On Notes from a Baseball Pundit

I have a very good friend that I have to thank for giving me material on this blog. He’s the type that talks with so much confidence, instead of facts, that he can be convincing – thus I most commonly refer to him as the baseball pundit or the political pundit. The purpose of this post is to share with readers some of his baseball proclamations in recent years.

  • I (the Baseball Pundit) am not a homer.
  • Ken Griffey Jr does not deserve to be enshrined in Cooperstown.
  • The 1995 Indians are the greatest team of all time – better than the Big Red Machine and the 1927 Yankees.
  • Omar Vizquel will hit 40 home runs in one season before he retires.
  • Casey Blake is the best right fielder in the American League – better than Vlad Guerrero.
  • Ronnie Belliard is the best second baseman since Roberto Alomar.
  • Ken Griffey Jr is the worst conditioned athlete not only in baseball – but in all sports.
  • The Reds only signed Aroldis Chapman for publicity, thus will bring him up to sell tickets.

He proclaims a lineup with at least six homerun hitters who strike out a lot would win the division. Let’s see … the Arizona Diamondbacks are the one of the top HR teams in the NL and lead MLB (by far) in strikeouts. The last I checked, the D-Backs have the second worst record in the NL.

How’s my friend, the Baseball Pundit, doing?

Cincinnati Reds – NL Central Champions

In early August the Cardinals sweep the Reds in Cincinnati to take a one game lead. Although there were 41 games to go, many were discounting the Reds chances. After that series, the Reds won seven in a row, thus starting to distance themselves from the Cardinals.

I’ve only been up for 90 minutes this morning, yet I heard and seen the game-winning, title-clinching home run by Jay Bruce at least 10 times … and probably many more before the day is done. For this life-long Reds fan, what a special moment.

It’s been a long 15 years since the last playoff appearance, especially when most of the teams weren’t contenders – so today is special!

Image property of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

PS: This video with the radio call by Hall of Fame announcer Marty Brennaman wasn’t available this morning. Enjoy this memorable moment in Reds history.

On Some Random Tidbits

With the recent passing of my father, a simple “Thank You” to all who thought about our family.

My father was a WW II veteran, thus had taps played at the cemetery. I heard that some military services use an electronic bugle for taps. Our trumpet player (who I’ve known since my high school days) said, “The enemy didn’t use fake bullets, so these guys don’t deserve a fake bugle.”

My dad was in WW II at age 18. Given the fact that he was 84 tells us that there aren’t many WW II veterans left. If any reader wants to make a worthwhile donation, donate to Honor Flight, a nonprofit group that takes WW II veterans to DC to see their memorial. Here’s the website, plus see the video at the end of this post.

Attending the Bearcat game against Oklahoma was a good distraction for me. Amazingly, UC not only stayed in the game, they had a chance to win late in the game. At least they made progress, but I surely hope that don’t stumble against local rival Miami Redhawks in two weeks.

Reading about the passing of NFL star George Blanda brought back memories. He signed with the Bears in 1949, yet I recall him as a QB (Houston Oilers) in the early 1960s and his 1970 season (Oakland Raiders) that had unbelievable moments. Rest in peace to the NFL’s Grand Old Man.

I hope to get back on the writing saddle soon!

Honor Flight Video

On a Different Monday

Things happen in life causing us to change our daily routine. Sometimes these events are life altering, while other times they serve as a detour. Late Sunday morning my father passed away, so I won’t be posting this week as I attend to related family responsibilities.

Everyone handles death differently. As I write this on Sunday evening, my faith belief system gives me peace and trusting that heaven is a better place. I also believe he was ready. At 84, he outlived many of his friends, and is now with my mother (who passed away in 1987). Knowing my dad become comfortable in his faith during the past 23 years, I’m confident that he’s happier than ever.

Dad was very proud of his past. Born in St. Louis, he moved to Ohio at 16, yet remained to close contact with his St. Louis friends. He fought in WW II, and remained in contact with his military friends. He returned to the Army in 1950, and remained in contact with his fellow soldiers. I knew he has left us a large address book of people to contact. As a business owner in a small town, he knew many people – and upon retirement, he visited many in nursing homes and hospitals.

He has always been proud of our Italian heritage. His parents came to the U.S. from Italy in 1919. He even met my mother in Italy during his second military tour of duty. Our rural area had a pocket of Italians, and yes, he knew them all.

Although he couldn’t play for some time, Dad also loved his accordion. So, with this post, here’s to you Dad – for what you gave me – and for what you gave others.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 69

On the Surging Tea Party
Since the Tea Party is making a splash, here are a some brief comments
– Reasons they can win in November:

  • Many 2008 first-time voters won’t vote
  • Tea Party enthusiasts will vote
  • Electorate is not happy

- Reasons they cannot win in November

  • Failure to capture independent moderates
  • Frequent open mouth, insert foot tendencies
  • They don’t represent mainstream America

Here’s a good analysis by columnist David Broder.

On the Bush Tax Cuts
Here are four points to remember about the debate:

  • Democrats don’t understand spending cuts
  • Republicans don’t understand less revenue
  • Neither prefer policy over politics
  • Both parties place a low priority on this country’s needs

On Tired of Political Ads
I’m already overloaded with political ads as we have key races for governor, senator, and one key House race – plus a senate race in Kentucky that will involve a lot of spending. Talk about a sheer fire way to turn off voters!

On Newt the Hoot
The more former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks, the more his credibility tumbles. Kathleen Parker has an excellent explanation of his latest gaff.

On Misplaced Priorities
I have frequently expressed that our elected officials favor party-first politics instead of good policy for the country. I equally blame and criticize Democrats and Republicans because their actions demonstrate my point. Here’s a David Ignatius column supporting my point.

More on the NYC Mosque

On a few Sports Shorts

  • The season is early but is there a more exciting player in college football than Michigan QB Denard Robinson?
  • The football UC Bearcats have lost their mojo. Guess I’ll see my first loss as a season ticket holder (my 4th year) next weekend.
  • As the Cardinals continue to slide, I hope the Reds take the bull by the horns and close out the deal by winning.
  • Bengals will be 0-2 by late afternoon this Sunday.
  • An NFL lockout is a possibility. Here’s a good analysis by blogger Mo Morrissey.

Cheers to a good weekend!

They’ve Earned It Rankings: Week 2 2010

Two weeks into the season and a few surprises have notched knots on the heads of many pundits. Meanwhile, I continue to base rankings on the old fashion way – they earn it by playing someone noteworthy and winning.

From Last Week

  • Up – Michigan
  • Down – LSU, Utah
  • Out – Boise State, TCU, Maryland, BYU, Fresno State, Notre Dame, Kansas State
  • New – most of the list

What? How can Boise State be out? It’s simple: last weekend they did not play and Va. Tech lost to James Madison. Maybe they’ll return in a few weeks.

They’ve Earned It Rankings: Week 2

  1. Michigan (2-0) (UMass)
  2. South Carolina (2-0) (Furman)
  3. LSU (2-0) (Mississippi St)
  4. Ohio State (2-0) (Ohio U)
  5. Oklahoma (2-0) (Air Force)
  6. Utah (2-0) (@ New Mexico)
  7. Alabama (2-0) (@ Duke)
  8. Oregon (2-0) (Portland St)
  9. Auburn (2-0) (Clemson)
  10. Texas (2-0) (@ Texas Tech)

Good news for the week 3 weekend as only five games involves non-D1 teams. The games below are some of the more interesting out-of-conference games.

  • Cincinnati @ NC State
  • Maryland @ West Virginia
  • Air Force @ Oklahoma
  • USC @ Minnesota
  • Nebraska @ Washington
  • Tulsa @ Oklahoma State
  • Clemson @ Auburn
  • Iowa @ Arizona
  • Houston @ UCLA
  • Notre Dame @ Michigan State

On the Housing Mess

In early June, we put our house up for sale – not with hopes of downsizing or upsizing, but resizing. In other words, we decided to seek a house with a similar square footage, but in a different configuration and allotment.

We have been in our current location for 23+ years, so we’re ready for a change, but we understood the current market’s difficulty. Almost three months later, we’re still here and do not see a buyer on the horizon. The bottom line is simple: housing inventory is too high and the number of buyers is much lower – not a good match. I really believe there are three factors at the center of the current housing market.

Jobs
Unemployment is high, and many with a job realize the cloud of uncertainty. These factors sharply decrease the number of potential buyers, which banks automatically reduced by setting qualifications for getting a loan.

Banks
Follow the dominoes:

  • Many (but not all) financial institutions accepted borrowers with questionable qualifications, thus increasing the number of buyers.
  • More buyers meant more sales of existing homes and newly constructed homes – thus creating an artificial housing boom.
  • The housing market busts, thus foreclosures increasing, number of vacant houses increase, number of new home sales decrease, number of qualified buyers decrease, and the overall inventory of homes on the market drastically increases.

Politics
Contrary to many political pundits, no one White House administration is responsible because deregulation of the financial sector has happened over the past 30 years. Glass-Steagall Act, the Banking Act of 1933, established controls on the financial industry. Whether being the majority in a portion of Capitol Hill or being a Pennsylvania Avenue resident, I remain confident at pointing the fingers to both parties at various times.

The bottom line is simple. Glass-Steagall provided stability in the financial sector for 50 years, but since the players wanted more, including our elected officials, responsible homeowners are unable to more on because of the market conditions created by deregulation and irresponsible loan practices.

Today, Congressional Republicans are against the regulations passed by Congressional Democrats for the primary reason of disagreement. Let us remember that since neither party sought to reinstate Glass-Steagall, the answer of the reasons behind their actions are found in the following:

  • The party’s best interest
  • Elected official’s self interest
  • Re-election campaign’s interest
  • The party’s financier’s interest

In other words, having a stable financial sector in the best interest of the country and its citizens is too low on the priority list. Just follow the money.