Musings on Sports, Politics and Life in general


God & Foxholes

Earlier today, I was ruminating on a few things when out of nowhere the old saying, “there’s no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole” came to mind.

You might be familiar with it. It relates to the concept that when facing the enemy, soldiers suddenly get religion. I can certainly understand it. I found myself praying fervently in such situations and that was years before receiving my salvation.

When you stop to think about it, it isn’t just soldiers in foxholes who find themselves asking the Almighty for help in dire circumstances. Perhaps you haven’t been saved but still found yourself praying for help in a time of need. Don’t think so? I can almost guarantee at least once in your life you’ve said something along the lines of, “Hey God, get me out of this and I’ll donate to the Children’s Hospital” or “If You help me pay my bills, I’ll go to church every Sunday” or “Dear God, please help my kid get over the flu and I’ll write a big check this Sunday.” Sound familiar?

Odds are that those without salvation will wonder “why did I do that?” once the drama has cleared. They might feel foolish. They probably won’t tell anyone that they actually prayed. If anyone was in earshot, they’ll deny it or try to explain it away. That’s a funny thing, because psychiatrists make a meaty living by telling people that their prayers are just a cultural remnant from their childhood. a way of coping with stress that is meaningless.

Don’t believe the psychiatrists.

For those of us who are saved, I could go into a long dissertation here about whether God hears and answers the prayers of the unrepentant. Or delve into why that entire prayer structure is wrong. Maybe we will discuss those things, some other time. But this post is for those among my readers who aren’t saved yet.

I’m here to tell you that those prayers are not worthless and to assure you that God did indeed hear you when you asked for help. How do I know this? My Bible says that God doesn’t want anyone to go away from Him (2 Peter 3:9). It tells me that God hears everyone, even if they aren’t in a state of Grace. Consider the case of the Ninevites. The prophet Jonah warns them of impending doom. They pray for deliverance and God spares them. These were not men of faith; indeed they had a jolly time persecuting Jews. But God heard them and spared them.

The Bible also tells me that God is constantly talking to us, even when we aren’t saved. It’s all an attempt to bring us back to Him. Paul wrote to the Romans about how God uses our conscience to talk to us (Romans 2:14-16). James wrote about a myriad of other ways God speaks to us as individuals. God is using me to speak to you right at this moment. And GOD USES OUR PRAYERS TO SPEAK TO US.

One of the few things I truly despise is the false teachers who warp Scripture to fit their personal agenda. I’ve heard people preach that if you’re unsaved, God won’t hear your prayers. They often twist John 9:31 into a pretzel to make this point, but they’re wrong. I’m not going to get a scriptural argument on this point. But just follow the logic here: if we say the way to salvation is through prayer, and God doesn’t hear the prayers of the unsaved, then how do they get saved?

That’s what this little post is all about. I’m hoping that by now you’ll have come to recognize that during those times of fear, anxiety, doubt, and pain God was calling out to you. He was letting you know that if you simply trust in Him, he can and will set things right.

If you have, then the world’s simplest prayer

God, I know I have sinned. I have done wrong in your eyes and beg forgiveness.
I believe that your Son Jesus died for my sin and ask Him to enter my heart
and promise to follow Him as Lord and Savior

will set you free. If you just prayed that prayer, find a Bible-believing and -teaching church near you.

If not, I hope I’ve given you something to consider. But don’t think about it for too long. After all, tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone and if you stuck around this long, God is speaking to you now.

Liberty, Self Governance & Virtue

What everyone is missing in the debate between social conservatism, federalism, and classical liberalism.

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s been quite a debate raging on the right side of the political spectrum. While the focus lately has been on the dust-up between Sohrab Ahmari and David French, it’s a debate that first bloomed in 2015 and has since waxed and waned in intensity. Yet, despite a years-long public spat over what conservatism is, was and should be, the arena seems more muddled than ever.

In large part that’s due to the political media (including conservative outlets) throwing around labels with reckless abandon. Are you #NeverTrump? Maybe you’re #MAGA. It could be you’re a conservatarian. Possibly a classical liberal. Or maybe you’re a Reagan Republican.

These, and dozens of other attempts to pigeonhole every right-leaning person, have only served to confuse the underlying issue of “what is a conservative.” In large part that’s because conservatives have tended to focus more on policy than underlying definition. By defining ourselves by our stances on a wide range of topics, from abortion to drug policy, foreign affairs to criminal justice, contextualism to originalism, etc., etc., we abandoned defining conservatism on our terms and allowed the media and the left to define it for us.

For close to 70 years, conservatives were, in large part, defined by William F. Buckley. We were “standing atop the ramparts, shouting ‘STOP’.” But what were we stopping? Supposedly, we were stopping radical progressivism. But if that were truly the case, we did a lousy job of it. Indeed, during the Bush years, we saw many progressive ideas adopted by a supposedly conservative president and administration. The size and scope of the federal government were increased, and its power to scrutinize our lives was magnified by the new Department of Homeland Security. Wars without end or clear aims were launched under the broad umbrella of the “War on Terror.” Education was federalized by “No Child Left Behind” (which, ironically, left almost all children behind).

It was, in fact, this odd dichotomy of progressive ideas adopted by a supposedly conservative administration that led to the schism we are now dealing with. Bush claimed to be a “compassionate conservative,” but there wasn’t very much conservative about his tenure.

Prior to Bush, the last man to enter the White House as a conservative was Ronald Reagan. Yet many of the principles he stood on were later co-opted and corrupted in the proceeding years. His adoption of peace through strength was warped into peace by military action. His hope for fiscal prudence became the greatest expansion of federal debt in our history. He aimed to make entitlement programs financially sound; later administrations adopted platforms of either eliminating or refusing to adjust them – and now they are facing insolvency. The Orwellian world we now inhabit is unrecognizable to the conservatives of the 1980s.

Conservatism, at its root, is based on the concept that there is a natural order and attempts to break free from that order inevitably lead to chaos. The “classical liberal” conception of conservatism based on the writings and thoughts from the Enlightenment period, including Jefferson, Locke, Smith, et al. is probably the closest we can hew toward. It does, in fact, absorb the social conservative concern about a classically moral society – it was, after all, John Adams who pointed out that our system of government would falter if not run by a moral nation. It also is in line with modern federalist concerns about the distribution of power and authority.

The classical liberal model also does not permit the accumulation of corporate power that exceeds the authority of the people. I know this will upset many who think free markets preclude the use of the government to rein in such entities. In a system of distributed authority, where no person or agency is able to wield greater power than another, why would a company – an entity not beholden to the public – be permitted to exceed such limits? When Teddy Roosevelt began the era of monopoly busting, historians referred to it as the beginning of the Progressive Era. I would beg to differ. Teddy employed the government to break up companies that threatened the general welfare. That is a conservative principle.

Many would question if the classical liberal model allows for mercantilism, a subject that Adam Smith touched on quite a bit. Yet Smith was against what modern free traders insist upon, a trade deficit. He opposed the idea of importing goods but supported the concept of exports. This was the economic model that was encouraged by the government up until the late 1980s when the concept of offshoring became official policy. Smith would have blanched at the idea of NAFTA or the myriad of other trade agreements; he was for a laisse faire approach to such matters.

Lastly, the classical liberal model does not allow for foreign interventions. Our founding fathers were unanimous on this point. Wars were to be avoided and only fought as a matter of absolute necessity. Of course, our history is replete with examples where this principle was abandoned. Yet a return to principled conservatism means returning to this posture – something bound to upset any number of proponents of “exporting freedom.”

Whether they identify as social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, or federalists, most are actually classical liberals. It is merely a matter of emphasis.

Indebted to 14

I posted this a couple of weeks ago, when Democrats were whispering about the silly idea that the President could bypass Congress and “invoke” the 14th Amendment. Well, they aren’t whispering it any longer. They’ve taken to shouting from the mountain that President G̶e̶e̶z̶e̶r̶ Biden has to do so NOW.


So here, without further ado (not that it will shut them up)..

Political Baseballs

Rant time again!

Liberals are cheerleading the dementia patient in the Oval Office decision not to negotiate on the national debt. They are also, at the same time, decrying the fact that the federal government will soon run out of cash, which would trigger a default.

Their machinations would be laughable in normal times and be seen as nothing more than a negotiating tactic. But they seem willing to trigger that default because they refuse to acknowledge the underlying cause: federal spending that’s ballooned so fast it’s crashing the economy.

They try to misdirect the conversation with a couple of talking points that are patently false. Indeed, they are Orwellian in their absurdity. But because the public doesn’t have even rudimentary knowledge of finance and mass media (which is equally ignorant) refuses to check these claims, they are taken with more belief than the gospels.

The first is that the…

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What’s Wrong With the Yankees?

The first month of the season is over and the New York Yankees, once favorites to win their division, are struggling to stay above .500 and find themselves 9 games out of first place. Their 17-15 record even has them on the outside looking in at a wild card spot.

What went wrong?

Simply put, the Yankees were built around 3 potential future Hall of Famers – Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton – without adequate support to survive baseball’s grueling 162-game schedule. The obvious flaws that were revealed in last season’s second half were never properly addressed. Let’s examine them.

Shortstop: Last season, the Yankees traded for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, a player not known for his offense but generally thought to be a good defender. By the midpoint, however, IKF showed that his bat was everything it was billed to be (almost non-existent) but his glovework left a lot to be desired. An upgrade was needed. But he was never considered to be the long-term solution. Instead, the hope was that one of the Yankee prospects would be. That decision meant the Yankees never entertained giving offers to any of the four all-star shortstops that were free agents this past offseason. Phenom Anthony Volpe won the starting shortstop job in Spring Training. So far, his defense has been better than expected. But after a month in the bigs, Volpe is hitting .221 with an OPS+ of 91, which is essentially the same production they received from Kiner-Falefa last year. Volpe might still develop into a shortstop on par with Carlos Correa or Trea Turner, and he has shown flashes. But at the moment, he can’t be called an upgrade.

Clay Holmes

Bullpen: Last season’s closer had one of the most epic flame-outs in MLB history. Ineffective when he did pitch, Aroldis Chapman suffered through some of the most bizarre injuries ever and then threw a petulant temper tantrum that resulted in him not being put on the postseason roster. His understudy, Clay Holmes, was almost unhittable in the first half but reverted to the form he showed in Pittsburgh in the second. The Yankees came into 2023 needing a reliable closer, but rather than try to obtain one, the team opted to roll with much the same crew as in 2022.
Middle relief hasn’t been a problem. Ian Hamilton, Ron Marinaccio, Wandy Peralta, and Michel King have been solid. But Holmes has been a disaster in the closer role. In only 10 innings of work, he has allowed 7 runs on 11 hits and 5 walks. He’s also hit two batters and thrown a pair of wild pitches. That ineffectiveness has led to 3 blown saves. The Yankees will probably continue to roll with Holmes in the closer role. But it’s beginning to look like that three-month stretch last season was an outlier to the reliever’s career 4.15 ERA.

Outfield: At the end of last season, the Yankees had a serviceable center fielder and not much else on the grass. The Yankees took care of one problem by resigning “Arson” Judge, coming off his monstrous MVP campaign. But despite having to resort to playing a rookie utility infielder in left field in the playoffs, the team did nothing to address the position. Granted, the options available weren’t great. Andrew Benintendi was probably the best option, but he chose to sign with the White Sox and avoid the East Coast media. Cody Bellinger might have been worth a flyer, but the Yankees didn’t consider him (hindsight being 20/20. his 7 home runs and 158 OPS+ would look pretty good in pinstripes).
Instead, the Yanks decided to give the job to Aaron Hicks, who had spent the previous three seasons either striking out or on the injured list and playing so poorly on defense the erstwhile center fielder was shifted away from there. Hicks has been even worse than most fans feared, posting a 10 OPS+ and routinely turning fly balls into adventures.

Aaron Hicks

Third base: Incumbent third baseman Josh Donaldson proved last season he is a shell of the former MVP player he once was. While his glovework remained among the best in the game, he could no longer hit a major-league fastball. While DJ Lemahieu proved capable at the hot corner, another season-ending injury forced Donaldson into playing every day and inexplicably, Aaron Boone insisted on hitting him in the middle of the order That gave opposing pitchers an easy landing spot behind Stanton. His inability to hit not only hurt him, but pitchers began pitching around Stanton, contributing to his second-half decline.
For some reason, the Yankee brain trust didn’t try to upgrade the position, opting to give the job to Donaldson. True to form, he played poorly before landing on the IL with yet another leg injury. While LeMahieu has returned to form while playing the position, his injury history means there is nobody who can fill the position when the inevitable happens.

Rotation: The Yankees came into the offseason with a supremely talented but fragile starting rotation. While Cole has proven to be a durable workhorse, the other projected starters were certainly not. Luis Severino has hardly pitched since 2019. Frankie Montas had a bum shoulder, and Nestor Cortes had only one career season throwing more than 150 innings. So Brian Cashman went out and gave $162 million to Carlos Rodon, another supremely talented pitcher with a worrying injury history.
By the time the season rolled around, those injury concerns turned into reality. Montas never even threw a pitch before needing season-ending surgery. Neither Severino nor Rodon has thrown a pitch yet this season. It’s meant pitchers originally ticketed for the minors have had to throw more than half the innings thrown by the Yankee starting pitchers, with a 5.32 ERA. Clarke Schmidt, in particular, has been a nightmare, with a 5.83 ERA and somehow already accumulating -0.6 bWAR.

Depth: It’s true that every team has to weather injuries. But it is also true that the Yankees understood they had more than their share of players with significant injury histories. Judge, Stanton, Rodon, Severino, LeMahieu, and CF Harrison Bader all have spent a lot of time hurt over the past few seasons. Additionally, 1B Anthony Rizzo has played with a twingy back and Cortes is coming off his first season with more than 150 innings. The front office should have spent the winter bolstering the reserves to help the team weather the inevitable injuries.
For some reason, it chose to trade away the best depth pieces the team had last season and not replenish for this one. So we’ve witnessed the Franchy Cordero/Willie Calhoun/Jhony Brito Yankees this April.
Nor is there much help in the upper minors. While fans might clamor for Jasson Dominguez, he’s playing his first season at AA. Estevan Florial has been (thankfully) optioned off the 40-man roster. Everson Pereira is back at AA and only hitting .232. Andres Chapparro is only hitting .231, Elijah Dunham .253. Among the pitchers, one-time phenom Deivi Garcia is learning how to be a reliever and having a rough go of it so far. Likewise Matt Krook,

The Yankees will certainly be a better team if they can get back to full strength. But even then, the problems in the outfield, at third, and in the bullpen mean this year’s squad is not a championship caliber club. Indeed, with 7 games against the first-place Rays over the next 10 days, it’s conceivable the team might well be buried before the calendar turns to June. Could the Yankees be sellers at the trade deadline, similar to the 2016 season? It isn’t unthinkable and that says more about how poorly this roster was constructed than anything else.

Indebted to 14

Rant time again!

Liberals are cheerleading the dementia patient in the Oval Office decision not to negotiate on the national debt. They are also, at the same time, decrying the fact that the federal government will soon run out of cash, which would trigger a default.

Their machinations would be laughable in normal times and be seen as nothing more than a negotiating tactic. But they seem willing to trigger that default because they refuse to acknowledge the underlying cause: federal spending that’s ballooned so fast it’s crashing the economy.

They try to misdirect the conversation with a couple of talking points that are patently false. Indeed, they are Orwellian in their absurdity. But because the public doesn’t have even rudimentary knowledge of finance and mass media (which is equally ignorant) refuses to check these claims, they are taken with more belief than the gospels.

The first is that the “Trump tax cuts” are what’s bankrupting the government. What they never mention is that ever since they were enacted, federal revenues have skyrocketed to record levels. That’s in both real dollars ($4.9 trillion last year) and as a share of GDP (23.6%). You can complain about the “rich not paying their fair share” (another bizarre liberal talking point), but a reality check shows that the half of the country that does pay taxes is paying more than ever. The problem isn’t one of not having enough revenue. The problem is that the government is spending our money faster than a drunken sailor on liberty in Thailand.

But what’s really piqued my ire is the latest talking point, which seems to have come out over the weekend. It’s that the President can ignore Congress and declare that the public debt can skyrocket without constraint. They use two claims to support this absurdity. The first is that since Congress passed the spending, to begin with, it implied that the debt incurred is already authorized. But realizing that anyone can say they’ll buy something, but not bother to pay for it (think about all those credit card defaults!), they’ve begun shifting to a new argument.

And this is the one that REALLY drives me nuts. Liberals are now of the opinion that the US Constitution gives the president this mythological power to bypass Congress. To buttress this claim, they point to the 14th Amendment. The argument is that the wording in clause 4 says, “The validity of the public debt of the United States… shall not be questioned.”

What a bunch of cow manure.

The ellipses are used to forget about the entire midsection of the first sentence, which actually reads, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” Further, it ignores the rest of the clause, which states, “But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.”

Why does this specious argument drive me nuts? Because any high school student, never mind the learned members of the commentariat, can read that and understand what the meaning behind this clause is. After the Civil War, Congress was making it clear that the debts incurred by the Confederacy were null and void, and they would only pay the debts incurred by the Union. This was an important statement to make in what is a civil rights amendment. Many of the debts created by the South were not only related to arming and equipping an army but recapturing former slaves who were escaping bondage and fleeing to the North. Without it, former slave owners would have been able to sue the government for damages incurred by losing their former property. Without the fourth clause to the 14th Amendment, slavery would have effectively been recognized as a legal practice requiring remuneration for granting people their freedom.

It has nothing to do with what the media dubbed “the debt ceiling.” That is an entirely separate animal and the fact that supposed liberals are all for invoking the anti-slavery part of our Constitution to effectively enslave the entire country is not only offensive and disingenuous but speaks to their mindset. We are nothing but chattel to them; a means to enrich themselves on the backs of our enterprise.

The Magic of Trump

One of the things that constantly seems to puzzle political types is Donald Trump’s strength among the Republican electorate. Consider these recent polls:

  • While no politician in the nation enjoys a positive approval rating, Ron DeSantis leads the pack with a 43% rating and a +1.4% over his negatives. Trump is at 38.7 and -16.7, respectively.
  • In head-to-head matchups, DeSantis beats Joe Biden by 6 points, while Trump and Biden are virtually tied.
  • 73% of Americans say the country needs younger leadership. 71% think there should be an “age cap” of 70. Trump would be 78 if he won the presidency. Biden would be 82. DeSantis would only be 46.
  • Yet in state head-to-head matchups, Trump beats DeSantis by anywhere from 3 to 40 points. Even in Florida, where DeSantis is arguably the nation’s most successful governor, he only holds a 4 point advantage.

So, what gives? Republicans would seem to want to win. They almost universally loathe Biden and his administration. They bemoan the leftward lurch the country is taking on everything from transgenderism to education. Yet in survey after survey, Donald Trump wins the GOP nomination. He doesn’t win in a squeaker, he wins in a landslide, capturing virtually every state in which we have polling data and most of those by double-digits. When you add in the already also-rans (Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Asa Hutchinson, and Vivek Ramaswamy), his lead only increases as they pull 2-3x as many from DeSantis as they do Trump.

This is the puzzle that bedevils so many in our political commentariat. Trump is remarkably unpopular among everyone except self-identified Republicans. They remember the way his administration seemed as lost as everyone else in Washington during Covid. They watched in horror as his administration imploded after the 2020 election. They remember the deranged midnight tweets. So if Republicans want to win so badly, why do they cling to Trump like cat hair to a black suit?*

The problem has to do with what Washington expects from politicians. Often, they’re correct in that candidates should have a record of successful governance. They should be calm under fire. They should have consistent policies that poll well. Above all, they should be likable.

Whatever Donald Trump may be, he certainly isn’t any of those things.

What Donald Trump does have is the same thing that propelled Ronald Reagan into the White House 42 years ago. He is an avatar for change. The reason he doesn’t share the same popularity as Reagan did (and remember, Reagan wasn’t a terribly popular politician in 1979) is that unlike in 1980, half the country is just fine with the way things are going. Yes, polling consistently shows less than 30% of the country is happy with the way things are going. Yet that number is misleading. Of the 70%+ that want things to change, about half want the country to tilt further to the left. Those remaining 35% or so who want a return to the right are firmly in the GOP camp. And those voters are overwhelmingly saying they want Donald Trump as their candidate.

So why is any Ivy League educated, thrice bankrupt billionaire seen as an avatar for change and not the younger, more accomplished challenger, Ron DeSantis? It’s largely because the public is very aware of Donald Trump’s past. They love the unfiltered language, the stream-of-consciousness outbursts, and the devil-may-care attitude. They may not like the history of peccadilloes and unsavory characters that have been in his orbit for two generations. But all of those things – the controversies, the divorces, the affairs, the Don Kings and mobsters, point to what is appealing to his supporters. He is not “just another politician,” even though he’s been involved in politics for almost 60 years. He is still the anti-politician.

If you’re upset with decades of “the process” giving you nothing but a perceived middle finger, then you want someone willing to give a middle finger to the process. THAT is Donald Trump, and that is the Trump magic. What the nattering nabobs of Capitol Hill still fail to grasp is that there are millions of Americans who are frankly beyond upset at the political system, who want to simply tell their government that they’ve had it, who want to give them a middle finger. A big, orange middle finger, in this case.

*if you own a cat and a black suit, you get the analogy. If not, you need to get a cat. Or a black suit. Or both.

The Love of Christ

Time for a rant.

I keep hearing, often from people who mean well, that “Jesus loves you because of who you are.” It’s become so accepted by our world, and why not? It’s pleasant. It’s nice. It means that I’m loved just the way I am.

The problem is this is terrible theology. Yes, you’re loved – but not for who you are but who you can be.

Picture of the Fall of Man painting by Hugo van der Goes
The Fall of Man, by Hugo van der Goes

Who you are is a fallen creature. God made us in his image (Genesis 1:27), but we are inheritors of original sin (Romans 3:23). You may think of yourself as a good person. You never murdered anyone. You try to be nice to your neighbors. You pay your bills and don’t cheat on your taxes.

Those are all good things! But they don’t make you a good person – at least not in God’s eyes. Every single day, you commit a multitude of sins. Jesus told us that even thinking of a sinful act was as bad as acting on it (Matthew 5:28).

So if we’re a constant disappointment to God, why would Jesus love us? He loves us because we can mend our ways. Christ preached the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), in which a wayward child disappoints his father, even going so far as to live as far away as possible. But when the son returns home, his father not only forgives him but throws a party to celebrate his return.

So it is with us. No matter how much we disappoint our Father, he is willing to forgive us. There’s a good chance you’ve seen the phrase “John 3:16” displayed on signs at sporting events and concerts and the like. It is a simple, but perhaps the most powerful, Bible verse.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that those who believe should not perish but have everlasting life

This is what we can become and it is what God wants for us. We’re told that God wants everyone to come to Him (2 Peter 3:9). Like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son, our Father is willing to forgive us and welcome us home with great rejoicing.

So yes, Jesus loves you for who you might be – a believer of God’s word. It’s his fervent wish that you will become a true follower (John 10:27) and trust in Him. We say that the greatest love anyone can have for someone else is dying to save their life.

This is exactly what Christ did for all of us. He willingly accepted the unjust judgements of men and allowed himself to suffer torture and indignity before being executed, hung on a cross. And then, God raised him from the dead.

So will you accept His love, his gift of eternal existence? If you believe, then all you need to do is profess your faith, admit your sinful nature, and ask forgiveness.

I pray that you’ve done so. If you have, find a Bible believing church. If not, I pray that perhaps these words will encourage you to eventually come to Christ.

Random Baseball Thoughts

I know I haven’t been writing much lately. In fact, this might be my first post of the year. But what better way to break the ice than a quick discussion of first impressions about the new baseball rules? I’ve only watched a handful of games this weekend, but I already have thoughts.

*The Pitch Clock: I’m going to be a huge fan. I’m not sure when EVERYONE became a “Human Rain Delay,” but there’s no doubt the game had slowed to a crawl. I mean, it got to the point you could cook a 5 course meal between pitches. I grew up with baseball in the 1970s, when night games started at 7:30 and ended before the 10 o’clock news came on.

The three games I watched this weekend all ended in about 2 1/2 hours. And this is Spring Training, when games are typically longer! Hallelujah!

*Defensive Shifts: Again, I’m a fan of their being banned. I was never a fan of them to begin with. After all, baseball was played for over a century without teams going to 4 outfielders and 3 men between first and second. Joe Maddon and Terry Francona won’t like it, but you know what I saw? Hard ground balls going for singles instead of 9-6-4 double plays.

Larger bases: I know the idea was to improve safety and that might prove to be the case. But those bigger bases have cut down the distance between them. It’s forced players to be quicker when making throws and making decisions. That makes the game more exciting and anything that raises the excitement level is good.

*Limited Pickoff Attempts: the jury is still out. I’ve only seen one player take advantage. But I suspect this is because there just aren’t very many base stealers in the game right now. But there are a bunch in the minors, and we’ve already heard some current major leaguers talk about improving their stolen base totals.

That’s it for now. But stay tuned. Baseball is back and looks to be better than ever.

Our National Reading Problem

I’m reblogging this post from an old friend who also happens to be one of our nation’s leading educators., It is one of the most important things you will read this year. An illiterate nation is something our Founders understood would be devastating. If we don’t do something now, we’re headed in that direction.

A Senate Stunner

I’ve seen (at last count) ten gajillion articles trying to decipher AZ Senator Sinema’s decision to register as an independent. I don’t think I read one that gets it right.

I think the vast majority of us are reasonably well-plugged into politics at various levels. Some (ok, maybe more than some) of us have been watching and been part of elections since before the invention of fire, so nothing should surprise us. And yet, everyone seems to be.

Ms. Sinema was always much further left than the typical Democrat on social issues but to the right of even some Republicans on fiscal issues. Further, she’s been a proponent of the traditional rules of the Senate. So while registered as a Democrat and voting with party leadership more than 98% of the time, the former Green Party candidate never really fit into a neat “D” shaped box.

All of this might seem incidental, but for over a year she’s been the target of the leftist base of the Democrats. There are a couple of other Democrats who are also targets, but the biggest difference in her case is Reuben Gallego. Mr. Gallego is a former congressman and very popular in AZ among leftists. He’s already gearing up for a primary run and had an excellent chance of defeating Ms. Sinema, whose approval ratings among AZ Democrats mirrors the President’s overall approval.

In short, if there was a Democrat ready to declare as an independent after Democrats secured a 51st seat, it was Kirsten Sinema.

Now going forward, not much will change in the Senate’s composition. As mentioned previously, she’s voted with near unanimity with Democratic leadership. There’s no reason to suspect that will change now. She is keeping her committee assignments. If anything, Majority Leader Schumer can be expected to throw even more olive branches her way, as her vote will be crucial to many of his priorities (not least of which is keeping one AOC off his heels in NY).




Our Gospel