So you wanna be a punk rocker?

More than any other artist on this planet, I am well-known in elite circles, yet relatively unknown to the general public. Blacklisting is a political act, taken by the ruling class, when they can’t refute the message. Instead they censor it. The US Executive branch and the Intelligence Committee’s of both houses of Congress, have known who I am for awhile. Of course, nothing can be stated on the record. National (in)security.

Many big celebrities also know who I am, particularly in sports, music & TV/film. but it’s the same there too. When you’re tied into the corporate machinery, you give up your right to free speech. Obey the #MeToo campaign, and everything else you’re told: That’s the Faustian deal.

The NFL players are only the latest (and most-highlighted) example of this censorship, as players can’t even protest police killings before a game, without becoming the target of media attacks and league blacklisting. Colin Kaepernick never got a job offer, even though he was a top-10 NFL QB. That sends a clear message from ownership to the players. More players need to step up for this to change.

That’s mainstream, which I’m not allowed to be part of. I’m pushed underground by the government-corporate elite machinery– Google, Fakebook, YouTube and the rest; in order that I never be allowed to influence any of this. If you are making any kind of art these days, then you know what I mean. Revolutionary politics is the same. I’m both. These are the sacrifices you make to be in the right. Selling your soul is never good business, because once you start down that road, forever will it dominate your destiny.

The true path often means doing what’s unpopular. It hurts personally & economically. But it is the only way to artistic freedom & true happiness. If you are an atheist like me, then you have only one life to live, so don’t waste it in cowardice. It’s your words & actions that people remember.

To be punk means to get into sick people’s faces for a good reason. The methods vary in music, film & whatever, but that spirit is what endures & defines it. Punk means working class ethics, DIY, and move everything forward starting with the kids. Punk doesn’t make appeals to anyone over age 30, because they don’t know what’s cool anymore, if they ever did in the first place. Politically educated workers can join too, but they aren’t the target audience, as there are too few of them.

Kids define the times in music, television, film and everything else in popular (human) culture– with their approval. It’s what turns the kids on that counts, and everything else is corporate hype. When artists like myself are blacklisted, it signals the ruling class is trembling in fear. They fear the music because they know its power & influence. Kids embrace the music for the same reason.

It’s close-minded fools vs. open-minded kids when it comes to cultural criticism.  That’s the war, and punk rock leads this fight in the name of the kids. Please share this message!!

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Where Have All the Nicknames Gone?

Chris Berman gave the best baseball nicknames ever. Berman was better at doing the ESPN highlights than actually calling a MLB game, which is why he eventually chose to exclusively cover the NFL. Here’s the funniest of his baseball best:

Mike Enough Aldretti, Kent Buy a Vowel Hrbek, Pat Mahomes Where the Heart is, Roberto Remember the Alomar, Carlos One if by Land, Two if Baerga, Francisco Umbilical Cordova, Stan Javier Self A Merry Little Christmas, Steve Ebony and Avery, Delino Decoconut Deshields, Oddibe Young Again McDowell, Kent Magic Mercker, Bert Be Home Blyleven, Rich Dotson 280z, Wally Absorbine Joyner, Eric Win Place or Show, Heathcliff Slocumb if ya got ’em, Jesse Belly Up to the Barfield, Matt No Nokes, Rod Beck Beck Beck Beck Beck, Lance You Sank my Blankenship, Greg Gagne with a Spoon, Mike Leggo Gallego, Ken Get Off My Cloude, A J Touchy Feeley, Pat Pick Up the Tabler, Jeff See Through Blauser, Eddie Eat Drink and be Murray, Craig Def Lefferts, Kirk Weekly Rueter, Damon Blue Berryhill, Rick See Ya Later Aguilera, Dave Mary Magadan, Kevin Smallmouth Bass, and Scott Supercalifragilisticexpiala Brosius.

His complete list is here.

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Titles Matter

Hot in Cleveland was an American sitcom on TV Land (it’s first originally-scripted series), and one of the greatest titles for a television series– ever. These women were no longer hot in LA or New York, but they’re Hot in Cleveland.

Of course the audience knew the stars’ past histories before the first episode, so it was a joke everyone instantly got. Ironically, this highly-rated series was recorded in front of an enthusiastic live studio audience in Studio City, California.

It premiered in 2010, and ran for 6 seasons– 128 episodes total. It starred Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves, Wendie Malick, and Betty White; and was one of the best sitcoms of it’s era– which is saying something. The two hardest things to do in show business are: 1) be an artist, and 2) make ’em laugh.

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Padres & the MLB Trade Deadline Breakdown

If you’ve been through a few MLB Trade deadlines (and I have), then you know this is a feeding frenzy. You have two sub-sets of teams; those trading away MLB assets for prospects & young talent, and those competitive teams acquiring winning MLB talent. Everyone is trying to improve themselves, whether the focus is on this October, or the future. The most-coveted MLB asset for championship contenders is top-tier relief pitching, as that’s what October baseball comes down to. Who can get those crucial final outs from their bullpen?

The most coveted return for sellers are top prospects: top-100 MLB prospects, top organizational prospects, top pitching prospects, top left-handed pitching prospects, etc. Position players are added for depth, and to plug holes, but they don’t move the needle towards winning like relief pitching or front-line starters.

The fascinating (and mostly unmentioned) thing about this trade deadline is that Padres GM AJ Preller held aces on both ends of this spectrum, and once again exerted influence & control over the trade market. He dealt coveted lefty closer Brad Hand (and righty set-up guy Adam Cimber) on July 19, 2018 to Cleveland, in return for C Francisco Mejia, their top prospect– ~15th overall in MLB. The Padres needed a catcher, as Austin Hedges is elite defensively, but isn’t the everyday answer. Hedges is an elite caddy in a catching tandem. Padres won’t be dealing Mejia, you can be sure.

As the above screenshot indicates, Francisco Mejia currently ranks 3rd in the Padres stacked farm system– behind SS Fernando Tatis, Jr. and LHP Mackenzie Gore. The list of talent in this top-12 is the envy of MLB. There are more-than-a-few teams in MLB who don’t have a single player in their farm system that is better than any of the Padres top-12 prospects. This represents championship level talent at bargain basement salary, which means you can keep it together. Every savvy GM & organized front office understands that.

This is what put the San Diego Padres in the RHP Chris Archer trade conversation. Any GM of a last-place team needs to look at ways to improve their starting pitching. AJ Preller did this, but what the Rays wanted in return was too high a price. Besides, Chris Archer isn’t an ace. He’s a valuable #2 starter on championship NL roster, and a #3 in the AL.

AJ Preller knows you don’t give up the farm for that, especially at this point in their competitive cycle. Padres don’t need to pay Archer’s (affordable) salary either. So what was Preller doing? He was doing what any good GM in his advantageous position should do, test the market and get an idea of how other organizations value your prospects. It turns out that rival GM’s value Padres prospects very highly. More reason to hold onto them.

There was non-stop speculation from the MLB/ESPN driven media, that the Mets were going to deal their “aces.” Let’s back up for a moment here. First, the only ace the Mets currently have is RHP Jacob deGrom, and the Mets have said repeatedly they don’t want to trade him, unless it’s an offer that’s over-the-top and they can’t refuse. Nothing of the sort was ever presented.

Somehow by mentioning a deGrom trade possibility through the media, the Mets front office reasoned that would make RHP’s Noah Syndergaard (above pic) & Zack Wheeler appear more valuable. It doesn’t work that way with astute GM’s. Let’s examine the true trade value here.

The best pitcher the Mets actually had available was Syndergaard. The problem is he never stays healthy, and he just went on the DL again, this time with hand, foot & mouth (HF&M) disease. HF&M disease is a viral infection, that wipes you out– similar to mononucleosis or hepatitis. No team wants to bring a carrier of a contagious disease into their clubhouse. Yet the MLB/ESPN sports media kept trying to push a trade possibility, and it (curiously) was often linked to the Padres, as they have the prospects to make it happen.

The media also underplayed the causes of HF&M disease, which is poor hygiene, not washing your hands, etc. A responsible MLB GM can’t blow that off as incidental. It says something about who that person is, and their intellect. Unlike a bone fracture or muscle/ligament tear; this could wipe out an entire clubhouse– for a month or more!

The kid may have talent, but his head is a huge question mark, along with the Mets medical staff. Therefore Noah Syndergaard is definitely not worth the gamble of trading away the farm system to obtain. The Padres would rather keep top LHP prospect Mackenzie Gore, and that’s what AJ Preller did.

Zack Wheeler was endlessly floated over the past few weeks as a starter that could help a contender. He’s viewed by GM’s as a #4/5 guy- so that was a non-starter. Wheeler was the beneficiary of possibly the worst umpiring decision in the history of MLB, in a recent start against the Padres at Citi Field.

This trade deadline was most cruel to the New York Mets, who are currently 44-59, sitting 4th in the NL East with a bad farm system, and unable to trade any of their best starters for the prospects they so desperately needed. The Mets team owner is bankrupt, so winter free-agent splashes are probably not an option. That’s an Amazing Mess.

As mentioned, all the serious focus up to the deadline (outside of Chris Archer) was on top-tier relievers. AJ Preller still held the best cards in this market, even after dealing Brad Hand. Reliever Kirby Yates (1.60 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP) is controllable through 2020, and Craig Stammen has a 2.63 ERA, with a 1.11 WHIP. They both have been used frequently, and in high-leverage situations.

Those were (by far) the best available reliever options, as the trade deadline passed. An actual problem at this point for AJ Preller is that no GM wants to trade him any more prospects. They see the Padres future, and they don’t want one of their own to be part of it. This slightly suppressed the value for everyone else, since Yates & Stammen were the top of the bar. After the deadline both are still Padres, despite all the media talk that they would be dealt to contenders.

The best starter available, Chris Archer was eventually dealt by the Rays to the Pirates at the deadline for two young MLB players: outfielder Austin Meadows and right-hander Tyler Glasnow. That’s probably less that what Archer is worth, but the Rays were determined to sell. That’s how you control a trade market, and this isn’t the first time AJ Preller has done it. More importantly, Preller held onto all of his prospects. Below is a screenshot of all the last-minute deals made at the 4:00 PM ET MLB trade deadline, posted at mlb.com. As you can see, beyond Chris Archer it was all low-level stuff:

Wrap-up: The fact is that in another year or two, all of the names on the Padres top-30 prospects list are going to be either: 1) producing in the majors, 2) knocking on the door, or 3) washed out. Not every top prospect makes it, but the level of talent and unbelievable depth in the Padres system makes them the odds-on favorite to become the next Houston Astros. The Padres will be doing it in the easier league, with an AL-type roster and organizational depth built around power pitching & hitting. They are in this position because of their general manager, who is a baseball & organizational genius.

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Always Hustle Until the 4th Out!!

For 150+ years, baseball has had three outs in an inning, and once the third out is called by the umpire, all action is stopped. Everyone from little league on up knows this. But now, that long-standing rule has been changed in practice. Of course, it involved the San Diego Padres, and (of course) the call went against them in New York. Here’s the situation & what happened.

Top of the 3rd inning, Mets lead 3-0, but the Padres have the bases loaded with RHP Zack Wheeler struggling… Two-out single to left by Wil Myers, Manny Margot trying to score from second base is incorrectly called out at the plate by umpire Manny Gonzalez, for (apparently) the third out. This screenshot below is the bad punch-out call.

After Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco shows the ball to the umpire, the incorrect ‘out’ call is signaled by Gonzalez. The inning is (hypothetically) over, but Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco then throws to third base, to nail Carlos Asuaje for the 4th out [!] of the inning. Carlos Asuaje is puzzled, as he thinks he’s heading to the visitor’s [3rd base] dugout to get his glove, because there’s three outs.  Padres manager Andy Green is also puzzled, and challenges the call at home.

After a LONG delay, the call is overturned (Margot obviously safe) and the run scores (3-2), but Asuaje is now deemed the third out– inning over. This is the Mets/Padres at Citi Field on July 24, 2018, with NY replay booth umps. Who are these replay umpires? That should be determined here, for posterity.

Obviously, Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco knew the call at home was incorrect (because it was in front of him), and that’s why he threw to third base. Heads-up play by him, you could say. But how was the runner on second base (Asuaje) supposed to know?

Here’s the MLB write-up, with video of the play & review. Padres beat reporter AJ Cassavell is one of the best in the business, and he clearly defines the replay rules in question and their interpretation.

“Section IV of MLB’s replay regulations covers the placement of runners after incorrect calls. Here are the segments in question: The Replay Official shall place the base runners on the bases he believes they would have reached had the reviewed call been made correctly. … Any doubt regarding the placement of runners should be resolved in favor of the last base legally touched at the time of the challenged call.

Subsequent Calls and Outs: If the Replay Official determines that an incorrect call on the field had no effect on the subsequent behavior or conduct of the offensive or defensive players, the Replay Official shall change the incorrect call, but let stand any on-field calls or plays unaffected by the incorrect call. The Replay Official may not declare a runner out based on a play the umpire believes would have occurred subsequent to the play subject to Replay Review.

[Andy] Green had asked to protest the interpretation of those rules. According to section II.L.4. of the replay regulations, no protest shall ever be permitted on judgement decisions by the replay official. He was denied.”

Carlos Asuaje had these lucid comments, post-game. “I guess the safest thing would be to just stay at second and, if there’s a close play or something, just wait on the base, I really don’t know how else to do that. Nobody’s going to play that ball through — especially with the third baseman standing there. My only move would be to go full-speed and slide into the guy. What if that was the third out at home? What are we going to do? Are we going to fight these guys? I mean, I’m not going to start a brawl.”

Here were Andy Green’s post-game comments. “I don’t know how you think he’s [Asuaje’s] making a full-bore effort to advance to third base. I think it’s a lethargic jog toward the third-base coach, which is pretty customary when the third out of an inning is made. You go hand the guy your helmet. That’s effectively what was happening.”

That’s how you get rooked by the Black Hand. The correct call would have been to send Carlos Asuaje back to second base: two outs, runners at 1st & 2nd base, with Eric Hosmer up. Any replay call that overturns a call on the field must freeze the base runner situation, as everything that occurs after that depends on the call. That’s rational.

Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler was on the ropes, and the umps (on the field & replay) let him off the hook. That unfair & biased call for the home team completely changed the game, as the Mets won easily 6-3. Why aren’t the replay umpires held accountable?

Note that if this situation occurs with only one out, you still have to hustle until the 4th out. For the record, Wil Myers was standing on first base when Asuaje was tagged for the 4th out, so nice base-running Wil. You never want to run into the 4th out of an inning. That’s a new rule. Wil Myers couldn’t possibly run into the fifth out, but he was one of two people who could have run into the fourth out, if that makes any sense.

As we can see, the rules in MLB are now hypothetical, and as far as getting a call goes, it helps to be an east coast team. Mets starter Zack Wheeler pitched 7 innings, allowing only 2 ER, so his trade stock goes up, which is also a factor here. This is what has happened to all sports these days. The traditional rules don’t apply anymore, and it mirrors everyday reality. Only the interests of the privileged count for anything. These “contests” are largely manipulated & fixed. The people & fans have noticed, and it won’t hold up much longer, as there’s too much unfairness & hypocrisy.

Final next-day thoughts:

Baseball is an amazing game because anything can happen, and that’s why we watch. Sometimes you witness something at the ballpark that you’ve never seen before. You can’t say that about most sports.

After thinking about this affair in it’s totality, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the WORST UMPIRING DECISION IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME. It’s so, not just because of the blatant bias involved, but also because it violates & distorts the game’s most basic rule to it’s essence, which is, “three outs ends the inning.”

Over & Out

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Revolutionary Flashpoint: Julian Assange to be Expelled from Embassy

This piece is now a serial, until there is resolution. Check for updates at the bottom.

On Friday July 20, 2018 Russia Today published a story titled: “Ecuador to hand over Assange to UK ‘in coming weeks or days,’ own sources tell RT’s editor-in chief.”

On Saturday (yesterday), the Intercept published “Ecuador Will Imminently Withdraw Asylum for Julian Assange and Hand Him Over to the UK. What Comes Next?” by Glenn Greenwald.

WikiLeaks’ “crime” is releasing DNC emails which revealed how top Democrats fixed the 2016 primary for Hillary Clinton. Seth Rich and other DNC staffers were the source of the leaks, not the Russians. This persecution of Julian Assange has been a US-led frame-up from the start. It goes hand-in-glove with the “fake news” media blitz, Internet censorship, right-wing feminism & identity politics.

U.K. foreign minister, Jeremy Hunt (above) has threatened WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, daring him to leave the Ecuadorean embassy, “At any time he wants to he is free to walk out onto the street, and the British police will have a warm welcome for him.” Those are the words of a fascist, who employs others to do his dirty work.

Newly-elected Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno (above, in wheelchair) has been under heavy US pressure to expel Assange, as this fascist persecution campaign against WikiLeaks crosses both aisles in official American politics. Moreno has called Julian Assange “a stone in his shoe,” evoking mafia methods for his removal. The Democrats want Assange silenced because he exposed their electoral manipulations of 2016. The Republicans want Assange imprisoned because they are fascists. That’s called an elite consensus in bourgeois politics.

So basically Julian Assange (an Australian citizen) is a man without a country, being persecuted by the governments of the world and their corporate paymasters. The mass media acts as attack dog & purveyor of state propaganda. If these forces are allowed to have their way, then Assange will be forever silenced. The question then becomes: Who’s next?

Julian Assange & Wikileaks reported the truth about what’s going on. Since when has telling the truth been outlawed? The prosecution of Julian Assange represents the most reactionary & violent ideological contortions of the global ruling class. Every pretense of democracy is being threatened in a tyrannical campaign of lies & distortions against this whistle-blower journalist.

Assange’s courage, intelligence & willpower to sustain this fight against global capitalism has won him millions of supporters world-wide. It is now time for these supporters to stand up & speak out in his behalf. It can only be through direct challenge to this elitist apparatus, that Julian Assange’s freedom will be won. It is the working people & youth of the world, who value freedom of information & expression. They must unite and collectively fight for these rights, which are under siege.

Do it now!!

Update July 23, 2018 ~ 4:30 PM ET

Vladimir Putin is the shadowy figure in this conspiracy to evict Julian Assange. Russia could offer him asylum, as they did for Edward Snowden, the man who supplied the leaks on ubiquitous NSA spying. Reporting from Russia Today since their announcement on Friday has been muted.

My sixth sense tells me that Trump & Putin have an arrangement here. Putin fears Assange as much as the rest of the global ruling establishment. His interests are complex. If the US wins this campaign, then Assange is silenced, which he approves. If Assange is freed, then Donald Trump, his fascist cabal, and the US government-intelligence complex all suffer a humiliating set-back– which would be a diplomatic victory for Russia.

The only way to get above this international intrigue is for the youth & working masses of the world to free Assange themselves through collective solidarity & revolutionary action.

Here’s an interesting political theory question. Whom does Julian Assange most resemble in history, right now?  Leon Trotsky’s life ended in August 1940, at the outbreak of the second world war; with him in permanent exile, endlessly persecuted by the capitalist & Stalinist bureaucracies– meaning all the governments of the world. The working masses didn’t organize & arm themselves in time to save Trotsky from his horrible death, which he foresaw. Julian Assange doesn’t claim to be a socialist, but his actions and circumstances make him an internationalist of the same quality.

What will be needed, when Assange is inevitably hauled out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London are: 1) large numbers of militant masses, 2) a small army of courageous lawyers, and 3) anyone with media credentials (& clout) broadcasting the events honestly in real time.

It’s going to be a heated, potentially violent situation when it happens. The UK police state will be out in full force, as will be their masked cronies as fascist hooligans.  This is an international US/UK provocation on the human rights of an Australian citizen. The masses need to be organized & disciplined, yet ready to defend themselves– and Julian Assange. Anything can happen, and it probably will, soon enough.

Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 ~ 1:10 PM ET

We’re currently at the point where fascism is gathering its forces, as quietly as possible– it appears. The news that Julian Assange is about to be expelled has been widely reported, even in America, as USA Today ran a story on it on Saturday, July 21. But the newspaper of record, the New York Times has been remarkably silent. The last story the NYT published on Julian Assange was on March 28, when his Internet was cut off.

The Washington Post doesn’t see these events as newsworthy either, with nothing on Assange’s imminent eviction in a search of their online archives.

The Wall Street Journal won’t let you search their site without a subscription, but I would expect the same results there too. This proves these institutions are not journalists reporting facts in the interest of the public, but instead a corporate propaganda arm of the government-military-intelligence complex. Their job is to hide the truth and confuse the issues as much as possible.

July 27, 2018  ~10:30 AM ET

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno is in London, ostensibly to attend a disability summit, but really to secretly negotiate the hand-over of Julian Assange to British and (eventually) US authorities. The more this situation is exposed and the facts are reported, the more problematic this covert hand-over will be. Julian Assange needs a massive show of support from youth & working people everywhere, in order to protect the democratic rights of all.

July 28, 2018 ~ 10:00 AM ET

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who granted Julian Assange asylum back in 2012, has weighed in with Russia Today on this matter.

“You can be sure that he [Lenin Moreno] is a hypocrite. He already has an agreement with the US about what will happen to Assange. And now he’s just trying to sweeten the pill by saying he’s going to have a dialogue” about conditions of the transfer, Correa told RT Spanish. “I’m afraid … that Assange’s days in our embassy are numbered. [Moreno] talks about a dialogue, but everything has already been agreed with the UK government, especially after Vice President Pence’s visit to Ecuador a few weeks ago.”

Friday August 3, 2018 ~ 3:30 PM ET*

* I keep wondering to myself if I should mark the time as Daylight or Standard. I hate Daylight savings, and believe it is yet another capitalist soft power set piece. The further hypocrisy now is that Daylight savings lasts longer than Standard time in the US. We all have biological clocks that tune into daylight, and this messes with that for no good reason. It hurts working people the most.

Mostly quiet on the Julian Assange front. The latest media rumblings were Ecuadorian President Moreno’s “concern for Julian Assange’s health,” as he has no access to daylight. That makes me wonder what Julian Assange thinks about Daylight savings in America, if he knows/cares?

Right now you can feel both sides working behind- the-scenes, for what promises to be a pitched battle. Moreno has made it clear that he want s  Assange’s Ecuadorian citizenship to be revoked, insisting he can’t stay in the embassy “indefinitely.” US Vice President Mike Pence and other high-ranking cabinet members have put heavy pressure on Moreno to deliver Assange to the UK police.

What’s at stake here is a question personified: Are people allowed to tell and know the truth? Neither side is flinching, as the waters are being gently tested through the bourgeois media. When it’s time for the police state to move in and forceably remove Julian Assange, the working masses of the world will immediately spring into action through social media & the Internet. There will be massive political protests, followed by wildcat strikes. This is political economy and revolutionary theory vortexing around the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Sunday August 5, 2018  ~10:00 AM ET

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was apparently the target of a drone attack using explosives during his Saturday public address. Describing the incident, Maduro said a flying object exploded in front of him. “I thought it was a pyrotechnic fire, in a matter of micro seconds there was a second explosion to my right. You could see people running because they felt the shockwave,” he said.

The Venezuelan president accused the far-right opposition and external forces. “I have no doubt that everything points to the Venezuelan ultra-right in alliance with the Colombian extreme right, and the name of [Colombian President] Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack,” he said. Maduro also claimed that initial results of the investigation show that several of those who paid for the attack reside in Florida. Colombia is annually the third largest recipient of US military aid, behind Israel & Egypt.

This incident (once again) has many red flags that suggest a CIA covert operation. Venezuela’s economy is in ruins, with hyperinflation heading towards 1,000,000% by end of year. The US has crippled the country with sanctions, claiming Maduro (like his elected predecessor Hugo Chavez) is a dictator who came to power illegitimately and is starving his people. US President Donald Trump has openly considered a military option against Venezuela, and calls for a coup have made it to the headlines of US mainstream media.

This ongoing violence must be seen in the light of the pressure being put on Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno to hand Julian Assange over the the UK police, so he can be extradited to the US to face a sealed indictment. The more this South American region is destabilized, the easier it is for US imperialism to hold sway. The message is clear, if Moreno doesn’t do Washington’s bidding, then he can expect to be put in the cross-hairs too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018  ~ 10:30 AM ET

Breaking news (at least on Russia Today), that Julian Assange has been summoned by the US Senate Intelligence Committee to testify behind closed doors. This Committee is headed by leading CIA Democrat Mark Warner (Va), and also includes prominent US senators: Marco Rubio (R-Fl), Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca), Ron Wyden (D-Or), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), John McCain (R-Az), and Charles Schumer (D-NY).

As we can see there is bi-partisan consensus among the elites to silence Julian Assange behind closed doors, and censor the Internet. WikiLeaks is preparing it’s response as of this writing.

The US Senate Intelligence Committee is so-named because supposedly it provides Congressional oversite on the Intelligence apparatus. This is a misnomer for two reasons: 1) because there is no real oversite, as the deep state does as it pleases, and 2) there are very little brains on this committee of fascists pretending to be legitimate representatives of the American people.

Thursday August 9, 2018 ~ 10:40 AM ET

I live in Florida, so I caught this headline from yesterday’s Tampa Bay Times in my newsfeed this morning:

Bill Nelson: The Russians have penetrated some Florida voter registration systems

But no evidence of this is presented– classified national (in)security. Marco Rubio and the rest of the fascists on Senate Intelligence Committee are also in on this.

Senator Bill Nelson is locked in a tight race with outgoing Governor Rick Scott for his seat. This puts a criminal corporate raider (Columbia/HCA)) to the left [!] of his Democrat incumbent opponent– until he acquiesces. This is another ruse to create the pretext for mass repression of political dissent & Internet censorship. The “Russians” are dissidents like you & me, and we are not the enemy. This is the Big Lie technique being used for mind control– as another propaganda offensive,

Speaking of newsfeeds, have you noticed how much harder it is to find relevant stories now? It’s like the Internet has been scrubbed, and your searches don’t yield the fertile results it used to. That’s Google, Amazon, Fakebook and the rest of the tech giants working with the deep state to control the free flow of information. Do you agree with that policy?  Who decided on this? How can we hold these people accountable? How can we change things? These are the questions that run through my mind daily.

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Problems & Answers

What am I doing, really? That’s a question I ask myself, from time-to-time. I’ve noticed the answer is always changing. Situations change and scenarios become played out, and that’s when changes become part of the equation. Seeing & knowing the changes is called dialectics, which I’ve stressed the importance of– over & over.

It’s when everything is moving at once (falling apart & coming together), that a dialectician can lead by action & example. This mastery seems mystical, but really it’s scientific. Marxism is the science of political economy under capitalism. It’s philosophy is dialectical materialism. The aim of Marxism is to find the truth in all things. All the classical Marxist masters from Engels, Plekhanov, Luxemburg, Lenin & Trotsky were dialecticians. This allowed them to see further (and more clearly) into the future than their contemporaries, even up to the present.

Marxists as dialecticians are problem solvers. Today the world is in crisis, as fascists have captured the US government, while the military-intelligence apparatus is hurtling all of us towards another World War. World War III ends in mutually assured destruction for the planet. Plus, we’ve got global warming on top of all this. These problems are going to take serious brains and real courage to solve.

It’s a political problem, not a technological issue, as mankind could easily socialize today if it had the political awareness. It’s still an issue of educating & organizing the masses for an overwhelming takeover of power. The coming global socialist revolution is going to be a numerically overpowering hostile takeover of the Wall Street banks, Washington’s ruling apparatus, social & mass media, and the stolen wealth of global billionaires who have trashed our planet, while enslaving most of its population in the selfish interest of enriching themselves. That aggression will not stand. The people of the world will not allow themselves to be enslaved & consumed in perpetuity.

The mass media, Internet and social media are key tools in fighting fascism. It must be clearly understood by all in the US, that the most dangerous enemy of the working class is the Democratic party and all that orbits it. Pseudo-intelligent leftists and those preaching identity politics are hypocrites with deep personal & financial interests at stake. They can never be swayed, as they sold their souls to capitalism long ago. They are only to be considered an enemy to be defeated.

The allies of revolutionary socialists are the exploited youth & working masses of the world. The way forward requires “pressing in” in all fronts. Authority needs to be freely questioned, discussed and challenged– everywhere. Abuse-of-power is become standardized by fascism. Fight this by taking the power back.

Fascists don’t listen to reason, they only understand hate & violence. This needs to be met (EVERYWHERE) with fierce resistance, and any necessary back-up. The Second Amendment means regular people have guns too, and the explicit reason is to protect their freedoms from any unconstitutional government intrusion.

We no longer are a nation of laws. This has been evidentially true since Bush v Gore in 2000, and really true since 9/11. In 2013, Edward Snowden revealed to the world (through WikiLeaks) the massive NSA global spying operation. Everything we do on an Internet-connected device is recorded into their database. Video & audio recording is also always happening in real time (24/7/365) from your camera app. Americans live in a modern-day police state.

Who monitors the NSA? This institution (like all the rest–really), has no public accountability, and merely serves as a spy & military police tool for the ruling elite. Top Democrats including Mark Warner & Nancy Pelosi are intimately tied into this deep state apparatus. These are today’s leading voices for more domestic spying & foreign drone wars, both policies which were expanded under Obama/Biden. The Democrats live on half-truths, making them the most despicable form of liars.

The secret to conquest of power by the working masses is realizing its own power. The lowliest janitors and first-class privates have keys & access to the most sophisticated military/intelligence centers. The elites don’t keep these places clean & operational, it’s working people who do this. They are already inside, but lack of political awareness incapacitates them.

The most deluded elitists have now turned to artificial intelligence technology as they savior, because 1) paranoia; and 2) they have run out of brains themselves. Elite “leaders” with every resource in the world available to them, can’t even find answers to simple problems anymore, because their “thinking” is so warped.

Thus these elitist scum have someone program a computer to think for them. No more need to think & problem-solve! Convenient, huh? This degenerated ruling bureaucracy is completely enabled by workers, who still don’t quite realize what’s going on; and how bad thing actually are. They need to speed up their learning curve, because things have already gone dangerously too far. What’s required is an attitude that is 100% defiant to the irrationality that surrounds us.

It’s my job to teach & explain this, so that’s what I’m doing. We can win, if we realize our combined strength– and always act in everyone’s best interest. When we forget to help others, eventually they disappear, and then there are less people to help when Big Brother turns on us. That’s why protecting the rights of others (who are less fortunate) is paramount. Only by realizing the true value of solidarity can the evils of capitalism be overthrown in permanence.

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The World Cup & Sports Propaganda

Sports are used to distract the masses. As of this publication, there are two major international sporting events competing for our attention: Wimbledon, and the World Cup being held in Russia. At the All England Club, the story has been the manipulation of seedings on the women’s side.

Serena Williams is currently WTA-ranked #181, but insisted on being seeded for Wimbledon. It was an unprecedented move for the oldest tennis tournament and the professional tour, but Serena was seeded #25. Even that generous seeding now appears to be an understatement of the bias in her favor.

Serena Williams has cruised into the 4th round, without facing any opponent who ranks higher than #62 in the WTA. She faced #105 Arantxa Rus in the 1st Round, and #135 Viktoriya Tomova in the 2nd. Her opponent in the Round-of-16 is Evgeniya Rodina– WTA Rank #120.

Meanwhile stacked brackets everywhere else have resulted in numerous upsets among the top-seeded women. Major bitch factor is now on-the-scene, as the women’s draw feels like a manipulation scheme by ESPN to glorify Serena Williams– new mother, black female role model, blah, blah, blah…. The women know, and aren’t happy about it– you can tell.

Serena Williams is being used as American propaganda to distract people from the success of the World Cup in Russia. The problem is: England is in the semis, and the whole world is watching. The US didn’t qualify for WC 2018, so they’re out in the cold. Old partnerships are fracturing at the seams– it seems. These are high-level, multi-pronged political maneuverings– for sure; so the truth will be hidden and covered-up with lies by a compliant mass media.

Make no mistake, sports are used as propaganda, and nothing is bigger than the World Cup. Every country gets a chance to qualify, and every government wants its national team to show well. Winning is perceived as national glory for all, and a safely-valve for mass discontent. Brazil is perhaps the best example of fùtbol’s dangerous contradictions.

The last four teams remaining in WC 2018 are France v Belgium and Croatia v England. World Cup 2022 is to be held in Qatar, where the average summer temperature is ~110 degrees Fahrenheit, but global warming will surely make it even hotter by then. Qatar is still in the process of constructing the necessary facilities, all-the-while war & starvation are ravishing the Arabian Peninsula. World Cup 2026 is to be held in the US.

Note that the host county automatically gets in, per FIFA. Russia’s national team had a great run, losing to Croatia in the quarterfinals on penalty kicks. Our world (rich & poor) is addicted to sports, so the propaganda value attached to these nationalist matches is immense. This phenomena needs to be more broadly understood to be overcome.

When the World Cup is held (men’s, & women’s since 1991), travel & visa requirements are temporarily suspended. Teams and their fans must be freely allowed in & out, for the good of the event. Consider this in the context of ongoing attacks on immigrants by the reactionary governments of the world. The World Cup (at its best) is an international celebration of peace through athletic competition. That’s a Marxist materialist perspective.

Final Update: Saturday July 14, 2018   ~1:30 PM ET

The propaganda wars continue after Angie Kerber decisively defeats Serena Williams: 6-3, 6-3 in the Wimbledon women’s finals. Shown below was Kerber’s Wikipedia page moments after her victory. It was changed minutes later, after I posted this screenshot on my Fakebook page.

“Angelique Kerber… is a German professional tennis player… A left-hander, known for her aggressive counter-punching all-court game, and loves the boaby, Kerber has won 11 singles titles across all surfaces on the WTA Tour, including three Major titles at the 2016 Australian Open, the 2016 US Open, and 2018 Wimbledon in which she took Serena Williams to CHUUUURCH. She has also won an Olympic silver medal while representing Germany at the 2016 Summer Olympics.”

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump is off to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland as the World Cup comes to it’s glorious conclusion with France v Croatia in the finals. Who knows what criminality these two hoodlums will be discussing in private, as the world cheers this match? The mass media will only continue to poison its airwaves & the Internet with yellow journalism and lies. Sports are big business– meant to distract the masses from this most-serious hidden business, and that’s why they can’t be ignored or underestimated.

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What a Beautiful Mind Is

A beautiful mind is the truest desire & highest goal. It is an intellect & personality that is placid & flexible. It absorbs the surroundings as they are, with no bias or preconceptions. The beautiful mind then reacts in a way that is instinctively correct in all situations. Even in scenarios where the truth is purposely hidden, a tranquil intellect can cut through the lies & deceptions, and find the truth most quickly.

The beautiful mind is at one with nature and the universe. It observes, analyzes & communicates with everything in it’s totality, and in its ever-changing relationship to everything else. This allows judgments to be nuanced and meaningful. Incorrect judgments are merely best-guesses that turned out wrong. One these judgments have been proven false, they are updated & corrected to correspond with reality & the truth.

Correct thinking means constantly going back in time and attempting to correct any mistakes, no matter how far they lie in the past. Sorting out old prejudices and past failures is a helpful & healthful mental exercise. It keeps the mind sharp & alert to be solidly connected with your memories of the past.

Those who fail in this, often end up suffering from horrible degenerative diseases of the brain. Alzheimer’s (and all other forms of dementia) is the exact opposite of a beautiful mind. Brain dementia is caused by many factors of modern living, and that’s why it’s so much on the rise among the elderly. For example, too many people are being trained to be mindless zombies, who do nothing but mindlessly produce services in return for access to mindless luxuries & entertainment. That will mess up your head.

Religion contorts & constricts the human brain with guilt & morality, which is an unnatural approach to sexuality & relationships. Many of these religious fanatics eventually become dementia patients, as too many neurons & wires have been crossed & short-circuited. Eventually, only a few brain cells light up, and they’re all the ones that demand immediate gratification. That is dementia– which is hell for the afflicted, family & friends, and care providers.

To prevent this fate, the mind must be nourished. Proper nutrition is essential. Enough sleep of the right type is also required for a beautiful mind. Reading challenging & exciting books is one of the best brain exercises. The true beauty of who you are can not be reflected on the outside, unless the inside is healthy. Conversely, no one who is obese or anorexic has a beautiful mind, as these brains are diseased. These minds need to objectively look themselves in the mirror and re-examine their lives.

The purpose of a beautiful mind is to serve others, while standing out to all. The beautiful mind is the most powerful state that can be reached in personal humanity. A beautiful mind is a problem-solving tool that can adapt to any human situation, and rapidly find the best solution. It is the combination of book learning & social intelligence, and it is unbeatable.

The most compelling aspect of the beautiful mind is it’s application of courage & leadership. This sometimes means acting in ways that are perceived by others as cruel, making you unpopular; when in fact you are acting heroically with the highest ethics. This boldness & daring is only acknowledged after-the-fact, and is often held in contempt by jealous & petty minds.

It takes a beautiful mind to get to all this, and there is nothing else that matters as much in this life. Make yourself beautiful, starting with your mind, and everything else will follow.

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San Diego Padres: Bullpen Management & Draft Notes

The Padres have the most unique and effective bullpen in MLB, and it’s starting to turn heads. Padres manager Andy Green is as good as it gets in the dugout, and with the media. No one manages a bullpen or 25-man roster better. The Padres are currently 29th in OBP, 27th in SLG, 25th in runs scored, and 18th in total ERA. The only reason they are hanging around in the tough NL West (currently 34-38, 6.5 GB of ARZ) is because of Andy Green (below) and their unique bullpen. Let’s break it down.

On April 8, 2016 San Diego Padres GM AJ Preller claimed LHP Brad Hand off waivers from Miami Marlins (GM: Mike Hill). This happened just before Preller started trading his entire rotation, closer, and anything else he could dump. Brad Hand was available at the that trade deadline, and in 2017, but no fair offers came. Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make, as Brad Hand (1.78 ERA, 35.1 IP, 21 saves) is now a relief ace and premium closer– under a team-friendly contract with a club option through 2021. Any MLB GM will tell you that is a championship-winning piece to the puzzle. His value may never be higher, but there’s no reason to trade him.

Right-handed set-up man Craig Stammen (above) was acquired on December 23, 2016 as a minor-league free agent, and invited to spring training. He performed and made the 25-man roster, and has been one of Andy Green’s most valuable bullpen pieces in complementing Brad Hand. He’s age 34 with a 2.23 ERA in 32.1 IP so far in 2018. Craig Stammen in 2017 had a 3.14 ERA in 80.1 IP for the Padres. He’s paid $2.25M/yr for 2018 & 2019. He’s a huge bargain in high-leverage situations– exactly where you need it.

On April 26, 2017 the San Diego Padres claimed RHP Kirby Yates (above) off waivers from Los Angeles Angels. Padres fans LOVE this guy! So far in 2018: 3-0, 1.00 ERA, 27.0 IP, with 2 saves. He’s pre-Arb2, with a salary of $1M in 2018. Andy Green sometimes uses Brad Hand in the 8th inning of a tight game, because that’s the match-up advantage or whatever.

Making the closer slot fluid, increases competitiveness in the bullpen. “Closer by committee” is an old-school baseball phrase, but this is something different. The Padres aren’t rotating their closer because they don’t have a reliable finisher, it’s because they have multiple guys capable of closing. This is very similar to the Cincinnati Reds “Nasty Boys” bullpen that won them a World Series in 1990. Kirby Yates is age 31, yet another Padres Arb2 player making $1M in 2018, and can’t be a free agent until 2021– at the earliest.

Righty side-armer (above) Adam Cimber (2018: 3-2, 2.52 ERA, 35.2 IP) is a guy the Padres actually drafted back in 2013, before AJ Preller became GM. But Padres fans know that the previous regime would have gotten rid of this guy long ago, and he’d be helping another team win games. Luckily for the Padres, new management understands the value of a good bullpen in high-leverage situations. It’s the difference between winning & losing a lot of games. Adam Cimber turns age 28 on August 15, and is Arb1, making the league-minimum salary of $545,000.

Rookie LHP José Castillo was acquired as part of the blockbuster Wil Myers deal with the Rays & the Nationals on December 19, 2014. This was AJ Preller’s signature deal as a rookie GM of the San Diego Padres. The key guy Preller gave up was SS Trea Turner to the Nationals. José Castillo is age 22 with electric stuff. He’s just been added to the bullpen, and so far in 2018 he’s 1-0, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP (4 games) with 12 K’s. San Diego Padres also sent C Rene Rivera, RHP Burch Smith and 1B Jake Bauers to Tampa in that deal.

As the trading deadline loomed last summer, on July 24, 2017 the Padres traded Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter and RHP Trevor Cahill to the Kansas City Royals for cash, 2B Esteury Ruiz, LHP’s Matt Strahm and Travis Wood.  Matt Strahm (above) and Ruiz were considered the booty in the deal for the Padres, as Travis Wood was released; then he got hurt in Spring Training with the Tigers and is probably finished in MLB. Cahill was a Padres rental, and Mauer & Buchter were fungible.

LHP Matt Strahm (2018 so far: 1-2, 2.55 ERA, 17.2 IP) was envisioned as a potential starter, but he’s still working his way back from a knee injury that he sustained with the Royals. The Padres have used him effectively as a long reliever and their “bullpen starter.” The bullpen start has gotten a lot of notice, especially in Tampa Bay, where the Rays have been forced to start a reliever repeatedly.

The plan for Andy Green is typically to have LHP Matt Strahm go through the line-up once, then bring in a right-handed long reliever to bridge to the “real” bullpen. An advantage of a bullpen start is that it prevents the opposition from stacking their lineup for the righty/lefty match-up advantage.

The Padres have had to use “bullpen starts” because they don’t have enough reliable starters. Teams are supposed to have five starters for a rotation. Most teams today don’t have even four reliable starters, and the Padres are among them. They actually have only two: RHP Tyson Ross & LHP Clayton Richard.

The rest of their “starters” include rookie LHP Eric Lauer who is 3-4, 6.20 ERA in 45 IP in 10 starts with a 1.98 WHIP. Eric Lauer was the Padres top pick in 2016 (#25 overall) out of Kent State, and just turned age 23. He has been rushed up to the majors due to injuries & poor performances, including: RHP Dinelson Lamet (TJ surgery), RHP Luis Perdomo (ineffective, optioned to minors), LHP Joey Lucchesi (DL- hip injury), and RHP Colin Rea (TJ surgery recovery from his one start while with the Marlins in 2016).

Taking a closer look at these numbers reveals a secret behind Andy Green’s success in managing this staff. Eric Lauer (below) has 10 starts with only 45 IP, for a 6.20 ERA. Eric Lauer typically only pitches 4-5 innings, and gives up 3 runs. That’s not good, but it’s not a disaster either. It would be a disaster if Andy Green tried to push Lauer another inning or two. Then those games would get out-of-Hand [!], giving him no chance to use his effective relievers in a situation that matters. By pulling his struggling starters early, or going to a bullpen start; Andy Green keeps the damage to a minimum which gives his team a chance to rally. In baseball, this is called being an outstanding manager, with an excellent “feel” for his team.

On August 1, 2017 RHP Jordan Lyles was released by the Colorado Rockies, and a week later AJ Preller grabbed him. The Padres had priority on NL waivers claims at the time, due to their poor record in 2016. This is just another example of how AJ Preller acquires talent outside-the-box. The Padres have used Lyles in 2018 as a their fill-in 4th starter; so far 2-3, 4.83 ERA in 20 games, seven of them starts. He’s pitched 59.2 innings, which averages 3 innings per appearance. This is the same situation as Eric Lauer, in that Jordan Lyles eats innings, but gets pulled early. This is because winning baseball theory says, “If you leave a 5.00+ ERA pitcher in too long, you lose.”

LHP Robbie Erlin (above) is another organizational soldier who has recovered from Tommy John surgery. Erlin was originally acquired from the Texas Rangers back in 2011 for righty set-up man Mike Adams. Robbie Erlin bombed as a starter in his few opportunities he had earlier this year, but he has found a niche as a lefty longman out of Andy Green’s bullpen. Overall, Robbie Erlin in 2018 is 1-3, with a 4.05 ERA in 40.0 IP and a WHIP of 1.05. His 19 appearances include 2 disaster starts which ballooned his ERA. Robbie Erlin has been very valuable during the bullpen starts, and in long relief.

The only thing left on the current Padres pitching staff (above) are RHP’s Bryan Mitchell & Phil Hughes. On December 12, 2017 the New York Yankees traded 3B Chase Headley, RHP Bryan Mitchell and cash to San Diego Padres for RF Jabari Blash. Blash was quickly DFA’d by the Yankees. This deal was made because 1) the Yankees needed to get under the salary cap as they were about to acquire Giancarlo Stanton; and 2) Padres GM AJ Preller liked RHP Bryan Mitchell.

The Padres took an Chase Headley’s $13M contract for 2018, in the hopes they could squeeze a year out of him and gain a potential starter (Mitchell) in the process. Headley bombed and was DFA’d by the Padres after a slow start, and Bryan Mitchell appears to have serious mechanical issues that are limiting his effectiveness. So far in 2018 Bryan Mitchell is 0 -3, with a 7.08 ERA in 48.1 IP. If that isn’t corrected, then this deal will be a $13M bust for the Padres. This only proves that no one wins them all as a GM in MLB.

Phil Hughes was acquired from the Twins on May 27, 2018 for minor-league C Janigson Villalobos. Twins are paying all of Phil Hughes $13.2M salary in 2018. In 2019 Hughes earns $13,200,000, of which only $5.95M will be paid by San Diego Padres. This deal was made by AJ Preller so he could acquire the 74th pick in this year’s amateur draft, and extra pool money.

Compensation picks are now tradeable in MLB, which is new. Unsurprisingly, AJ Preller was the first to take advantage of this new development, and get an advantage for his franchise. The Padres used this pick from the Twins in the “Competitive Balance B” section of the draft to take OF Grant Little from Texas Tech, with the 74th overall selection. The Padres forfeited their 2nd Round pick to the Kansas City Royals for signing unrestricted free agent 1B Eric Hosmer, so this deal made up for that lost draft pick. Nothing is more valuable in MLB than young talent, and AJ Preller (below) knows it.  So far in 2018 with the Padres Phil Hughes is 0-0, 4.05 ERA in 6.2 IP.

DL Note: Phil Maton is a righty set-up guy the Padres drafted in 2015. His 2018 numbers are 0-0, 0.56 ERA in 16.0 IP, with 17 K’s. Maton is currently on the DL with a right lat strain, and pitching in AA (San Antonio) for rehabilitation. The Padres will get him back after the All Star break at the latest, probably sending Jose Castillo down, as Bryan Mitchell and Phil Hughes can’t be optioned.

And finally… Carter Capps was the Marlins wipe-out closer in 2015, until his elbow snapped, necessitating Tommy John surgery. He was dealt to the Padres during his recovery in the controversial “Cashout” deal. On July 29, 2016 the San Diego Padres traded RHP’s Andrew Cashner & Colin Rea, with RHP-prospect Tayron Guerrero and cash to Miami Marlins for RHP Jarred Cosart, RHP Carter Capps, RHP Luis Castillo and 1B Josh Naylor. This deal has been discussed & analyzed in detail here.

Anyways the prize of the deal for the Padres was Carter Capps, whom they expected to return to form in 2017 as an elite closer after rehabbing his reconstructed right elbow. The problem was (and now forever is) that his delivery to home was an illegal motion. He was hopping off the mound, then replanting his back foot before firing home. This made him unhittable, as his ERA in 2015 was 1.16 in 31.0 IP before he got hurt.

MLB (finally) ruled in Spring Training of 2017, that Carter Capps’ delivery was illegal. Much of this can be seen as extended punishment of AJ Preller by the Eastern Establishment. That aside, the Padres have tried everything to change Capps’ delivery while keeping him effective, but nothing has worked. He’s about to turn age 28, and he’s still getting rocked in the minors. He’s making ~ $1.3M this year, with one more year of arbitration before free agency.

The blame for all this lies with the Miami Marlins, who allowed this pitcher to come through their system with an illegal motion. The Atlanta Braves correctly challenged his delivery in a game, shortly before his was disabled, but were rebuked by the umpires. MLB never acted upon any of this nonsense, until the Padres acquired him. Then it was pronounced illegal. Talk about nullifying a deal by judicial fiat?!!

PADRES 2018 DRAFT SIGNEES (as of this publication)

3 | SS Owen Miller (Illinois St.)
4 | RHP Dylan Coleman (Missouri St.)
5 | OF Dwanya Williams-Sutton (East Carolina)
7 | OF Jawuan Harris (Rutgers)
8 | RHP Steven Wilson (Santa Clara)
9 | 2B Luke Becker (Kentucky)
11 | C Nick Gatewood (Georgia St.)
14 | RHP Erik Sabrowski (Cloud County CC)
16 | C Michael Curry (Georgia)
20 | RHP Reiss Kneher (Fordham)
21 | OF Mason Fox (Gardner-Webb)
22 | RHP Payton Smith (Strom Thurmond HS, S.C.)
25 | 2B Lee Solomon (Lipscomb)
26 | LHP Tyler Mortensen (Davis HS, Calif.)
27 | RHP Gabe Mosser (Shippensburg)
31 | RHP Jake Sims (Saint Leo)
32 | LHP Cody Tyler (Wichita St.)
33 | C Rainier Aguilar (Redlands)
39 | RHP Seth Mayberry (Dinwiddie County HS, Va.)

Draft Notes: Padres forfeited their 2nd Round pick in compensation for signing free agent Eric Hosmer. The Kansas City Royals used this 34th overall pick on Daniel Lynch, a LHP from the University of Virginia whose suggested slot value is $2,066,700.

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The worst free-agent signing of the off-season was Alex Cobb (4/$57M) to the Orioles, inked at the end of spring training (March 21, 2018). Alex Cobb was the last “big-name” starting pitcher on the market, and the O’s were desperate. So far for Cobb: 2-8, 7.23 ERA, 56.0 IP.

The Orioles also forfeited their 2nd-round pick to the Rays in this deal. The Rays then selected #31 overall, and took LHP Shane McClanahan out of South Florida, whose slot value is $2,224,400. In a free agent market that had completely collapsed for all but the very best players, this was about as bad a deal as a franchise could make. Unfortunately for Orioles fans, the owner can’t be fired. He needs to be forced to sell.

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The Padres have signed 19 of their 2018 draft picks, including six of their top 11 selections. They have until July 6 to sign these remaining selections:

1st Round: #7 overall Ryan Weathers LHP from Loretto (TN) HS, whose slot value is $5,226,500. Money isn’t a problem for this organization anymore, as this signing is imminent. Ryan is the son of former MLB pitcher David Weathers.

Competitive Balance A: #38 overall Xavier Edwards SS North Broward Prep (FL) HS

Competitive Balance B: #74 overall (acquired from Twins) Grant Little, OF from Texas Tech

6th Round: #171 overall Alexuan Vega, LHP, Leonides Morales Rodriguez HS, San German, Puerto Rico

10th Round: #291 overall Jose Quezada, RHP, Texas Tech; this selection was a gamble as he’s a fourth-year senior with a lot of tools. Padres are trying to be creative with their bonus money to sign him. He’s a teammate of the Padres Competitive B selection, Grant Little, discussed above.

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MLB Umpiring Notes: It’s difficult enough for a last-place, west coast team to go on a 10-games-in-10-days east coast road-trip, and beat a 1st-place team. It becomes nearly impossible, when the umpiring is fixed.

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