Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Protesting Rick Warren at the Inauguration?

Wow, am I a little behind on the latest controversy. And there's just too darn much to read. So rather than get educated, get ready for some hip shooting.

Barack Obama has chosen Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church to give the invocation at his inauguration. And apparently, there's a lot of people who aren't too thrilled about this- particularly, gays and other JO liberals whom I adore so much. These folks want to march on the church, they're calling Warren names, blogging to no end, etc. That's fine. It's called free speech.

But Obama chose Warren personally for this honor. Obama made a decision. Barack Obama- the guy that 56% of American voters voted for this year, is the president elect of our country. He represents change. He represents fresh ideas. He represents something other than the good-ol-boys network (as he's clearly proven with his cabinet selection so far...). He's the chosen one isn't he?

So what is up with all these people questioning his judgement already. He's not even in office and he's managed to offend the whopping 5% of Americans (who are gay) and all the other hateful, spiteful liberal loudmouths who think it's an Obamanation to have Rick Warren even present at his inauguration.

I am appalled at this blatant intollerance and second guessing of our president-elect. I can understand conservatives calling Warren a traitor or sellout or whatever for supporting a liberal leader, but Obama's own people are complaining. And he's not even in office yet!

Wake up America! You made a mistake in selecting Obama. You made a mistake in selecting someone who is really trying to unify. You made a mistake in selecing someone who is reaching across the aisle (both in politics and ideology).

What exactly were you expecting? Were you expecting Obama to go nutso liberal and throw all Republicans in Guantanamo? Ban churches? Declare national gay day. Announce that God doesn't exist? Allow pornography on daytime tv? Confirm the conspiracy theory that was 9/11? Appoint Tim Robbins and Babs to his cabinet?

Friday, December 12, 2008

New York Winners?

I should be working. And when I'm done working I can bury a cable wire, hang the rest of the Christmas lights, take a shower, fix the pool, go Christmas shopping, help at my daughter's school, network, or plan dinner. But instead I'll write about the Yankees- to an audience of...

So the big news of the MLB winter meetings is that the New York teams came away as big winners. How spending a ton of money translates to being winners is a little beyond me as has been proven time and time again over the last decade. So the Yankees have committed $23MM a year for Bartolo Colon II. Yes that's right, the second coming of big fatty. For those with short term memories, you'll see that Colon was traded to the Expos at the trade deadline in 2002 when he was 29. With the Expos, he went 10-4. A year later, he parlayed his success into a lucrative deal with the Angels, a 4 year deal worth about $51MM. He had two solid years but his last two years with the halos he was 7-13. He was 33 and 34 during those crap seasons.

Sabathia just came off a kickass season highlighted with an 11-2 post trade performance. Perfect contract year action. So now he's signed for 7 years with the Yankees at $161MM. That's $23MM a year. He's 2 years younger than Colon was. So that will translate to 4-5 years of kickass performance followed by 2 years of crap. So in reality, his true worth will probably translate to $32MM per year. Now I know that we're talking about two separate pitchers here, but here's the big (key word "big") parallel. Both Colon and Sabathia are big fat dudes- both listed at two and half spins on www.baseballreference.com (which is where I retrieved all stats that I've used for analysis). And big fat dudes tend to break down- especially pitchers who must exert so much force on their bodies 100 pitches per game. And if you compare a guy like Roger Clemens in 1986 to Clemens in 2006, and the dude gained weight. It's a simple derivative of age. So if Colon is listed as 250 now, how much did he weigh 5 years ago?

So the Yankees being defined as big winners sounds very similar to when they signed Carl Pavano. Pavano earned $5MM per win for the Yankees.

Moving on to the Mets and in particular Omar Minaya. Another Expos connection here. Minaya's the J-hole who actually traded for the Bartolo Colon rental- and he only had to give up Grady Sizemore (4 time MVP candidate and 3 time all star) and Cliff Lee (2008 Cy Young Winner, previous CY candidate and 1 time all star). Oh yeah and Brandon Phillips- the starting 2b for the Reds for the last 3 years. So Minaya is a genius if you ask any Expos fan. So now he's the GM of the big money Mets and he has been labeled a winner since he signed K-Rod and Putz. Really?

K-Rod has the new record for saves in a season but he didn't win any awards for that. Oh, I assume he won the Prilosec Relief award or whatever they call it. But anyone who knows closers knows that their lifespan is typically very short. Besides guys like Trevor and Mariano and Billy, closers typically flame out pretty quickly. Look at guys like Keith Foulke or Gagne. Those guys just puttered out after rising so quickly. In fact it's always a risk with any pitcher. It's a big risk to sign a closer- hence K-Rod smartly "only" got a 3 year deal at about $12MM per- which he was smart to take. And going back to Minaya's genius, what else was he supposed to do? The bullpen killed the Mets last year, there are very few top tier closers on the market this year, the Mets have money, so they signed K-Rod. Hell, I could have done that if I were in Minaya's position (ok, I don't speak spanish, so perhaps it would have been a more difficult conversation) So now the Mets have 2 closers of which Wagner is still servicable. So is their bullpen bolstered? Absolutely. Add to that the trade for JJ Putz who was the Mariner's closer in 2007 and you now have 3 closers.

But how many winter meetings end up with the Yankees, Mets or other big market team being declared the "winner"? Don't get me wrong, you can officially name some teams like the Padres, Nationals, Royals, Blue Jays, etc. "losers" and I don't dislike these teams, but they simply didn't make any moves that look like they'll improve their teams. But to name some teams "winners" is absolutely ridiculous. How bout we simply say that these teams spent the most money this winter meeting. Winners are determined in October (ok November) so lets save that label for the appropriate time because at the end of the year, either the Yankees or Mets or both will definately be losers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Gift of Obama

So since the election has ended, my passions have dwindled a bit. But through the process I wanted to really learn about the candidates. So I signed up for both Obama and McCain's campaign email newsletters from about July forward.

It was pretty cool to keep up on things and hear what each candidate was focussing on, and once the election was over I received a nice thank you note from John McCain's campaign (via email). I received an email of a different tone from the Obama campaign as well. More of a "rah rah", thanks and we'll do a good job sort of email. Very cool- even though I didn't vote for Obama.

But I never unsubscribed from either list... and since then, I've not received anything from McCain- which makes perfect sense. But I've received a handful of emails from the Obama campaign. About four were actually pretty cool- non-editorialized announcement of his staff, innauguration stuff. No big deal. But I've received no less than 3 emails asking me to donate more money for which I will receive in return- either a t-shirt, mug, or calendar. Seriously? And for the purpose of replenishing the DNC war chest? They want individuals who are most affected by our economy to shell out more money to buy some licensed merchandise?

I guess if you want a Billy the Kid Knife

or the Baby Princess Diana Doll

then you can always go to the Franklin Mint. But Obama is now trying to angle into this market?

A Holiday mug (which looks sort of like a coffee mug) for $15

Or a calendar for $35

Or a T Shirt for $30

Maybe I'm not part of that culture that needs to commemorate things like this. I have a few T-shirts from places I've worked, a set of fraternity letters, an Expos baseball jersey, a Star Tours coffee mug. And yeah i guess I paid for some of those things. But now as a business owner I have coffee mugs, notepads and pens with my company logo. But I don't go selling those things to my clients. That would sort of set a crappy image with them. Would I want to hit them up for "donations" to help my business out? Isn't the real end result of the Obama presidency supposed to be a better America with more prosperity for the little guy? So how does making them (ok, us) pay a large amount of money for these trinkets help accomplish that end result? Plus, isn't there a whole industry in these sort of "licensed" merchandise already? Is he trying to put them out of business as well?

Perhaps I'll wait til January 1st rolls around and the calendars will be half off at the mall kiosk.

Now playing: New Order - Touched by the Hand of God (Biff & Memphis remix)
via FoxyTunes