April 30, 2008

Two new reasons for the Barack

If you're a McCain-ite, then this isn't meant to persuade you. If you're a Clintonian, perhaps it's too late for switching allegiances... but if you're undecided? How can't you be all over the O Man.

1. The man who advised him, married him and baptized his kids goes mentally AWOL. After trying to maintain relations, Barack painstakingly breaks all ties with this man. He was his spiritual council, not his political advisor; after learning how disparate their politics are, he has broken - and alienated - the man he once looked to for spiritual guidance. Granted, he had to do it to stay viable, but it can't be understated how big a step this was.

2. The gas tax gimmick -- if what Hillary & McCain threw out there doesn't just reek of a D.C. make me look good in the short term jury-rigging attempt, I don't know what does. I honestly don't think clinton or McCain had a second thought about what this would do, other than make them look good in front of the populace. And if what they wanted top do was look like they are being led by the common poll, rather than their heads, they won. But this gas tax freeze is a boondoggle of epic proportions because every economist worth his/her salt has come out against it!

Think of how easy it would have been for the 'inexperienced' Barack to fall in line - without having to appear he was falling in line - and support the freeze. Instead, he comes out against it. Why? Because he's a smart man who has both foresight and the quality of a candidate that is doing what is right, not what is necessarily popular on first blush.

Why is the freeze a bad thing? I'll quote the common consensus that you can find from any number of sources of economists, not 'crazy left-wingers'. From Alister Bull of Reuters:

Economists said that since refineries cannot increase their supply of gasoline in the space of a few summer months, lower prices will just boost demand and the benefits will flow to oil companies, not consumers.

"You are just going to push up the price of gas by almost the size of the tax cut," said Eric Toder, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in Washington.

Obama criticized the plan as pure politics and said the only way to lower the price of gas is to use less oil.

"It would last for three months and it would save you on average half a tank of gas, $25 to $30. That's what Senator Clinton and Senator McCain are proposing to deal with the gas crisis," he said on Tuesday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

"This isn't an idea designed to get you through the summer, it's an idea designed to get them through an election."

Clinton followed up by saying this shows how out of touch he is with the common person. First of all regarding elitism, those in glass houses, second of all, I'll take someone who thinks an idea through 10 times out of 10 any day.

Yeah.. I want my tax freeze going to Big Oil, because that will show how 'in touch' I am... yeesh.

April 29, 2008

Five Game Skid, Celts lose again, but Glass Half-full (of lemonade)

Couple of team lemon-like perfomances these days, but drink down these cool Paps-stats from Rob Bradford/Herald for some refreshing lemonade:

"...while pointing to the fact that he (Paps) might actually be better this year thanks to improved command. He hasn’t walked a batter since the first hitter he faced this season. But within the story are also tidbits supplied from our man, Gary from Chapel Hill, who sent along this stuff, which is truly amazing.

So here it is:
Strikeout % Yearly Leaders (8th Inn or Later, Ahead by 1 or 2 Runs; min. 50 such batters faced in ‘06/’07 and 15 in ‘08):
2006: Nathan 43.5%; F Rodriguez 41.0%; Saito 39.4%; Papelbon 30.3% (13th).
2007: Papelbon 41.8%; F Cordero 35.6%; Myers 35.4%.
2008: Papelbon 41.4%; Neshek 40.0%; Rivera 36.0%;

Three Up / Three Down Innings With 2+ Strikeouts, 8th inning or later
(2006 – 2008): Papelbon, 31; Saito 30; Nathan 24; Putz 23; Five tied with 19.

Strikeout % of all batters once count reaches 2 strikes (min. 100 BF in ‘06/’07 and 25 BF in ‘08):
2006: Nathan 59.4%; Putz 57.8; Jenks 56.3%; Papelbon 49.3% (18th).
2007: Putz 59.4%; Marmol 58.5%; Papelbon 57.1%.
2008: Papelbon 72.0%; Billingsley 60.4%; Affeldt 60.0%; Jesse Carlson 60.0%

Batting average allowed with 2 strikes
(since beginning of ‘07, min. 150 BF): Papelbon .082 (13 for 159); Soriano Rafael .085; Turnbow .087;

OBP Allowed Since Beginning of 2006 (min. 300 BF):
Papelbon .216; Soria .232; Putz .235*
Since becoming a closer (beginning of 2006), in road games Papelbon has allowed a .197 OBP (best in MLB),
allowed a .248 slugging percentage (best in MLB),
and has struck out 36.2% of batters faced (best in MLB).
Minimum 150 BF on the road.

Career Batting Average Allowed - 7th inning or later, leading, on the road, with RISP: Papelbon .000 (0 for 32, 1 BB, 1 HBP)"

It's going to be O-K

April 22, 2008

Obama likely to get the numbers before Convention

Here's what I just don't get: Obama willl win the majority of the delegates, even if the following H-friendly primary numbers come to pass:
H% O%
PA 60 40
IN 53 47
WV 42 58
OR 50 50
SD 54 46
Guam 50 50
NC 52 48 (no way H wins NC)
KY 46 54
MT 47 53
PRico 50 50

If Hilary gets 51% of the superdelegates, she'll have 159 and Obama will have 152.

While somewhat arbitrary, all those numbers are even optimistic for Clinton and guess what? If it breaks down that way Obama is likely to have 2066 delgates (need 2025 to win) -- employing a neat little delegate counter found on the politics page of CNN. Stop telling me he can't land this fish before the Convention -- he can and in all likelihood, he will.

Make my CF a Jake

Thank the Tito gods that Jacoby ‘Jake’ Ellsbury is consistently in at this point. I kind of think management had this ease-him-in plan from the very start… kind of how they platooned in Pedroia (I know, Pedroia for April stunk up the joint, but who knows here). Either that, or they are happy with the Coco sampling size — hitting well enough for other teams to say ‘hmmmm…’. ‘Course, doesn’t hurt that Coco is…, well… hurt.

But, besides what our eyes tell us, here are some Jake stats that stand out as what should be our everyday CF (and keep in mind his mostly split/time w/ Coco):

- His 16 Runs scored is tops on the team

- Has not only drawn the most walks (13) but has the best walk/at bat ratio on the team by far, at better than 1 in every four at bats

- Has the highest OBP -- pretty much the main stat I'd want to look at -- at .444, eclipsing Youk's .433, which would be 4th in the entire AL if he had enough at bats. ________ (fill in your counter-point regarding sample size here) (Oh, and Coco’s is the second lowest OBP before ‘Tek’s)

- Only Sean Casey has fewer K’s (3 to Jake’s 5)

- Only Manny & Youk have at least one double triple or homer on the Sox, like Jake. I’ll betcha he hits more triples than homers this year.

Make my lead-off CF a Jake

April 15, 2008

Other items found next to Big Papi's Jersey in the new Yankee Stadium...

- Jimmy Hoffa's teeth, which, by an obscure New York City law, any new major stadium in the metropolitan area being built must have the former Teamster's President's remains

- Roger Clemen's testes and, ironically, a rat's ass

- Britney Spears' can't-miss business plan

- Phil Hughes control on his fastball

- Another fly-ball out by Wang the Magnificent

- A-Rod's Girl Scout Manual on how-to-slap-a-ball-out-of-a-glove

- The consistency of Dice-K

- Girardi's coaching acumen that tells him when to walk a batter

- The only smidgen of Manny than isn't in dead-on regular season form

- A hidden video of Theo Epstein standing in the mirror late Sunday night screaming at a make-believe press conference,... "So, J.D. Drew was a bad deal huh?!! Won't be good once his family stuff is done, huh?!!! Waste of Sox salary smart guy?!!!!! How you feeling now... sucka!!!!!!"

- The numbskull Boston fans who still exist cica, 2002, yelling 'Yankees Suck' at home games

- Mo Vaughn's healthy foot/ankle

- Hank Steinbrenner's convictions (Jinx?, What jinx?, There's no jinxes... just to be sure we'll dig it up to show you)

April 4, 2008

What is Starbucks planning on April 8th, 2008?

This is currently on the Starbucks website:

We're planning something big at Starbucks. Like Venti big. We can't tell you what it is because that'll ruin the surprise. Just come to any Starbucks on Tuesday, April 8, at noon Eastern to find out what it is.

Cool... I like be promotional events from major companies - especially companies that are already thriving in a strong 'cool' niche. But, I'll tell you this right now... I think I have the answer. (Spoiler alert -- stop reading if you don't want to know the answer). I'm throwing this down just in case you wanna know what it is -- maybe you can't make it to a Starbucks and you hate to be the last to know. For whatever reason, this article appeared in seattlepi.com on Feb 1st, '08:

(don't page down if you don't want to know)

Top Pot Doughnuts goes nationwide


Top Pot Doughnuts, a small Seattle chain that caught the attention of Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz more than four years ago, is going national thanks to its growing relationship with the coffee company.

On April 8, Top Pot is slated to be in all company-owned Starbucks Corp. stores in 50 states, the companies said Thursday.

"This is a big, big leap for us and something we are really proud of," said Mark Klebeck, one of Top Pot's three co-founders.

Go to http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/349616_toppot01.html for the rest of the article.

Starbucks' mission seems somewhat adrift - or at least their plans for maintaining, or even growing, market share. Granted coffee doesn't have a rep for being all that healthy, per se, but as an entity, it seems to feel healthy. It going to be stopping the breakfast sandwiches it had going for awhile, stopping any kind of pushback it may have been attempting against Dunkin' Donuts or, more likely McDonalds (as Mickey-D's is making coffee inroads with more in the future).

Starbucks has had - and does have - pastries, donuts, etc. so, now there will be better ones? Lower margin on costs? I'd guess it's easier to outsource excellence in donut technology, but overall, it's still just interesting. It's not necessarily healthy (although they are trans-fat free), but it is providing something to eat in the AM. I'll have to wait to pass judgement 'til I try one, but it seems kind of like 'bucks is throwing stuff against the wall right now.