Archive for August, 2008

Pirates Mathematically Eliminated

August 31, 2008

From any chance of winning the National League Central by today’s loss to Milwaukee.  Rather remarkable to be able to pull off elimination while still August, but a 7-21 month coupled with how strong the Cubs have been all year add up to that.  Of course, the big story out of today’s game was the 1 hitter thrown by Brewers rental CC Sabathia.  Or was it a no hitter?

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08244/908520-100.stm

I missed the play live as I was out on a golf course, but my impression on replay is that probably should be an error.  Whether its obvious and egregious enough for MLB to overrule the official scorer at PNC Park is another matter.

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Blogging William Safire

August 31, 2008

Always nice to see an op-ed piece from former syndicated columnist and Nixon speechwriter William Safire.  Even when he’s dead wrong:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/31/opinion/31safire.html?th&emc=th

For the record, Bill, the line about McCain following bin Laden to the gates of hell but not to his cave was meant to attack the Bush strategy of eschewing proper focus on Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan in favor of picking a fight in Iraq.  That “populist boilerplate” is simple Democratic politics, just like McCain’s speech (wherever he gives it from) will have plenty of conservative boilerplate on social issues and the evils of taxes.  And, that was no straw man he was knocking down when he asserted Democrats can and will keep this country safe.  Republicans have been accusing Democrats as being soft on national security since 9/11.  Well, frankly, since Truman “lost” China to the communists.  That it was a Republican in the White House when Saigon fell and a Republican in the White House when 9/11 happened has tended to not matter politically, and Obama knows he needs to try to beat that perception down to make Americans comfortable with him.

Forward Falcons!

August 30, 2008

Bowling Green got a big win this afternoon at Heinz Field, beating Pittsburgh 27-17.  The Falcons trailed 14-0 early as they could not move the ball at all on the Pitt defense.  Probably the Panthers should’ve been up more but bogged down at the 35 yard line two straight drives and Coach Wannstedt elected to punt.  Eventually BG hit their stride and drove the field to score and then recovered a fumble near midfield and scored again to tie the game at 14 late in the 2nd quarter.  Pitt drove back down the field to about the 25 yard line with about 35 seconds left but merely ran the ball into the line and then let the clock go down to kick a 3rd down field goal on the last play of the half.  Not sure what Wanny was thinking there and neither were the Pitt fans in attendance.  The 2nd half was all BG and probably would’ve won by greater than the final margin if not for getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop when an inadvertant whistle negated a touchdown on a fumble recovery.  After punting, though, BG got a sack and fumble recovery by Steubenville product Antonio Magnone that led to the final score of the game.

The pleasant surprise of this game was how good the BG run defense looked.  It helped that Bill Stull and the Pitt passing game was incredibly inconsistent to put it politely.  As for BG, I have certainly seen them look better on offense, but I am inclined to credit Pitt’s defense for the consistency with which they got people in the BG backfield quickly.  Still, BG made enough plays to move the ball in the last 3 quarters and convert Pitt turnovers into points.  I left this game feeling rather upbeat about BG’s chances to do well this year.  As for Pitt, Wanny is squarely on the hot seat now, and they aren’t going very far unless Bill Stull gets better or someone replaces him that can play well.

On a final note, what is up with every parking lot on the north side being pre paid only?  I understand it for the Steelers, but for Pitt?  I ended up lucking into a small lot on the far side of PNC Park for $15.

It’s Palin!

August 29, 2008

In a somewhat bold move, John McCain tapped Alaska Senator Sarah Palin to be his running mate.  Its a rather obvious play at the PUMA Hillary supporters, as Palin’s resume makes Obama’s look thick by comparison and there is no geo-political advantage to running with an Alaskan.  It makes attacks on Obama’s readiness to lead a bit trickier.  But I still like the choice of Palin for McCain.  All of the conventional picks were flawed.  Romney was never a comfortable fit for some in the Religious Right merely because he’s Mormon.  Tom Ridge and Joe Lieberman were both pro-choice, which likely would’ve set off a firestorm.  Tim Pawlenty would’ve been the safe pick, but McCain has little reason to play it safe.  He’s pulled roughly even in the pre-convention polling, but Obama is still the favorite, and its not like McCain at age 72 will have another turn at bat.  If Palin does successfully peel off some middle aged white women that wholly or partly fall into the PUMA category, it could prove rather effective.

Potters Lose Another Close One

August 29, 2008

20-12 to Cleveland Heights at Patterson Field.  Potters drew first blood on their 2nd possession of the day set up by a successful fake punt at their own 43 yard line to lead 7-0.  CHHS responded early in the 2nd quarter but missed the extra point, so the Potters were still ahead.  Late in the 2nd quarter the Potters had a classic 3 and out field goal drive set up by a Heights fumbled shotgun snap and the halftime score was 10-6.  The action was mostly to CHHS in the 2nd half; they got a touchdown drive early in the 3rd quarter to go up 13-10 though later had a drive off of a 4th down stand fail and the snap on the punt sail past the kicker and he elected to intentionally soccer boot the ball out of the end zone for a safety.  Heights added a touchdown in the 4th quarter set up by a Willie Leavell interception and hung on from there for the 20-12 win.  The loss drops the Potters to 0-2 and they will travel to Harding Stadium next Friday evening to tangle with Steubenville Big Red.

It probably didn’t matter much at that point, but the Potters got screwed by one of high school football’s dumb timing rules.  Heights had a 2nd down run that ended with 1:03 on the clock and the Potters owning one timeout.  CHHS was called for holding, negating a 1st down.  If the rules were written correctly, the Potters would still be alive (keeping in mind CHHS had already bungled one punt play on the night).  However, in high school, on the ready for play, the ref wound the clock and CHHS was able to waste an extra 25 seconds.  The 2nd down play ended w/ 27 seconds and the Potters called their TO, but all CHHS had to do was not fumble a kneeldown on 3rd down and the game was over.  If the timing rules of high school were written by a sane person, CHHS would’ve had to run a 4th down play w/ about 20 seconds left.  Oh well.

Barack Obama Accepts Democratic Party Nomination for President

August 28, 2008

By giving a very comprehensive speech full of soaring rhetoric and plenty of sharp elbows thrown at John McCain.  I think most important was his section on foreign policy, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  He took his supposed weakness head on in attacking the efficacy of picking a fight in Iraq without first finishing the job in Afghanistan.

To be sure, there are some specifics in the speech that can be nitpicked.  I’m not sure how realistic a notion it is to end America’s dependence on foreign oil in 10 years.  But it was very important I think the stress he put in demonstrating how he shares the values of Joe Average American, how his policies will help people and where McCain’s policies are wrong-headed.

Also, I thought it made for great TV giving this speech outside at Invesco Field.  Gambled with the weather and won.  He managed to pack the house, which made for a great visual.  None of his applause lines were quite as good as when the Broncos make a play to clinch a close game, but it still made for first rate political theater.  Of course, the proof will be in the pudding when we start seeing poll numbers after his speech, and, more to the point, after McCain gives his a week from tonight.  But I think Obama’s speech, and the Democratic Convention in general, did what it could to propel the Obama-Biden ticket to victory.

Joe Biden Accepts Nomination for Vice President

August 27, 2008

Solid speech.  Bit of a slow start, but this speech’s strength was towards the end when Biden touched on his strength, foreign policy and outlined examples of where McCain was wrong and Obama was right in his judgement.  It serves two purposes.  Obviously, it attacks McCain and seeks to deflate his supposed advantage in foreign policy realms.  But it also serves to show that Obama himself can know what he is talking about in foreign relations and military affairs, that he can hold his own with the former Naval Officer and Vietnam POW.

Also, interesting drop-in by Obama after Biden’s speech.  Don’t think I have ever seen that before.  Now he is shaking hands w/ Bruce Springsteen music in the background.  Anyone that rolls to The Boss looks good in my eyes.

In an interesting tidbit, fresh off her success in Beijing, Shawn Johnson will vault into the politcal realm and lead the Invesco Field at Mile High crowd tomorrow night in the pledge of allegiance.  Certainly a different sort of floor routine!

Planning Your Labor Day Weekend College Football Viewing

August 27, 2008

Here is a comprehensive list of games on TV, network, start times, and announcer pairings:

http://awfulannouncing.blogspot.com/2008/08/your-full-week-one-college-football.html

Let the games begin!

Obama & Biden to Appear in Beaver Friday Evening

August 27, 2008

The Obama-Biden campaign tour after the convention will start with a joint rally in Beaver, PA Friday at 6pm.  Information below:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08240/907304-100.stm

Pirates’ Top Pick Alvarez Holding Out After Agreeing to Terms

August 27, 2008

His agent, Scott Boras (or borASS if you prefer) is contending the contract was not properly submitted before the August 15th deadline:

http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080827&content_id=3375888&vkey=news_pit&fext=.jsp&c_id=pit

The text of Frank Coonely’s press release is as follows:

http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20080827&content_id=3375858&vkey=pr_pit&fext=.jsp&c_id=pit

Obviously, I hope this gets resolved.  The correct way for it to get resolved is for Scott Boras to realize he is a schmuck with no legal leg to stand on here so Alvarez can collect his $6M and start playing baseball for the Pirates organization.  I will not hold my breath for that to happen, however.