Monday, April 09, 2018

Brandon Belt should be fined for taking that strike

From this morning's SF Chronicle:

The Giants blew opportunities before Brandon Belt struck out looking to end Sunday’s 10-inning loss to the Dodgers, but it still wasn’t easy to take. Especially because the Giants thought umpire Bruce Dreckman got the call wrong.

“Tough call in the end. It’s a ball,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s the way the game goes sometimes: The call goes against you, the ball doesn’t bounce your way. Certainly, it wasn’t a strike.”

Belt vehemently objected to Dreckman. “I said it wasn’t close. He said it was close,” Belt said. “Even if it was close, close is not a strike." Belt pinch hit with Hunter Pence at second and two outs in a one-run game. Belt fouled off the first two offerings and worked the count to 2-2 before Kenley Jansen ended the game on a 91-mph cutter.

Belt was asked about fans who might have wondered if he should have swung at anything close with two strikes. “It wasn’t close, though,” Belt said. “I understand. They can say that all they want to, but a ball’s a ball. If I’m going to swing at a ball, everyone’s going to be a lot more mad if I swing at a ball and miss it.”

Rob's comment:
The pitch was in fact close, as the video clearly shows. I'll say it again: hitters who take called third strikes---especially in crucial situations like yesterday's game---should be fined.

Belt did the same thing---took a game-ending third strike---last year!

Bochy is an indulgent manager. Last year he was pleased that his team was having fun during a losing season.

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Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party?

Harry's Place

From Harry's Place:

[Jeremy]Corbyn has emboldened the most fringe elements of the left---conspiracists, obsessive Israel haters and Islamists, those who for all their lives have been consigned to the extreme political fringes. They used to meet in dingy pubs and left-wing bookshops; now they’re running the show.

These are the people who carried Corbyn to his leadership. We thought he may leave them behind when he became leader, he didn’t. We don’t hold much hope that he will leave them behind if he becomes Prime Minister.

As much as I would like to say that the recent stories have turned the tide (or at least stemmed it), it has done the opposite. The vitriol has increased and the Jeremy Corbyn supporting Facebook forums are more active than ever. Their resolve has not been weakened, it has only been strengthened, their anger has not been dampened, it has only been intensified. His leadership is nothing more than an obsessive cult, and yet that is why it is so strong...


Tech oligarchs and the media

...The public so far still does not disdain the tech oligarchs as they do Wall Street or energy firms, but they are clearly threatened, both politically and in their wallets. Their once seemingly unstoppable hold of the capital markets also has started to slip somewhat as investors begin to worry about a potential decline in social media as well as technical failures undermining the value of companies like Uber, Tesla and Snapchat.

Not that the oligarchs will change their ways without coercion. Mark Zuckerberg, amid the uproar, still seems determined to block privacy protections in California or elsewhere

Facebook’s arrogance has even incited tension between the tech overlords, with Apple’s Tim Cook assaulting Mark Zuckerberg for privacy violations. The fact that Cook did this in Beijing, world capital of advanced surveillance, makes the public spanking even more bizarre.

If you don’t like the media, buy it

Yet even if their net worth drops a bit, the tech oligarchs have more than enough money to subtly change the conversation. One primary way is to buy the financially stressed media, particularly the print side. 

Tech money in recent years has bought such venerable institutions as the New Republic and, most importantly, the Washington Post, putting the world’s richest man in charge of one of the nation’s most influential newspapers. 

More recently Laurene Powell, the left-leaning widow of the late Steve Jobs (net worth $20 billion), has scooped up the Atlantic for a nonprofit that will compete with more traditional competitors who still, sadly, have to make money.

Perhaps most important has been the move by Google, which is also promoting journalism by robots, to invest $300 million into subsidizing favored reporters. Given the generally poor condition of the business, this will be as alluring to many scribblers as a fat beef shank would be to a hungry dog...

What will be the tech-controlled media agenda?

The oligarch’s leveraged buyout of journalism could shape news in the decades to come. When the equally rapacious moguls of the early 20th century, like the McCormicks of Chicago or William Randolph Hearst, bought papers, they pushed an agenda of imperial expansion, anti-unionism and resistance to those assaulting their fortunes.

Our current crop of moguls also has an ideology — the politics of gentry liberalism. This includes promotion of dense urbanism (although not usually for themselves), open borders and a heaping portion of identity politics. But they, like their forebears, want to keep their money, embracing a quasi-libertarian refusal to address the dangers posed by the concentration of wealth and power, notably their own...

Less room will be provided to anything associated with grassroots-based populism, whether the Trumpian version or that of Bernie Sanders. Jeff Bezos might detest Trump, but recall that in 2016, he turned his guns on Bernie, whose policies might threaten his enormous wealth and corporate power...

Ironically, the brouhaha over Russian efforts to influence the election may provide the oligarchs with the license to “curate,” or more accurately censor, views they don’t like. 

For the most part this censorship is being carried out under guidance developed largely by progressive groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which often labels anyone outside its ideological “safe space” as racist bigots. What is considered hateful speech by the politically correct does not have to reflect neo-Nazi or Putin-inspired opinion...

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