Saturday, May 25, 2013

No Taste in a Hollow Victory

With all the holidays, career and family commitments, plus bad weather it's been hard to get a softball game in the last couple of weeks. Well Wednesday night, I thought I had my chance as I had two teams that I'm on each playing at times where I could make both games. Cool.


Instead of an overdose of softball all I got was two hollow tasteless (no flavor) victories:
  1. Hollow Victory #1: Charter Fabric wins by forfeit - as stated in my 2007 blog, there is No Honor in Winning By Forfeit. Better to lose in your cleats than win on a technicality.
  2. Hollow Victory #2 : Weintruab wins 12-0 over a very underwhelming opponent. Blowout wins are part of the game and after a long layoff they are OK so you can get your work in and enjoy the rare good weather, but deep down in your heart you know you really proved nothing.
These type of victory have no honor, no flavor, no taste and leave you unfulfilled.

Recently in the real world another type of tasteless hollow victory occurred when Congress — caving in once again to the National Rifle Association — refused to pass sensible and needed reforms on gun control (yeah I haven't forgotten about you fake "quote unquote" defenders of the 2nd amendment).

Last month , at the biggest moment in nearly two decades for those who seek to limit the spread of firearms in America, the U.S. Senate chose to duck the issue. Even though 90 percent of Americans support those measures including many gun-owners who reject the NRA's extremism, Republicans, backed by a small group of rural-state Democrats, rejected more extensive background checks for gun purchasers. Also failing in the Senate were proposed bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. This is truly a hollow, and tasteless victory as the Senate came up six votes short of the 60 votes needed to extend federal background checks to almost all gun sales. Measures to ban the sale of rapid-fire military-style rifles and prohibit ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds also failed. I mean c'mon who needs automatic weapons? Answer no one.

The NRA and gun industry lobbyists got their way in another shameful display of political influence and hides behind democracy to fuel their capitalistic agenda at the expense of public safety. They follow the Archie Bunker "Guns for Everybody"  philosophy on gun control

(fyi the late Carol O' Conner "Archie" was a brilliant actor, classic show)

They are bullies, liars, hypocrites and assholes. Am I goon name calling? You are damn right I am! I despise bullies. Despise. So how do you fight these bullies? With a rich intelligent bully of course.

As everyone knows I have been very critical of Mayor Bloomberg's bashing the little guy approach, but when it comes to gun control the man knows what he is talking about. He hates the N.R.A and isn't scared of them. Here are some Bloomberg quotes:
  • "President Obama and Vice President Biden deserve credit for their leadership since the Sandy Hook massacre," Mr. Bloomberg said about the campaign for gun control. "But even with some bipartisan support, a common-sense public safety reform died in the U.S. Senate at the hands of those who are more interested in attempting to protect their own political careers — or some false sense of ideological purity — than protecting the lives of innocent Americans." 
  • "This is a disgrace" 
  • "Criminals won" 
  • "The only silver lining is that we now know who refuses to stand withe the 90% of Americans and in 2014 our ever-expanding collation of supporters will work to make sure that the voters won't forget"

    I completely agree and Bloomberg he is to be commended on his stance versus the N.R.A. 
    Bully on Bully crime. 
    Love it 
Unlike most politicians Bloomberg's outrage isn't limited to self-righteous press releases. He is taking matters on to his own hands, I mean his own deep wallet by launching an expensive national campaign going after 3 Democrats and 11 republicans who voted against the bill and are up for reelection in 2014. It always bothered me that Bloomberg used his money to buy a third term in NY, but in this case I am so proud of him. Who else can go dollar for dollar against the bullies of the N.R.A ?

Oh yeah, those N.R.A bullies fired back (bad pun intended) by criticizing Bloomberg on spending his money against them. How hypocritical is that? Like the N.R.A doesn't use all it's money to influence voters. How the hell do you think they beat a 90% majority opinion against them? Money, blood money, that's how.

Bloomberg is not alone as the White House and other supporters of responsible gun laws aren't giving up on gun reform. "I see this as just Round One, If this Congress refuses to listen to the American people and pass common-sense gun legislation, then the real impact is going to have to come from the voters." 

Enjoy your hollow tasteless victory for now N.R.A as the real competition will come in 2014 as
The White House and other supporters of responsible gun laws aren't giving up on gun reform. "I see this as just Round One," said Mr. Obama, flanked by relatives of Newtown's victims and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011. Looking ahead to the 2014 congressional elections, the president said, "If this Congress refuses to listen to the American people and pass common-sense gun legislation, then the real impact is going to have to come from the voters."

When I pass my vote next year I won't forget, neither should you. That victory will be sweet and meaningful.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Aftermath: "Are You Not Entertained" ??? New Softball Slaves are Not

Has the long layoff from Mother's Day, the torrential Rain. and the Memorial Day Weekend subsided the "crossing the line" blood fever that has gripped the Big Apple league for the last 3 weeks? The answer is simple and resounding. NoAs each comment have been more passionate, personal, and heart felt than the prior the Mob that is the league may have been entertained.

but not satisfied. Let's breakdown the Aftermath decisions that have ensued:
  • Disciplinary Action 
(1) Two Highlanders Suspended & (2) One Highlander warned, One Ranger warned (me)
Insider Analysis: 

(3) Highlanders remain in League have a bye June 2nd, Play again June 9th
Insider Analysis: 
Good Move. Highlander manager Dio Jackson should be given a chance to re-focus his troops and make a run for a championship. The long layoff is a blessing as it will somewhat subdue the blood fever and make everyone want to play softball

(4) Highlander-Ranger double forfeit game two verified.
Insider Analysis: 
Stupid. A continuation with all suspensions in effect should have occurred. The umpires who made that decision were morons and should be the ones punished (fired), not the players. No make-up game between the Rangers and Highlanders has been rescheduled. Mistake

From a player's note, I have asked the league commissioner to play the Highlanders again. Yes a request game. One thing about the Highlanders that I admire is that they duck no one as they "request games" against top competition all the time. The Rangers need to emulate that attitude and re-play a high quality opponent like the Highlanders before the playoffs begin. We are willing. A crossover game is imperative not from a win-loss standpoint, but from a  sportsmanship and more importantly from a Ranger diamond credibility perspective. Next time a real softball game will happen and everyone will be able to release all the venom before the playoffs. Who knows we might get lucky and play two good games.

(5) No Disciplinary Action for near brawl in Brother Jimmy - Highlander game
Insider Analysis: 
Guess the League never got the umpire report on the near brawl between the Highlanders and Brother Jimmy's? Umpire report? Really? No warning? No suspension? Nothing? Mistake. Someone fucked up. The blood fever will not ease on this one.
  • Big Apple League Policy Changes
(1) Effective Immediately if your ejected in game one you are automatically ejected game two. Plus your are subject to further disciplinary action
Insider Analysis:  Better late than Never. Never late is better. Good move

(2) Pitching Changes - None
Insider Analysis: This was their chance for change. Instead nothing but self serving interest talk about next year. Wack. So fucking Wack. Everyone knows that most likely everyone except one or two "grandfathered" pitchers (fill in the blanks) will be banned next year. This whole situation reminds me of the quote from the new Kanye West song "New Slaves:

 "You see it's leaders and it's followers But I'd rather be a prick than a swallower"

(incredible performance)

Kanye image is that of an asshole, but his passion, talent, and originality is undeniable. He isn't afraid to tackle difficult subjects and his "New Slaves song" does just that. I admire that.

Sometimes I can be an asshole, but I am not afraid to address a difficult subject like this pitching situation because in this we are all softball slaves in chains

to both

  • An establish that is simply failing to address this issue and 
  • All our desires to win
More on this beat a dead horse topic below
  • West Remains in Big Apple League, for now
The outcry for West to remain has been both sincere and hypocritical from throughout the softball constituency.  It is clear that when forced by the opposition they will also join the ranks of non modified by using Softball Hall of Famer and Legend

Carlos Contreras. 
(Editor's Note: That as was Carlos picture from the 80s when he played pro ball - love that picture great stuff. Also, it is ironic that Carlos is one of the few that can pitch both open and modified and know the difference)

Insider Analysis: 
Can you blame them? Answer No you can't. This will lead the league down a path of further arguing, whining, lying, and manipulation. 

Sadly, it could have all been avoided and the Mob will not be happy as they remain slaves to the modified versus non-modified pitching issue.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Good Day for a Bye

Personal commitments, byes, rain, and controversy have made it a long tiring week without softball. Softball is a release and without it tensions and frustrations mount. Perhaps all the passionate words said this week will be a catalyst for change. Perhaps

Today with good reason there will be no softball again, and I wish you my beautiful  softball families

a wonderful Mother's Day.

To my ladies

this is a very special Big Mommas Day. Love you

As a blog tradition I dedicate the late great Tupac's "Dear Mamma" song to all of you

Oh yeah, a special Happy Birthday today to Big Apple commissioner Jeff Marcus today. 

He's had a rough week,Enjoy the day bother. fyi- Tupac and Marcus in same blog - lol

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fallout... Comments > Insider... snatch the Pebble for the Insider's hand ..

"I never would've dreamed in a million years I'd see,So many motherfuckin' people who feel like me, who share the same views And the same exact beliefs, it's like a fuckin' army marchin' in back of me, so many lives I Touch, so much anger aimed, in no particular direction, just sprays and sprays, and straight 'till it stays stuck in your head for days and days, who would of thought, I would catapult to the forefront of like this, how Could I predict my words would have an impact like this," - Eminem White America

The Comments from my last post just blew me away. The Crossing the Line piece wasn't even a top 100 in my personal Top 100 Blogs in terms of originality, reflection, humor, honesty, analysis, and absurdity. But the subject was so controversial and touchy that it set off a wave of debate the likes that this forum has never seen before. I must admit even people who hate me weighed in on the subject matter and in this instances the readers snatched the pebble from the masters hand to far surpass my insights. You all did a wonderful job of letting it all out hang out. As Eminem rapped above "I feel I have an army in back of me"

Now where do we go form here? Is change coming? Or further regression?

Insider Analysis: The Fallout

What should happen is as follows:

(1) Suspension for all guilty parties and Warnings to all guilty teams that another abusive incident will result in expulsion without a refund. I despise abusive bully behavior. It is shallow, weak, and unacceptable. Do the crime do the time. We are here to play softball not act like assholes. Leave your alpha male bullshit elsewhere and play the game.

(2) Big Apple should institute an immediate one game minimum suspension policy for all players ejected from a game. Effective in his team next game. No if, and's or butts. Forget next year do this now. This is not a perfect policy, but it is a deterrent to socially unaccepted behavior. Show some balls and take a stand.

(3) Both umpires used during Highlander-Rangers game should be fired. Sorry but they were useless in controlling/diffusing a volatile situation

(4) Ranger-Highlander game should be continued with all ejections and suspensions in effect.

(5) Pitching - The root of all Big Apple evil. Umpires do not want to call illegal pitching. The league must do this. Come up with a ban list now, again not next year now,and institute immediately otherwise you will lose loyal teams like West or teams will go out and further escalate the problem and hire more illegal pitching to fight fire with fire.

I have my doubts that all of the above will be done due to the political and bureaucratic nature of the Big Apple beast. The People have spoken louder than anything the insider has ever written or said. Now listen.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Crossing the Line

A well known general rule in baseball/softball is when a manager crosses the foul lines

he is charged a trip to the mound. On the second visit the pitcher must be removed. This is a good common sense rule that both promotes/limits strategy and adds intrigue.

Crossing the line is not limited to pitching changes in life and in softball as it also refers to socially unacceptable behavior. Recently two Big Apple League Crossing the Line Events have occurred:

#1 Highlander Conduct Incident

On consecutive weekends the Highlanders were involved in very ugly and dangerous near brawl situations. Clearly their code of conduct has crosses the line.

Insider Analysis:

It's easy to sit here and place all blame on the Highlander's when in reality I can see their point on several issues. For example, high elbow collisions, poor officiating, or illegal pitching. However, regardless of how valid their points are their method of expressing their displeasure is poor and unacceptable. Many advocate throwing them out of the league, and who knows it may come to that, but when you take into consideration :

(A) The blatant failure of the league to hold anyone, on either side, accountable for their first incident with Brother Jimmy's.( I mean come on a whole week goes by and nothing is done?)  how can you expect the Highlanders to conform or adjust when they never even got a slap on the wrist. I don't want to hear excuses. No action on incident #1 is just bad. Frustrations and feelings over these kind of events just nester, build up over time, and get worse if they are not dealt with immediately. Poor behavior needs to be nipped in the bud.

(B) Their manager Dio Jackson, who has helped the league on occasion and built a very good team, was on vacation this past weekend and had no control over the terrible actions of his players. Dio is not a Saint, but deserves one last chance to control and re-focus his troops.

Taking into account the league's poor bureaucracy and Jackson's absence/service the Insider recommends a steep suspensions for all guilty players and a one-time final warning/reprimand to the Highlanders as a team.

#2 West resigns from Big Apple League

West wishes to leave the leave the BASL immediately if the league is willing to return their pro-rata  fee. The reason for withdrawal is that they feel the new umpires are just paying lip service to the fact that they are enforcing modified pitching rules, but have not called enough pitches in any game to disqualify any obvious sling pitchers. They feel many other leagues have a banned pitchers list and more of the pitchers from these banned lists are gravitating to the Big Apple League every year. In other words, they are sick and tired of sling.

Insider Analysis: Mad respect to West. You can say what you want about West, but this takes balls, The Big Apple League has been warned and warned and warned and warned and warned (how many fucking blogs already- sheesh), but has never listened. Clearly West feels the pitching situation has crossed the line of fairness. Can you blame them?

The Mother's Day bye comes at a good time for a league in crisis. Hopefully, the lines of sportsmanship and fairness can be re-drawn in a just and fair manner in the days ahead. Otherwise everything will just keep going foul with no clear barriers in place.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Stepping on the SB Scale

It's been a tough week as my Father has been sick, but thankfully he is recovering nicely. As I am a soon to be parent I can't help but think about my relationship with him over the years and I can honestly say we both made a lot of mistakes and wasted a lot of time. I've grown to respect him more and more the last few years as he has bravely dealt with illness after illness like a warrior while cherishing every moment of life along the way.

Still I want to avoid some of the mistakes we've made and I don't know why and I know it sounds weird, hell I am weird you know that, but for some reason when it comes to our relationship I keep thinking about a nerdy two-sided logical philosophy I learned while geeking out watching Star Trek years ago:

Philosophy #1 "the Needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the Few"

Philosophy #2 "the Needs of the One outweigh the needs of the Many"
This philosophy is all about stepping on the scale of life and weighing the right thing to do. Sometimes it’s obvious. Sometimes it's subtle. Obvious is easy, but subtle, ah that's tricky. Subtle gets into that grey area where your decision is all based on feel, sometimes something just feels right, even when common sense dictates otherwise.

For a long time my father and I couldn't weigh what we needed and the scale was tilted too much in one direction:
  • We didn't Sacrifice - It was always me me me for both of us.
  • We didn't Spend time together - he worked. I did my thing.
  • We couldn't Communicate - didn't talk for years. Years!.... Stupid
  • We couldn't Connect - something was off. He was a hustler. Me a mama's boy
  • We couldn't find a middle ground - too stubborn and selfish
Fuck this blog got serious and deep. How the hell am I going to Segway into softball after that? Easy, we all know it's more than just a game. Going forward all I can do is weigh the needs of the my family to my needs and find a balance. True love involves sacrifice after all.

It's worth noting that "The needs of the many versus the needs of the few" tough decisions are not limited to Captain Kirk or parents, you see every softball manager must make that call each game. Top Ten Examples Include:

(10/9) Incorporating New Players and Benching Regulars
Insider Analysis : "the needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the Few" - everyone deserves a fair chance and if that means someone has to sit then you got to do it. Again the talent, maturity, and experience level on your squad makes this grey area decision. Bottom line: No way in hell you do not play a new impact player. Benching a stud is moronic. 

(8) Pinch Hitting 
Insider Analysis : "the Needs of the One outweigh the needs of the Many" - never pinch hit for anyone except a forfeit avoider before July 4th. You have to show confidence as the upside will benefit everyone. Ironically  failure benefits everyone as well as long as you learn from it. As a side note, if you have to pinch hit for someone let them know at least a batter ahead, no one wants to walk into the box and be pulled back. It's embarrassing.

(7)Releasing a Talented Trouble maker
Insider Analysis : "the needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the Few" This is a big time grey area dilemma  I say do it, if and only if, your replacement level player is better. Chemistry is overrated and better left for warm feel good features on ESPN.

(6) Replacing a loyal player due to age, injury of performance
Insider Analysis : "the needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the Few". Veterans have pride but As Marcellus Wallace said in Pulp Fiction "Fuck Pride"

Sorry but your not doing anyone any favors by showing favoritism to someone based on past performance if they are physically unable to get the job done. A wise man once told me "loyalty doesn't win you championships" If you have better option use it. There is no shame in switching positions. None

(5) Switching Positions
Insider Analysis : "the needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the Few". Not everyone can play where they want to, sometimes you have to play where the team needs you. Put away the first base glove and take out that outfielders mitt homeboy we need you out there.

(4) Taking a pitcher out
Insider Analysis : "the Needs of the One outweigh the needs of the Many" -same idea as pinch hitting. Unless the pitcher asks out the game its his all the way especially early in the season

(3) Getting everyone in the game
 Insider Analysis : "the needs of the One outweigh the needs of the Many". No excuse for a manager not to get a player in at least of a couple of innings during the regular season. Easier when yo have two games.

(2) Making a lineup
Insider Analysis : "the needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the Few". You cannot make a lineup catering to some scrubs ego because they can't bat lower than 7th. Moreover, the biggest failure I see in softball is when a bum running the team bats himself really high in the order. So selfish. The softball gods will somehow pay you back one day

(1) Addressing Mistakes
Insider Analysis: "the needs of the One outweigh the needs of the Many". A manager has to hold players accountable for their play. How you address mistakes is a key grey area decision. Some players do not respond to yelling or public criticism while others feed off of it. Act accordingly otherwise tension will grow.

Knowing what to do in family, life, and softball is not always clear so trust your instincts when you step on the scale to weigh who comes first " the many or the few"?

Live Long and Prosper, I had to add that geeky line. Sorry