Thursday, December 25, 2014

Baseball-themed Caribbean cruises

12/25/14, "Caribbean: Baseball-themed cruises featuring retired greats," LA Times, Rosemary McClure

"Three baseball-themed voyages, hosted by former New York Yankees pitcher Stan Bahnsen, are scheduled for this winter and spring.

The seven-night MSC Cruises, "baseball greats" sailings, which depart from Miami, give passengers a chance to meet retired players such as Gorman Thomas of the Milwaukee Brewers, Randy Hundley of the Chicago Cubs and Ken Griffey of the Cincinnati Reds.

Activities include player-hosted trivia games, question-and-answer sessions with players, passenger pitching contests and storytelling sessions. In addition, players host pitching, hitting, fielding and base-running clinics.

Dates: Feb. 7, 21, March 7

Price: From $349 per person, plus fees and taxes. Included are meals, accommodations and entertainment. Airfare, excursions, spa treatments, many beverages and gratuities are not included.
Info: MSC Cruises, (877) 665-4655"

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Star over Bethlehem

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ANSWER Coalition shuts down Fifth Ave. in Manhattan, blocks ambulance at 54th and 5th

12/23/14, "Anti-cop protesters flood NYC despite de Blasio’s appeal," NY Post, by Sean Gubitosi, Aaron Short, Georgett Roberts

"Over a thousand anti-cop activists tried to shut down Fifth Avenue in Midtown and the Upper East Side on Tuesday– defying Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s call for a moratorium on the demonstrations after two Brooklyn police officers were slain.

Many of the activists took shots at the mayor. “The mayor says stop that, we say fuck that!” yelled activists, while jumping in place. The group started on 59th Street and 5th Avenue, went down to 53rd Street, and then marched up the Upper East Side.

Activists said they planned to march up to East Harlem, and then protest at a local precinct. Tarik Grand, 25, of Brooklyn said he was out there because of de Blasio’s words on Monday. “We’re protesting tonight, because the mayor specifically said not to,” he said. “They asked for a moment of silence for the cops, but not for Garner.”

Most of the agitators chanted angrily at the police. “How do you spell murderers? N-Y-P-D!” said the agitators.

“NYPD, KKK, how many kids did you kill today?” other protesters chanted, who started on the sidewalk before moving onto the streets of Fifth and Madison Avenue.

The activists choked the traffic– and left an ambulance from New York Presbyterian stranded on 54th Street and 5th Avenue.

They began moving downtown on 5th Avenue from 59th Street about 5:30 p.m. The demonstration has been organized by the Act Now To End War and Stop Racism Coalition (ANSWER), which has blasted de Blasio’s words as an effort to “chill the expression of free speech rights.”

The activists are using the hashtags “jailkillercops” and “winter of resistance” to organize their activities.

Two heroic Brooklyn police officers were executed Saturday– after weeks of protests following a grand jury’s decision not to indict a cop who fatally choked Staten Island man Eric Garner while taking him into police custody.

“Personally, I feel it was horrible what happened to the police officers,” said Frangy Pozo, 21, a student at Rutger’s University. “We’re not saying we’re against them. [But] just because they died shouldn’t slow us down.”"

Above image: "ANSWER Coalition @answercoalition In front of the plaza now to Manhattan, NY, United States" via NY Post


12/23/14, "Protesters to Defy De Blasio, Plan to ‘Shut Down’ Fifth Ave. in New York," Breitbart, Kerry Picket

"According to reports, The Answer Coalition said it would go through with the march, which it says was planned long before Saturday night’s murders. They denounced the mayor for asking for a moratorium on protests, saying that would be an “outrageous” attempt to chill free speech."...Above image via Breitbart

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Foundation established 32 years ago by George Steinbrenner will pay for education of children of slain NY City police officer-Bill Madden

12/21/14, "Yankees will pay for education of children of NYPD cop Rafael Ramos who was killed while on duty Saturday," NY Daily News, Bill Madden, Teri Thompson

"George Steinbrenner's Yankee Silver Shield Foundation has, for 32 years, provided for the education of the children of New York City cops, firefighters and Port Authority employees who were killed in the line."

"Yankee owner George Steinbrenner died in 2010, but his appreciation for the men in blue who protect New York City lives on.

For 32 years, Steinbrenner's Yankee Silver Shield Foundation has provided for the education of the children of New York City police officers, firemen and Port Authority employees who died in the line of duty, and will do so for the family of NYPD officer Rafael Ramos, gunned down by a cold-blooded killer Saturday along with his partner, Wenjian Liu.

The foundation will pay for the education of Ramos' son, 13-year-old Jaden, and another son who is in college. Liu, who was recently married, had no children.

Steinbrenner started his foundation in 1982 after seeing a news account of four children flanking their mother and folding an American flag at the funeral of their father, an NYPD officer who had been killed in the line of duty.

"Who's going to take care of these kids," Steinbrenner asked his friend, former Olympian Jim Fuchs, who would run the foundation until his death, also in 2010. "We are."

The foundation, now run by Fuchs' daughter Casey, has paid for the educations of thousands of children of fallen NYPD, FDNY, state police and Port Authority workers in the tri-state area, as well as 700 children who lost a parent in the terrorists attacks on Sept. 11, 2001." via Free Rep.

Added, 12/22/14, "This is Isamil Brinsley, 28 who shot dead two NYPD cops in an 'execution style' attack," Facebook, via UK Daily Mail.
12/20/14, "Two New York policemen executed in broad daylight by man who shot his girlfriend before bragging on Instagram that he was going to get revenge for deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown," UK Daily Mail, by Mia De Graaf, Kieran Corcoran 

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

US almost CO2-free according to first images from NASA satellite presented at scientific conference in San Francisco. Scientists say some climate computer models "will have to be revised"-BBC

12/18/14, "Carbon dioxide satellite mission returns first global maps," BBC, Jonathan Amos

"Nasa's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) has returned its first global maps of the greenhouse gas CO2. 
The satellite was sent up in July to help pinpoint the key locations on the Earth's surface where carbon dioxide is being emitted and absorbed.

This should help scientists better understand how human activities are influencing the climate.

The new maps contain only a few weeks of data in October and November, but demonstrate the promise of the mission.

Clearly evident within the charts is the banding effect that describes how emitted gases are mixed by winds along latitudes rather than across them.

Also apparent are the higher concentrations over South America and southern Africa. These are likely the result of biomass burning in these regions.

It is possible to see spikes, too, on the eastern seaboard of the US and over China. These probably include the additional emissions of CO2 that come from industrialisation.

"We're very early into the mission and collecting data, yet as we show, we can take five weeks of that information and give you a quick picture of global carbon dioxide," said deputy project scientist Annmarie Eldering.

"It really suggests to us that OCO-2 will be very useful for finding out about where carbon dioxide is coming from and being taken back up around the globe," she told BBC News.

The US space agency researcher presented the maps here at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Sources and sinks
The satellite was launched this year as a replacement for an earlier venture that was destroyed in 2009 when its rocket failed soon after lift-off.

OCO-2's key objective is to trace the global geographic distribution of CO2 in the atmosphere - measuring its presence down through the column of air to the planet's surface.

Scientists want to know how exactly the greenhouse gas cycles through the Earth system - the carbon cycle.

Humans add something like 40 billion tonnes of the gas to the atmosphere every year, principally from the burning of fossil fuels.

But the ultimate destination of this carbon dioxide is uncertain. About half is thought to be absorbed into the oceans, with the rest pulled down into land "sinks".

It is hoped OCO-2 can describe those draw-down locations in much more detail. Even with this snapshot, scientists can see that some of their existing models will have to be revised.

As part of its presentation, the observatory team showed off a special targeting mode that it can employ on OCO-2.

This involves swinging the satellite so that its spectrometer instrument can scan a restricted location in very high resolution.

Currently, these places are ones where the project has sophisticated ground equipment to gather measurements that can then validate OCO-2's observations from orbit. But ultimately, the lessons learned could allow the mission to make detailed surveys at other sites, such as megacities known be big emitters.

"I think the answer to that is 'yes', and there are discussions going on now as to whether we can increase the number of places that we can target to look at other interesting locations. 

"But more importantly, though, we are all hoping there will be a follow-on mission called OCO-3, which would directly provide that flexibility in operations."

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory has been spoken of as the forerunner of satellite missions that would seek to gain the information needed to patrol climate treaties, by helping to check that promises made by nations on carbon curbs were being kept."

Image: "The map contains 600,000 data points," BBC


Comment: The map shows China with a pronounced dark patch similar to those in South America and Africa though not as large. Conversely, the US has only a small, faint shadow of color. For whatever reason, the BBC reporter doesn't present China's results as similar to Africa and South America's. He chooses to group China with the US "too," ie, "It's possible to see spikes, too, over the eastern US and China." Hopefully, UN global warming police "patrolling climate treaties" (per article) will have better eyesight than Jonathan Amos and his UK government bosses.


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"At one point Wednesday, Major League Baseball became so concerned about the reaction to Obama’s announcement that it sent a directive to its 30 teams pointing out that it remained illegal to scout players in Cuba or to sign them, because the U.S. embargo of the island remained in effect," and can only be removed with congressional approval-NY Times, Schmidt

12/17/14, "Once again, Cuba, with its history of the sport, beckons to baseball," NY Times, Michael S. Schmidt

"At a dinner in one of Fidel Castro’s palaces in 1999, Castro and several of Major League Baseball’s senior executives discussed one of the few bonds between Cuba and the United States: baseball.

The executives, including baseball’s commissioner, Bud Selig, were there for an exhibition game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Cuban national team, as part of an effort by President Bill Clinton to thaw relations.

As the dinner stretched into the early hours of the morning, Castro regaled Selig with tales from the history of Cuban baseball and fantasized about what would happen if the United States and Cuba ever normalized ties. Castro told one of the executives, Sandy Alderson, who had overseen preparations for the trip, that he was open to the idea of major league teams having academies in Cuba similar to the ones in the Dominican Republic, where teenage players honed their skills in the hopes of making it to the majors. Fifteen years after that dinner, the vision of an active relationship between Cuba and Major League Baseball became a little more real Wednesday after President Barack Obama’s announcement that he planned to restore full diplomatic relations with the island nation.

In one of Obama’s most significant foreign policy initiatives, he said he would open an embassy in Havana for the first time in more than a half century and said the United States would ease restrictions on travel and banking.

When Castro took power in 1959, Cuba’s pool of talented baseball players - one of the largest outside the United States - became off-limits to major league teams, except for the stream of players who defected. The 19 Cuban-born players who were major leaguers in all or part of the 2014 season - like Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig - made up the highest number since 1967, when there were 30. But scouts and general managers have said it would be far higher if teams could send representatives to Cuba and sign players, and then develop them.

Significant foreign policy announcements from Washington do not usually prompt the baseball commissioner’s office or the players union to respond. But after Obama addressed the nation Wednesday, both released terse statements saying they were monitoring the situation.

Baseball officials, team executives, scouts, agents and fans began to speculate about how soon major league teams might be able to sign players in Cuba. Some even wondered whether Major League Baseball might be tempted to relocate a team like the Tampa Bay Rays, which has a feeble fan base, to Havana, where it would most likely be a sensation. Others questioned how rich the Cuban talent pool really was.

At one point Wednesday, Major League Baseball became so concerned about the reaction to Obama’s announcement that it sent a directive to its 30 teams pointing out that it remained illegal to scout players in Cuba or to sign them, because the U.S. embargo of the island remained in effect. Obama cannot lift the embargo on his own, and a Congress that will be fully controlled by Republicans starting in January is unlikely to go along with the idea, at least any time soon.

Some baseball officials thought that the changes in travel restrictions that would now take effect could at least ease the chaotic process that started in the 1990s, when the island’s top players would escape, often in boats in the middle of the night, defect to the United States and sign as free agents with major league teams.

With 11 million people, Cuba would not just be a talent source for Major League Baseball if a working relationship was established; it would also be an ideal market. Baseball has expanded its efforts in the past decade in Asia and Australia as it seeks new revenue, and Cuba would be a welcome addition to the list.

As recently as 2007, Major League Baseball was quietly putting together plans for what to do if the United States changed its relationship with Cuba. Baseball officials, working with academics and business executives and with players born in Cuba, were determining how they could take advantage of the island’s interest in the game and its talent pool if the opportunity arose.
Still, while the best Cuban players are among the most talented in the world, it is not completely clear how well-developed Cuban youth leagues are and what shape the island’s fields and equipment are in.

U.S. scouts have had a chance to watch Cuban players in recent years at the World Baseball Classic, in which teams from around the world square off in a March tournament. And, of course, they have watched defectors like Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Abreu and Aroldis Chapman succeed on the major league level - and sign increasingly lucrative contracts.

Peter C. Bjarkman, a Cuban baseball historian, noted that the Cuban government had recently adopted a policy that allowed players to join teams in Mexico and Japan. But major league clubs in the United States are a different matter.

“The Cubans want their players to now have more experience and to play professionally overseas and earn some money,” Bjarkman said. “But there is a condition: They want those players to play in the Cuban league in the winter. Otherwise they will be throwing up their hands.”

Major league teams, however, would probably not agree to allow Cuban players to spend entire winters playing baseball back home, reasoning that the injury risk would be too great.

“This is an issue that’s going to be debated in Cuba now,” Bjarkman said. “They want to utilize baseball resources to bring more money into the country, but they don’t want to sell their league to North America.”

Cubans have played in the majors as far back as the early 1900s. The Brooklyn Dodgers occasionally had spring training on the island in the 1930 and 1940s, and there was minor league baseball, too. From 1954 to 1960, the Havana Sugar Kings, a farm team of the Cincinnati Reds, played in the Class AAA International League.

Roberto González Echevarría, a professor of literature at Yale and the author of “The Pride of Havana: a History of Cuban Baseball,” noted the Cuban government had often disparaged Major League Baseball, although that could become a thing of the past.

Still, he emphasized that one of Cuba’s biggest fears was a basic one - that if Major League Baseball was allowed into the island, with all its resources, it would eventually take over the sport, as it essentially did in the Dominican Republic.

“How that can be controlled if Cuba becomes freer is very difficult to say,” he said." via Free Rep.


Comment:  The fact that Congress "will be fully controlled by Republicans starting in January" is by no means bad news for any Obama agenda item. The only Republicans that matter are those in "leadership" and those individuals are simpatico with Democrats. In particular they're eager to help out Mr. Obama any way they can because he helped them beat the Tea Party. The NY Times is aware of all this but does its part to keep the good guy-bad guy narrative going as do the players in the Beltway.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Watching baseball game with Fidel Castro in Cuba in 1999 are Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos

Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, Fidel Castro, and then MLB Commissioner Bud Selig at Orioles-Cuba exhibition game in Havana, 3/28/99, photo from Baltimore Sun, ap, 11/13/09

11/13/2009, "Orioles vs. Cuba: Back to the future?" Baltimore Sun, Peter Schmuck 


3/29/1999, "Castro presence puts politics at forefront," Baltimore Sun, Peter Schmuck, Havana

"Cuban leader watches game with Angelos, Schmoke and Selig."

"So much for subtle political overtones. The Orioles had hoped to cast yesterday's historic exhibition game against members of the Cuban national team as a nonpolitical, people-to-people event, but the high-profile presence of Cuban President Fidel Castro at Latin American Stadium nearly overshadowed the baseball dimension of the goodwill trip.

The Orioles worked overtime to score an 11-inning, 3-2 victory before a crowd of more than 50,000 but some of the most interesting action -- or interaction -- took place about 50 feet behind home plate, where Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke sat with Castro throughout the four-hour game.

No doubt, the image of baseball's top-ranking official, a high-profile owner and a nationally known mayor schmoozing with Castro will cause tremendous consternation in the Cuban exile community. It could even spark a new round of protests at the Orioles' Fort Lauderdale, Fla., spring-training facility.

But Angelos said he knew going in that there was a public relations risk inherent in the controversial Cuban overture and refused to apologize for sitting down with a man who has been a bitter enemy of the United States for nearly four decades.

"He's the principal political person in his government," Angelos said. "If he invites you to sit with him at the ballgame, good manners would dictate that you accept."

Selig seemed more concerned that the visit might be viewed by critics as an accommodation of Cuba's repressive government, but defended the visit -- and the close contact with Castro -- as part of a new initiative by the U.S. State Department to encourage more contact between the Cuban and American people. "I'm extremely sensitive about that," Selig said. "But this is part of a sports and cultural exchange that our State Department wanted us to do. Baseball holds a unique position in both countries. It was logical that it be the linchpin of that exchange."

Angelos and Selig met Castro for the first time the night before, when they were invited along with American League President Gene Budig and National League President Len Coleman and a select group of officials to a state dinner at the Palacio de la Revolucion.

The Orioles were invited along with the Cuban team to another reception with Castro at the presidential palace before they boarded a charter flight back to Florida late last night.

Castro stayed for the entire game, which featured a late-inning comeback by the apparently outmanned Cuban team before Orioles designated hitter Harold Baines won the game with an RBI single in the 11th inning.

"I think he was a little disappointed because it looked in the late innings like they would prevail," Angelos said.

Angelos declared the game an unqualified success, from the pre-game flag ceremony that involved every member of each team to the warm interaction between the opposing players after the tense game.

"It met and exceeded my expectations," Angelos said. "It was a perfect game, because we won and the Cuban team showed that they are capable of competing with a major-league team. The highlight of the entire event for me was the way the Orioles and the Cuban ballplayers shook hands after the game."

The conversation with Castro was memorable, too, even though it did not stray far from the sport that had brought the Orioles owner to Cuba for the second time in three months.

"We talked only about baseball," Angelos said. "He was asking questions with respect to salaries and how the game operates. He knows about some of the stars of the game. It was a very interesting experience, and I think everything about it was positive.

"It was one great day in the effort to bring the Cuban and American people together. It's one small step, but I think other teams will follow. I think what the Orioles have begun will go on and on. We've got some very substantial political problems to be resolved, but we are working together to do some positive things.""

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Friday, December 12, 2014

On Monday, two dozen NY City Council members went into the street in front of City Hall and blocked traffic. Mob rule settles in-Henninger, Wall St. Journal

12/10/14, "Mobs of New York," Daniel Henninger, Wall St. Journal

"How did we get to the point in the United States where street protesters are treated as sainted figures, no matter what they do? 

How did it happen that important public leaders—the American president, the mayor of New York, college presidentsfeel obliged to legitimize these protests, no matter what they do to a city, its citizens or owners of private property? Why is it that the leaders of America’s most important institutions are no longer capable of recognizing a mob when they see one?

On Wednesday last week, the day of the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case on Staten Island, hundreds of people marched through New York City’s main streets and highways, blocked bridges, invaded the crowds of parents and kids gathered for the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and spread themselves on the floor as “die-ins” amid commuters in Grand Central Terminal.

Despite the massive inconvenience, many New Yorkers, who like to think they live in a tolerant city, more or less accepted this venting. Message sent and absorbed. Whatever political course the controversial Garner case would take next, it was time for everyone to resume their lives on Thursday. 

But no. One sensed where this was headed on seeing photos in the morning papers of New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, stoically accepting that his face and suit were covered with red paint—“blood” tossed by a professional anarchist. The protesters decided that immobilizing city streets wasn’t enough to make their point. 

They marched into the Apple store on Fifth Avenue. They did it at the huge, crowded Macy’s on Herald Square. They entered an HandM store and blocked the escalators. Inside a Forever 21 store in Times Square, they surrounded a display taxi cab and covered it with a sign: “The system is guilty. Burn it down.” 

H and M, Dec. 7
Where is it written that a city has to put up with this?

It got worse.

In Berkeley, Calif., a mob protesting the grand jury decisions in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases broke the window of a Trader Joe ’s supermarket. They wrecked a RadioShack store and smashed ATM machines. 

That still wasn’t enough. 

This Monday, some two dozen New York City Council members went into the street in front of city hall and disrupted traffic. For the people gridlocked in their cars, taxis and delivery trucks, Councilman Andy King explained: “We have a responsibility to wake you up, and the only way people get woken up is if you disrupt their everyday normalcy.” 

That evening, President Obama in an interview gave his approval. Calling violence “counterproductive,” the president nonetheless said, “Power concedes nothing without a fight, that’s true, but it’s also true that a country’s conscience has to be triggered by some inconvenience.” This, he said, was “the value of peaceful protests, activism.” 

Let me rephrase that: The president of the United States is holding the door open for politics by mob rule, the invasion of private property and economic damage to store owners.

Police Commissioner Bratton said he was giving the protesters “breathing room.” New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio , said the effect of the demonstrations was “minimal.” 

What an irony. At the infamous 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, two groups—the Yippies (formally, the Youth International Party) and the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam did the same thing. New York’s theatrical protest groups are the progeny of the Yippies and the Mobilization. But now, they are the Democrats’ base.

A city is a fragile exercise in normal daily life. The idea that we are all complicit if we don’t metaphorically “burn down” this normalcy for some cause is false. 

The need to protect civilized urban life from the poison of disorder is the reason George Kelling and the late James Q. Wilson formulated the “broken windows” theory of policing. Some, notably Al Sharpton , are now arguing that “broken windows” is a mistake, that we should absorb minor disorders and police only major violations. 

But disordered city life has already caused one of the greatest social upheavals of our time. The charter-schools and voucher movements exist largely because minority parents in rough neighborhoods wanted to get their children out of chaotic, dangerous public schools, where daily disorder made learning too difficult. That has been a productive protest. 

President Obama created a task force on policing techniques. Good. Maybe we will learn something. But perhaps this task force should extend its writ and have a real “dialogue” with the residents of these neighborhoods about the quality of their daily lives beyond the police. Where is an objective social documentarian when you need one?

If we have learned anything in the past century, it is that when politically approved mobs start invading shopkeepers and smashing their windows in the name of politics, it is a sign that a society is veering off the rails."

Image: "Protesters block an escalator in a New York City HandM store, Dec. 7. Reuters


Comment: How did we get to this point? In part, Mr. Henninger, because of people like your billionaire boss whose first order of business is that we the people shut up. Thus ends discussion of law, order, illegal immigration, scabies, and civil society. When people can't think of anything but their own safety they won't be checking up on politicians and their billionaire pals selling out the country.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Former NBA player Dennis Rodman says Ferguson and Staten Island protests are like nothing he ever saw in Martin Luther King days, they never blocked freeways and bridges so people can't get to work or home to their babies. This is making everything worse-Newsday, Neil Best

12/9/14, "Dennis Rodman says Ferguson and Staten Island protests 'increasing the problem'," Newsday, Neil Best

"Former NBA All-Star Dennis Rodman offered some pointed thoughts Tuesday on recent protests over the failure to indict police officers in the deaths of young men in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island.
"Instead of trying to solve the problem, they're increasing the problem," he said. "I've never seen it before. Even back in Martin Luther King days, they never did this, going on freeways and bridges and just laying down on the ground and people can't go to work, people can't go home to their kids and stuff like that.

"People aren't thinking about stuff like that. They're thinking about, well it's unjust, unfair. What about people trying to go tome to their babies, to their mothers, to their fathers, to their loves ones and stuff like that and you're holding traffic up for like four or five hours a day? That makes no damn sense.''

Rodman was in Manhattan on Tuesday for a breakfast to promote Steiner Sports' new line of handwritten essays by former athletes over pictures of key moments in their careers. The event was held at Michael Jordan's Steakhouse in Grand Central Terminal.
Rodman expressed ambivalence over players such as LeBron James wearing "I Can't Breathe" T-shirts during warmups to protest the choking death of Eric Garner on Staten Island.

"I can't breathe, OK, great, but what happened to that 12-year-old; why didn't you support that?" he said, referring to Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old killed by Cleveland police last month. "What about that guy, 12 years old? Nobody supported that one. And that [Garner death] wasn't even on purpose. It's a Catch-22 when people select things they want to support and it's a sad thing.""

Image: "Dennis Rodman sings Happy Birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seated above in the stands, before an exhibition basketball game at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Kim Kwang Hyon," Newsday


Comment: That's the point, Dennis, this isn't about civil rights, it's about anarchy, like the Occupy movement only bigger. It's about destroying the United States, inciting hatred and racism, stealing millions of dollars from already stretched municipal budgets, stealing tax dollars of innocent people, breaking civil society, forcing Americans to stay in their homes because it's just not worth it to try and go anywhere. They know their helpers in the media will splash negative images of the US around the world. It's a big party. The entire political class is fine with it. They prefer chaos. When voters can think of nothing but their own safety, they can't be checking on politicians selling out the country.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Thank-you, David Robertson, good luck with the White Sox

12/9/14, "David Robertson agrees to four-year, $46-million deal with White Sox," Erik Boland, Newsday

Robertson, Rivera in Panama 3/15/14
"The Royals made it to the seventh game of the World Series in large part because of a lockdown bullpen that shortened games to six innings, and the sport took notice.

The Yankees were among the teams that took note of the Royals' methods, and they dreamed of perhaps as devastating a seventh-eighth-ninth-inning combination with Dellin Betances, the recently signed Andrew Miller and closer David Robertson. Time for Plan B.

Robertson, who went 39-for-44 in saves and struck out 96 in 641/3 innings last season as Mariano Rivera's replacement, agreed to a four-year, $46-million deal with the White Sox late Monday night, a contract first reported by USA Today.

The Yankees were willing to discuss the possibility of a four-year deal with the 29-year-old Robertson, but ultimately not at the kind of dollars the White Sox were willing to give.

Robertson's departure leaves the Yankees, who signed the lefthanded Miller to a four-year, $36-million deal last Friday, in the market for additional bullpen help. General manager Brian Cashman, who arrived here for the winter meetings Monday afternoon, already had been working the trade and free-agent markets for late-inning bullpen help in the event Robertson left, efforts that no doubt will be redoubled in the coming days and weeks.

The Yankees very well could go into spring training with the intent of giving righthander Dellin Betances -- who had a 1.40 ERA and struck out 135 in 90 innings (70 appearances) last season -- every opportunity to earn the closer's role, and add a veteran closer, such as Jason Grilli, as insurance.

The Yankees traded for lefthander Justin Miller earlier this offseason, getting him from the Pirates for Francisco Cervelli, and many in the organization expect Jacob Lindgren, a lefthander who was the club's second-round draft pick last June, to compete for a bullpen spot in spring training.

Before news of Robertson's signing, Andrew Miller indicated how much respect he has for Betances. He said that if Robertson left, he expected Betances to get the first chance to close.

"What he did was pretty incredible,'' Miller said. "Everything he did was what I was trying to mimic as much as possible. It seemed like when he came in, he was aggressive from the get-go. He has pitches where it doesn't really matter what he's throwing. He just was really aggressive in the zone, and that's what I'm trying to do myself. His ability to come in and pitch to lefthanders, righthanders, whatever inning it was, was really impressive.''

Though Miller, who posted a 2.02 ERA and struck out 103 in 621/3 innings in 2014, has only one save in nine seasons, if the opportunity to close is given to him, he will embrace it.

"I certainly think I'm capable,'' Miller said on a conference call with reporters much earlier in the day.

"If Robertson does not sign, then I would assume they clearly feel comfortable with . . . Everybody saw what Betances was last year. I'm pretty confident in myself. I think I can get three outs at any point in the game. Wherever that may be, whatever it is, is fine with me. I want to win. I want to shake hands and high-five at the end of the game more than anything.''...

The rotation needs bolstering -- counting out the Yankees in the pursuit of some of the big-name starters on the market, a common theme earlier in the offseason, should be done with caution -- and insurance is needed at third base. Chase Headley remains the Yankees' preferred target, as has been the case since this year's free-agency period kicked off.

And though Cashman has talked about a spring training battle at second base between rookies Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder, he also is looking for depth at that position."...


David Robertson, Winning Pitcher, ALCS game 2 vs Angels at the Stadium, final 4-3 in 13 innings. 10/17/2009.


3/1/14, "Mariano Rivera honored in Panama, throws ceremonial first pitch to new Yankees closer David Robertson," NY Daily News, Mark Feinsand. photo, Sipkin, NYDN

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Saturday, December 06, 2014

Gregorius' sketch of Jeter

"Gregorius brings another tool to the clubhouse: a pencil. He is a skilled sketch artist who shares his drawings on Twitter.

“I’ve seen his book, and he’s good,” Nieves said. “He’s got a gift for drawing.”

Gregorius has drawn Batman characters, animals, nature scenes and baseball players. The most recent sketch he posted, just after the regular season, was of a player in pinstripes tipping his helmet to the crowd: Derek Jeter."

12/5/14, "Jumping Into Big Shoes, Yankees Look to Didi Gregorius to Replace Derek Jeter," NY Times, Tyler Kepner

Image: "A Gregorius sketch of Jeter," via NY Times

More Gregorius drawings:

12/5/14, "Gregorius’ sketch of Jeter basically told the future," NY Post, Jonathan Lehman

Gregorius twitter


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NY City Mayor de Blasio says US in profound crisis from centuries of racism, he's had to train his biracial son to expect abuse by police

12/4/14, "New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio's Personal Reaction to Eric Garner Case," ABC News, Dan Good via Good Morning America

"The death of Eric Garner left a personal impression on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio, speaking at a news conference Wednesday after a grand jury’s decision not to indict officers in the July choke hold death of Garner, said the case made him think about his 17-year-old son, Dante, who is biracial

“A good young man, a law-abiding young man, who would never think to do anything wrong, and yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face – we’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.”

De Blasio called the case a “national moment of grief, a national moment of pain.” 

“We’re not just dealing with a problem in 2014, we’re not dealing with years of racism leading up to it, or decades of racism – we are dealing with centuries of racism that have brought us to this day,” he said. That is how profound the crisis is. And that is how fundamental the task at hand is, to turn from that history and to make a change that is profound and lasting.”"...

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