Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Lack of Judgement Can Be a Two Way Street

Joba Chamberlain made the biggest mistake of his life.

No, it was not a hanging slider to blow a save or a hold.

No, it wasn't a pitch up and over the head of Kevin Youkilis (again).

In fact, his mistake did not even take place on the baseball diamond.

Joba Chamberlain's biggest mistake this week revolved around his recent DUI back in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. After being well over the legal limit, speeding, and having an open container in his car, Joba's judgment lacked the sharpness usually displayed in his blazing fastball and wicked slider.

And there lies the problem.

The problem being that Joba's recent mishap is directly tied with his on-the-field talent. Joba's recent DUI was met with mere passes and excuses such as, "he deserves a second chance." Or, "He's only twenty three, he's young, he will make mistakes."

Although everyone does deserve a second chance (and a third as suggested by Hank Steinbrenner), lets not forget that Joba was legally intoxicated while operating a vehicle. It's an act highly frowned upon in human culture that we have seen end tragically too many times.

Too many athletes have been given the little slap on the wrist punishment because of their star status, and due to their social label as an athlete. It happens very often, as we as a society allow it. We like to live vicariously through these athletes, and sometimes become wrapped up into the aura of the sports realm. Although, Joba is due for trial in mid December, the media, sports writers, and talk radio has given that same "laissez faire" treatment to Joba after his recent mishap.

Let's be honest, not only is Joba talented, he's tremendously charismatic and well liked by the baseball world. Can you imagine if A-Rod were slapped with the DUI? Nonetheless, despite his huge mistake, which could have been fatal and tragic to not only his life, but potentially others as well, Joba has defused the situation by owning up to it by seeking the help and path towards correcting it.

Driving under the influence is a huge, huge, huge mistake. But we are a forgiving society. However, never should a person's status, money, talent, or fame cloud our judgment regarding drunk driving. For when that happens, we not only diminish the seriousness of the issue, but express and approve a lack of judgment ourselves.

A lack of judgment can be a two way street.

Monday, October 06, 2008

U.S. Economy in Need of New Generation Robin Hood

$700 Billion Rescue Plan. Passed.

On October 6th, 2008, the global market took yet another huge hit as the Dow plunged below 10,000 points, with effects looming to spread beyond Wall street to what most politicians and financial economist coined as, "Main Street."

It seems the "Rescue Plan" which lends financial firms over $700 billion of American tax dollars is not stabilizing the market, or even fooling investors into committing to it. In fact, most are beginning to repel from the market, due to its unpredictability, as the bottom of the global economy continues to fall out.

$700 billion dollars. A Rescue Plan is what the government has tried to spin it.

However, lets be honest and call it what it is - a bailout. A simple, "Uncle Sam, we messed up badly, now fix it."

It's very much understandable for the reason for this bailout. If several more financial firms fall under- mortgages, 401k's, loans, and employment go with them. And attempting to fathom the destruction, effect on crime, unemployment, and income rate that would have on this nation is endless.

However, it boggles my mind how CEO's received six-figure Christmas bonuses last holiday season when city officials and economists cautioned the trouble waters ahead for 2008. It is amazing how greed consumed many on Wall street, giving loans to just about anyone willing to sign on the bottom line to raise interest rates and lock innocent, financial suckers and/or those looking for help, into lifelong mortgages and credit loans they cannot afford. All with the simple objective of taking advantage of individuals and seeking to make an extra buck upon their already millions.

Yet, although this has been as clear as a tidal wave approaching shore on a crisp fresh morning, our leader claimed, "Our economy is sound."

I believe in a capitalist structure. It has worked. It can work. Although yours truly cannot claim to any financial investment expertise, there has to be something wrong with a struggling middle class paying for the mistakes and greed of established millionaires.

There has to be.

Credit Crisis. Foreclosures. Collapsing global economy. Rising cost of living. Increasing unemployment rate. Decreasing middle class.

I guess our economy is in fact sound.

For the love of money is the root of all evil, and $700 Billion is deafening.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Attempting to Script October: The 2008 MLB Playoffs

With the change of the calendar to the tenth month of the year comes October. Playoff baseball. It is the time of the year where each pitch is as important as the next to come. Where lineups and today's starting pitcher are reviewed as the tale of the tape before a big fight. It is where each call, each bounce, and each inch can change an inning, a game, and a series. It is a month where baseball reigns supreme. A month where goats become heroes, and heroes can become legends. It is also a month where Bartman and Buckner happens. It is unpredictable, unfathomable, and downright the best sporting month of the year.

It's October. It's playoff baseball. And it cannot be scripted.

Nonetheless, part of the fun is attempting to do so, so here goes...

ALDS - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim defeat Boston Red Sox in four games.

Anaheim takes care of business out west before dropping game three in Fenway. Game 4 will see John Lackey take the hill and dominate the sox for eight innings clinching the series for the halos.
Series MVP - Francisco Rodriguez

ALDS - Tampa Bay Rays defeat Chicago White Sox in four games.

Tampa Bay will continue doing what they do best, and what got them to this point - speed, pitching and defense. Chicago will manage to steal one at "The Trop", but without their MVP in Carlos Quentin, Chicago will be out played throughout the series.
Series MVP - Carlos Pena

NLDS - Los Angeles Dodgers defeat Chicago Cubs in four games.

The heart of Cubs fans will be broken as Chicago's NL team will be eliminated by the surging Dodgers in four games. After splitting two in Wrigley, The Dodgers will continue to stay hot by taking care of business in LA.
Series MVP - Manny Ramirez

NLDS - Philadelphia Phillies defeat Milwaukee Brewers in five games.

This series will go back and forth with the each team having its moments. The loss of Brian Sheets will ultimately hurt them, and Brad Lidge will continue to be a magician by closing out games with thirty plus pitches, yet not blowing one save.
Series MVP - Cole Hamels

ALCS - Tampa Bay Rays defeat Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in seven games.

Tampa Bay will continue to surprise everyone with their ability to play with the uncrowned champion, Angels. The series will be dominated by small ball and pitching duels, which will come down to the bullpen. In the end, Tampa Bay wins game seven in Anaheim after Kazmir outduels Lackey, with Percival shutting the door on his former team's dreams of an AL pennant.
Series MVP - Scott Kazmir

NLCS - Los Angeles Dodgers defeat Philadelphia Phillies in six games.

Manny Ramirez will continue his tear on the National League by torturing the Phillies starting staff. However, Andre Ethier will have an even better series by continuing his hot hitting behind Manny Ramirez. Game four will see the best pitched game of the post season with Cole Hamels and Chad Billingsley each going eight, yet both getting a no-decision. Dodgers end game six with Clayton Kershaw shutting down the Phillies in long relief.
Series MVP - Andre Ethier

World Series - Los Angeles Dodgers defeat Tampa Bay Rays in six games.

The battle of David vs. Goliath in terms of history for these two teams. The series will be a showcase of great baseball with the stars of tomorrow on display, as well as those that needed the big stage to show the nation just how good they have been. In the long run, it will be the catalyst for the Dodgers playoff run, Manny Ramirez, who will be the difference in the series. An opportunity for him to stick it the Red Sox (and his case for a new contract), as the same with Joe Torre and Coaching company to the empire back East in the Bronx.
World Series MVP - Manny Ramirez

Happy October to all, and enjoy the games.