Friday, September 29, 2006

(It Was Not) A Perfect Game

Daniel Cabrera

It, wasn't a no-hitter either, with one down in the ninth the Baltimore Orioles Pitcher Daniel Cabrera finally gave up a hit to the New York Yankees. This is the story of how the Yankees scored a run in the 7th with out a hit, in this not very perfect game.

The 5th is when you start to notice stuff around a no hitter. The Yankees started to hit the ball hard. The defense seemed like they were in a gravity well. Then someone would smack a line drive right at somebody and the time distortion would snap back to real time, because the defense had no choice - speed up or die.

Was it because I was hanging on every pitch, or was it them? The Orioles seemed to be slowing down, sensing they were over hyped they consciously paced themselves a fraction slower.

In the 7th the Orioles were still acting like deer in the head lights. I said to myself, 'careful - careful, get your heads in the game. You guys are going to give up a run before Cabrera gives up a hit!'

And they did!

As well as I can remeber it, it went down something like this...

" Tejada, moving to his left, he's gotta come in, his footworks off, the throws in the dirt, a long bounce... Millar missed it! Bobby Abreu's on first. Score it E-3.

Next play, " second baseman Roberts is shifted to the line, its a bouncer to the right , Roberts is circling the ball... Its off his glove! He keeps it in front of him... The throw... SAFE! Runners at second and first. That's scored E-4. still a no hitter!

Two Pass Balls later, its first and third, two out.

" A soft grounder to third, good bounce for Mora, setting for the throw... it's off his glove! The ball's in foul ground, Abreu scores! That must be an error! ..yes there it is, the official scorer says E-5. "

The Final score: Baltimore 7, Yankees 1.

Daniel Cabreras' Line: 9 IP, 1 Hit, 1 Run, 0 Earned Runs, 2 BB, 5 SO.

Baltimorians a little self-conscious in Yankee Stadium tonight?


Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Micro-Manager Gibbons

" There are cliques in the Blue Jay clubhouse, you can see them from outside the door; but Gibbons actions have led to private club house politics getting out to the media. "

A pleasant June evening for a ball game at Rodgers Centre. The Jays are in contention a week after the All-star game, and Roy Halladay is starting; its smiles all around for the reconstituted Jays, sans Shea Hillenbrand.

When Vernon Wells hit the majestic home run in 11th inning, a walk-off win over The New York Yankees, it seemed like a crucible moment, the team was reborn. Eleven games over .500, they were Toronto's favorite under-dogs, the come-back kids.

The team seemed stronger than the One, or the avarice of the General Manager, or even the short fuse of the Manager.

Halladay had was one of his, 'Retired-Rodger-Clements' type Starts (fast ball then junk, more junk; out pitch: more junk); he gained no decision. Later Ryan blew a save.

This was the first game since Manager Gibbons 'called out' Hillenbrand for his 'cancerous' (media spin) behavior. The reserved intellectual, under utilized corner man didn't understand the confrontational mannerisms of his boss. Hillenbrand apparently thought Gibbons was challenging him to a fight. Subsequently these events were leaked to the media, Ricciardi's hand was forced and Hillenbrand was released.

In retro-spect,the issue was not sophomoric quotes scribbled on the line-up board or else where. The starting staff was tired and the bullpen was shaky. After two years of over-work the pitching staff was showing cracks and fissures everywhere; brush fires in long relief, the odd explosion in the set up slot, blown saves.

Bad starts were leading to early runs-against; and the Nine-Cylinder-Offense was sputtering. Hillenbrands exile wasn't the panacea. Something had to be done to save Bird-Land soon, or this run would be done.

On July 30th Halladay had another of his 'Retired-Rodger-Clements' starts, he struggled and left with a no-decision. The nine-cylinder-offence surged from behind to take a 2 run lead, then Ryan blew the save and collected a loss.

Concerning pitching up until this point, Gibbons philosophy was: If a starter is keeping you in a game, even if he's given up 7 runs but is only trailing by 3, leave him. Study his command and control, consult with the catcher and pitching coach, use your judgment. It's one of the things I think makes Gibbons a very good manager.

After an off day, Gibby pulled Burnett after 4 innings - behind by 3. He must have thought Burnetts arm was dead, or Burnett told him it was so.

I think this is the game where Gibbons decided that to win this year, he had to micro-manage the starting staff. So now, not only was he managing a complex platoon system on defense, and his brilliant management of the bull-pen, he now took upon himself the micro-management of the starting staff. He figured he could take the pressure off his league leading offence by paying more individual attention to the starting staff.

Gibby has 3 starters; he's been searching the organization to find a 4 & 5 since Chacin went down and Towers didn't rise to expectations. Its been open season all season on Blue Jay pitching this season. This left Gibbons with some flexibility; so if one of the three starters had a bad outing - perhaps 5 days rest instead of 4 would help. This created a complex algorithm in the starters line up where only Halladays' starts kept a regular rhythm. At the same time, Gibbons continued to search for major league starting pitching by giving hopefuls spot starts, and follow-up starts if they did well.

He's good at evaluating the strengths of players and in setting them up to succeed; he leads by demanding respect of the Team - by the team.

Gibbons pitching experiment reminds me of what La Russa tried after the heyday in Oakland in the early 1990's. He declared the team would run a starter-by-committee rotation. It was in the dog days of summer in a losing year, the team was down on itself. La Russa was content that he had thoroughly searched the organization for starters - there were none.

So he proposed that every pitcher should think of themselves as part of a Pitching Team. The 'team' rebelled. If a starter doesn't pitch at least 5 innings he cannot get a Win. The team rebelled not because the idea might not work, but because the arbitration process which determines player salary has come to rely heavily on statistical WINS. Next arbitration year the Oakland pitching staffs pay would plummet. Starters are marketed like gods by MLB, because the pitcher/batter duality is easy to photograph; the arbitration process reflects this truth.

There are cliques in the Blue Jay clubhouse as well, you can see them from outside the door; but in trying to create a Team, Gibbons actions have led to private club house politics getting to the media.

The first transgression came when he tried to call out the reserved Hillenbrand in front of the team, barging into a player-only meeting. He should have talked to Hillenbrand one on one about his Secret Sedition Campaign. Gibbons was a stand up guy in the eyes of some in that clubhouse, as Hillenbrand wouldn't say anything to Gibbons face; but Gibbons crossed several lines in the way he acted.

The Lilly fight was the other incident to darken the threshold of the clubhouse.

Manager Gibbons was well into the theory and practice of micro-managing the starters, so in the third inning he came to get Lilly, who was down by three runs. Before micro-ball management theory Gibbons would have left Lilly in; but Lilly seemingly didn't understand the new paradym at that moment, and he wouldn't give the manager the ball, showing him up in front of a million eyes. Lilly then compounded the problem, breaking a clubhouse rule by leaving the bench before the Team was out of the inning. Gibbons then chased Lilly down the tunnel to confront him for not handing over the ball.

In hind-sight the way to handle the situation would have been to talk to Lilly much later, privately; not in front of the Team, not during the television/radio broadcast, not with 30,000 fans in the RC. Instead, they brawled in the tunnel. Fans who phoned the post-game show on the FAN590 said they, '.. saw the bench clear like there was an emergency in the tunnel.'

Both incidents point to a manager who hasn't quite learned how to manage big league pressure. This is baseball though, in baseball you get three strikes. He's the best young manager I've ever seen. In his first year managing I counted 9 games where in-game desisions he made lead to wins, not including managing the best bullpen in the majors.

To quote J P Ricciardi, " It's all about the pitching. "

Pitching is exactly the cancer in Blue Jays plans this year; in the great crap-shoot of baseball injuries, Ricciardi crapped out in 2006.

Fans were taken on a roller-coaster this year, starting with the big signings in the spring and the WAMCO type line up that emerged early. From a starting staff that had two Aces, a good number Two and a good Three guy to pitch forth, plus the amazing rookie Towers; Until now, with the fall colors starting to show, we are left with one tired ace, three number threes and a blank spot for off-days.

I think Ricciardi has found Gibbons braking point, now its time to take the pressure down a little by getting more pitching. And don't sign any more corner infielders!

If Ricciardi fires The Micro-Manager this off-season, it ain't nothin' but scapegoating.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thankfully, War is Becoming More Democratic

Warfare is becoming more Democratic. Cities are now targets in "legal" war.

A revolution in gun metal technology in the 1800's created trench warfare. A later revolution in mechanization got soldiers out of the trenches and onto the roads. It became understood that speed and combined operations were paramount in avoiding an intolerable loss of soldiers inherent in trench war. Air power introduced a new vector into this functioning. Soon factories in cities became targets. In another quick-step of logic, the city itself becomes a legitimate target. Now a myriad of destructive agents, and delivery vectors are available - the bulk of which target cities.

As the technology of warfare achieved a thoroughness that is known as total war, the experience of it is being shared by more and more people. Since photographs of war were first displayed(Washington,1861), the experience of war has become ubiquitous.

Before these technological innovations, wars were fought between armies on battle fields. Sometimes armies sieged cities or did battle in cities, but the city itself was not the primary target, the army with-in it was. Since WW II, the city itself has become an important target.

Cities account for 90% of populations in 'First-world' economies, 10% are 'on the land'. Chinese plans forecast that during the current modernization, a population shift of 300 million people will take place. The majority of humans will soon be resident of cities, targets in 'legal' war.

The economist Karl Polanyi talked of how technology 'disembeds' itself from the society that created it. In other words, advances in the technology constantly challenge the previous cultural construct negotiated in the previous cultural/technological paradigm.

The technological advances in warfare have brought us to a fundamental contradiction with in a Polanyian' model. The technology of warfare like all technology is disembeding, but unlike other technological eras, the ultimate effect of this disembeding could be the total destruction of the civilization that created it.

On the other hand, with this level of technology comes the World Wide Web, the infrastructure of direct democracy. "The Rights of Man", liberty, property, security, and the opportunity to resist oppression(the pursuit of happiness), are intricately linked to the functioning of a modern economy. The inter-connectivity of the modern post-industrial society paves the way for advances towards direct democracy.

So different elements of the current technological Diaspora are disembeding at different rates. The innovative manipulation of communications technology in a truly mass scale is creating a hooking function, where-in two objects with different vectors pass each other, one hooks on altering the vectors of both. Or as in this example, slowing the disembeding of technology and speeding the cultural adaptation to it.

This is expressed in our time by a qualitatively New Left.

The explosion of the Seattle Movement that 'came out of nowhere' was the first truly mass virtual Movement. It did not come 'out of nowhere' though, it came from the www; e-mail organizing, web paging and faxing, and connected by mobile phone technology.

Next, the World Wide Peace Movement showed up, marked by world wide demonstrations in 2003 around the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. The movement choose the best slogans in an internet 'fashion show' of ideas in art, a design process that took place in communities from around the world. There was no edict issued from any where, people just choose what art-work best expressed what they felt. Advertising in reverse I guess you could say.

The speed at which the 9/11 Truth Movement has reached 'critical mass' is astonishing. Fueled by lap top movie making and distribution, they have collectively/independently created a sub-culture of dissent, a 'buzz' that marketers salivate for is mushrooming out of the American diaspora.

A revolution in the Democratic Party is an on going development. Go to 'Daily' to take a warm bath in it.

So, war is becoming more democratic; and so is the civilization that created it. The question is: Will the culture be able to 'catch' the quickly disembeding military industrial complex? Can the information revolution change the repeating algorithm before it destroys its creator?

It sounds like the outline for a Godzilla movie.

" Mothra! Please help. "


The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Truman Show, September 11, 2006,


The main thing is, where was the Air Force?

9/11 must have been orchestrated by people at the highest levels of responsibility; there must have been a stand down order, as David Ray Griffin keeps coming back to in his book, 9/11 Commission Report; Omissions and Distortions. The Commissions Time-line sucks; a log of probabilities and stretches that test the limits of the Commissions own model.

On the other hand, is it unfathomable that the security umbrella we thought was stretched over the continent, actually didn't exist? That the Soviets could have invaded at any time in the 60 years of the cold war; a nuclear first strike would have been absolutely successful?

The foundation of government, and it's chief function, especially in the nuclear era, is its role as security provider.

If we are to believe the 9/11 Commission, then we must face the 'fact' that security was, and is a myth.

It begs the question, where did all the money go?

" Perhaps all the money was spent in Production? "

Plot Summary for
The Truman Show (1998)

In this movie, Jim Carrey is Truman, a man whose life is a fake one... The place he lives is in fact a big studio with hidden cameras everywhere, and all his friends and people around him, are actors who play their roles in the most popular tv-series in the world: The Truman Show. Truman thinks that he is an ordinary man with an ordinary life and has no idea about how he is exploited. Until one day... he finds out everything. Will he react?

We're all Truman Burbank now.

The New World Order is a personality disorder - denial psychosis - caused by confusion and fear applied over time and especially acute in these times of great change in technology.

But don't worry Jim Carry went on to do other roles...


Sunday, September 3, 2006

An Oil-Centric View of the Economy, Politics and Everything

This is my global view of what time it is, what the major forces defining history right now are. Phrases historians 500 years from now might use to label this period of history.

In case you can't wait till the end of the article, the answer is "Six".


"Americans are paying $3.00 a gallon," I heard someone say, "in Europe they've been paying $4.00 a gallon for years."


Europe was reconstructed, post-WWII, with a built-in high gasoline price structure - to reflect the relative value of the European economy to the rest of the world. Europe was re-building after total destruction.

$4.00 a gallon expresses the value of the regions' economy relative to the American economy at $1.00 a gallon (in our recent past experience).

The victors of WWII(August,1945) had to tie the American dollar to something tangible in the real world. They announced the price they would pay for oil, a world price. At the same time they tied the value of the American dollar to the value of a barrel of oil ($35 American = 45 gallons of oil).

They could do this because they were the biggest buyers and they owned the most aircraft carriers.


They set the price low, and they wanted all they could get. Caveat emptor though: if supplies are curtailed the USA would consider that an Act of War. The fact that the US could declare this to be - and have it stick - was the Final Victory of WWII. The USA was the Empire du jour, if she choose the enterprise.

Four years later the world changed. The USSR, a country with the most men in uniform at the time (5 million), achieved nuclear capability and rocketry. They thus became a de-facto Super Power along with China - shortly there after.

The nuclear 'club' has expanded ever since.

The true value of nuclear weapons appears to be coming under some question though: China has said they believe the nuclear threat is that of a Paper Tiger.

And Everything

In 1999 real American debt was so high, the US dollars' value was coming into question. A result I believe of 'pedal to the metal' economics as part of a concerted effort towards global dominance by the United States. This amounted to a revolution in world power. American power was apparently not 'Super' with out the balancing terror of an opposing power.

The catalyst for this destabilization was China's new demand for oil which is in the process of changing the balance of power in the world. The relative rarity of the commodity is causing price fluctuations. Instead of a duality (two super-powers) we face an algorithm involving seven power centers: USA, UE, UK, Russia, China, India and Brazil.

"This thing, it should not be spoken, least it be believed."

The US could not allow this to happen; firstly because of their incredible foreign debt, the cost of financing it would sky-rocket and hobble the economy; Secondly, it wasn't true, the US economy remained the most efficient and productive, and the largest by double.

One solution was to break OPEC's monopoly through conquest. Another has been the creation of a speculative price bubble, which oil companies and corporate banks are trying to maintain right now - to ensure a stable High-Oil price; since they can no longer maintain the Cheap-Oil model. A retreat for future gains.

The new players in the post cold war era are supporting the insurgency in Iraq. They hope to stale-mate the Bush White House's conquest plan, and use it as leverage, covertly, not publicly - as that would be an act of war they cannot win. They are forcing the Americans to address a realignment of power with-in a new international political reality.

Politics through the barrel of a gun. A proxy war in Iraq between the same old powers (and some new ones) who fought the last two 'world' wars, this time with Arab civilians and coalition volunteers as fodder. Now we see the reason there had to be a 9/11 pretext; The politics of fear and greed. There was no reason that this realignment needed be violent, except by an ascension to power of a Military Industrial/Political alliance in Washington.

The disgraced Neo-Con politician, and deep thinker Newt Gingridge, while we watched with horror Israeli air power level parts of Beirut in July 2006 said, "WWIII has begun."

I love this guy!

Couldn't have said it better.

Newt Gingrich

edit 06/26/07

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Marshall McLuhanisms

People don’t actually read newspapers. They step into them every morning like a hot bath.

The price of eternal vigilance is indifference.

(Indifference-avoidance disorder?)

All advertising advertises advertising.
(Brand-New Brand: Branded-Branding Tool.)

The specialist is one who never makes small mistakes while moving toward the grand fallacy.

When a thing is current, it creates currency.

When you are on the phone or on the air, you have no body.

—Copyright © 1986, McLuhan Associates, Ltd.

Air-Conditioning as a McLuhanist ’Warm Bath’

“When you are on the phone or on the air, you have no body”.

“People don’t actually read newspapers. They step into them every morning like a hot bath.”

When you are in air conditioning, the difference between ‘are’ and ‘body’ disappears. Your not just bathing in media, you are the media; the cold turns on your furnace. Pretty soon you’d rather not go out, you’ve warmed to the bath water. When you’re bathing in any media the universe becomes a subjective place.

When you read a book bathed in light, the reflection of light waves from the page activates neurons; the brain translates the icons into meaning…where you are.

On the Special Tonight: Visible light.

Or on Reality Great Channel! It’s Gravity Fields!

Great! Or REM put it:

Sounds great.
Sounds, like,
An aeroplane.
Lenny Bruce is not afraid.

And I feel fine.

REM from Document
Song: It's The End Of The World As We Know It(and I feel fine).