just behind the Phils. 

You want to make an in-game investment the rest of the series?  Put some money down on whomever scores first.

A week ago, incidentally, the San Francisco Giants saved my life.

Late last Sunday night, on the street that leads to my house, the driver of a van headed the wrong way, was shot multiple times by a cop.  It's possible, but I'm not entirely certain, that it was the cop with whom I share a backyard fence (I live in a high cop neighborhood).  The fence has been broken twice over the past few months by the cop's dogs, who are...aggressive.  He is disinterested in the broken fence or the aggressive dogs.

I was at my mother's last Sunday night, watching our improbable NLDS Game 3 comeback; we scored 2 runs in the ninth inning to come from behind and win when we were down to our final strike - the winning run scoring when the Braves second baseman made his third error of the night.  It was a playoff game I've seen before - just never with my team on the correct side.  When Jose Cruz's kid dropped the fly ball in 2003 I was just behind the third base dugout - and I distinctly had the sense as it happened of being the only person in the ballpark who was watching it happen - that everyone else assumed it to be a can of corn and I followed the ball all the way out of Cruz's glove. 

I live about 40 minutes from my mother (50 when I miss the exit); that ninth inning rally pushed back my drive home, given that the Braves hit in the bottom of the ninth when otherwise they would not have - just outside the window when I would have been driving through the intersection at the same time my neighbor/cop (perhaps) was shooting the special needs 17 year old driver of the wrong way minivan.  By the time I got there, the perimeter was being secured, and I had to turn in through the corner Publix plaza (in which there is a McDonalds - at which I bought french fries for my Lady Type Friend -of which I may have eaten some.  Keep that on the DL, please).

Sure, I could have slid through the intersection minutes before the bang-bang-bang and not have known of the calamity until the following day.

Instead of that, I've decided to believe that it was the 2010 San Francisco Giants who saved my life.

After the jump - the rest of the Tendown.  It's a half down edition this week. 
1.     Disrepair
When I teach government, I start at the level of "okay, what does a government essentially do?"

What a government essentially does is this.  Virtually no one, even the most wealthy and eccentric, can afford his own electric grid. 

The way we get electricity - or streetlights that work - toilets that flush - fire departments that come when you call them - is that we pool our resources.  Where do we pool them?  Government.  What are our resources?  Taxes.

Some prioritize where government should spend that money in ways other than I would.  I would have spent the entire previous decade criticizing government spending on our two middle eastern wars, for example, had their been a tea party meeting to attend. 

Curiously, there was not.  It's only in the two Democratic Administrations of the past 30 years where there's been an outcry to shut the federal government down.

But what we all used to agree on is that the toilets should flush and the electric grid should work - that if there was one item one which...obviously...we needed to spend money - it was on infrastructure.

Guess who doesn't think so anymore?

2. American Exceptionalism
Another introductory concept I offer in class, usually when I teach US history, is the theory of American exceptionalism.  Part of Marco Rubio's stump speech is a full throated endorsement of the idea that the United States is special - chosen, somehow for greatness.  If you've ever heard Sean Hannity say something to the effect of the United States being the greatest country there ever was or ever could be - that's American Exceptionalism. 

I ask students if they believe that - and then the evidence on which such a belief is based.

We got some evidence of American exceptionalism recently.

The United States is now 49th in life expectancy.  49th.

In 1999, were were 24th.  A decade later - 49th.

But we're fifth in total number of executions.  So maybe that's the metric on which Rubio is relying.

3. Climate
Another way in which we're exceptional is our inability to accept facts.

Specifically here, climate science.  Unlike conservatives in Europe - the ones in the US have thoroughly abandoned any tether to reality.  Here's the former leader of the British conservative party:

Climate change is perhaps the 21st century's biggest foreign-policy challenge," Hague declared in a New York City speech. "An effective response to climate change underpins our security and prosperity." The danger was no longer just distant thunder, he suggested, warning that the recent devastating floods in Pakistan heralded the sort of extreme events that will become more common in a warmer world. "While no one weather event can ever be linked with certainty to climate change," he said, "the broad patterns of abnormality seen this year are consistent with climate-change models."

Hague is not alone in recognizing the clear truth of climate science.
Not only William Hague but such other prominent European conservatives as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have embraced that widespread scientific conviction and supported vigorous action.
The right is not only wrong - about everything - they are the opposite of right.  We're in a gilded age, where the wealthiest Americans are at the apex of a three decade march away from economic justice - the greatest degree of economic inequality in the US in almost a hundred years is happening right now - and yet, the dominant theme of the right has been how we're headed toward socialism - how we need fewer taxes on the wealthy - fewer government services for the working class. 
Remember that Republican presidential debate when it was asked how many of the candidates believed in evolution - and the reaction was mixed?
Let's start from the premise that every thinking person recognizes the fundamental truth of evolution - that if you are someone who cares about facts, you recognize that evolution is not a debate any more than is gravity.
Every time you hear something like the problem with the US are the unions - or that we need to cut taxes for the wealthy - or that the problem with the US is government isn't letting business flourish because of overregulation - what I want you to remember is that the same people arguing this don't believe in evolution.
They are as wrong about government, about the economy, about climate science, about unions, about taxes, about regulation, about the two middle eastern wars - as they are about evolution.  The right wing lives in a world where facts that are understood by every single thinking person in the advanced world (and have been for a hundred years plus) are now subject to dispute, debate, obfuscation, or just shamelessly ignored as if they do not exist.

The next time you have the opportunity to talk to someone from the right - start the conversation with "Do you understand that evolution is real?"  If they say no - stop talking to them until they read a ninth grade biology book.  There are good people who vote for Republicans - who honestly and genuinely think that immigrants and Muslims and excessive government regulation is at the core of what is wrong with America.

Those people have been lied to.  Lied to for years and years and years and years.

You know how, say you'll read about a Walmart telling its employees about how harmful unions would be for them - and we look at that and recognize that those people are getting taken advantage of - they are being preyed upon by a corporation on which they depend to pay their bills and feed their families?  Whenever you've heard about that - say some corporation like a Walmart drilling into its employees heads "better make sure you don't try to unionize - heck, we might just have to shut the whole store down if that happens" - don't you want to see Norma Rae figure out a way to convince them otherwise?

That's our whole country now.  We're Walmart.  The whole country.  We're all, you and me and all of us, sitting in a meeting while some guy in a suit tells us how we don't need some outside agitator comin' in to change things. I sort of think who we wanted, naively so perhaps, but there you are, Obama to be is Norma Rae.  That even if we didn't consciously think of it in these terms, we all sort of feel like we're nine dollar an hour workers sitting in some shitty break room with absolutely no hope of not falling in line with whatever crap the Walmart middle manager wants to feed us?. We need the health insurance and there are no other jobs to get.  I think he stood up in the campaign with that Union sign - and then when he took office he put it away and said "listen, we can't really get that union - but I'll get you two more fifteen minute breaks a day" and we sort of shuffled back to our aisles except now not only are we looking at losing those, we're all gonna have to work unpaid on our day off because the company says so and the company is always right.

4. Don't Show the Wrong Movie to a College Faculty
Make sure you don't show a documentary that suggests that Christians shouldn't view homosexuality as an abomination to a college faculty.

5. Our Activist Court
Please don't listen when the right talks about "activist liberal judges" - they make that stuff up too.

Game two's in 5 hours.  Root for the good guys.

That's all for this time - I'll be back next time - if there is a next time..

Your pal,


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