Thursday, October 18, 2012

You Don't Like It, Don't Read It, Or Write Your Own Blog

Yesterday, I did one of my "How Long It's Been" pieces.  And a reader -- I won't embarrass him by mentioning his name -- said it was a nice walk down memory lane until I used it to bash Mitt Romney.

Anyone is welcome to read this blog, but it's a blog, not journalism.  I say what I want, and, to the best of my ability to determine the truth, I tell the truth.  If something I say is just a joke, rather than the truth, I usually say so.  But I don't go out of my way to lie.  Romney does.

The truth is, Romney is a lying corporatist bully, who has no business running anything that depends on other people -- not a business, and certainly not a free country.  If he ran a baseball team, it would be like the Kansas City Royals: They're owned by David Glass, who married into the Walton family of Wal-Mart infamy, and is a former CEO of Wal-Mart.  Romney's kind of guy.  In the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent.  He can buy and sell the Steinbrenner family, let alone the Yankee empire.  He could increase the Royals' payroll to double that of the Yankees, and never even miss the money.  Instead, he gives them one of the smallest payrolls in baseball.  In 19 full seasons of team ownership, here's what he's done:

* In the first full season, 1994, he cut payroll from $41 million to $19 million.  The Royals dropped from 84 wins -- 17 winning seasons out of the last 23 -- and, in the 18 seasons since the Strike of '94 ended, the Royals have been above .500 just once, in 2003, and then not by much, 83-79.  They haven't even won 76 games since then.

* As for said Strike, he was among the owners who opposed any resolution without a salary cap, and supported using strikebreakers -- "replacement players," they were called at the time.  A federal judge ended the strike by pointing out that the owners were in violation of federal labor laws.  The judge's name was Sonia Sotomayor, she was a Yankee Fan from The Bronx, and I wanted her on the Supreme Court then.

* In 2006, Glass revoked the press credentials of two reporters who had asked questions about the Royals' management.  He can dish it out, but he can't take it.  Sound familiar?

"But Mike," you may be saying, "Isn't all that true of George Steinbrenner?" Not by a long shot: George had a thin skin, but he also understood that questions came with the territory -- and since the territory was New York, and he loved New York, he dealt with it.  He never publicly demanded a salary cap.  And George always wanted to win, and he understood that, in order to win, you had to spend a lot of money.  Perhaps even more importantly, George understood that winning would make more money.  Spend a lot, get a lot more, get it all back and then some.

Like a Democrat (and he was for Nixon in 1972, which ended up getting him in legal trouble, but he was always a registered Democrat), George Steinbrenner understood that big spending, if spent in the right places, brings big results.

Like a Republican, David Glass would rather win personally (make huge profits) than win for the community (Kansas City hasn't seen a finals in any sport since the 1985 World Series, or even a semifinal since the Chiefs lost the 1993 AFC Championship Game).

I want my teams to win.  I also want my country to win.  To win, you need people, not just management.  Bain Capitalism doesn't work for the bottom 99 percent.  Who are you for: The people in the luxury boxes, or the people in the upper deck and the bleachers?

It is not at all incongruous for me to be a fan of the New York Yankees, the most capitalistic sports team in the Western Hemisphere (with the possible exception of the Dallas Cowboys), and to also be a member of the Democratic Party.  This nation is always better off under Democrats.

Ronald Reagan, you say? In 1981, Reagan cut taxes for the rich, and we went from 7 to 11 percent unemployment in under 2 years.  He compromised with the Democrats in Congress and raised taxes.  Unemployment began to go down, and when he ran for re-election in November 1984, he was able to say America was back.  But hardly enough: Unemployment was still higher than in November 1980.  It wasn't until mid-1986 that unemployment dropped under the level he inherited from Jimmy Carter, who created more jobs per year than any President since -- more than Reagan, more even than Clinton, and if the current plan of either Obama or Romney is put in place and does exactly what they say it'll do, it won't match Carter's achievement.  Reagan frequently compromised, because he had a Democratic House of Representatives all 8 years, and a Republican Senate for only his first 6 years.  And those Republicans were reasonable men compared to today's Teabags, some of whom (Richard Lugar of Indiana, for example) have since been driven out of the party.) As Casey Stengel would say, "And you can look it up."

If you don't like my political views, no one's forcing you to read this blog.  That's the difference between liberals and conservatives.  Conservatives want the law to make everyone live by their dictates of religion and economy, even if it means ruining their lives.  As singer David Crosby said of hippies, "We never said you HAD to smoke pot and wear funny clothes, only that you COULD."

Look at the bright side: A President's favorite baseball team rarely wins while he's in office, so don't expect the Chicago White Sox to win another Pennant until at least October 2017.

I'm not kidding.  Look at the record, starting in 1961, because before that, Presidents frequently came from places that were nowhere near MLB teams:

* John F. Kennedy: The Boston Red Sox stunk from 1961 to 1963.

* Lyndon Johnson: The only team in Texas from 1964 to 1968 was the Houston Astros, and they were still an expansion team.

* Richard Nixon: Native of Orange County, California, home of the team then known as the California Angels, and from 1969 to 1974 they were mediocre at best.

* Gerald Ford: Native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a big Detroit Tigers fan, and 1975 was the worst season in franchise history to that point, while 1976, in spite of the heroics of Mark Fidrych, Ron LeFlore and Rusty Staub, was not much better.

* Jimmy Carter: The Atlanta Braves stunk from 1977 to 1980.

* Ronald Reagan: The former Chicago Cub broadcaster saw the Cubs win their Division in 1984, but choked in the Playoffs.  He was, by then, living in Santa Barbara, California, which is Los Angeles Dodger territory, and the Dodgers did win the World Series in 1981 and 1988, and won 2 other Division titles.  But his political base was in Orange County, and the Angels blew 2 ALCS while he was in office, 1982 and 1986.  Still, he comes closer than most.

* George H.W. Bush: Although his son owned the Texas Rangers, the father was (and is) a Houston resident, and 1989 to 1992 was a down period for the Astros, who did much better under Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush the Son than they did under Bush the Father.

* Bill Clinton: Native of Arkansas, and when he was growing up there the closest MLB team was the St. Louis Cardinals.  Stan Musial was one of the first people he invited to the White House.  But the Cards won no Pennants from 1993 to 2000, including blowing a 3-games-to-1 lead over the Braves in the 1996 NLCS.  The Cards have won World Series under Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, LBJ, Reagan, Dubya and Obama, but not under Clinton.

* George W. Bush: The Rangers reached the Playoffs 3 times before he took office, and have won 2 Pennants since he left the White House.  But from 2001 to 2008, much like Bush's policies, they stunk.

* Barack Obama: The White Sox won the World Series the first year he was in the U.S. Senate, but since 2009 have been a close-but-no-cigar team.

As for Romney, the Red Sox have played the last 2 years as if he was already President.

1 comment:

High-Five Man said...

Do I agree with your political view? Nope. But it's your blog and a free country, and I respect that. I enjoy your sports posts, and will continue to enjoy them, regardless of our political differences. That's the beauty of living in a democracy.