Releasing the Pain

As first discussed in “Undiagnosed Hip Injuries & Stubborn Fat,” there are two types of fat which are of concern. The first is visceral fat, which surrounds the internal organs. When you see someone with a huge gut (50+ lbs. overweight), that’s mostly visceral fat. [1]

The second type is subcutaneous fat, which is the ‘stubborn fat.’  This stays, even through dieting & regular exercise, and becomes more difficult to remove after the human athletic peak ~ age 27.

Almost every Americans today has a stubborn fat problem— due to hip & back injuries. Most chose to ignore their pain by limiting their mobility, as canes, walking sticks, back braces and electric wheelchairs are now all-too-common crutches among the crowd.  Youth with back injuries, are often reluctant to participate in strenuous physical activity. These people, young & old, all share a common suffering which they don’t understand, causing their lives to be filled with unnecessary pain.

Stubborn fat is a protective mechanism. When a severe deep muscle injury occurs, a layer of fat is deposited to protect that area from further injury. If the injury isn’t properly diagnosed, treated and rehabilitated; then the injured muscle will atrophy over time, leaving only skin & stubborn fat for protection. This is a biological reflex mechanism, to ensure the internal organs always have an adequate layer of protection. What it isn’t, is healthy healing.

The problem with stubborn fat is that it’s not healthy. It slows the individual down, as “dead weight.” It leads to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and a host of other unhealthy diseases & conditions. Plus it looks ugly, because it is.

So what is fat really? It’s stored energy from over-consumption of food & drink. In the injury-affected area, stubborn fat surrounds thin bands of atrophied muscle & their nerve fibers. The idea is to activate these “dead zones,” to stimulate muscle activity & growth. This will immediately use up the surrounding stubborn fat, and make the area stronger with muscle.

The pooch gut, love handles & back fat are all symptoms of an injury in the lumbar-sacral region. When these vertebrae are injured, the individual loses mobility in their waist, hips, & back. Their butt starts to sag, and incontinence/constipation issues can arise, as sacral nerves downstream are cut off due to the injury directly superior. Remember all voluntary impulses emanating from the spine, start from the brain. The only way to lose the flabby butt, is to heal the back completely, so energy (nerve stimulus) can flow from C-1 through S-5 (and the coccyx), with no glitches.

As much as 80% of the US adult population is likely suffering from an undiagnosed apophyseal avulsion fracture, or some similar type of injury. The apophysis is the projection on the spine that links the brain & central nervous system to every skeletal muscle. Every woman who gives birth, whatever method they decide, suffers deep tearing of her hip, groin & back muscles. If those muscles aren’t rehabilitated, that woman will never regain her youthful figure.

Those individuals that have suffered apophyseal avulsion fractures, should be able to recall a specific event that triggered the pain. It was a traumatic injury somewhere, often during sports activity. In adolescents & teenagers, these injuries occur frequently and are seemingly ‘minor tweaks,’ so they often remain undiagnosed. The young injury victim may recover (some), but they will never be the same. Their explosiveness & quickness erodes due to deep groin & back injuries, which limit certain directional movements. Over time (years/decades), these injuries become disabling for those who don’t deal with them directly.

As an untreated condition, the pain is most severe during activity, and improves with rest. Tenderness can be observed by palpation, and the athlete may actively guard against contraction of the musculature attached to the injured apophysis. Passive stretch of these muscles will reproduce the pain. Into adulthood, a limp often presents itself, and there is a noticeable atrophy in the muscle group attached to the avulsed apophysis, compared to the contralateral side.

The lower back, where the legs meet the torso is an evolutionary weak point, a relic of our common quadrupedal ancestry. In the injury-recovery process, it is helpful to imagine the anterior torso wrapping in-between & under the legs. The trunk & legs fuse in the butt. Sending flexion in that direction, under control, is the key to recovery.

This is accomplished through repetitive waves of focused & painful exertion. Many people can’t even visualize what’s being described here, because they are so dead (atrophied) from their belly button to their thighs– anteriorly, and their lower back to the butt– posteriorly. Atrophied abdominal regions in old age are full of fat, infection, tumors, and other nasty surprises. The nerves can barely sense what’s going on here, and not-coincidentally that’s where the cancer starts. That’s why fat is a killer, medically speaking.

Once the injury victim fixes all the torn muscles in their back & hips– the abdominals & buttocks will be tight. With a properly maintained diet, all the stubborn fat will melt away– and stay gone. This is the best weight-loss program, as it’s based on science. I have recommended marijuana for the pain, and will continue to do so, as the rehabilitating patient needs something to deal with this intense pain-releasing process. It’s the most organic choice, and easiest to cease when finished. Use only the good stuff, by whatever delivery method you prefer.

You must maintain a caloric deficit to lose weight. Eat a sensible whole food diet, high in fresh vegetables (juicing) and lean protein. Going vegan gets you there quicker. Most of the metabolic fat should come from visceral & stubborn fat burn-off. Carbohydrates should be mostly organic, and as needed for energy boost & craving relief. This is a healthy diet. Simply adjust the portions until all the extra fat is lost, and then find a new “normal” that is actually healthy.

Pain is stored energy, and the proper method is to release it while immediately putting it to good use. Tai Chi & yoga principles are helpful in rehabilitation of hip & back injuries. This means creating energy with small inward & outward spiraling movements, then flowing it through the body to release pent-up pain. This will create ‘popping’ sensations all along the nerve/muscle chains, activating atrophied muscle all down the line.

Energy will ‘pop’ at the downstream insertion and often flow to the next insertion point for more popping. This quickly activates long-line muscle tissue, which will stabilize & strengthen the body. The hips & back are the most critical area, as they are devastated by atrophy.  It is wise to apply engineering principles to muscular-skeletal development, by creating triangles of muscle bands. Triangles are strong, and allow a framework to  be ‘filled in,’ similar to a road worker grading in a pothole with asphalt. Once a band of muscle has been lashed together triangularly, that area can be flexed. Muscle groups can be quickly rebuilt in this manner, with maximum efficiency & minimum pain. This especially helps with superficial sheathe muscles that have been herniated.

A couch, mattress & beanbag can be useful tools, as an injured back needs stabilization & flexible support. This bracing is needed to go after deeper injuries. Nothing really heals until the deepest injury is resolved. Use your imagination to flex your hips & back into every uncomfortable position imaginable. This needs to be done over & over, for weeks, months, even years in some cases– to fully recover and release all the pain. The best method is to slowly build the muscles using isometrics, then work standing up– using a kettlebell. “Handcuff yourself,” with the kettlebell held by both hands behind your back, letting it hang. This helps hip stabilizers, legs, butt, abdominals & grip strength, while not exhausting you with too much cardio. Keep going back & forth, using all the ideas (and whatever else you can imagine), until the injury is resolved.

Do this rehabilitation at climate. That means no A/C or heat. Make your body one with nature, and it will be better. If you have 15 pounds (typical) of stubborn fat to lose, you will add ~ 3 pounds of muscle, for a net weight-loss of ~12 pounds. Muscle is heavier than fat, but takes up much less volume.

Since all movements start with the hip & back, the flash-release of the stored pain energy will reveal other injuries downstream. The injury victim will soon realize that most of these tweaks were caused by the original hip/back issue. A breakdown of the central hub (hips & back), causes later breakdowns all along the kinetic chain.

Further benefits of fixing your spine will be: improved hearing, clearer eyesight, deeper sleep, healthier skin/hair, better coordination, more energy, and sharper mental awareness. How could it be otherwise?  These back injuries also affect the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the function of all the internal organs.

Also note, this is probably the definitive cure for hiccups, which I postulate is caused by the disruption of nerve impulses through the spine in the region of the diaphragm. This creates that irregular & uncontrolled waves of spasms known as the hiccups. As an individual case study, I have suffered them much less frequently as my rehabilitation has progressed, and haven’t had an episode in a LONG time.

All book images taken from Gray’s Anatomy– 22nd edition, edited by Warren H. Lewis

In conclusion, I rank this thesis on hip & back injuries affecting stubborn fat loss, to be among my greatest professional & artistic achievements. It is a human triumph to synthesize the process of pain release & rehabilitation for the world, using valid science to form a concrete & rational program that people can apply for themselves.

Pain is a very real & complicated phenomenon. There is a physical component to pain, which is the body telling the brain there is an injury that needs attention. There is also an emotional component of pain, which runs both ways. This allows some people to ignore pain & press on, while others are hypersensitive to pain. In dealing with deep spinal & hip injuries, there are significant levels of both mechanisms going on simultaneously. It is by learning the anatomy & science underneath, that allows the individual to endure & master the emotional elements of pain. I have chosen neurology as the scientific basis in this discussion, because all muscles are connected by nerves.

Deep groin injuries, limit sexual prowess– a primal instinct. These untreated injuries are a source of sexual frustration, jealously & anger for too many. Luckily one of the best ways to rehabilitate the hips is to have straight sex. It turns out that a man’s & woman’s body were meant for each other. There are many delusional fanatics in morality & identity politics that would argue otherwise [!], but that doesn’t change the fact that sex is healthy– provided it is consensual & safe. My take-home message is for more people to boink, simply for the enjoyment & healthy results!

There’s obviously ego & emotions with all this. The best way to motivate people is by building a program which corresponds to their material interests and emotional needs. Fact: every adult wants better sex, and more of it. Everyone also wants to be without pain, as much as possible. The relevance of these discoveries discussed above is that anyone can apply this knowledge, and begin to achieve immediate (and lasting) pain-relieving results. While there has been never been a shortage of people willing to do the work to achieve their personal fitness & pain-relief goals, there has never been a worked-out method with corresponding scientific validity that anyone can safely apply– until now.

Previous writings in this series:

The Ambidextrous Athlete

Hip & Back Rehabilitation Protocol

Hard Lessons from the Other Side

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The Shohei Ohtani Pitch

This piece was originally written as a baseball free-agent signing analysis– but became much, much more. It now reads as a serial, dating November 29 – December 8.

 

The biggest news of this MLB off-season is the soon-to-happen posting of Japanese two-way pitching & hitting star Shohei Ohtani. It will cost one MLB team a $20 million fee, but the winner will likely be getting an ace pitcher, who can also hit like a regular player– at a bargain salary & signing bonus. That has every organization and their fans’ attention. Every team in MLB is waiting to see where he signs before making a significant move.

Where he goes apparently depends on the terms of use & marketability, as all 30 teams get to make their pitch in writing to his agent, per his request. That’s poise & presence, and Shohei Ohtani is a generational talent– age 23. These are the teams that can offer Ohtani the most bonus money according to the new international draft rules:

Rangers ($3,535,000)
Yankees ($3,500,000)
Twins ($3,070,000)
Pirates ($2,266,750)
Giants ($1,835,000) *
Mariners ($1,557,500)
Royals ($1,505,000) *
Marlins ($1,490,000)
Cardinals ($1,247,500) *
Braves ($1,210,000) *
* Teams that exceeded their bonus pool under previous CBA and cannot sign a player for more than $300K [1]

As shown above, the difference in bonus money for Shohei Ohtani ranges from a minimum of $300,000, up to $3.5 million for a few teams. He’ll make many times more than this difference in endorsements, so bonus money isn’t a deciding issue, which certainly irks some big-market behemoths. This is limited form of free agency, and Ohtani is handling it with a maturity that has obviously caught a few franchises off-guard. That makes him even more attractive to those who correctly judge & value talent.

Here is Shohei Ohtani’s summarized questionnaire to all 30 MLB organizations:

An evaluation of Shohei’s talent as a pitcher and/or a hitter;
• Player development, medical, training and player performance philosophies and capabilities;
• Major League, Minor League, and Spring Training facilities;
• Resources for Shohei’s cultural assimilation;
• A detailed plan for integrating Shohei into the organization;
• Why the city and franchise are a desirable place to play;
• Relevant marketplace characteristics.

Facts: an ace pitcher makes an entire rotation & bullpen better. It makes a manager’s job infinitely easier. There are only a few true aces in all of MLB at any given time. This is probably one, who can also hit [!], so he fits best in the NL. Why?

Assuming Shohei Ohtani gets 35 starts for an NL team and he pitches well enough to get 3.5 AB’s per start, this translates into ~125 AB’s over a season. Furthermore, these AB’s come with much less pressure to produce, as compared to DH-ing in the AL. He doesn’t need the extra pressure to produce at the plate, when he’s already considered an ace pitcher. In the NL, his plate production is “bonus,” which makes his job easier, and exponentially increases his value to those teams.

Furthermore, he could pinch hit (left-handed hitter) in every non-start game where a pitcher is removed, allowing the creative manger to maximize his value in versatility. That could be another 100 NL AB’s– at least. If he doesn’t produce at the plate, there’s limited downside in the NL. In the AL, he must produce on the mound and at the plate (at the DH standard) to be perceived as valuable.

Plus the fact he wouldn’t have to face the DH on the mound regularly in the NL. Which would you prefer for career longevity. and better numbers as a pitcher? Shohei Ohtani fits best in the NL and from a senior-circuit fan perspective, it would be nice to see the AL get hurt by their DH (artificial offense) rule once in awhile. They get too many advantages from it already.

There’s been only one Babe Ruth for a reason, baseball is the hardest sport. Even Ruth didn’t do both full-time simultaneously, and that was in the pre-integration era. Being a two-way player is a tough enough task in the easier baseball league, which is the NL. Shohei Ohtani is worth an extra 2-3 WAR per year in the NL because of this.

Everyone is just guessing where he lands, as no one knows the content the any of the teams’ questionnaire responses, or what’s in his heart. But undeniably, this is a brilliant approach for a man in Ohtani’s position.

He’ll likely choose a creative new-school manager & innovative organization. Maximum money is mostly out of the equation, to the dismay of the Yankees, Red Sox, and other big spenders. Any narrative that suggests the American League is Shohei Ohtani’s preferred destination is media propaganda & east coast bias, which favors AL power teams, but ignores inherent baseball logic & statistical analysis.

I’ll list my four National League favorites to land Shohei Ohtani. 1) Cubs have a championship roster and are in desperate need of an ace. They probably can’t win it again without one in their current window. Joe Maddon is a progressive manger, and so is their front office. Lots of media exposure and potential marketing deals in Chicago. One of the favorites, for sure. 2) Cardinals are another smart organization with qualification & need. They desperately need an ace to solidify their young starters, or else they face a rebuild. 3) Brewers need an ace to give them innings so their young starters can keep their arms attached. Their line-up is solid, and front office above average. Milwaukee is a tough blue-collar city.  4) Padres are a dark, dark horse in the media, but a serious contender in this sweepstakes. GM AJ Preller has been aggressive in the international draft, establishing baseball academies in the Pacific rim for just this reason. Ownership will now spend the posting fee, and they have plenty of young talent, as well as an ace manager & pitching coach. Ohtani could play LF for them if he’s serious (and qualified) at being a two-way player. They can only offer a $300,000 bonus.

The rest of the NL teams already have an ace (Dodgers, Nats), or are moving in the wrong direction in the win curve (Mets, Pirates, Marlins, Phillies, Reds), with behind-the-times front offices.  The Diamondbacks, Rockies & Giants have significant payroll issues affecting their rosters, making their attractiveness fleeting at best. The Braves just were sanctioned by MLB over previous improprieties, so that probably eliminates them.

If Shohei Ohtani goes to the AL, it’s the Yankees. The questionnaire sent by Shohei Ohtani to all the clubs asks specifically about game usage. The Yankees can’t really answer that question, because they haven’t hired a new manager as of this publication. [2] Ohtani will be posted in a few days, so the Yankees front office & ownership better decide on the correct skipper (& soon), so they can properly finish their homework assignment. Otherwise, they will surely lose the Ohtani sweepstakes.

So let’s summarize. This is potentially the biggest impact player to come into MLB since CF Mike Trout. That means 8-10 WAR per season, for 6-8 seasons before regression. That is inner circle HoF talent, which smart teams want for a career to be a superstar for their organization. Signing him will require more than the usual maximum money, as it will also entail a mutual agreement; first proof-of-goods by the player, then a career extension deal from the organization when it’s time. Every team has evaluated what he’s worth to them. Shohei Ohtani is methodically doing his evaluation of each organization, to find a best career fit.  I can’t wait to see him go to work on the mound.  Evey MLB fan wants him for their team, but the best fans really only wish him well in his decision….

Update: December 4, 2017– noon

It’s now Monday morning and the Padres are still the name everyone is mentioning on Shohei Ohtani. Or not mentioning actually, as “small market west coast team” is the buzz phrase, providing a fig-leaf of anonymity. Anyways– that eliminates the Dodgers, Angels & Giants. The Oakland A’s are also reportedly out. That leaves the Mariners as an AL team (disadvantage here), who are also a mess organizationally (HUGE problem). The media keeps clinging the the ghost of Ichiro-past, as if that will summon this Japanese baseball prodigy to the northwest. Anywhere but San Diego!! In reality, it is the Padres who will be getting RHP Shohei Ohtani. I know that still sounds impossible to some, but get used to it.

All the other possible-team names keep changing, and are getting no traction, but the Padres stubbornly remain on Ohtani’s list. It’s a mystery? These meetings he’s holding with the other teams are (probably) a formality, which he’s scheduled and will go through, but it’s clear (to those who see) that he’s already decided. This is also a play for time at this point by AJ Preller, with roster crunches and the Rule 5 Draft next week. That’s why the Yankees and the rest of the ESPN-led media are so upset, as they’ve been played by the maestro. It’s been beautiful to behold!

AJ Preller won this prize by out-thinking & out-hustling his opponent GM’s. He’s been the best GM in the game for awhile now, recognized by a few who notice & care. Now a few more will notice this baseball genius. Preller has a long-standing relationship with Shohei Ohtani. Preller even speaks fluent Japanese, as well as Spanish. How’s that for presentation?! Other teams are cry-babying over how they didn’t get a real chance to make their pitch, or they didn’t know what he wanted; while Preller has worked to know this kid personally for years. It’s over: Shohei Ohtani is going to San Diego, and that is why AJP just got a 3-year extension– yesterday. How upset is ESPN & the east coast media? They know all this, but don’t mention it in their write-ups or on TV. They can’t, they’re too enraged, self-interested & bitter…

AJP went into shutdown mode on Shohei Ohtani. There was zero media in the Padres forums concerning contending for Shohei Ohtani, which is what both sides (that mattered) wanted. The only flak or mentions in their forums came from this inquisitive independent baseball writer with too much time on his hands. When posting time came (Friday), AJ Preller flew in under-the-radar, and is about to land the pitching prodigy everyone coveted– for the minimum signing bonus & the $20 million posting fee.

It takes a genius to see the inconceivable and then pull it off. Preller has now won the last two international drafts by a wide margin, seeing how the Braves were recently stripped for their 2016-17 improprieties. Preller did it by spending more than anyone ever thought possible that time around. It was an ingenious strategy that caused great consternation & envy, leading to changes in the CBA rules last winter, with caps now set on international spending. This time around, with the Padres supposedly sitting in the $300,00 penalty box, Preller cashes in a longterm relationship for his organization, landing the biggest prize of them all. That’s magic [!], and Padres fans love it!!

A few points on usage with Padres manager Andy Green, and their ace pitching coach Darren Balsley. Shohei Ohtani is a pitcher first. Pitchers are typically at the mercy of their manager & organization, when it comes to game usage & medical brains. See RHP Mark Prior, who incidentally is now with the Padres front office. The best way for a stud pitcher to avoid a blowout, is to pick an organization that takes medical science seriously and values their players as more than just a piece of meat. An organization needs to take a pitcher’s opinions & philosophy into account on a human interaction level. The Padres now do this. Honestly they are the only team that checks all these boxes, so this choice is perfectly rational for Shohei Ohtani– despite what conventional-wisdom pundits may blather.

Too many old school managers push for too many innings from their young pitchers, while not expecting enough out of their veterans. The new school (correct) thinking is just the reverse, as young arms need extra protection from fatigue, until their arm strength builds up. Veteran starters need to pitch effectively through 6 innings minimum, and better yet into the 7th & 8th, to have much value. Veterans should 1) win games for good teams; and 2) have lower bullpen usage during their starts– as compared to younger starters. The same concept also applies to relievers on their usage scale.

Shohei Ohtani is probably a right handed ace (and no less than a #2), who hits left-handed. Reportedly as a hitter he strikes out a lot, but has good power. Possibly a left-handed Hunter Renfroe [?], meaning he could hit as high as 7th or 6th– on a good team. In any instance it gives him (and his team) an edge on the mound and makes his manager’s job much easier– if used properly. He’ll be giving his team more wins per start in the NL due to this. Baseball is much more interesting & real this way, don’t you think?

The San Diego Padres now jump two steps ahead in their winning curve, and every plan towards winning a World Series just got accelerated. This ship had already been moving faster than the rest in it’s building, and now they have signed the equivalent of LeBron James. In the NL West, Shohei Ohtani will be featured in LA, SF, Denver & Phoenix regularly as they play each other 18 times/season. I imagine the Yankees & Red Sox will now want the Padres to visit their ballparks when Interleague play rotates back around, instead of playing every game at Petco. The Padres are also about to sell 20,000+ new season tickets. How does that grab you?

Monday 6:00 PM

The Padres plan when Ohtani signs with them will be to sign a veteran pitcher to perform well and eat innings. I said it already: RHP Hu Darvish for 4 years for a rotation of #3 Clayton Richard, #4 Luis Perdomo & #5 Dinelson Lamet. LHP Robbie Erlin & RHP Colin Rea sent to AAA as TJ rehabs, waiting if someone falters or goes down, or a 6-man rotation becomes necessary. Plenty of young pitching depth with upside at AA on down, so it only gets better moving forward. No more talk anymore about reuniting with RHP Jhoulys Chacin, which is a nice upgrade.

LHP Brad Hand is the Padres closer, and everyone else will regret not getting him when they had their chance(s). Preller would have dealt him if someone had made a fair offer, but everyone low-balled him. That has a way of motivating players & organizations. A few effective bullpen pieces are also returning, with AJP likely finding the rest at a discount– as usual. RHP Carter Capps is the wild card in the 2018 bullpen mix.

C Hedges, 1B Myers, 2B Asuaje/Urias, SS stopgap FA/Tatis Jr, 3B Solarte/Spangenberg, RF Renfroe, CF- Margot, LF Pirela. In LF the Padres could make a trade for Christian Yelich or Ryan Braun to fill a huge need.  JD Martinez in free agency?  With Ohtani, Darvish & LF; the Padres are a wild card team in the NL West.

Padres will have improved OBP & defense, with a rotation to now match up with the big boys. AJ Preller needs to carefully manage payroll because Ohtani, Margot, Tatis and the rest need to be locked up for this plan to work. Note that neither Hu Darvish nor JD Martinez cost a compensation pick, because they were traded in 2017. In the NL, the Padres will have leap-frogged the Braves, Pirates, Marlins, Cardinals, Brewers & Rockies to be about even with the Diamondbacks, but with more upside. They were already better than the Reds, Phillies, Giants & Mets.

MLB Winter Meetings run December 10-14, and end with the Rule 5 Draft, which Preller takes seriously. I don’t know what the lag time is between signing Ohtani and having to add him to the roster, but it matters, if indeed the Padres are about to close this deal, which I believe they are. As far as the rest of MLB goes, everyone will be sour grapes and hate on the Padres for this. People publicly wish Shohei Ohtani the best, but really want him only for themselves. It’s human nature, but I agree it gets ugly too often in sports (and everywhere else) these days.

Here’s a lesson in cyber-warfare. During spring training 2017, I published an article on the possibility of the Padres acquiring Ryan Braun. It was a theoretical trade piece I wrote, because I had a strong notion that deal was being quietly discussed. Evidently was on the mark, and it exploded that trade possibility. Since then I have had a much-more difficult time posting in all MLB forums. It has required finding and removing an encryption code, which holds-up posts from publication. I was also never allowed to edit in the 5-minute window anymore. It had to be perfect when it was posted, or else I had to delete & repost, or just leave it. Responding to others was limited or impossible. Ghosting & playing with the window in-your-face, are other nasty tactics.

Since about a week ago, I’ve magically been allowed to do everything normally again.

Anyone seen this beauty before?

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Fangraphs published an Ohtani piece yesterday that mentioned the Padres, then immediately dismissed them as a serious option. And this is called “serious” sports journalism? The Hardball Times and the rest are all the same, meaning they’re in denial.

Today it’s a concession piece, that reads as if it’s been wrung out of them, as Fangraphs HATES this, but acceptance is slowly coming as we can see. It feels like outsiders are listening in here (sorta call & response like), don’t you think?  We’re all being played, Black Hand interests lurk everywhere with AJP conducting. Shohei Ohtani the subject, and I the artist narrating.

What is real & fake news? One dialectical discovery I’ve made in this process is the east coast bias is a specific political tendency, with serious reach & power. The puppet masters remain hidden, but their masks are being exposed, layer by layer. They fear & hate this above all.

Tuesday–  December 5, 2017:   ~10:00 AM

“Stability” has become the new Padres buzz word in their media releases. AJP will likely soon get back to scouting for next June’s amateur draft, where the Padres pick 7th. The international draft can be won even when sitting in the $300K penalty box, that is this year’s lesson. AJP is already planning his strategy for the next round, in which the Padres will again be limited to $300,000 max signing bonus. AJP is a baseball savant who outworks everyone else by miles.

BTW, “stability” is another signal for an Ohtani signing, as it means you have an ace, so you can settle down in the acquisition market. Stability in MLB means filling in needs, without making big trades– and then going with it. We’ll see if he actually means this, or if this is just another balloon being floated. Their current 2018 payroll commitments are well-under $40 million. Padres 2018 could be anything from another tough learning year, to a magical one. Certainly it will be more exciting.

The Padres dead money is: Matt Kemp (Hector Olivera), James Shields, Jedd Gyorko; minus KCR money for LHP Travis Wood, and LAD money for Matt Kemp– all of which balances to $6 million in 2018. Another $2M for the Padres in 2019, and that’s it.

AJP got compensation picks for J Upton & I Kennedy; traded Kimbrel for a bounty; then dumped the rest in 2016 including: Shields, Rodney, Pomeranz, M Upton, Kemp, Cashner & Norris; while keeping his best players: Myers, Solarte & Hand. Longtime prospects Renfroe, Hedges & Margot have filled in much better, with more to come. Soon it will be time to step up and fill in some needs, possibly in free agency, since they are acquiring an ace in Ohtani.

When Shohei Ohtani signs in San Diego, the Padres have the money to get a top-tier free-agent starter (ie– Darvish, Arrieta) and a LF bat (JD Martinez), without breaking their budget. This allows them to not have to trade any of their best prospects from their top-rated system. The Padres are about to become “instant contenders,” although knowledgeable fans know this took a lot of hard work. This team will have competitive staying power & upside, which is the last thing Dodgers & Giants want. That’s why this narrative is being dismissed by the biased media.

More reports of the Padres as leading contenders for Ohtani are starting to filter into MLB & ESPN news feeds. They’re going to have to report it, when it happens, after all this hype. Most aren’t thrilled, and certainly don’t understand. Anyone who has read this piece, knows more on this story & the Padres than all the mass media writers contributions– combined!

One week ago, I was the only person in the world (outside of those few who secretly already knew), who considered this deal a possibility for the Padres. I have written this story as it has developed, dissecting every relevant aspect. Normally a writer could expect to sell this story to a major media outlet (when it actually breaks), as this is the authentic account, and people would love to know how it actually happened. The only mainstream “analysis” will be clips, snippets & watered down versions from what I’ve written here. I will receive no references, nor acknowledgment that I was correct all along.

When you are blacklisted, you have to set your expectations differently. There will be no Sports Illustrated or Yahoo for me, only the satisfaction that I unfolded this story in inimitable artistic style in real time, and it will stand over everything else here for posterity. I did it when everyone else either: 1) didn’t have a clue, or 2) was lying.

Tuesday ~12:30 PM

Here’s my comment on this MLB piece concerning Shohei Ohtani’s meeting with the San Francisco Giants bandwagon delegation today.

Reality check for Giants fans: No Ohtani. No Stanton. Still old, contract-laden, and a last-place team. Time to rebuild.

This is fun.  Who’s next?  Working on a haiku for the Dodgers [!].  Seventy (70) people listening in that Giants MLB forum right now. This is how I have to market, promote & distribute myself as a blacklisted artist & journalist. Making money and getting ‘hits’ for others…

Tuesday ~2:00 PM

Source: Angels agree with prospect Maitan

Plan A: Ohtani, not happening

Plan B: top SS-prospect Kevin Maitan

A+ grade GM work getting that money from the Braves, to steal their stripped prospect!  I respect that, in this line of work.

Padres fan cheatsheet for Red Sox haters on the 2016 “AJP Suspension” by MLB

1) The suspension was officially for “undisclosed anti-inflammatories” used by LHP Drew Pomeranz. Pitchers take ibuprofen regularly, so figure that weak stuff out.
2) AJP offered Anderson Espinoza back, and the Red Sox (Dave Dombrowski) refused. They whine either way.
3) Red Sox used ESPN and their media mouthpieces (Buster Olney) to slant national coverage in their interest.
4) Red Sox have a notorious history of whining when they don’t win.
5) Red Sox are the most ungracious winners in MLB, their fan’s conduct is insufferable and that is why they’re hated even more than the Yankees these days.
6) RHP Anderson Espinoza is recovering from Tommy-John surgery, he’ll be back in 2019.

Tuesday 3:00 PM

I’ll publish my haiku titled “Sunday Match-up” now, since it’s unlikely to be seen or appreciated in the Dodgers MLB  forum– which moves at 10-12+ comments/minute, and ejects non-Dodgers fans quickly. Their television market is largely blacked-out, as ~60% of the LA residents can’t watch a Dodgers game on TV.  Thus the intense social media activity, which has more volume than the Yankees, by far. I wonder if the Dodgers brass even considered this to be a negative when they began in this “sweepstakes”?

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A haiku is a Japanese poem, 3 lines in length, with a 5-7-5 syllable structure.

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Sunday Match-up

Kershaw — Ohtani

Padres baseball thus springs forth

It’s best– don’t you think?

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Tuesday, ~5:30 PM

Fangraphs prospect chat today:

Gavin: Where would Shohei Ohtani the pitcher and Shohei Ohtani the hitter fall in MLB Prospect Rankings, respectively?

Eric A Longenhagen: #1/In the 125-200 range

Eric Longenhagen is one of the few baseball analysts in the media I actually respect. He takes prospects seriously, and uses a sound method in his analysis. He has quite an online following. The chat begins with a barrage of questions on Ohtani going to the Padres, which he really can’t answer.

Tuesday, 6:30 PM

Seattle Mariners record in 2017: 74-88

Seattle Mariners payroll obligations– no options 2018-23:

$151.5M $131.7M $108.3M $120.9M $129.2M $108.1M

So where do the Mariners fit in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes? They have an important role as the ever-hopeful dupes. The “west coast small market” label is Seattle, but comparable to the real winner– San Diego. This throws enough people off the scent for AJP, who needs until the end-of-the-week or so, to clear the Rule 5 Draft– as previously discussed. Hard to believe that a fringy minor-leaguer Preller is unwilling to part with, and a prospect arm from another organization whom he likes (?), are what’s holding everything up on Ohtani– but there you are.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto declined to comment on the current situation, he spoke openly of his team’s plans to pursue Ohtani on his Wheelhouse Podcast two weeks ago.

“We’re not joking around,” Dipoto said on the podcast. “We’re bringing the big guns. We’re bringing the ‘A’ team. When we sit down, we’ll be sitting down with very notable faces, and that is a part of what we want to sell. We want to sell the Seattle experience and what it means to Japanese-Americans, our culture and how this organization has trended so positively when we have the star Japanese player. And make no mistake, this is a star Japanese player. He’s gifted. He’s going to make some team a lot better.”

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Think of the Mariners as the dopey guy who thinks he is about to meet (and possibly win) the most beautiful woman anyone has ever seen, but in reality is being played– as she’s already taken. Even if Dipoto feels he being used (which he is), he still can’t resist, because the prize is too beautiful.

Tuesday 9:00 PM

The Rule 5 Draft is where many GM’s make mistakes that cost their organization, without anyone knowing until much later. AJP got right-handed starter Luis Perdomo from the Cardinals in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft. The Cards sure could use that extra starter now. Last year Preller traded to corner the top three picks [!] in the Rule 5 Draft, and every selection is still with the organization & protected.

Catcher Luis Torrens is an illustrative example of sloppy management leading to opportunistic vulturing. Preller knew the Padres weren’t going to win in 2017, so he gambled on talent acquisition and came up huge. NY Yankees GM Brian Cashman had four prospects Rule 5 drafted a year ago, and three were returned– all are now gone, either washing out or traded away. The fourth guy was Torrens, who now is safely tucked away in the Padres system. Luis Torrens will start in AA or AAA, and be ready for a call-up, as he saw quite a bit of MLB action in 2017. Padres kept three Rule 5 players, and went 71-91, as Andy Green & Brad Hand got them 12 wins above their Pythagorean.

The real reason the Yankees lost this valuable catching prospect is because Cashman was too hasty in signing free agent DH Matt Holliday. There wasn’t even a hot market for him, but Cashman inked him on December 7, 2016. and had to had him to their 40-man roster for the Rule 5 Draft on December 8, 2016, leaving Torrens exposed. If Brian Cashman had waited another day or two on Holliday, he could have avoided this loss. Holliday was worth 0.0 WAR in 2017, and is now a free agent again.

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The Rangers keep being mentioned in the Ohtani mix, but really were a shaky bet (at best) from the start, even when no one knew. When they dumped RHP Hu Darvish at the 7/31  deadline, that killed any chance they could ever have. Darvish was reportedly upset that he was even offered, then ultimately traded to the Dodgers for a prospect haul.  He wasn’t consulted, or asked how he felt about it. The Rangers have 0% chance of re-signing Darvish now, and the only “Ohtani connections” the Texas Rangers ever had, were when AJ Preller was their director of scouting before he came to be GM of the Padres. Those stale ‘connections’ won’t help Texas in this case.

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After the Yankees, the Cubs were the toughest competitor for the Padres in this hunt– in my earlier estimations.  Still a heavyweight but look closely, as this organization is already starting to crumble after its magical 2016 World Series season. RHP Jake Arrieta is gone, and not worth resigning– due to over-usage. Ace closer Aroldis Chapman even voiced his feelings over being abused my Maddon in the World Series after he signed with the Yankees.  Joe Maddon has slipped quite a bit in the eyes of those who seriously evaluate MLB managers, especially after a few Anthony Rizzo dirty slides, which he defended adamantly. Pitching coach Jim Hickey has been a big part of Maddon’s success, and that gets overlooked too much. Cubbies have the resources, but are not as progressive as some would have you believe.

That covers all the candidates, as of today the field has supposedly been reduced to seven (7) teams: Angels, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Padres and Rangers. I’ve outlined the facts with all the reasoning. Now you decide: fake news or the truth?

Tuesday ~ 10:30 PM (Last post for today)

As typhoon Ohtani starts to zero in on San Diego, AJ Preller is doing what he’s done a few times already, to the irritation of more than a few rival GM’s. AJP is controlling the market, as he’s held the winning lottery ticket from the start, with the 29 other GM’s (more-or-less) in the dark. Recall that AJP managed the 2016 trading window up to the 8/1 deadline in that campaign in the same fashion; dumping junk and grabbing whatever he could get. He glutted the market with mediocrity, thus devaluing everything in its wake. It was a tsunami, and 15-20 teams got washed up in it.

As far as this Rule 5 Draft goes, which is to be held on  December 14th from 9-11 AM in Orlando, FL: there is no way AJP is scrapping any long-held plans for acquiring young talent on the cheap. The east coast media will surely pressure him to get this Ohtani deal done faster, when they figure out what’s been going on here. Leadership means hold fast, when others advise you to yield. All this is why AJ Preller is the best GM in MLB.

Wednesday  December 6, 2017:  ~11:00 AM

When Shohei Ohtani declares his intention to sign with the Padres, the other 29 teams can finally get back to business. The actual signing process involves the Padres paying the $20 million posting fee to MLB, which is then transferred to Ohtani’s former Japanese professional club. When the paperwork is finished & returned on that, then Ohtani is officially released from his Japanese-league contract, and can sign with the Padres. I’m estimating the whole process will take about a week or so. Just as long as Ohtani is officially inked with the Padres by next Friday (December 15), or later. This is so AJ Preller can do his Rule 5 Draft magic, and then make the necessary roster adjustments afterwards, so he doesn’t lose any assets. AJP dosen’t want to pull a Brian Cashman/Luis Torrens boner here.

Of course, the Padres brass will need to appear surprised & completely tickled over this unexpected turn-of-events, when the Ohtani decision is announced. They could never dream of being the recipients of such good fortune [!], but nonetheless it’s true. At that point, everybody in the Padres organization will have to screw on a straight face for the media, in the final act of this affair. By now, astute baseball readers should understand this whole ordeal to be the “Ohtani Affair,” as opposed to “sweepstakes.” There was never any ‘open’ competition, once it was agreed-to by MLB to post Ohtani– allowing him a 21-day free-agency window. When that owners’ agreement was unanimously ratified, the Padres had just won– although no else knew it. That’s the definition of under-the-radar.

More & more, the truth is start to filter into the major media sports news, and especially into the comments section of MLB forums. Most baseball fans are actually ahead of many of the MLB writers and “experts” in their assessments & conclusions. Many eager fans have been digging for days & weeks, trying to find some relevant facts & analysis they can hang their hats on– mostly to no avail. Slowing, but surely the facts & broad outline of events are seeping onto the Internet, somehow [?].

I expect Friday to be the Ohtani announcement day. After that, everyone in MLB packs up & flies to Orlando, for the Winter Meetings, which start on Monday, December 11. Not much left for me to discuss until then. I’ve covered it all, and once again have gotten ahead of the story. This happens to me a lot. I get my hooks into something compelling, just as it’s developing, and then find myself ahead of the curve during my research and writing. This has happened again, so now I will patiently wait for the predicted & inevitable result…

I also feel we are near the end, because this whole affair reminisces my Hurricane Irma Diary. In both situations, I place myself within the actual story, and consciously direct the action– while narrating it to the world. I feel this good-time movie is about to end, as it feels like Midnight Run (1988), in which I am Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas (Charles Grodin); trapped, compelled, and carried along in a mad adventure that drives everyone crazy. It’s running time is 126 minutes, so it goes on somewhat longer than your typical movie, but you’re never bored; just exhausted, satisfied and relieved when it’s over. If anyone asks for my credentials: Special Agent Alonzo Mosely– FBI.

Wednesday ~2:30 PM

The Padres will end this charade with Seattle & themselves being the finalists. I forecast this list will go from 7 to 2– suddenly. Seattle’s GM Jerry Dipoto is comparable to Midnight Run-character Marvin Dorfler (John Ashton), a useful but greedy tool whom everyone keeps around when needed, but is cut-out when the pie is sliced at the end. Both see success in visions before their eyes, and both are always thinking– just before they crash their planes into a mountain. Dipoto too will be flying home, unfulfilled. All flights are non-smoking now, so I still wonder on that one a bit…

AJ Preller has to repair all this collateral damage which has occurred during this bloody campaign. This whole process was considered “going to war” by all 30 MLB teams. That’s how high the stakes are. Simply understanding AJP’s rationale (as I’ve shown) goes a long ways towards healing for many. Honestly, a lot of teams & their fans behaved very badly during this whole Ohtani-affair. The should be ashamed of themselves and look within, but instead heap derision & scorn at the victors and the prize. These haters all need to be exposed as frauds and shouted-down, permanently. The Ohtani campaign by the Padres since his posting, has been a coming-out party for this organization. Call it a surprise party, if you will.

This franchise is now officially a heavyweight, for the next 6-8 years. No other franchise outside the Yankees & Dodgers can own that statement. Can you imagine Clayton Kershaw facing Shohei Ohtani on the mound, AND in the Padres line-up? It’s happening, as it’s already a haiku. That’s going to be an AL-type batting order 1-9, when he pitches & hits for the Padres. No one in the NL wants to face that, and most in the AL doesn’t either.

Wednesday ~3:30 PM

I’ll admit I’ve had a roaring fun time crashing this Padres private party. I figure that after I get done bringing in Ohtani’s ass, I’ll call up AJP & get my cut of that $300,000, and then open up a nice coffee shop. For all you aspiring bloggers, let me just say that doing what I’ve done requires talent & dedication, as it’s a very tricky business. Over half of new blogs go under within a year. I’m not saying that as your advisor, I’m just saying that if I was your advisor, I’d have to strongly advise you against it, because it’s a very tricky business.

Wednesday  ~5:00 PM

A final significant parallel to this 1988 cinema classic are the surveillance teams. “Are they good or bad guys?” is the question that runs throughout the film. You can now figure out your own scorecard on any covert media activity in the Ohtani affair.

As far as the inner loop for the Padres goes, it starts with AJP & majority-owner Ron Fowler. AJP has been given complete control of baseball operations, so this was his baby all the way. His core group is manager: Andy Green, farm director: Sam Geaney, and scouting director: Mark Conner. They were undoubtedly in on this, early. Their media has been perfectly in-sync, indicating a long-planned & well-executed PR campaign, which went under-the-radar. That means the Padres media was in on it too. Preller unplugged the east coast immediately, particularly when the Yankees (and such) tried to bring out their brass bandwagons. That reduces buzz factor, and that was what the primary interested parties wanted.

The midwest big boys (Cubs & Rangers) have been left on low heat all along. Just being “alive” is consider awesome by some still. The west coast has been split between big & small market size. This put the Padres, Mariners & A’s in one camp; and the Dodgers, Giants & Angels in the other. The A’s were immediately eliminated. The big-market angle has been played as a negative, while small-market as positive. This keeps the west coast on a medium simmer overall. Nice hot stove cooking by AJP.

Wednesday  ~6:00 PM

In poker, it’s how you play em’ that counts. In this game AJP held a straight flush all along, even before the cards were supposedly dealt. The Angels adapted quickly, shifting to the top international prospects which the Atlanta Braves had just lost. That makes the Halos big secondary winners here. Meanwhile, the Yankees, Rangers, etc have all sat on their thumbs waiting for Ohtani to change his mind.

The Angels even used next year’s bonus pool money to make these valuable talent acquisitions. This year’s international talent is going… going… gone [!], and the east coast big boys are still at the table with the biggest piles of unused chips. Who do you spend those millions on now, if you are Brian Cashman or Jon Daniels? It’s only usable until early-July, 2018. Then everyone replenishes & resets, as the next wave of young exploitable intentional talent gets this form limited free agency. All the cream has been signed.

Look at the list I copied & pasted from MLB.com at the beginning of this piece, which showed top remaining international money to spend, by team & amount. Those teams that wished instead of worked, lost all around. You gotta admit it, AJ Preller played this one beautifully.

Shohei Ohtani has handled his interests impeccably, as he was obviously asked to work with the Padres organization concerning the exact date of his signing. His Japanese club the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball’s Pacific League, and all his support staff have surely aided in this. Shohei Ohtani is already proving he’s an accommodating team player, even in making his American star debut.

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I have to keep reminding myself that I need to report the mass media activity, as an accurate representation of what’s happened. Because as soon as this real story breaks, everyone changes their narrative and claims “I knew it was the Padres all along.”  I posted the earlier “Kershaw vs Ohtani AL-lineup,” snippet as a comment in the MLB Ohtani piece this afternoon. At the time, the Ohtani story was positioned second, below Aaron Boon as new Yankees manager, but above yet-another Giancarlo Stanton trade-talk piece. An hour later in the MLB main feed, the Ohtani story was dropped to 5th. Impressive, no?

Wednesday  ~8:15 PM

Bonzai!  I just checked the Padres MLB site and there’s this new article.

Preller expects to be busy at Winter Meetings

From talkin’ trade to the Rule 5 Draft, GM has full to-do list

Preller said. “I get the sense that things are going to start to open up, and you’ll start to see some activity.”

Padres beat writer AJ Cassavell & AJ Preller are just precious together, don’t you think?

I’m sitting in my underwear & t-shirt in central Florida, on the edge of my seat with anticipation…

Actually I’m grateful, as I interpret this as tomorrow. That’s nice, I can finally sign-off for the day. Sayonara.

Thursday  December 7, 2017  ~ 10:00 AM

As expected this morning, nothing new on MLB.com or the Padres MLB site, so I check back with Fangraphs. Fangraphs is baseball analytics site is run by Dave Cameron, who held an online fan Q & A chat yesterday. Here are some relevant questions he fielded on Shohei Ohtani, along with his replies…

12:05 PM
Jack: What team would benefit the most from acquiring Ohtani?

Dave Cameron: Probably the Giants or Mariners, both of whom have questionable futures once their core ages out of contention in the not too distant future.

12:14 PM
Hae-Lo Dee: You’re handed a thousand dollars with the stipulation that it has to be placed on a bet for what team Ohtani signs for. Which team do you put it on?

Dave Cameron: Probably the Mariners.

12:18 PM
Hae-Lo Dee: What do you think the chances are that Ohtani has decided already, but is playing out the decision for no reason other than due diligence?

Dave Cameron: I’d guess he probably had a preference going into this thing, but is open to a team changing his mind.

12:25 PM
Bob: Rank the 7 teams still in on Ohtani in order of probability of landing him (in your opinion).

Dave Cameron: SEA-SF-big gap-LAD-ANA-SD-TEX-CHC

12:33 PM
Matt H: What would a moderately optimistic estimate of Ohtani’s 2018 WAR be?

Dave Cameron: +6

12:59 PM
Dave Cameron: Alright, have to go meet with a lawyer for a bit. Thanks for hanging out everyone.

Fangraphs also published an Ohtani article, making a case for him going to the Cubs. I wrote-up that angle a few days ago, and today it’s dead; but here’s Fangraphs covering it now. Almost every time I go to their site, I get a pop-up window asking me for money. No thanks.

Thursday ~ noon

Why do I keep punishing Fansgraphs, ESPN and the shills at MLB? It’s not just because they are liars. AJ’s Cassavell & Preller lie too, but when I bust them in the comments section of their forums, they’ve learned to notice & react appropriately. They acknowledge my power & influence, and know they can’t fool me– so we’re cool. A lie only hurts, if you believe it.

With Fangraphs and the rest of those fucks, they simply refuse to admit they’ve been busted down to their underwear, and continue to lie as before. This is the same as Trump, Clinton, Bush, Sanders and all the rest of politics, personified and refracted through the lens of media manipulation– known as east coast bias.

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Today is Pearl Harbor Day. On this day in 1941, Japanese imperialism launched a surprise attack on the US naval base in Hawaii, thus bringing the United States & Japan into conflict. World War II ended with two atomic bombs being dropped on the civilian cities of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Most Japanese people still consider this horrible act to be a war crime. Most Americans view it differently.

San Diego maintains the largest naval fleet & marine base in the world, so any of this “small market” stereotyping that’s been going on during the Ohtani affair, is completely ridiculous. I often wonder how foreign players feel when the “Star-Spangled Banner” is being played, while they are surrounded by full military trappings & jet fly-overs? Sometimes, I feel like I’m the only one who thinks these thoughts.

I’ve gone back and edited everything from start to finish, correcting all typos and other mistakes, added links, etc. This running summary of events is around  7500 words, spanning a week-and-a-half in time.  The irony of this Ohtani story is that when it “breaks,” this authentic account will be completed, while everyone else scrambles to get their version of the truth published & noticed. That’s how blacklists and fake news interact.

Thursday  ~1:30 PM

This is new, (but listed 3rd) on the Padres MLB homepage:

Report: Padres met with Ohtani on Tuesday
By AJ Cassavell / MLB.com | @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO — The Padres were the last of the seven teams to meet with two-way Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani, doing so on Tuesday night in Los Angeles, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan…

It appears that Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan is about to “break the story,” Shohei Ohtani is going to the San Diego Padres! Soon will be “official.” Ain’t that something? I know I’ll be relieved, because if it had been the Mariners or Dodgers, I was going to have a lot of re-editing to do.

Also in the news during this 10-day span: Trump ready to go to war with North Korea; Wildfires burning out of control in California; Massive tax cuts for rich approved by both houses of Congress; Conflicts within US ruling class intensify following Flynn guilty plea; Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital sparks anger & protests; etc…

Over & Out

Friday, December 8, 2017 ~1:00 PM

There’s an old expression is baseball that goes; it ain’t over until it’s over.

It looks like there are a few clowns who want to go extra innings, when the score is 128-0. I’ve already introduced this Charlie Brown caricature, take a look at his latest weak stuff.

Despite scrutiny, officials expect MLB probe after Shohei Ohtani decision

11:55 AM ET Buster Olney ESPN Senior Writer

This will surely backfire into kamikazee, anti-east coast bias feedback– from fans who know the source.  But that doesn’t mean they won’t try their worst! These rabid dog pack-journalists never will learn, and therefore they must be beaten into submission. That is a valuable lesson. I’m thinking possibly an “undisclosed Rule 5 Draft agenda…”

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Still no “official” announcement Shohei Ohtani has chosen the Padres. Likely later this afternoon (IMO), west coast time. The posting & transfer process will then begin. Of course, it’s late on the east coast and already Saturday in Japan, so they’ll get back to it on Monday there, which will be Sunday here. Crazy timing, huh?

Here’s another little coincidence for you. When I went to check the MLB site(s) on Friday morning– December 8, their page format which they have used for the last 5+ years has been completely changed. This is for the main site and ALL the teams; COMPLETELY reformatted, with everything repositioned and jumbled around. People are obviously confused, as the number of comments is way down. Maybe this is due to the fact that many comments’ sections that don’t even load. I try to post something on the latest Stanton piece— forget-about-it!  This gets me thinking…

I click on a few of my links above, and they all load, but only the article [!]– no comments that others & I posted are to be seen. It’s a good thing I saved & published everything I posted, otherwise MLB, it’s writers, and fans wouldn’t have access to what happened during the Ohtani affair. Hey, I’m always thinking.

Friday,  2:18 PM

It would be wise & brave for the Padres war room to agree to whole-heartedly take on this unfair east coast bias, while the iron is hottest. The east coast powers-that-be will never respect the Padres, until they kick a little ass in this area.  Also, what about the kid’s feelings? Speak from your heart when you declare Shohei Ohtani!  This is a watershed franchise moment for the Padres, and a crossroads for MLB.

I can interfere no longer, you must use the force wisely AJP.

Friday,  3:40 PM

If A.J. Preller is a genius (and he is), then what am I?

Wile E. Coyote, super-genius, and it’s just like that Mel Blanc cartoon character, as we both have guile & ingenuity, but ACME keeps sending us defects, so everything always blows up in our faces. We’re both funnier & easier to understand when our voices are heard. It may be hilarious to watch on television, but how many times can you be sent off a cliff, plunging a thousand feet below into a ‘poof’ of smoke, and then dust yourself off still dazed & hungry, trying to figure out another brilliant plan while the brainless roadrunner zooms by again?

Proof: MLB reports Shohei Ohtani signs with the Angels.

Friday, December 8  6:11 PM

I had waited to see if this was a zig-zag by AJP, to short-circuit a potential MLB investigation, but it isn’t. He may still be investigated, even though he lost.  I leave what I’ve published above untouched, as this article is a character study more than anything else, and I have no issue admitting I was wrong about where RHP Shohei Ohtani would land in the end. It appears the Black Hand has stepped in, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that at this time.

The official Padres narrative is now that they lost Ohtani because they didn’t have enough money, and he wanted to DH. That’s just the opposite of what everybody claimed & indicated for weeks & weeks, but now it’s suddenly peddled as the truth.  In a nutshell, the Red Sox were never players here, so their strategy was to foil the apparent victors– the Padres (whom they HATE), forcing Preller to kick Ohtani to his buddy Billy Eppler, or else MLB (Red Sox) would have eventually stripped and sanctioned the Padres. When ESPN media ran out Buster Olney, that was the signal. AJP complied.

The Black Hand message: move along everybody– move along; nothing to see here. This blog has done major damage to MLB, ESPN, many others’ credibility– even the Padres. No apologies to any of them.

That was my ultimate purpose from the start, as I am a revolutionary socialist, against this form of capitalist exploitation. Shohei Ohtani is worth many times more than what he’s getting, and so are all the others. As a Padres fans I would have loved to have him, but wish him well with the Angels. In sum, AJP may have  overplayed his hand [?], and probably should have closed the deal with Ohtani as soon as he could of, instead of concerning himself too much with the Rule 5 Draft. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and sometimes something greater things matters more.

Wile E Coyote is at his wits end, a bit scathed, and “officially” Over & Out in this blog episode.

[Final editing completed 9:52 AM Saturday, December 9. No one is smart enough to figure all THAT out– instantly.]

Buster Busted:

Final image uploaded at 12:13 PM, Sunday December 10, 2017

Final score in extra, EXTRA innings: Angels— 150, as they got Ohtani, Maitan and a few others for being Johnny-on-the-spot, combined with good hustling by GM Billy Eppler. That earns him a promotion to Taipan; Padres-– 50, (for merit in wisely avoiding a bigger trap (set by the Red Sox); MLB & the rest— 0. Ric Size— infinity.

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Almirola Introduced as Patrick’s Replacement

This is how it ends for Danica Patrick. Her iconic first name doesn’t even get to make the headline, as the biggest superstar in sports is being pushed out by NASCAR [1].  Fans can’t wait to read about Junior’s “final ride” @ Phoenix this week, which has been a weekly ESPN piece, sanctioned (insisted upon) by NASCAR. It has generated very few (often no) comments– week after week, in celebration of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s last season. For the record, I like Dale Jr. and think he deserves a respectful send-off, but things clearly aren’t being treated equally here.

Danica Patrick is a pioneer in sports, but this goes largely unmentioned in NASCAR reporting, even as she’s being retired. This is as far as she’s allowed to go. Women drivers are now accepted in Indycar, NHRA, and other top-competitive racing series– just not in NASCAR. This had to be reinforced in every way, including her garbage team year-after-year, with no speed in her car– week-after-week. Richard Petty couldn’t do anything with that, so spare her fans the numbers & “statistical analysis,” as everyone who follows understands NASCAR is fixed anyways.

On top of that, Danica was intentionally wrecked, spun-out, and generally treated with unsportsmanlike conduct from her “peers” her entire career in NASCAR [2]. The racing standards in NASCAR can best be described as reckless & unprofessional. That’s how millions & millions of young Danica-fans feel. The fact she won even one race (2008 Indy Japan 300) in her career, is a testament to her driving skill & fierce determination, in the face of obstacles (and media scrutiny) which no other driver has ever had to endure.

Plus– the fact she’s gorgeous, so everyone has an opinion, right?  When Danica talks about having babies, that gets people excited I’ve noticed.  No one else in racing lights up social media faster than Danica. That’s why people use only her first name in reference, because everyone knows. That’s marketing gold, and NASCAR wasted it because they hate her.

Tough to get sponsorship with that kind of industry & team “support,” much less run competitively. NASCAR blew the best chance it ever had to save itself from declining ratings, by modernizing. But seeing how Danica Patrick was treated (almost killed– repeatedly) by such ignorance & hatred, makes it hard to imagine any woman wanting to follow her in her NASCAR tire tracks.

For more see: http://ricsize.com/is-danica-patrick-retiring/

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World Series, Free Agents & Padres Off-Season

No doubt that 2017 was the Dodgers’ year, the same way 2016 was the Cubs’ year. Both were the best teams in baseball, yet one team didn’t win it all. What makes the difference? In 2016 Theo Epstein & GM Jed Hoyer got the relief ace they needed in Aroldis Chapman, from the Yankees for top prospect SS Gleyber Torres. Recall, the Cubs couldn’t have beaten Cleveland in 7 games without Chapman. It was the same way for Cleveland, in obtaining lefty relief ace Andrew Miller. Both teams couldn’t have gotten as far as they did, without those bullpen stoppers.

This year when it was time to get what you REALLY needed for the post-season (7/31 deadline), the best team (Dodgers) balked at the asking price for the most valuable post-season commodity, a lefty relief ace still under arbitration control– which is really nice in February, and invaluable in October. Much of the resistance from teams-in-need was because it was Padres GM AJ Preller selling. So, why didn’t any team make him a serious offer for Brad Hand at the deadline?

Yes, there is the trend towards organizations hanging onto their prospects, but also I suspect an element of collusion (which I can’t prove), in retaliation for what AJP did in 2016. He simply got the best of too many teams & their GM’s last year, which I’ve discussed extensively here & elsewhere. But that’s still no excuse if you are serious about winning.

Instead, the team-to-beat spent about half of what they needed to get Brad Hand, in order to acquire something they didn’t need– in Hu Darvish. By late July, the Dodgers had already won their division, and had plenty of capable post-season starters. What they desperately needed was a guy who was good enough to get outs in the 7th & 8th innings in October. It’s foolish to waste money on what you don’t need, just because it’s more affordable than what you actually need. This is what Dodgers GM Andrew Friedman did & didn’t do in 2017. This was probably the best team the Dodgers will have in this competitive window, and they blew it. Games 2 & 5 of the World Series were both there for LA to win, but manager Dave Roberts couldn’t find a guy in his bullpen to get the outs he needed, because that guy wasn’t there.

American League line-ups are qualitatively tougher than the National League, so whether it was the Astros or Yankees, Dave Roberts needed another reliable bullpen option to close those World Series games out. Dodgers GM Andrew Friedman knew this in July, when he said they were looking to acquire a “wipe-out lefty reliever.” By that he meant (of course), Brad Hand. There was no one else close to his value that was available, and yet no team would make AJ Preller a substantial offer. In other words, no team was willing to pay the price to win in October. Tell me what a GM’s job is again?

The media chimed in, “Hand’s value will never be greater… if the Padres are smart they’ll sell now…” AJ Preller said, “No!” to all that nonsense (again); and now the Gnats, Yankees and Dodgers REALLY regret not acquiring Brad Hand. He could have helped all of those teams get the outs they so desperately needed (when it counted most), instead of coming up short. This is not to say the Astros didn’t have trouble getting the tough outs too, they were just a little better balanced overall. You need luck too, but really it’s money & brains that wins. Astros were a little better at that game, and that was the difference in the fall classic.

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These are the most-mentioned MLB free agents this winter, with my brief comments:

Yu Darvish: This RHP in his prime was a great #2 starter, but never quite an ace. He’s now a #3 starter on a championship team.

J.D. Martinez: The corner OF to get, as he supplies OBP & SLG. He’s likely looking for his payday (longterm 6-8 yrs), which will be too long for most.

Eric Hosmer: He’s 28 and this is his payday– represented by Scott Boras. Look for ~8 years $200M. He’s very good, but not worth that kind of investment.

Lorenzo Cain: Age-31 speedy CF, will need to move to a corner in a year or two– never a good longterm sign. It will be interesting where he lands, and for how much & long.

Wade Davis: The FA closer this winter. That’s big $$.

Mike Moustakas: 3B career: .251/.305/.425. Had one great season in 2015, when they won it, otherwise he’s overrated.

Jay Bruce: OF/DH career (mostly in a bandbox): .249/.319/.472, which means he’s now useless. Cheap bench depth only, otherwise he’s an overpay. I’m sure someone will…

Todd Frazier: 3B career: .245/.321/.459. A little better than his former teammate Jay Bruce, but not much.

Carlos Santana: 1B/DH/C career: .249/.365/.445. Good OBP, but limited SLG, as well as catching anymore. If he stays healthy, he can be an bargain somewhere, probably AL.

Jake Arrieta: This age-31 RHP has a lot of mileage on his arm. Health & medical evaluation is critical here. If Arrieta is healthy, he can be a strong #2 starter over the course of his contract, which is extremely valuable. If his arm falls off, then some team has a huge sunk cost. This will be the highest-risk FA deal this winter.

Alex Cobb: This age 30 RHP is underrated because the Rays always have pitching. In 2017: 179.1 IP, 3.66 ERA. Yankees are interested for sure, and you know what that means.

Zack Cozart: Career SS: .254/.305/.411. He’s age-32, and 2017 was a career year. The Reds have stunk for a long time, because they invested so heavily in many of the free agents on this list. All are losing players, with inflated power stats, due to extreme ballpark effect. All are average-to-poor defenders. Teams have wised-up somewhat, but I still expect Cosart to get a richer deal than his actual worth, as there still are overspenders aplenty.

CC Sabathia: This age-37 LHP still has some gas in the tank, 2017 with NYY: 148.2 IP, 3.69 ERA. His usage needs to be limited, but those are still mostly quality innings from a 3/4 AL starter.

Ichiro Suzuki: RF 2017 with Miami: .255/.318/.332, probably should retire. Career in MLB: .312/.355/.403, 3080 hits. Best defensive RF ever? Ichiro or Clemente. First-ballot HoFer.

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Padres Notes:

The top off-season trade chips for Padres GM AJ Preller are closer Brad Hand & 3B Yangervis Solarte. Hand will likely be dealt, as teams & their fans saw the value of a shut-down reliever in October. The teams that came up short especially saw this, and should be more in the mood to offer what Brad Hand is actually worth this time around. His value is similar to what closer Craig Kimbrel was worth when he was dealt to the Red Sox in the winter of 2015. Wade Davis is the only free-agent closer available this winter, so options are limited in this premium market.

Yangervis Solarte has a lot of value. He’s an everyday 3B, with legitimate utility value, and a switch-hitter. That wins games when used properly, as Padres manager Andy Green has. From a business standpoint in terms of prospects, AJ Preller won’t get the value he’s seeking, as Solarte is generally underrated which cuts his market value. His contract is team favorable, and that leads to the reasons Solarte signed it. His wife had just passed away from cancer, and he appreciated the organizational & fan support. He stated he wanted to finish his career with the Padres. That’s a loyal soldier (but only in SD), and a valuable asset. I don’t think Padres GM AJ Preller trades that away, because most of Solarte’s value is in San Diego, which means you can’t get a fair return. You know what I mean?

AJ Preller has a logjam of young infield talent, but not a MLB SS. Whatever AJP deals, he’ll look to add depth (top prospect or MLB ready) to that position & corner OF. The Padres desperately need a mashing LF. And pitching. Most Padres fans are optimistic about Carlos Asuaje at 2B, but nothing is certain. Luis Urias is a hit-first 2B prospect, with little power. You need to see Manny Margot-type improvement from Urias, before getting too excited there. 2B/3B Cory Spangenberg, CF Travis Jankowski, and even some other relievers (if there’s interest) are the guys AJ Preller will try to deal this winter.

Preller is now running into roster crunch issues, which will only become more acute for the Padres. That alone is a sign of organizational improvement, as their fans have never seen this! AJP will now have to lean more towards protecting his prospects from the Rule 5 draft, instead of making 3 or 4 picks. Since he’s proven he can evaluate the best Rule 5 talent (5 out of 7 selections have stuck), he’ll likely be the best GM at protecting his elite young talent from hungry predators.

This organization has improved, and the bar has been raised, so these are the roster moves the Padres have been making for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft & beyond. This is how the Astros built what just came to fruition. AJP actually has the Padres on a faster curve. Note, not even one 100-loss season at the depths of their rebuilding, which was 2016-17. Padres fans thank Andy Green & Brad Hand for that. Now it’s player development and managing the 40-man roster, with the goal of building a championship team. In the meantime, more low-level FA pitchers & positional fill-ins this winter, with the possibility of a blockbuster deal or two– as it’s AJ Preller. That’s a management plan a fan can see, and go with. It’s what I expect AJP will do.

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Breaking the NFL Blacklist

Donald Trump is the only person who couldn’t be satisfied with destroying just one football league. Every time he tries to use an issue to ignite his fascist base, he pours gasoline on a bigger fire of working class resentment towards inequality. This is the REAL problem the ruling class has with Trump. These are the NFL players who didn’t stand for the National Anthem last Sunday.

The Green Bay Packers now need a starting QB after HoF-er Aaron Rogers went down with a broken collar-bone last Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Packers fans are like most of the rest, willfully accepting (and thus supporting) their GM & ownership, in showing no interest in signing blacklisted-QB Colin Kaepernick. Not even a try-out [!]. Why so many fans support billionaires & cheats is revealed by the fact that most of this is NOT about football. It’s about politics, and class interest directs every loyalty.

GM Ted Thompson & the consortium running the Green Bay Packers, are publicly stating their QB situation is stable, and they like what they have going forwards… In Green Bay it’s two unproven rookies for QB. The 4-2 Packers are going with rookie-QB Brett Hundley this Sunday at Lambeau Field against the 3-2 Saints. This is more-or-less what 20+ other teams (that would also improve themselves by signing QB Colin Kaepernick) are doing.

Here’s some necessary background on how Colin Kaepernick became a free agent, and thus blacklisted. The San Francisco 49ers tried to cut him, before his 2016 salary became guaranteed in March of that year, because he hadn’t fully recovered from sustained injuries. Fortunately for Kaepernick, an NFL player with a guaranteed contract (like CK had), can’t be cut if he’s on the injured list.

Kaepernick was always considered the 49ers starting QB in 2016 from the beginning, he was simply unavailable for the first 6 games– due to injury rehabilitation. He finished the season productive & healthy on a bad team, and opted-out of his contract because the 49ers were going to cut him anyways–  over the Anthem protest controversy he had started. Opting-out was his attempt to get himself into the free agent market early, so he would have as many potential suitors as possible. No one ever called. As we can see, there are OSHA, worker compensation & other rights’ issues here. That’s why this topic is so explosive.

In an ESPN article published yesterday, SF 49ers owner Jed York said, “[I]t’s not about collective bargaining issues, it’s not about workplace environment…,”  when those are precisely the issues. Sports fans need to stop believing lying billionaire team-owners, as this sports-addiction has become too costly for all of us. Too much of it funnels into unhealthy & reactionary tendencies. That is at the heart of this conflict for many, many football fans.

Every time Trump tweets on the NFL, everyone in the league office has their blood-pressure go up 100+ points. When the dust settles, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has to sit down with Trump privately, so they can appear to be in unison again– and so it goes on.  Donald Trump simply manipulates anyone (or anything) he wants, to meet whatever reactionary agenda is on his docket. Many powerful people, in even-higher places, are getting tired of his act.

This is clearly a blacklist, and it is why Colin Kaepernick is now suing the NFL and its owners for collusion. If there is justice, Kaepernick will win– or better, he will soon be offered a NFL contract. I expect neither from the owners, nor the bourgeois ‘halls of justice.’

One can take either 1) owner’s & management’s words to heart–like a naive fool; or 2) see through the lies of the NFL, which is blacklisting a quality QB for his political dissent, while threatening to do the same to other players– see Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones [1].

On the flag and respect for military veterans. It isn’t a soldiers’ choice in war, he is sent & obeys because it’s his duty– like all the rest. Meanwhile others such as myself get to go to college… That’s a great divider, in class, and feelings towards war.  My friends & classmates from high school (and ALL others) didn’t serve as soldiers to be used as pawns by politicians of ANY stripe. They served so “We the (Working) People” have the right to call these politicians out as liars & criminals– because they are.

This paranoid reaction of censorship & blacklisting must be met with determined & fierce resistance. Those who served in the military must be allowed to speak for themselves, because those are the rights they fought for– (or were told that’s what they fought for). It turns out that many veteran feel lied-to by Uncle Sam, yet you rarely (if ever) hear that sentiment expressed in the media. Only on the fringes, yet in reality it’s a widespread understanding among veterans that the US government is corrupt to the core.

That’s why most veterans still have guns, and exercise them regularly. They fought for that right too, and are serious about that one in particular. Veterans need to realize that EVERY right for EVERY person needs to be defended with that same vigilance, otherwise ALL rights disappear. In other words, it’s time for them to join the socialist revolution, through the World Socialist Web Site at wsws.org.

Back to sports, which is a business. It hurts as a fan when you grow up and realize the truth. Upon reading the ESPN write-ups of the players-and-owners meeting on Tuesday, I knew the players were lost. They spoke to the press afterwards in terms of, “… getting their message through… constructive conversation…, etc…” Remarkably, no mention of the National Anthem. It was expressly stated by both the owners & players that the issue didn’t come up [!].

The players need to smell the rat here, and it’s the union bureaucracy & their lawyers. The players didn’t even bring up the fundamental issue (which everyone has been talking about for weeks now) to the owners, according to every player account of the Tuesday meeting. If that’s what happened (and it appears it is), then this meeting was clearly a waste of time for everybody, as nothing of substance was discussed.

On hand at the October 17th meeting were NFL Commish Roger Goodell and the league’s football operations chief, former player Troy Vincent.

Owners: Michael Bidwill (Arizona), Arthur Blank (Atlanta), Terry Pegula (Buffalo), Robert McNair (Houston), Shad Khan (Jacksonville), Ross, Robert Kraft (New England), John Mara (New York Giants), Art Rooney (Pittsburgh), Jeffrey Lurie (Philadelphia) and Jed York (San Francisco).

Former player Anquan Boldin, and current players Darius Butler (Colts); Eric Reid (49ers); Russell Okung (Los Angeles Chargers); Kenny Stills, Julius Thomas and Michael Thomas (Miami); Mark Herzlich (New York Giants); Kelvin Beachum and Demario Davis (New York Jets); Malcolm Jenkins [above] and Chris Long (Philadelphia); and Josh Norman (Washington) [1].

Representing the players were NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and president Eric Winston.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wasn’t even at this Tuesday meeting, basically blowing the players off. The players didn’t even recognize (much less acknowledge) this, in their press comments. Since Jerry Jones is the owner who is driving this issue for all the rest (& NFL commissioner Roger Goodell), the double-cross will come when the players are looking the other way, with assistance from the union. If the chief conspirator can avoid looking his victims in the eye beforehand, so much the better for him and their cause. Who will warn the players by telling them the truth?

The brains of the corruption-ridden NFLPA is black racialist attorney DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA)– elected on March 15, 2009. Prior, DeMaurice Smith was a trial lawyer and litigation partner in a white-collar Washington, D.C. firm. NFL players mostly come from ghettos & poor rural areas, so the hypocrisy in class interests for the rank-and-file in legal representation of the NFL players is clear to Marxists.

The NFL players have basically lost every labor stand-off they’ve ever had with their owners. The NFLPA (union bureaucracy) is staffed with too many ex-players suffering too much CTE brain damage– making these public figures easy prey for ownership manipulation in negotiations. It’s no secret if you actually look at it closely, but not any dummy can figure it out.

The NFL players have no leadership. Note that QB Colin Kaepernick wasn’t invited to this meeting, by any NFL official or authorized union representative of the NFLPA. That explains the rapid movement to the right on this fundamental workers’ rights issue, which every sports fans has a strong opinion on. Many players stated they wanted Kaepernick there, and didn’t know why he wasn’t invited? The NFL players need to elect new leaders for themselves, the same way labor workers need to, on any other job site.

This is fundamentally a labor rights issue. The question becomes: will the NFL players (and eventually the rest of us), be compelled to express political & religious obedience on command? If you don’t have the right to oppose tyranny & lies, then it’s dictatorship with a military-intelligence-police-state apparatus controlling everything, through Wall Street & the banks. This must be opposed with true democracy, which can only be achieved through a socialist revolution in permanence.

 

      1. Working Class

 

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Top-10: Minnesota Vikings Terrible

This list was surprisingly easy to compile, ~ 30 minutes off the top of my head. This organization is a model of dysfunction, remarkable in its inefficiency, even by capitalist standards.

10) PK Rick Danmeier, the last of the toe-punch kickers in the NFL. His XPM % would be <50% with today’s rules. Vikings head coach Bud ‘Stoneface’ Grant stuck with Danmeier’s awfulness season-after-season, saying he didn’t see the need to replace him. Maximum FG range– 43 yards or so, depending on the conditions…

Vikings hypothetical scenario in 1983:  4th & 9 on the opposing 28 yard-line, with the wind slightly gusting…. Bud Grant has a decision to make?  The field-goal attempt is spotted 7 yards back in that day, making it highly questionable…. Punter Greg Coleman (brother of Vince with the MLB St. Louis Cardinals), is an option here…

Frequent Result: “Vikings called for delay of game penalty– five yards… That definitely takes them out of Danmeier’s range… Coleman boots it high & deep…. and it’s a touch-back. Opposition’s ball on their 20-yard line– 1st & 10.”

9) 1998, when they were by far the best team in the NFL, and still lost in the NFC championship game– to a mediocre Atlanta Falcons team, that lost to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. That team is the NFC version of the 18-1 NE Patriots, that lost the Super Bowl to the NY Giants.  Roughly equivalent to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors 73-win season, where they lost the finals the Cleveland Cavilers.

8) Losing 4 Super Bowls— all in the 1970’s. Truth is: Tom Landry & Don Shula were more innovative, with roughly the same level of talent.

7) Never making it to another Super Bowl, since loss #4. With all of Bud Grant’s limitations, he’s still the best head coach in their history. I don’t know how you can be proud of that, but many faithful still are. It’s Brad Childress & Dennis Green competing for next-best Vikings head coach by result.

6) Trading HoF WR Randy Moss to the Raiders, for a 1st-round pick, which was yet another draft bust. Hall-of-Fame playmakers don’t grow on trees. Smart teams hold onto them. The only lasting playmakers the Vikings ever drafted (since 1960) are QB Fran Tarkenton, WR Anthony Carter, WR Randy Moss, and RB Adrian Paterson; with too many busts in between.

5) Scat-back Darren Nelson, instead of RB Marcus Allen;  In 1983, QB Dan Marino was available, but the Vikes took FS Joey Browner, etc… They’ve never replaced QB Fran Tarkenton, hence their SB-appearance drought. The Bills are are 0-4 in their Super Bowl appearances, but at least they got the QB they needed to get there (Jim Kelley) in this once-in-a-lifetime 1983 draft class. The Bills had to wait for Kelley, who signed with the USFL and played there for three seasons before it folded. That was the inaugural USFL draft, and the top player selected in it was Dan Marino. Their original ownership had more brains & innovation than the NFL, but then Donald Trump (& the rest of corporate America) came along [1].

4) Mike Lynn’s Herschel Walker trade, probably the worst trade in sports history. No deal represents such astounding ownership mis-management & short-sightedness more clearly, with a complete inability to identify talent or essential needs correctly.

3) Losing the 2009 conference championship game to the Saints, when they had the better team with QB Brett Favre in his last great season. They probably would have beaten the Colts in the SB, but were robbed by incompetent & inexplicably bad officiating. The NFL even changed its overtime rules because of how the game ended. It’s characteristic for the Vikings to lose in this fashion, it just is.

2) Les Steckel in 1984.  Steckel, a coach with a military background emphasizing discipline, became the 3rd head coach in franchise history, replacing Stoneface. Steckel ran a marine-style training (boot) camp, where his players didn’t learn to play football together, but instead competed for individual endurance & fitness prizes. For the record: All-Pro TE Steve Jordan won the overall team fitness award; and (50-year old) K Jan Stenerud won among the kickers, punters & QB’s [!]. I think they each won a VCR. The Vikes went 3-13 and were the joke of the league that season. Bud Grant briefly came out of retirement to replace Steckel in 1985. For true die-hards, this season hurt like no other in franchise history.

1) The Metrodome & now U.S. Bank Stadium with its a fixed-roof stadium. Metropolitan Stadium was better for the Vikings than either of these boondoggles, but then money rules. Artificial turf is an affront to athletes, as their health and well-being is being disregarded, for the preferences of the bourgeoisie.  The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome extended a trend of artificial turf playing surfaces in the 1980’s, precisely when it should have gone away…

… onward to the present:

One of the NFL teams that should sign QB Colin Kaepernick is the Minnesota Vikings. They won’t because they are too stupid to ever win a Super Bowl. One note on blacklists, they’re “unofficial” by nature– therefore impossible to “prove,” unless you use your head and follow the money. Identifying blacklists is very much like dealing with dog shit. If it looks & smells like dog shit– it probably is.

The converse to that is this dirty parable: Two guys are walking along a road and come upon what appears to be a pile of dog shit.
The head guy say to the other, “Looks like dog shit. Take a closer look…”
So the other guy gets down on his knees and looks closely, then responding, “Looks like dog shit.”
Then the head guy says, “Smell it.”  So the other takes a whiff and replies, “Smells like dog shit.”
Then the head guy says, “Taste it.” So the other guy sticks his tongue on it and winces, “Tastes like dog shit!”

Then head honcho then grins & nods while summarizing, “Good thing we didn’t step in it.”

Colin Kaepernick would be an immediate upgrade for ~20 NFL teams, yet he can’t find a job. No question he’s blacklisted, that’s what his lawsuit against the NFL for collusion is about [2].

It’s a real problem in America when a top-level QB is blackballed for expressing a political opinion, for which he has every right to express; while (for instance) a serial rapist is still the starting QB in Pittsburgh.

This defines the “character” of the NFL and many of it’s fans. It’s getting to be too much nonsense, with these apologists in favor of blacklisting political dissent. If you feel the same, then speak up and act while you still have the right. It’s those who agree, but remain silent, who are the most complicit. Such behavior parallels Germany in the 1930’s…

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Talladega Racin’ & Mass Insanity

I’m listening on MRN online, so I know I’m getting the best coverage.  This one’s gonna hurt, I just know.  Here’s some of what I’m hearing, with me in […]

Grand Marshall: Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey (above)
“Lady & gentlemen… start your engines.”   [Shit]

Dave Moody (above): “…and when necessary,  4 and 5-wide coming out of turn 2 [!] …..” [Critique: I like Dave Moody who calls turns 1 & 2 for most NASCAR Cup events– he knows & loves racing, and isn’t afraid to speak his mind– mostly. He gets a lot of airtime, and he deserves it, as he has lots of fans. He’s a big dude, so he fits right in there…]

Mike Bagley (below): “…drafting three-and-four-wide on the backstretch, if you bail out of the draft– you go to the back..”  [Critique: Mike Bagley calls turns 3 & 4, and is more cerebral (which I like), but still gets worked up as things begin to heat up– which I also like. Moody & Bagley work well together, and they are one of the best parts of the NASCAR race day experience]

The MRN pit reporters do a nice job explaining the essentials: 46 laps max on fuel, tire strategy isn’t in play at Talladega– with 6 sets on the ground, and one on the car to start. Everyone finishes with plenty of tires. [It’s finishing with plenty of car that’s tricky]. Avoiding a speeding penalty on pit road, is stressed; [but that really doesn’t matter either, as Dale, Jr gets his 8th pit-road speeding infraction of the season on lap 52, yet he still finishes 7th, and was in contention for the win at the end, simply because he was one of the few cars still on the track].

Every guys’ MRN-favorite is Kim Coon (below) in the pits, garage & care center– and also monitoring social media, which is very important to NASCAR & its fans. You can understand why?

Talladega is 188 laps, distancing 500 miles. The first two stages end at lap 55, and lap 110. Each lap is 2.66 miles, the longest anywhere. Talladega is notoriously the fastest and most-dangerous racetrack in the world.

Jamie McMurray, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Mark Thompson are involved in an early wreck. McMurray has major damage, as it seems you can’t cut across a faster car coming off turn-4 into pit road, especially at Talladega. [Who knew?]  That ends #1 McMurray’s play-off hopes, unless he wins at Kansas next week, which he won’t.

(Above) in the broadcast booth, Joe Moore stresses this is another of the big challenges at Talladega… [By this he means: any idiot can cause a major wreck at anytime, anywhere, and there’s nothing you can do to avoid it. That’s Talladega…]

Following online means checking the NASCAR update feed. Here it is [edited for clarity & correction] for Talladega on October 15, 2017:

Lap 29: After the McMurray wreck, and pit-road-closed penalties were issued to 6 drivers: 24, 88, 23, 27, 42, 95.

Lap 30: Drivers who didn’t pit during caution now on pit road: 20, 78, 19, 11, 18, 48, 6, 32, 5, 13.

Lap 38: Top-six cars are single file: 22, 2, 14, 21, 41, 19. Three-wide racing behind them.

Lap 51: Caution is out! Paul Menard #27 gets into the wall in Turn 3. Thinks he cut a left-front tire.

Lap 52: No takers as far as the leaders are concerned on pit road. Others pit: 18, 88, 42, 20, 34, 19, 78 among them.

Lap 52: Penalty for @DaleJr. Too fast on pit road. He’ll start from tail end of the longest line for restart. [8th time this season, most in NASCAR]

Lap 78: Matt Dibenedetto #32 now has a 21-second lead over second-place driver Stenhouse.  [This isn’t supposed to be happening. NASCAR will do something to ‘correct’ this]

Lap 81: Caution is out for debris. Denny Hamlin loose wheel onto pit road, [saved his race…. was running 31st– Suh-prize!]

Lap 81: Caution came out as @dennyhamlin pits for loose wheel. He beats the lead to the pit out line. Stays on lead lap

Lap 156: @keselowski is the only driver to come down pit road under caution. Attempting to fix radio issues. [He took the extra time to do it, and he ended up winning Talladega– racing is a team sport. Being in back helped #2 avoid the wrecks up front. Hard to believe that could be race strategy, but there you are.]

Lap 171: New leader! @Daniel_SuarezG takes the lead from @joeylogano.

Lap 171: Red flag is out. Cars involved in the Big One: 17, 78, 41, 18, 38, 95, 34, 20, 10, 3, 4, 75, 32, 95, 48… Officially, 16 cars involved in the multi-car wreck at @TalladegaSuperS. [SHIT– my driver wrecked again. I hate NASCAR]

Lap 177: Caution is out! Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Brendan Gaughan involved.

Lap 179: Lineup for the restart with just 8 laps to go: 19, 24, 88, 42, 2, 11, 31, 5, 13, 42, 83, 27, 38, 37.

Lap 182: Caution is out! @chaseelliott tags @Daniel_SuarezG and they wreck.

Lap 182: Red flag is out at @TalladegaSuperS once again. Cars involved: 19, 24, 42, 37.

Lap 183: Still under a red flag. Leaderboard: 2, 31, 88, 11, 13, 5, 43, 6, 83, 38. [Everyone else is wrecked]

There is no way NASCAR can race 40 of today’s cars at Talladega, and not end up with a wreck-fest. Twenty is probably too many. NASCAR needs to get this track under control, for the safety of it’s drivers. To say this race is a joke, only minimizes how dangerous Talladega is. Luck is primary in avoiding the two or three BIG ONES at Talladega.

Martin Truex, Jr #78 needs to know you can’t bump another car in the draft going into the corner at Talladega. That frequently causes a BIG ONE.  Chase Elliott #24 needs to know that you must stay behind the lane leader (#19– Daniel Suarez) and stay in the draft, instead of trying for 3-wide in the corner at Talladega– as that will cause a BIG ONE. Fans know this. Why don’t these “professionals” understand this?

These are supposedly the top drivers. F1 and Indycar must look at NASCAR as a joke, which it is. That spectacle on Sunday was possibly the worst race ever held at a major venue– a complete disgrace to sports. The Talladega infield faithful  & the rest who cheered at every crash are reactionary idiots. Why do NASCAR and its sponsors continue to cater to them? Answer: To dumb fans down to their level.

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National Anthem Protocol for Revolutionists

There has been much talk about behavior during the playing of the National Anthem at sporting events. Notice how it’s always the behavior of the players (workers), that is the focus of discussion. The owners & fascist fans can do whatever they want, but the players must be strictly controlled & censured. Each league has now re-iterated and/or clarified it’s policy during the National Anthem performance [1].

Of course, few ever bother to ask the most-important question, “Why is this song even played before sporting events?” That question is not allowed to be asked, and if you do, you are blacklisted by the “legitimate” media & political world. Americans are divided over the National Anthem on class lines. This fact is always concealed by ESPN & the rest of the corporate fake media.

One of the silver linings to being blacklisted is that you can do whatever you want, because it doesn’t matter– as you are permanently shut out of the mainstream. You will never see ideas such as these expressed in corporate-controlled mass media.  In that spirit, these are my suggestions on how to approach this hot-button topic. I encourage others who feel similarly, to express yourself in a way that makes you feel comfortable, while staying true. By the way, all this also applies to “God Bless America,” (or anything else that shouldn’t be played) during the 7th-inning stretch, etc.

For many like me, the National Anthem is a convenient bathroom break, so as a rule I never kneel for it, although I sometimes squat. I’m not alone, as the bathroom is usually crowded while the Anthem is being performed. No one takes their hat off, or stops mid-piss in the john. These are just personal observations from 40+ years of attending virtually every type of sporting event in the United States.

Professionally speaking, I don’t think “The Star-Spangled Banner” is a very good song. I was never all that moved by it, even as a child. But I will admit that I’ve sung it a lot, as it’s a useful song. By this I mean, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is a very difficult song to sing well. Therefore it is an excellent vocal-training tool. I’ve never sung it before an audience.

When the lyrics hit, “… and the rockets’ red glare,” is when most amateurs lose it. Often the Anthem performance is painful to watch/hear, especially when done by kids, but you are never allowed to be critical of that– after all this is AMERICA! We won’t allow our kids (who are trying their best) to be “bullied.”  So to be fair, here instead is one of the most infamous adult examples of Francis Scott [off]Key:

Beyond being a voice training tool, I don’t see much else of value here. It’s primary function (of course) is its nefarious use by the ruling class to whip up nationalism & militarism among under-educated workers & the rest. Why do team owners & their leagues fear these protests so much? To ask the question is to answer it, as it indicates how class divided we are as a society. This fact must be concealed at all costs, by the haves.

Free speech means you have the right to say whatever someone else deems as “most offensive,” just as long as you don’t threaten, libel, or cause a panic. It’s also free speech to stand like a zombie when the Anthem plays & the flag waves. We all make choices and live with them. Colin Kaepernick (SF 49ers), Bruce Maxwell (Oakland A’s), and every other athlete have this right, and those of us fighting fascism encourage every athlete to exercise it. As they have pointed out– too many don’t have a voice, so professional athletes are now behooved to stand up for them.

As far as Trump demanding respect for the flag goes, respect is a two-way street. Evidentially in order for 2016 NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson to get a White House invite, he has to hail Trump, while declaring his unabiding loyalty. Otherwise, no invitation. Jimmie Johnson has already said he supports everyone’s right to make their own decision, while personally standing for the flag & anthem [2]. That’s just not good enough, for everyone from Donald Trump to the liberal-Democrat McCarthyists who have censored the Internet and blacklisted all political opposition.

Do you know who the least likely people to stand and pay attention for “The Star-Spangled Banner” are?” Answer: The rich folks in the box seats. Check for yourself next time, if you don’t believe that. No one tunes in, or pays for a ticket to see the National Anthem performed, in any sport. Tell anyone who gives you flak on this, to get real with their hypocritical indignity, and then look for the class interest behind their attacks. The National Anthem (and the flag) are used as tools for class control. Working people must be made to bow before them, because it symbolizes the rule of wealth under capitalism.

 

      1. Land of the Free

 

The truth of truths here is that taking a knee, while courageous at first, still isn’t enough. Sports don’t unite us, they divide us– daily, in so many ways. That’s why front-row seats cost so much more. It’s a different game when you’re watching from the nose-bleed seats, isn’t it!? Within all this, the athletes themselves are divided, because their salaries are so varied. Rookies are generally underpaid, while veterans are overpaid. There are only a few superstars in each sport, and they usually get all the ink, especially when labor issues arise.

Taking a knee, now gives ANY athlete an opportunity to express themselves. Most still don’t, out of fear of being blacklisted. Colin Kaepernick is most-definitely blacklisted by the NFL, as he’s easily a top-10 QB– which ~20 teams need. Winning on the field is important to most owners, but protecting their wealth is EVERYTHING. Sports are owned by billionaires, who provide a vehicle for the rulers of capitalism (Wall Street & Madison Avenue) to exercise mind-control class warfare on the population.

In the end, we watch sports because we love them. These athletes do things we can’t, and it’s fun (and sometimes amazing) to watch them work. Most fans are with the athletes in all this, as they (at least) can feel things being manipulated, even if they don’t fully understand it. Many others already know, and their numbers are increasing daily.

This is what the ruling class fears above all else: a movement from the working people that gets out of their control. Modern sports, combined with social media and the Internet, now provide global links for discussions that can create worker solidarity across all fields.  That is the power which fans & athletes must harness into a revolution, in order to stop this unending cycle of capitalist violence.

If this isn’t done, be forewarned that fascism is preparing itself for a hostile takeover. It’s political base is still weak, and they can still be contained & defeated, but only through conscious revolutionary action. Anything less is an empty gesture.

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US Open Tennis & Bitch Factor

Bitch factor (noun): Something to never ignore or underrate. If you do, it will emasculate you– viciously.

Men’s tennis needs Federer-Nadal in the semis (and we all hope it happens), but it’s just to keep pace with Maria Sharapova taking on the rest of the women– which is now the ONLY story at the 2017 US Open. For the record, I’m a tennis fan, so unless they are match fixing or behaving Nick Kyrgios-bad, I cut them some slack & love them all– really. But this following fact must be pointed out, and fully understood by ALL sports fans: Venus & Serena Williams have therapeutic use exemptions (TUE’s) for prednisolone– a steroid, and oxycodone– a narcotic pain-reliever [1]. A TUE is a medical permission slip to use banned substances.

Is it fair they were/are allowed to compete against others, with that chemical advantage? Why doesn’t anyone at ESPN (or anywhere else) ask them about it?  Last I saw, over 100 players (ATP & WTA) are competing with TUE’s.  Meldonium is a caffeine pill compared to that, and yet Maria Sharapova (alone) is to be made the poster-girl for doping in tennis. It’s so obviously political at WADA, ITF, IOC, etc– and your position on it betrays your interests. That’s what a lightning rod like Maria Sharapova does to people, and that’s why she’s jealously hated by her colleagues. Lot’s of bitch factor here, which has raised everyone’s interest about 1000%!

More people should respect (and let themselves be amazed by) the interest Sharapova instantly delivers, as that’s a true force of nature. In a word: mesmerizing. That has major value. She is giving everyone a chance to express themselves, and if she had been denied the wild card for this US Open, then none of this passionate dialogue would exist. No story, because there’s no real interest. You must respect that, even if you don’t like her game on the court. If you can’t do (at least) that, then you’re a hypocritical hater.

CoCo Vandeweghe believes Maria Sharapova’s wild card could’ve been used on American player

Bitch factor went up early, when CoCo Vandeweghe (below) was asked about Maria Sharapova getting a wild card, which she needed in order to play in the event. CoCo has a right to her opinion. And once she expresses it publicly, fans then have the right to criticize CoCo for her nationalist chauvinism, and inability to see the bigger picture.

In the last 6 months or so, Maria Sharapova has been featured on the cover of People, Vanity Fair, etc… She lives in the US, and is as “American” as anyone on the WTA. CoCo’s prejudiced comments betray a hidden agenda, that is ugly & all-too-common. Does anyone believe ESPN has the guts to investigate further, seek clarification, etc… or would that cut across their narratives?

Putting Maria Sharapova on center court ‘doesn’t set a good example,’ Caroline Wozniacki says

After Caroline Wozniacki went down in the second round, she dragged Sharapova though the mud (again) in her post-match comments to the media, essentially blaming Sharapova (at least in part) for her loss to another opponent, as well as the court assignments.  Being a bitchy sore loser doesn’t set a good example, I say.

To all those venting on Maria Sharapova, consider this. The most-commented-upon ESPN tennis articles this US Open are the ones featuring her. Even Roger Federer and Venus Williams don’t provoke the reactions Sharapova does. Serena Williams gets some love [!] for having her baby, but then it’s right back to Sharapova. Women do get jealous on that, a FYI for you young boys & clueless guys.

Maria Sharapova advances, returns shot at Caroline Wozniacki

Maria Sharapova’s response to Caroline Wozniacki criticisms, after winning her third-round match:

“That’s not what matters to me. All that matters to me is I’m in the fourth round. I’m not sure where she is. With regards to scheduling, as you know, I don’t make the schedule. I’m a pretty big competitor. If you put me out in a parking lot of Queens in New York City, I’m happy to play there.”

Let’s add it up. Five-time Grand Slam champion, stunning beauty, and quotable. Yeah, that belongs on Center Court.

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Is Danica Patrick Retiring?

I keep commenting in NASCAR forums dominated by haters: “We need more stories on Danica.” Notice how people always have to comment on her when the topic is NASCAR, even when the write-up or conversation hasn’t mentioned her? They’re always VERY passionate about it. They’ll miss her when she’s gone, just like everyone else.

Some thoughts on why Danica Patrick isn’t so excited about Bristol [1]. The #10 car has neither the speed nor handling to stay with the leaders, especially on a round short track. She’ll likely be lapped by Truex (& the rest) early, lacking the horsepower to get back on the lead lap. Maybe a lucky dog, wave around, or caution breaks for her, but that’s not much to hope for.

All this has led to speculation that Danica Patrick will be done with professional racing after this 2017 season. If she does retire, it’s a much bigger story than Dale Earnhardt, Jr leaving as a driver. WAY BIGGER, and it’s hardly being whispered in the media. Junior Nation is moving up into the broadcast booth in 2018, which is awesome, as it keeps everyone in NASCAR happy. Danica (on the other hand) is a global icon, with strong appeal among the New York (ESPN) & the Hollywood elite crowd, so she’s probably gone for good– as far as NASCAR is concerned.

The list of NASCAR top-name drivers retiring (or being retired) in 2017 is noteworthy to hardcore fans. Earnhardt, Jr for sure; with Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, and now Danica Patrick all likely to not return. Those are two of their biggest stars (Junior & Danica– whichever order you want), and about one-third of the veteran drivers. What about Trevor Bayne at Roush Fenway? The point is, this carnage isn’t over. Race teams are going into cost cutting mode, and drivers salaries are where it starts.

The truth is NASCAR’s Good ‘Ol Boy network underrated, ignored, and intentionally wrecked her– out of jealousy. Danica reaches across class, age, race & gender boundaries like no other athlete; including Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Roger Federer or Lebron James. I shouldn’t have to tell you why?

Danica Patrick is the only woman to compete against men– in any major sport’s series, for her entire career. And if only one (1) career victory (Indycar) is all she gets, then it’s still good enough in terms of her racing Hall-of-Fame credentials. In Patrick’s case, it’s about her impact on motorsports, which is incalculable.

She was a primary impetus for SAFER barriers. The one thing that could never be allowed to happen (besides her winning), was for her to get killed in a race car. The safety advances she inspired which value women’s lives above men’s is inherently unfair, but pays-it-back by benefiting ALL drivers. If that’s what it takes to make a sport safer & better, then we need more women competing & participating with men. As a parallel, if more women actually participated in war, then we’d have less killing & horrible injuries. Just something to consider…

Danica Patrick handled all the unfairness & cruelty directed at her, as well as anyone could expect. She must have known that her results & competitiveness were being suppressed by male chauvinism & hate. Her driving skills are undeniable to those who competed against her. Open wheel racing, and now NASCAR, are never to be the same again. It used to be “Gentlemen, start your engines!” Who do you think changed all that?

For those who don’t get it: racing is about men competing for the best pussy. When Danica (stunning female) is on the track, and every guy is racing to cut her off, bump & grind her, spin her out, or wreck her– just so they can get off. This is egotistical primal instinct, which ignorance refuses to temper or manage. That’s NASCAR.

Danica Patrick’s elite driving skills rarely get to come into play in NASCAR, as the field is jammed up with dick-weeds, most of whom know they can’t compete, so messing with her is their next best thing. On the other end, the elite NASCAR assholes (JGR) get their wins early in the season, and with their post-season ticket punched, spend much of their remaining time wrecking her– just for kicks. When the Chase starts, she’s not in it, so she’s forgotten. Might this explain why she can’t get enough sponsorship anymore?

As far as retirement goes, her fans will understand. Who needs all this? Danica is a superstar, yet her job sounds like so many of our own work days, filled with joyless drudgery & obligation to others. Where is the time for happiness? Hopefully she’ll find it in retirement, because it’s clear she’s having no fun on the track anymore.

If you missed her career then shame on you, because it’s been really amazing. Beyond beauty, her career is defined by unbreakable determination & underrated intelligence. My personal polling shows Danica Patrick is disliked by most adult women out of jealousy, which is their problem. There are a few women (usually Dale, Jr fans) who say, “Bless your heart!”  For the boys & men, Danica is everyone’s girlfriend (she doesn’t mind, in fact she make a lot of money on it)– and that’s what makes her so awesome.  So (guys), can you can see how there would be some bitch factor hating on her? In short: there is no athlete like her, and no one to replace her.

Footnote: The closest thing NASCAR has to replacing Danica, is Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr– which obviously isn’t the same thing. In case you haven’t noticed, Bubba is black. NASCAR considers this to be very important to their sponsors & ratings, and it’s why they are pushing hard for a team to give him a Cup ride in 2018.

Darrell Wallace, Jr did a nice job filling in for Aric Almirola’s #43 while he was recovering from a broken back. Unfortunately, Bubba’s truck series victory at Michigan last week has been encumbered by NASCAR, after failing post-race inspection. L1 penalty, $5K fine, and crew chief suspension for Bristol. NASCAR and their many of their fans want Wallace in a Cup ride, but this doesn’t help. I hope the kid gets a shot, but he needs to play fair. When you’re a woman or minority (Daniel Suarez) driver in NASCAR, you need to be squeaky clean. And the flipside is: sponsors are OK with cheating, just as long as you aren’t busted. Too much hypocrisy for you?  Welcome to the show that never ends.

Post-Script 9-1-17: Timeline of 2017 sponsors for Danica Patrick

Nature’s Bakery reneges on the remaining 2 years of their 3-year deal with Danica Patrick & SHR in late-January. The only sponsors she had left for the upcoming 36-race season were Aspen Dental for 4 races, Tax Act for 4-6 races, and Mobil/Exxon for 2 races, and Ford for 1-2 races. Many in the industry speculated she wouldn’t make it through the season, with so little time to find new sponsorship. Here is what’s happened since:

Aspen Dental immediately committed to “double–digit” races with Danica Patrick. Aspen soon after became the “official dentist of NASCAR.”

Wonder Woman (2017) opened on June 2, and a huge part of its promotional campaign was Danica. Who else could it have been in NASCAR? Wonder Woman is a bad movie artistically, but it’s a blockbuster hit, as you can see:

Budget $149 million
Box office $806.8 million

It’s not unreasonable to presume that Danica driving as Wonder Woman added tens-of-millions of dollars to the box office.

With a sponsorship shortfall starting to kick in by May, Patrick went the charitable route for several race sponsorships. Code 3 Associates is an animal rescue charity she supports. It also serves as a write-off for her, and when you have her kind of money, you need them. I believe Aspen Dental also picks up part of the bill, as it’s almost always in their blue & white color scheme.

Nature’s Bakery insisted on 2 more races with Danica in 2017, as part of their legal settlement with SHR around mid-season. This is after NB claimed Danica didn’t “represent them well enough” in their lawsuit. Funny how that all turns back around, isn’t it?

Now she’s unveiling her Richmond sponsor: Warrior by Danica, in partnership with the Home Shopping Network (HSN). She’s been moving inventory on HSN for awhile now, after starting her own clothing line last year. Danica Patrick is skilled in sewing, and was motivated by being stiffed by NASCAR on the t-shirt merchandising year-after-year. Her shirts are always the first to fly off the racks, but she has no leverage and accepts whatever pittance NASCAR says they’ll pay her. Now she’s investing in her own sponsorship, and changing the rules– again!

Usually athletes are hustling for someone else. Now Danica is promoting herself, as she has a business plan and the money to do it. That’s what you do when everyone says you’re out-of-options, and nobody does it better than Danica. That’s how you go out, and it’s truly a brilliant move.

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