Memorial Day & ‘Free’ Elections

Donald Trump will be the Republican Party nominee in July, as his hardcore supporters of racists, xenophobes and other forms of haters never wavered. The conservative establishment threw its dream-team of candidates from Jeb Bush to Marco Rubio to Ted Cruz, and each foundered upon itself trying to take out the Trump campaign. There had been very little that was humanly sensible left in the Republican party, but today it can be said there is nothing left.  The Republican party is now the official U.S. party of fascism.


Near-sighted fools in the liberal & conservative media never took any of this seriously, until it was too late. Donald Trump has been the recipient of the most free media coverage in election history. It is an indictment on the entire corporate media establishment from CNN & FOX to Yahoo, that this reactionary bigot has been elevated to such respectable status. Attempts to bias media coverage & manipulate social media against him are now useless, as fascism ignores any inhibiting rules while insisting they apply to others. Donald Trump is the truest essence of capitalism in all it’s ignorance, arrogance & ugliness.  Simply look at him physically. That fact that so many people can support this filth, is an indictment of capitalist society– sick & rotten to the core. When toxic waste is allowed to dominate politics, then conventional politics is dead.

Trotsky on Fascism

Now is the time for workers everywhere to organize their revolution, as it’s nearing fight time. This coming world war must be turned into a civil war, whose objective is to overthrow the capitalist state and replace it with socialism– globally. It must be a socialist revolution in permanence, from the working people, everywhere; otherwise the reaction from fascism will be merciless to humankind.

Fascists don’t value life, in any form; they are only obsessed with conquest & power. They never know when they’ve gone too far, because they’ve always strayed too far from rational ideas. Donald Trump’s ‘platform’ is nothing but ignorance, hate & ugliness.


Hillary Clinton has been anointed the Democratic party nominee for weeks now, despite losing the majority of the primaries & caucuses held in that time period. Her ‘superdelegate’ stranglehold from the Washington political machinery (Bill Clinton) ensured her the Democratic nomination from the start. Tens (and really hundreds) of millions of Americans don’t want this presented choice for ‘savior from Trump.’  Americans been down this road before with Barack Obama in 2008, and his Audacity of Hope. Any ‘feminists’ who insist on a woman for similar reasons, are just as delusional.

These will surely be the most reviled candidates in U.S. political history. Why bother with primaries, debates, or any meaningful political discussion when these are the only choices?  Nothing good can come from either candidate, and most will be voting against the other, more than for their own.


No, this just won’t do anymore. There are too many important issues being ignored, while the issue of issues– social inequality, is ignored. The official narrative that the U.S. economy is recovering is a lie.

Verizon Strikers May 2016

Please note that these are the freedoms for which our brave servicemen fought & died.

Dover Coffins

Perhaps they were fighting for the wrong causes?  Does anyone know what the right causes are?


Is it okay to ask (or think) these thoughts on Memorial Day?



Update 6-2-16: Best current article on the Democratic party nomination [1].


Padres, Snakes & Trade Rumors

Posted @ MLB

Padres tap into Solarte power behind Friedrich 5-27-16
Andy Green finally got that 9-0 game where he could use Luis Perdomo like he wants to. Perdomo’s ERA remains under 10.00, so it’s good. It’s really nice for the Padres to have 3B Yangervais Solarte back, as they need his bat & glove.


If ARZ’s annual payroll is capped at $100M, then they had no business signing Zack Greinke to that deal. That falls on the GM and upper management. Those who say the Diamondbacks need to clean house are likely correct.

The Federalist

BJ Upton still rocks, a true team player for moving to LF for CF Jon Jay. One of my favorite new nicknames is the ‘Federalist,’ every time Jay does something good I’m looking up our founding fathers & constitutional history!

John Jay

Friedrich making case to stick with Padres
Lefty cruises over 7 innings as offense thumps D-backs  5-27-16
Christian Friedrich has good stuff, and he’s left-handed so he stays in the rotation. Lots of swings & misses, check swings, etc…thank you, COL. The Rockies also gave up on LHP Drew Pomeranz & just gave away Rule 5 pick RHP Luis Perdomo (Cardinals). Evidentially there’s no concern for developing any kind of starting pitching in Denver.

James Loney

Mets acquire Loney from Padres 
Veteran figures to be primary option at first until Duda returns  5-28-16
Padres GM AJ Preller acquired & stashed guys like 1B James Loney all off-season. Loney has hit at AAA El Paso and has an opt-out, so good luck except against the Padres. No real power here. How much is “cash considerations?”

Padres’ ninth-inning rally falls short vs. D-backs 5-28-16
GM AJ Preller needs a nice haul for James Shields, as reliable 200+ IP starters don’t grow on trees. Shields is proven AL-tough and his contract is fair, especially in light of what was handed out this past off-season (Ian Kennedy, Zack Greinke, etc…). Padres might eat a little salary, but not much as it’s mostly about what they get in return. Matt Kemp is another story. CWS are an interesting organization, owned by Jerry Reinsdorf who normally is cheap, but every once in awhile does something crazy. The White Sox are currently 1.5 GB in a wide-open AL Central, so we’ll see if anything comes of this.

IMO, GM Preller should hang onto RHP James Shields for now, as shortstop prospect Tim Anderson in exchange isn’t enough and the CWS have a notoriously thin farm system. They always have, it seems.  Anderson was the 17th overall pick in the 2013 draft, he’s batting .314/.342/.408 in Triple-A Charlotte, which convinces no one he’s MLB-ready or has much of a ceiling. Preller got way better in the Craig Kimbrel deal, and Shields is more valuable. In SD he helps anchor a young & developing starting rotation, that needs an innings horse. He’s pitched really well and that’s worth a lot, even to a last place team such as this. It keeps the younger starters from being overstretched, and then injured. It also makes them nearly respectable, which is better than being a laughingstock. He’s a team leader whom everyone respects, so if he’s dealt it must be for a good haul.

Matt Kemp RF-DH

From the Padres perspective, it’s Matt Kemp whom Preller is really trying to trade. Christian Bethancourt, Travis Jankowski, and a host of AAA-prospects are waiting for their shot at RF, and it won’t happen until Kemp is dealt to the AL where he can DH regularly. It’s in the Padres best interest not deal Shields (or any other major contract) until Matt Kemp is traded. For full effect, dominoes need to fall in their proper order and right now the Padres bottleneck is in RF.

Padres place Vargas on 15-day disabled list  5-29-16
Just another reason not to trade James Shields. Get a MRI.



San Diego Padres: Gay Pride Night, Smokeless Tobacco & Losing

Padres apologize following Pride Night mix-up 5-23-16
Great back & forth discussion!!

MLB satisfied with Padres’ response to chorus mix-up   5-26-16
Unfortunate, but well-handled, Padres.  Bring the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus back to sing the national anthem on a military Sunday.   Now that would be interesting!   ‘COMMENT PENDING’

San Diego Gay Men's Chorus

Pomeranz’s gem wasted as Giants walk off 5-23-16
That’s about as tough a loss as it gets for the Padres; two bloops beat them, and the final one should have been caught by RF Matt Kemp. Only two hits and no walks (again) from the SD lineup. Very little Andy Green can do about it, which is what makes all it so frustrating to fans.

Green says Padres need to ‘raise the bar’
A closed-door meeting was a good call by manager Andy Green. It proves he knows when to act, and it holds the players accountable– they’re the ones not getting on base or scoring any runs.

Gwynn family addresses media following suit
Wife, children allege that tobacco company contributed to Padres Hall of Famer’s death 5-24-16
I have mixed feelings on this. I’m a dentist by profession, and always counsel patients to quit, but most are too addicted to stop. Tony Gywnn started in 1977, when smokeless tobacco was still advertised on television. Jocks like Carlton Fisk & Earl Campbell did commercials for it. Big tobacco definitely lied about its health effects and deserve to be held accountable, but at some point people have to take responsibility for their actions. Everybody knows dipping is bad for you. Most lawsuits are about $$. RIP #19

Smokeless Tobacco Results

Padres can’t hold off Giants’ rally, drop series 5-24-16
A win for the Padres today would be a pleasant surprise for their fans.

Padres lose 4-3 in 10 innings, Giants sweep series 5-25-16
The Padres are showing their fanbase every way a team can lose a game this season, getting swept by the Giants who are now 9-0 against the Padres this year. Much of the losing in this series falls on the shoulders of RF Matt Kemp. In the opening game of this set with the Giants, Kemp’s lack of range cost the Padres a 1-0 loss on a routine pop-up that should have sent the game into extra innings. In game two, Kemp was 2-4, getting thrown out trying to stretch both hits an extra base, a case of him trying to do too much, but still making outs which are bad. Game three just ended with a 4-3 loss in 10 innings, where he went 0-5. He batted third and therefore was given multiple opportunities to deliver a win, and again he didn’t. In 2016, Kemp has 197 PA’s, with 4 walks. Matt Kemp (.228/.240/.446) needs to be moved down in the lineup, or sat down on the bench. Or better yet, moved on to the AL. This is easily GM A.J. Preller’s biggest mistake, and he needs to eat whatever it takes to get this done. This situation is hurting player development, and disheartening fans who’ve seen losing all-too-often in San Diego. This is also where Padres owner Ron Fowler becomes accountable, as this can’t affect the Padres ability to spend money in the upcoming amateur & international drafts, or negate any future helpful free-agent acquisitions. That’s the price an owner must pay to own a winning team.

Jake Peavy


Hector Sanchez greeted warmly by Giants fans
Padres catcher plays at AT&T Park for first time as a visitor 5-25-16
I like the way Giants fans appreciate former role players who helped them win, as it’s not all about the stars.
AJ Preller decided to add some depth to the Padres catching mix, as top prospect Austin Hedges went down with a fractured hamate bone. Derek Norris has hit poorly, and waiver pick-up Christian Bethancourt is raw. Padres stink, so why not?

Jug Stomping Music (1926-34)

Jug music got its name from the bass sound created by blowing into a whiskey jug.  It started as a bunch of poor southern blacks who could really play, getting liquored up on moonshine and letting it rip.  This was long before modern (post-WWII) amplification.

Memphis Jug Band

American blacks of this time were (of course) segregated and their best performers were generally not allowed a white audience.

Great Jug Bands

Very little survives, as there were few recording sessions, no biographers, and only rare photos to record actual events. This happened during the Great Depression, and most performers didn’t consider a long career in jug music. It was simply good-time music of the moment.

Whiskey Jugs

What came out of all this influenced jazz, pop, western swing & country, rhythm & blues, and finally spawned rock & roll.

Great Jug Bands: lp credits

The Memphis Jug Band was the ‘rockin-est’ jug band of their era, and “Memphis Shakedown” is the genre’s quintessential song.  Recorded in 1934, a listener can still sense the fumes kicking in about halfway through, when it gets really crazy.  Play it boy… blow dat jug… what’s the matter with you over dere?   If you click on only one of the linked videos, make it this one:

Gus Cannon, AKA ‘Banjo Joe’ is the best known jug music artist [1].

This link seems to be all anyone knows about Jed Davenport & his Beale Street Jug Band [2].

Jug music still lives & breathes, everywhere.

Clifford Hayes & Earl Macdonald's Louisvelle Jug-Band

Find it


Arch-Rivals: Dodgers @ Petco

Posted (mostly) on

Melvin’s walk-off homer drops Dodgers   5-20-16
Padres needed this, thanks again BJ!  Good to see Andy Green getting creative with his lineup, as there needs to be a shake-up. Another good challenge from Green got a HBP for Alexi Amarista, notice he’s won a bunch of them so far. Eight walks (4 by Brett Wallace & 3 from Adam Rosales) helps the Padres lineup work the opposing pitchers. More please!

Padres step on LA with walk-off walk in 11th    5-21-16
Padres lineup strikes out 19 times, and they still mange to win. I love this team!  Notice, those walks do help. Get some OBP in the lineup and good things start to happen with their solid defense & stellar pitching.


Padres fans consider the Dodgers to be their arch-rivals, due to LA’s proximity and winning tradition.  Dodgers fans mostly don’t consider Padres fans, as their franchise has never won it.  That’s just how it is.  SF Giants fans (the Padres ‘other arch-rivals’) are always listening in on the Dodgers broadcasts & forums, which is no problem with most Padres supporters as long as they are respectful and have something useful to add.

Matt Kemp CF

Umpire exits after being hit by foul tip   5-22-16
The next time these two ‘arch-rivals’ meet (which is just before the All-Star break), the Padres may no longer have RF Matt Kemp who is on the trading block. Dodgers fans remember what a great player he was, before injuries diminished him. Padres fans are grateful for his efforts, which have helped them win a few (but not enough) games. Matt Kemp hit for his first cycle last year, which was also the first in Padres franchise history. I’ve read may fans comments in this forum along the lines of, “that alone makes whatever he costs worth it.”  It’s hard to argue against that.

Matt Kemp RF

What absolutely needs to be understood is that Matt Kemp must DH (at least occasionally), or else he will wear down and quickly breakdown. There are probably 8-10 AL teams faking it at DH.  When Matt Kemp is rested occasionally, he can be a productive bat in a championship-level AL lineup. This upcoming deal will be about how much the Padres eat on his remaining contract, which runs through 2019. Padres owe Matt Kemp $18.25M/season, with the Dodgers paying $3M/season. Also remember that the Padres only paid $3.5M for Kemp in 2016, so GM A.J. Preller knows he’s eating something on the back end. It’s a question of how much, and what’s the return? Recall that Preller gave up C Yasmani Grandal to get him.  I don’t know who won this trade yet, and no one will until long after Matt Kemp is traded from the Padres to the AL.

Note: this excessive annual ‘punting’ on DH in the AL is the best argument against expanding it to the NL. The NL is the senior circuit, so they don’t adopt the junior league’s gimmicky rule.


NASCAR’s All-Star ‘Shoot-Out’ & ‘Fan Vote’

Charlotte is now considered the NASCAR capital/headquarters, so their annual All-Star race is held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, built in 1959.  Most drivers are positive about this 1.5 mile quad-oval track, although NASCAR’s new ‘low downforce’ package has turned each track into a new experience this season, so questions always remain.


It’s been raining on & off all weekend and the track is slick, so “if you’re tight, you’re gonna be tighter and if you’re loose, you’re gonna be looser.”

Fifteen past champions and top-winning drivers are automatically entered into the All-Star race, which fields only 20 cars– half the normal field.  Here are their practice results for starting position:


This All-Star race has no ‘Cup points’ attached, but rewards $1,000,000 to the winner. NASCAR gets back to its ‘Chase for the Cup’ next weekend with the Coca-Cola 600, which runs at Charlotte Motor Speedway every Memorial Day weekend.  This week is supposed to be the ‘relaxed’ weekend, although it’s filled with plenty of NASCAR promotional work for its top drivers.


The rest of the regular NASCAR field must qualify for the 5 remaining spots in a ‘shoot-out’ race, which this year is formatted as a 3-segmented race.  Each segment winner earns a spot in the All-Star race. Also, the top two ‘fan vote’ winners get in.  Danica Patrick’s clout assures her a spot, as the top vote-getter.  Still, the fan vote winners aren’t announced by NASCAR until after the shoot-out qualifier, so Patrick must participate, even though everyone knows she’s easily an All-Star.

Chase Elliott #24

Chase Elliott narrowly loses the final shoot-out segment to Kyle Larsen.  Then it is announced he (along with Patrick) have received a ‘fan vote’ spot.   In fact, NASCAR announces that Chase Elliott was the ‘fan vote’ winner, with Danica Patrick (evidentially deducted several million votes) as the runner-up.  Note that no actual vote totals are released.  [1]

All-Star Shoot-Out results 2016

Above were the shoot-out results, with Trevor Bayne & Greg Biffle (listed at the bottom) winning the first two segments, rounding out the 20-car field.  I’m in favor of reducing the grid size, so I wish NASCAR would use this exact same format every week, as it would keep much of the trash off the track.


Danica Patrick (stunned, thankful & amazed that she was selected again [!] by the fans), has a video thanking everybody up on her Facebook page within an hour.



Update 5-22-16:  The All-Star Race was rain-delayed, and had a crazy new format which no one really understood, so I skipped it.  It turns out I was quite correct, as “dumbest format ever” and “no one knew what was going on” were the most-common post-race complaints from drivers.  While it is an All-Star showcase, certain drivers still have to be more careful than others, otherwise they risk being heavily fined by NASCAR elite.  Note the nifty driving by #10 Danica Patrick who came through clean when leading vote-getter (according to NASCAR) #24 Chase Elliott ‘checked-up’ suddenly, causing a crash.  It’s all discussed & shown in this link [2].

There were 19 NASCAR All-Stars, and one rock-star on the track in Charlotte last night.

Danica Patrick

She’ll be on display again @ CMS next weekend for the gruelling 400-lap (600 mile!) contest.  How about a ‘hats off’ to a true American hero for Memorial Day weekend?


Padres y Gigantes

Previously posted @

Morrow, Spangenberg suffer setbacks 5-17-16
“I don’t want to say he pulled it again, but it just didn’t feel good,”  [Padres manager Andy] Green said. “Something happened where they had to pull him back. There’s kind of swelling in there.”
That means 2B prospect Cory Spangenberg pulled it again.

Kemp’s homer lone damage vs. MadBum 6-18-16
Of course Madison Bumgarner is a great pitcher, and 29 other teams would love to have him. He just needs to control himself better. He doesn’t need that horsebleep [staring down Wil Myers after striking him out], just head back to the dugout like a professional.
What the Padres really need is some OBP in their lineup– zero walks again last night.
Padres have played the Mets, Cubs & Giants, and SF is the best team in the NL to this fan.

Giants fans: Padres are rebuilding under a smart new GM, and will be very competitive in a few years. If you’re too apathetic or belligerent to see that, then save the insults as you’re just embarrassing yourself. In the meantime, Padres fans need to deal with losing like real men & women. Baseball (like life) is about dealing with losing, and it’s how you respond that really counts.

Madison Bumgarner

Benches empty after MadBum fans Myers 5-18-16
Padres don’t need to throw at anybody, they just need to play better and score more runs.

Padres send Blash to Minors after deal with Mariners 5-18-16
James Loney has an opt-out, not sure if it’s June 1. Padres have the right of first refusal.
I’m glad to see the news about Jabari Blash. Padres are the only organization that’s giving him a shot, and he needs to play everyday– in the minors.

Pence, Cueto push Giants to 7th straight win 5-19-16
RHP Johnny Cueto was the best primetime free-agent starting pitcher signing of the past off-season, in terms of value & contract length. As long as he stays healthy, he’s a second true ace for the Giants. David Price & Zack Grienke are fantastic too, but cost more, for longer. Note: Cueto has an opt-out after 2017, and SF holds a $5M buyout for 2022 if he stays. To me, this was the move that put them over the top in the NL.

Johnny Cueto RHP

Shields outdueled as Friars fall to Giants 5-20-16
At this point, the Padres are no match for the Giants, who are a championship-calibre team. Padres got swept: losing 5-1, 2-1, 3-1; with no walks again in the finale. It’s time for GM A.J. Preller to deal his remaining tradable assets– starting with RF/DH Matt Kemp.  As predicable as this scenario was, it’s still tough for Friar fans to follow, but it’s the reality this organization must face.

Dodger fans: Padres play LA next and few of you lurk in here, so I’ll speak now because it is difficult for Pads fans to correspond with you– due to the sheer numbers in your forum. Padres have 20-30 regular fans, who often listen and sometimes thoughtfully add to a discussion when compelled. Their average post total reaches 30-50 on a decent thread. For the Dodgers it is hundreds, sometimes thousands after a big game; and honestly most of it is noise.

LA Dodgers & the Time Warner Cable Deal

This can be partially explained by the fact that Time Warner Cable owns the rights to the Dodgers’ games on SportsNet LA for $8.35 billion over 25 years. Over 70% of the LA cable/satellite TV market can’t watch a Dodger game on television, so it’s 1) Vin Scully [last time around] on the radio; 2) MLB Gameday; and 3) online posting in team forums during the game. This is pushed to the extreme for the Dodgers, as most of their fans can’t see them play, save going to Chavez Ravine. The LAD lead the world in baseball attendance every year, so there is no reason for them not to be on television. MLB blackout restrictions further add to a fan’s frustration. Theirs the most ridiculous situation in MLB, and deserves to be seriously addressed from a fan (public) interest perspective.

Rougned Odor 2B

Last thoughts on fighting in MLB: the other day TEX 2B Rougned Odor (age 22 career .263/.306/.442) nailed TOR RF Jose Bautista with a solid overhand right to his maxilla, after a hard slide into second base. Bautista slid well past the bag, so it had to be considered a bit dirty. When Joey Bats got up to protest indignation he got nailed by Odor because he wasn’t ready to fight, going in with his hands down & leading with his head.  Rangers ended up winning the game, and both sides have now gotten in their shots, so it’s over– pretty much.  When the dust settles, it’s about wins & losses as well as dignity; so players should cut out the horsebleep (as most of them don’t know how to fight anyways) and just play ball.


Friars & Brewers

Posted @

Perdomo makes first start, kicking off bullpen game 5-14-16

Luis Perdomo has worked hard to get his ERA below 10.00, so he gets a chance to start. Besides, who else do the Padres have at this point? Carlos Villanueva, Brad Hand & Brandon Mauer are all relievers. The Brewers aren’t a great team, so it’s a decent opportunity for the kid. I have no problem with this move, but I’ll admit I’m more intrepid than most. It will be interesting, for sure.

Luis Perdomo RHP

A quick review of the overall numbers that matter: in Defensive Efficiency Rating (converting balls-in-play into outs) Padres are 19th, with much of that due to injuries– having to play poor defenders such as Brett Wallace, Adam Rosales, etc… Padres fans seem to agree they are better defensively. In composite ERA they are currently 13th, a major improvement over last season. In AVG/OBP/SLG the Padres rank 27th/28th/29th, which is the real problem.

Friars fortify ‘pen with Campos, option Dickerson 5-14-16

1B Wil Myers, RF Matt Kemp, LF B.J. Upton, SS Alexei Ramirez (and the rest AAA players) started for the Padres tonight. Rule 5 pick (from STL) RHP Luis Perdomo made his first MLB start. Before this season, he’d never pitched above A-ball. Perdomo went 2+ innings: giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 4. He threw 60 pitches, only 31 for strikes. This kid has stuff– he just needs to learn control, command & economy. Sounds simple, but it’s not.

Lefty reliever Brad Hand entered in the 3rd to clean up Perdomo’s mess– keeping the youngster’s ERA under 10.00. The Padres have had a rash of injuries so far, so the only remaining Padres 2015 Rule 5 pick may be starting again sometime soon. This form of ‘stacking’ guys who really aren’t legitimate starters, is innovative. It lets GM A.J. Preller rotate pitchers (with players who have remaining options to the minors), getting them MLB experience without over-stretching their arms or abilities. Perdomo can’t be optioned (because he’s Rule 5), so if 2 innings are all he can give the Padres then this becomes Andy Green’s bullpen game-plan. RHP’s Tyson Ross & Andrew Cashner are out, so Green & Preller have to get creative. It’s forward & bold, so I like it.

Brad Hand went 4 shutout innings, ending the 6th by coaxing a come-backer from 2B Scooter Gennett, to leave the bases loaded preserving a 6-2 lead. Myers & Kemp provided, and others contributed, if not with a hit– then a walk or nice defensive play.

That got Andy Green to the 7th, where he managed his thin bench and shaky bullpen well enough. It was Kevin Quackenbush, then Ryan Buchter who blew it, with help from the second CI of the night from newly-acquired Hector Sanchez (with 2 out, on a 1-2 pitch in the 8th), giving the Brewers what they needed to tie it at 6-6. Low-cost bullpen has its downside, but the money saved will buy the bats needed to win. Reliever options are better if not perfect for the new Padres skipper, as he has lefties and decent righties to closer Fernando Rodney–> but they need to throw strikes. To be fair, it looked like they were all getting squeezed by HP umpire Manny Gonzalez on Gameday. BTW: Fernando Rodney in the 9th, a walk and throwing error (on a pickoff attempt), ends with a strikeout-throwout double play– Sanchez to 3B Adam Rosales. Vintage Rodney 😉

By the bottom of the 10th, Green is out of bench players, with plenty of bullpen arms available. Green chooses righty Leonel Campos who delivers 2 shutout innings.
Derek Norris (who replaced injured Wil Myers at 1B) & Bossman Jr. hit 2-out solo homers in the 12th. RHP Carlos Villaneuva gives one up to Lucroy, but closes it out for the save. It’s a big win for the Padres, a team trying to find the right track. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but this shows good reason for optimism.


This series in Milwaukee brings back memories. I grew a Reds fan in Wisconsin, before interleague play; Brewers were AL back then, so it was acceptable to also root for the Brewers– since they never played each other. #4 3B/DH Paul Molitor was my favorite. I’ve always thought Phil Garner was their best manager– he had very little with which to work, but he maximized what he had. Not his fault they stunk. I remember Rory Markas & Del Crandall as my favorite television broadcast team. Of course, I listened to Bob Uecker on the radio many times.

Harry Doyle

The Stadium bus to the ballpark & back was always affordable & convenient, as were ‘general admission’ (good) seats. Mostly we tailgated with beer & brats hours before the game, like most Brew crew fans. Outsiders need to realize that Wisconsin’s loyalty is primarily to the Green Bay Packers. The Milwaukee Brewers are proudly supported, but not loved like the Packers. Winning & tradition have a lot to do with this. The Brewers have never won the World Series, coming into MLB the same year as the San Diego Padres– 1969. Brewers heartbreak year was 1982, when they were the best team in baseball, until injuries (Rollie Fingers & Pete Vuckovich) and STL rookie CF Willie ‘bleeping’ McGee beat them in 7 games. Brewers have never been anywhere close since.

Willie McGee-CF

I went to many games at County Stadium when I was in college, and it was always a blast. Miller Park is convenient in that it has a retractable roof, as the weather can get nasty in Milwaukee. Miller Park was (and still is) reviled by many. Three construction workers were killed on July 14, 1999 when a 567-foot crane lifting a 400-ton section of retractable roof, bent in half and collapsed. Brewers owner Bud Selig had been pushing to get Miller Park opened on time, and this ‘rush to complete’ was cited as a primary cause of the accident. The dead were Jerome Starr, 52, Jeff Wischer, 40, and William DeGrave, 39, who were in a cage that was being hoisted by another crane when the disaster occurred.

If anyone wants to see how beautiful County Stadium was, Major League (1989) filmed its regular season game scenes there, as Municipal Stadium in Cleveland was considered a dump.  County Stadium was a great ballpark which first brought the Braves (Boston), then the Pilots from Seattle.  New stadiums are mostly about ownership greed, and Miller Park is no exception.

Pete Vuckovich-Clu Haywood

The Brewers franchise was ruined by decades of Bud Selig ownership, in so many ways it still taints the organization. Paul Molitor managing the Minnesota Twins is one example. Brewers GM David Stearns primary task is to build a program that develops quality & reliable starting pitching, which this organizational has always lacked. MIL just wasted an offensive peak (created by superior scouting & player development) consisting of 1B Prince Fielder, RF Ryan Braun, LF Corey Hart, SS J.J. Hardy, 2B Rickie Weeks, C Jonathan Lucroy… because too many starters had ERAs north of 5.00, with no ace. RHP’s Ben Sheets & Yovani Gallardo, championship #2 starters at their best, were it; and that’s not nearly enough.

Yovani Gallardo

Until next time, hey dere Brewers fans!!  Over & out


How to Win Friends & Influence Online

Content gathered & edited from the forums, primarily SD Padres

Shields tallies 9 K’s as Padres blank Brewers 5-13-16
Let’s be clear on what James Shields is: 2-5, 3.12 ERA in 52 IP– in less than a quarter of a season, on track for another 200+ IP with an excellent ERA. He has been poorly supported in most of his outings, hence the losing record. All the other young pitchers (Colin Rea, Drew Pomeranz, Cesar Vargas, etc…) will likely be restricted to 120-150 (max) IP-limit, for their own protection. Padres can no longer count on Tyson Ross and possibly Andrew Cashner for awhile. $21M/year is what quality reliable starting pitching costs, and actually Shields’ contract is fair in open-market (capitalist) terms. If he doesn’t opt-out after this season he has $21M, $21M & $16M (team option- $2M buyout) remaining through 2019, his age 37 season. No one expects much after that, so it’s a good contract and I hope Shields stays– if the Padres can be competitive.

Note: James Shields was my favorite player in Tampa, until he was traded in December 2012 for Wil Myers. I understood why the Rays did it at the time, but it still hurt as a fan. The results of this deal illustrate how much a GM means to an organization, as soon as TBR GM Andrew Friedman left for LAD, new Padres GM AJ Preller was able to swindle Myers from their new Rays GM Matt Silverman. It cost the Padres a nice pitching prospect in Joe Ross to WAS (let’s see if he stays healthy under Dusty Baker?), and SS prospect Trea Turner who’s hitting .310/.377/.442– in AAA Syracuse. It’s the Rays who really got nothing out of the deal, and lost their franchise hitter to boot. Padres fans are grateful  🙂

James Shields

Friedrich slated for Padres debut in series rematch 5-13-16
I don’t see the Padres 23-inning scoreless pitching streak lasting much longer in today’s game, as LHP Christian Friedrich is an emergency call-up with all their injuries (Tyson Ross, Robbie Erlin, Andrew Cashner?). Hopefully they can get 5+ innings out of him (with run support) and a good extended-relief stint from someone like Luis Perdomo. Another good challenge from Andy Green last night earned Alexei Ramirez a hit.  Padres are threatening to climb out of last place, starting to come together, etc…


Suitors for Lincecum reportedly whittled to three 5-12-16
Padres fan here: I don’t see Tim Lincecum as a starting pitcher in the AL. His fastball velocity isn’t what it was, and it’s not enough to consistently get through stacked AL line-ups with DH’s. He belongs with the Giants, but needs to at least be in the NL. My $.02

Any organization has to insist on a reasonable base salary ($4-6M?) with performance incentives for Tim Lincecum.  He’s got reward potential, but obviously is a huge injury risk– and clubs need to protect themselves. That’s surely what’s being negotiated now.

Pomeranz leads Padres to DH sweep of Cubs 5-12-16
“I got a long memory… He’ll learn.” — John Lackey on how Christian Bethancourt — whom the veteran hurler had never faced — watched his home run.

That just sounds like an excuse to throw at Bethancourt the next time they meet. Padres (and their fans) have long memories too.
For perspective, Christian Bethancourt is a 24-YO kid from Panama, trying to establish himself as a major-leaguer. He was obviously excited in the moment, but there was no intent to show up John Lackey, who is a quality veteran pitcher. Bethancourt will ‘learn’ from Padres manager Andy Green, hitting coach Alan Zinter, and bench coach Mark McGwire– who knows all about HR etiquette.

Fernando Rodney RHP

Padres closer Fernando Rodney shoots 2 arrows at Wrigley, in one day!!
To Cubs fans– your team’s winning percentage is no longer double that of the Padres. Wrigley Field is the most beautiful ballpark ever. Great series, tight games–good luck until Petco! Over & out

Padres claim catcher Sanchez from White Sox 5-11-16
AJ Preller trying to add some catching depth, which you can never have too much of. Example– top prospect C Austin Hedges (was raking in AAA) is now out with a hamate fracture. We’ll see if Hector Sanchez, the switch-hitting witch sticks. I just wanted to say that 😉

Wallace ends up-and-down day with a blast 5-11-16 Beats Cubs 7-4 @ Wrigley
Padres need Brett Wallace to stick at 3B. Both his errors earlier today were throwing, which is easier to fix than a bad glove. He showed a decent glove with a nice pick to snuff a Cubs rally later, so there are signs of improvement. This lets GM A.J. Preller wait for Yangervais Solarte get 100% healthy, while getting a good look at Wallace who walks a TON and has a stick. A bunch of organizations have tried this guy and given up on him. He just needs some coaching, and a chance to play. Preller cleaned house (mostly), and kept what was essential (Balsley) this off-season, so their dugout staff is much stronger. Brett Wallace is another Preller lottery ticket, and it’s great that fans have bought into his plan of trying these guys out, with less regard for winning.

Andy Green ejected

It’s Andy Green’s job to put the expectation of winning on the players, so they don’t embarrass the organization and their fans, Green has done this well so far and Padres fans have (mostly) noticed & appreciate it. Padres now have much more upside, with young players like Wallace, Colin Rea, Drew Pomeranz, Cesar Vargas, Luis Perdomo, Jabari Blash, & others. An organization with brains that isn’t afraid to lose games, can quickly spot & develop its talent.

Brett Wallace 3B

Weeks strains hamstring, likely headed to DL 5-8-16
How many groin/hamstring/quad injuries for the Padres so far?  Looks like Adam Rosales at 2B with Brett Wallace at 3B for awhile. Infield depth is now stretched to its limit, any more injuries at those positions and the Padres are well below replacement level. Who gets the call up?
@Alvin77 & Rolfes: I’d forgotten about 2B Jose Pirela. AJ Preller got him from the NYY for 21-YO RHP Ronald Herrera, who’s in AAA (Scranton). That indicates depth, which is something this organization has lacked in the past. GM did his job (extremely) well this off-season, and this is where it shows up. Manager Andy Green still has usable options, which is nice 🙂

Sabathia says injured groin improving daily 5-7-16
I know it was a great start for him, to get a win the Yankees needed– but it wasn’t worth it to land on the DL. A player has to be honest with himself & his team in that situation. CC Sabathia’s quotes indicate he’s still in denial about his injury. Sad & scary; hope he figures it out.

CC Sabathia

Ross progressing, but not ready to throw 5-4-16
Thanks for this injury report, AJ Cassavell.
The Padres approach with RHP Tyson Ross is correct– let the labrum tear heal, while building protective muscle in the shoulder. You can’t rush tears of ligaments, cartilage and tendons; if you try, you just risk setbacks with no real improvement. The labrum is a piece of fibrocartilage, therefore no throwing yet for Ross. He’s probably at least 4-6 weeks away from throwing, if things go well in his rehabilitation. If things aren’t going well, then much longer.
Also, it sounds like LOOGY Matt Thornton will likely be awhile w/ his Achilles tendonitis.


Kemp & Myers work well together 5-3-16
Appreciate Matt Kemp (career .289/.344/.491) is the point. He may soon be a luxury the Padres can no longer afford.  Meanwhile, appreciate him.
For the record, it’s at least a push for the best player Wil Myers has ever played with. Evan Longoria 3B (gold glove) career .270/.346/.485.


Vargas cements spot in Padres’ rotation 5-4-16
Can the Padres keep him healthy, or will he flameout?  That is always the question with promising young pitchers.

Vargas turns in solid outing, but Padres fall short
PadsFans: 8 shutouts in out first 28 games. I really don’t know any other way to describe it except pathetic.
RicSize: Don’t be sad, two out of three ain’t bad

Ceasr Vargas

Upton, Rea lead way in game-changing 5th inning 5-1-16
Luckily there’s some depth a C, so the chances of that turning around for the Padres are decent. ATL is the worst team in the NL (by far), precisely because they do stupid stuff like giving up on C Christian Bethancourt, who at least has upside. Instead ATL went with veteran CWS-rejects– Tyler Flowers & AJ Pierzynski.

Matt Kemp is better defensively in RF, partly because BJ Upton covers so much room in LF, so CF Jon Jay can shade more to right field. Thus Kemp’s lack of range becomes less of a liability. Still not great, but at least passable in RF at present. BTW– if Jay (presently .271/.333/.323) can move his walk rate up a tick, he becomes a very valuable player.

Kemp’s homer snaps Padres’ skid in LA 4-30-16
Matt Kemp increases his potential trade value, while beating the Dodgers– Padres fans approve!

Matt Kemp 2015

Wallace is becoming an elite pinch-hitter 4-30-16
What the Padres like about Brett Wallace is that he walks. In 31 PAs so far in 2016 his line is .174/.387/.217. He’s walked 6 times, and been HBP twice. For comparison Matt Kemp has walked only twice (!) in 91 PAs for a .284/.297/.591 line. It’s the low OBP (lack of walks) that hurts Kemp’s value at the plate. Wallace is brutal defensively at 3B, and not much better at 1B, so his value is primarily depth off the bench– until an opportunity presents itself. His career .399 SLG is pedestrian, and needs to improve.


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Support White and Niemuth in 2016!

Niles Niemuth & Jerry White

Socialist Equality Party announces presidential campaign    22 April 2016
SEP has tried ballot access in the past and has always been blocked & cheated (every step of the way) by Democratic Party machinery, proving it’s mostly pointless to pour resources into reformist measures.

Obama in Flint: Let them drink lead     6 May 2016
Barack Obama drinking Flint water is reminiscent of gubernatorial candidate Montgomery Burns eating 3-eyed fish on The Simpsons.

Look at today’s filmmaking … then look at the world      11 May 2016
There are important parallels between David Walsh’s discussion of ‘feminist filmmaking’ and current ‘feminist’ politics, personified in Hillary Clinton.

Obama and the bombing of Hiroshima     13 May 2016 
“The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb” by Gar Alperovitz is the scholarly work on the subject, and was referenced in an older WSWS article. Also read the “Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6th – September 30, 1945” by Michihiko Hachiya for details of its horrible aftermath. The Hiroshima & Nagasaki atomic bombings were imperialist war crimes of the highest magnitude.

Scarred Survivor


NASCAR @ Kansas Speedway

2016 GoBowling400_NASCAR Kansas

GoBowling 400 @  Kansas Speedway | May 07, 2016 | 7:30PM EDT
Kansas Speedway is a 1.5-mile tri-oval race track in Kansas City, Kansas. It was built in 2001, and it currently hosts two annual NASCAR race weekends.


17-20° banking in the turns, 10° banking on the front-stretch, 5.5° banking on the backstretch.
2.37-mile (6 turn) Road Course throughout the infield.
Track Record, Kevin Harvick 197.621 MPH (Oct. 2014)
Grandstands seat approximately 64,000 fans.
Kansas Speedway becomes the seventh largest city in Kansas on a NASCAR race weekend. [1]

Kansas Speedway 2

MRN Preview: practice during the daytime, race at night.  Weather conditions change, so drivers have to ‘keep up with the track’ as the potential to get ‘loose’ exists with the new model tires & low-downforce package. ‘Track-bar adjustments’ could be crucial in the pits. ‘Top groove’ is favorable with the rubber laid this week according to Matt Kenseth #20.  Drivers will use the whole track, from ‘white line to wall.’

Top drivers without a win so far in 2016 according to MRN: Martin Truex Jr #78, Joey Logano #22, Dale Earnhardt Jr #88, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch #41 just to name five.  Danica Patrick #10 to name six, is my thought.

Patrick is a big reason NASCAR has SAFER Barriers.  The Steel and Foam Energy Reduction System (SAFER barrier) at Kansas Speedway is made of steel tubes and pads with energy-absorbing foam attached to the track’s concrete retainer walls.

The total 1.28 miles of SAFER walls around Kansas Speedway is the longest length at any of the tracks with SAFER walls on the NASCAR circuit.  Our society instinctively values the safety of women, so the male drivers get the benefit of SAFER barriers with Danica Patrick in NASCAR.

Danica Patrick @ Talladega 2016

NASCAR Safety Fixes:

1) Heavy penalties for wrecking.  Multiple race suspension, followed by a season, then expulsion.
2) Reduce maximum speeds to 150 MPH, with either restrictor plates or more ‘stock car’ engineering.
3) Reduce the field to 30 cars. This is obviously controversial, but for better racing it’s what’s needed. Get the 10 worst drivers off the track and there will be a lot less wrecking, and a lot better racing.  Sponsors will figure the money out.

Those are the lessons of Talladega.  Even “King” Richard Petty refused to race at this track due to safety concerns, back when it opened. [2]   Hardcore enthusiasts say, “remove the restrictor plates.”   Watch below and observe what happens if drivers run without a restrictor plate (210 MPH) at a super-speedway:

#########   BACK TO KANSAS   ###########

Pole Position: Kansas

Pole position: Toyota’s starting 1-2-3; Truex, Kenseth, Denny Hamlin #11.  Kansas is Carl Edwards’ #99 home track.  Jimmie Johnson #48 starts 15th, Tony Stewart #14 16th, Dale, Jr  22nd and Danica Patrick 23rd.  The race is 267 laps, 85 degrees and clear at the start.

6:38 PM when George Brett (KCR–  3B) announces: “Drivers, start your engines!”

Drivers start at the bottom of the track and move up with tire fall-off around 15-20 laps into their green-flag run.  Truex has the fastest car early, with Toyota running strong (again) early.

‘Debris on the race track’ in turn 4 from Kurt Busch #41, brings out the first caution flag of the race on lap 22.  Everybody into the pits.  Chassis adjustments all-around. Four tires vs. two.  A tire gets loose, and rolls across pit road onto the grass.  It’s from Casey Mears #13 team, caused by Brad Keselowski #2, so no penalty.  More insanity ensues…

Dale Jr. is assessed a pit road speeding penalty, so it’s to the back of the field for him. Kasey Kahne #5 is already back into the pits again, with handling issues.  Danica Patrick restarts 25th.

MRN: “Toyota juggernaut at the front of the field.”

Two tires is the better early strategy.  Jamie McMurray #1 is black flagged for an illegal right-rear fender adjustment.  He loses two laps under green flag.  MRN: “NASCAR sees all and busted Jamie McMurray.”  Kyle Busch #18 is now the race leader.  Note: Kurt (SHR) & Kyle Busch (JGR) are brothers.

Lap 57 or so: second caution flag, no one knows why?  MRN cuts to a commercial.  Big break for Jamie McMurray getting the ‘wave around.’  He’s only one lap down now, and everyone else is back on the lead lap.  Almost magical the way this happens in NASCAR.  As Tony Stewart has pointed out in the past, races can be controlled by manipulating the timing of caution flags.

Right-side damage with smoking tires for Greg Biffle #16, into the pits for two tires and sheet metal work.  Trevor Bayne #6 has left-rear tire damage, runs a few more laps falling way back, then finally comes into the pits for a new tire and body work to eliminate the tire rub.  His crew chief advised him to stay out.  Bayne needs to know (by feel), and insist on pulling in right away, even under green.

Lap 80: Truex, Jr is the leader again, Danica Patrick running around 30th.  Carl Edwards hits the wall, then misses the entry into pit road and has to run another lap at 40 MPH with a flat tire.  Too much speed (not under control), and he loses 3 laps.  Thirty minutes from sunset in KC, as they go under the lights.  The track is starting to cool.  Air pressure (tires) and wedge adjustments (rear suspension) in the pits. [3]


Lap 103: (race sponsor) message to NASCAR fans– “keep bowling alive.”  Danica Patrick now a lap down in 26th.  Everyone into the pits.  Jimmie Johnson #48 has an extended stay on pit road to adjust his left-front shocks.  Bowling is the #1 participation sport in America  according to Tom Martino, bowling spokesperson…

Tom Martino

Lap 107: caution flag.  Kevin Harvick #4 loses a lug nut, back into the pits for him.  NASCAR cameras reveal all, to those who get to see it.  Harvick (SHR) was running 2nd.  Back to green, it’s Truex leading.  Patrick 25th, back on the lead lap.

Lights are on, track is really cooling down.  Condensation.  Cooler, darker run to the finish. Track gets looser.  ‘Splitter’ on the front-end holds the car onto the track better than in the past.  Low-down force package. Highly technical stuff.

Lap 126: Toyota running 1-2 Truex & Kenseth.  Carl Edwards now 1 lap down.  Danica Patrick 25th.  Chris Buescher #34 is 26th, the last car on the lead lap.  Buescher is a rookie who got flipped & rolled at Talladega last week.  Welcome to NASCAR son.

Chris Buescher

Mid-race update: Sunset at 8:17 local time. Kyle Busch led 32 laps early, has fallen to 6th. Truex still leads and clearly has the fastest car.  Joe Gibbs Racing is the dominant Sprint Cup team again.  When the Chase gets down to 4 cars, it might be all JGR drivers if Truex is included.  Kyle Petty mentioned that on NASCAR America the second or third week of the season, and he’s right.

Kyle Petty_NASCAR America

Lap 152: Only 20 cars now on the lead lap. Patrick running 25th.  Longest green-flag run in weeks for NASCAR Sprint Cup.   Everyone into the pits under green; fuel & 4 tires, lots of wedge adjustments!  Danica Patrick stayed out longest and led 2 laps under green.

Sunoco pitchman Dennis (Hitch?) of the Kansas ‘corn commission’ (lobby for more ethanol in gasoline) greets the listeners.  Sunoco has been NASCAR’s official fuel sponsor for 12 years running.  Big corn’s message includes an “expanded market in the fuel business.”  No discussion of ethanol’s destructive effects on consumer engines, GMOs or global warming.  [4]

Lap 168: Caution flag #4, debris on the track.  Truex leading, Patrick 25th one lap down. Eighteen cars on the lead lap.  Leaders are split on pitting.  Restart at lap 173.  Twenty laps later, it’s 3 Toyota’s running top 3 with Truex, Kyle Busch & Matt Kenseth.  Only 18 cars on the lead lap.  Carl Edwards 21st, Danica Patrick 22nd–  69 laps to go.

Those who pitted on lap 170 (under caution) are now at the advantage as green flag scheduled pit stops are coming up.  Those who went into the pits may gain a lap on those who stayed out– who now must pit.  Jimmie Johnson comes in when his ‘fuel window’ to the finish opens, and he gets a final chassis adjustment.  He’s a great (smart) driver, the best in modern NASCAR– IMO.

Martin Truex who led for 214 laps, is now in for an extended pit stay.  Right-front wheel loose, with a bolt caught between the brake caliper & wheel hub.  (Bad) Brad Keselowski #2 & Tony Stewart now running 1-2.

Lap 222: Stewart leading until he has to pit.  ‘Smoke’ is picking up bonus points to get into the top 30 for the Cup Chase.  This is his third race of the season, since returning from his dune buggy accident where he injured his back.  This is his final season as one of the greatest all-around drivers ever– the ‘people’s champion’ in many respects.

Tony Stewart #14

Lap 229: Danica Patrick running 21st, two laps down.  Kyle Busch now the race leader. ‘Loose in, tight off’ most of the day for Joey Logano now running 8th.  Caution flag out for ‘debris on the track’ on lap 233, from Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. #17.  Pit stops (likely to determine the race winner) in progress…MRN cuts to a commercial.  Richard Petty loves bowling, it’s a great family activity…

Various strategies: four tires for most, for some it’s a 2-tire stop.  Controversially, Kyle Busch & Matt Kenseth stay out and are labelled ‘sitting ducks’ at the head of the field.

Thirty laps to go at the restart:  Jimmie Johnson busted for speeding on pit road.  MRN notes that Denny Hamlin has received the most pit-road penalties tonight.  Under the lights on Saturday night…

Matt Kenseth gets the bum rush on older tires at the restart, quickly losing track position. JGR teammate Denny Hamlin #11 cuts in, and crashes at the front of the field.  ‘Three-wide’ madness going into turn 3, Joey Logano #22 also wrecked.   No actual contact causes the wreck, just the aerodynamics of ‘3-wide’ in the corner at 150 MPH is enough to cause the cars to ‘get loose’ & spin out.  As the color man on the broadcast says about Hamlin’s daredevil driving, “That ain’t gonna work!”

Twenty-four laps to go: under caution (6th).  Danica Patrick 23rd, 2 laps back.  Her fans are happy she’s as far away from this idiocy as possible.  Hamlin is interviewed immediately after in the garage, looking at his wrecked car.  He doesn’t know if he hit the #2 or #42 when asked by MRN.  He’ll check the video later, then figure out his alibi.

19 laps to go: restart to green– Kyle Busch & Matt Kenseth 1-2.  Kenseth had fallen out of the top 5, when Hamlin wrecked.  Manipulated?  Kevin Harvick & Kurt Busch (both SHR) overtake Kenseth, who falls to 4th.  Stewart is 13th, Patrick 21st– 2 laps down.

Checkered flag: Kyle Busch takes it, another dominate win from start-to-finish by JGR. Truex led 172 laps and race winner Busch led 69 of 267.

Kyle Busch #5

Round-up: Eight cars finished 10+ laps down, finishers 25-31 were 3 laps down.  Finishers 18-24 were two laps back. Jimmie Johnson finished 17th, the last car on the lead lap.  Danica Patrick finished 20th, and thankfully wasn’t wrecked.


Any car 10+ laps down should be removed from the race.  Marathon runners call it being ‘swept up’ and it’s a good rule to clear the course for the leaders.

Race Results Kansas 2016

Next Sunday, NASCAR madness moves to Dover, DE