28 May 2011

Mr Hacks Goes To Washington

After a week visiting Washington, we submit Diamondhacks' State of the Union:

  • Regrettably, the Nation finds itself at war. Not with Islamofascists or methodical Chinese workers. The heart of our Republic, the one Frank Capra fictionalized, is under imminent threat from middle schoolers. From morn to midnight, this fructose addled horde swarms Mall museums and sticks to District monuments like lichen. We must mobilize to thwart this audible army of metallic teeth, in order to establish a more perfect union. Or at least relaxed Capitol vacations for the restuvus.

  • Here, at home, it's still unclear whether the All Star Roast is sold out, after a dozen days of "unbundled" opportunities, following two and a half months of sluggish strip sales, which followed private account purchases, so called "lotteries" and MLB's internal allotments. Ticketmaster "explains" seats are available, in fact I apparently have several "on hold" but they cant tell me where they are or how I can purchase them. 

  • On the field, the Snakes are evolving from a hapless basement fixture to a respectable also ran.   Our shortsighted, Sonoran version of the Algonquin round table is delirious. Through late May, runs scored are down 12% from last year, but runs yielded plunged more than 40%, sufficient to hiss and slither into the NL West's "place" position, between suddenly lame division favorites.

  • Speaking of "lame", "slither" and "hiss", Jim McLennan's trollish treatment of Buster Posey's career threatening injury reinforces a petty mindset and online tactics we've documented and disparaged for years. The Pit does some things well and hopefully this represents a last vestige of its founder's embittered insecurities.  Kudos to some of his invested lieutenants for calling him out.

  • I favor the initiative to rid MLB of smokeless tobacco, but find Ken Kendrick's public health rationale characteristically selective. Like every owner, Kendrick reaps millions from volume pumping lucrative alcohol - a far broader threat to the general welfare than Skoal or Copenhagen. Unlike alcohol (the nation's largest contributor to youth deaths), Mr Kendrick isnt beholden to tobacco, and demonizing it poses zero risk to his portfolio. His selective zeal and parsed essay suggest that he's more passionate about marketing a squeaky clean - and largely illusory - image of players than he is with wholesale improvement in public health or safety.

  • Predictably amusing, also, how KK's moral justification for spending more than $2M on a baseball card casually inserts its way into his ostensible essay on health policy. Kendrick's reportedly tried to dump this card for years, but it's allegedly trimmed better than he is and worth a fraction of what he foolishly paid. All Star Weekend is, among other things, his shiny mega stage to broker the T-206 and sucker some equally undiscerning magnate to mercifully take it off his hands.

God Bless America !


Some DC Recommendations:

Old Ebbitt Grill - one block east of Barack's Place, bustling, historic, delicious, surprisingly affordable

National Gallery of Art - few if any showstopping masterpieces, but no glass or ropes either, and a breathtaking array of top artists. Look into the eyes of a Rembrandt or DaVinci, put your nose up to a Pollock, Picasso or Van Gogh. A still life of pears actually teared me up;  just the startling proficiency, dedication and perfection of it, the practice of Man copying and honoring God (or Nature), and humbly accepting I'll never deliver anything close to that beatiful in my life.

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (Georgetown) - just down the hill from the snooty college town, near the heavily wooded Potomac, is a narrow 19th century commerce canal with wooden locks, dirt bikepaths on either side, even occasional tours on boats pulled by mules. You can almost spit across the waterway...and it's 180 miles long !

Raku - ordinary sushi joint off Dupont Circle. Nothing fancy. If you like seafood and noodles, though, get the Pad Sew. About fourteen dollars. Sit outside on a Friday or Saturday night.

National Archives - the Charters of Freedom are faded, almost impossible to read.  Do it just to say you did, but be sure to spend time at "lesser" exhibits, which are more engaging. Celebrity documents, historic photos...I watched a 1919 film loop of American workers spinning cotton and hand manufacturing catchers' mitts for fifteen minutes. It was mesmerizing and evocative, seeing New England girls, who might've known my grandmothers, in linen dresses and carpal tunnel wrist tape, crafting what "third world" workers do today.

Lincoln Memorial - as I get older, the monument moves me less than the resolute stream of world travelers, some aged, who trudge up its enormous steps day after day, decade after decade.

Vietnam Memorial - easily the best designed, most effective memorial I've ever seen. An inspired, stark synthesis of four or five deceptively simple elements that mesh to convey loss in a powerful yet dignified manner. 

Oh, and will somebody please be my hero and break the tenacious tie in the interminable Melvin Mora poll (right)? We need a mandate here, people, and we need to move on.


4cornersfan said...

That was pretty lame even for the almighty Jim

Diamondhacks said...

The lamest aspect to me, beyond the thinly veiled glee betraying insincere intellectual distinctions, is Jim's autocratic stifling of dissent (locking further comment under the pretense that 'productive' commentary has somehow been exhausted.)

His essay is hardly absent valid issues to explore, some of which were, but his congenital disrespect for the crucible of debate and peer review is unfortunate and painfully well established.

Thanks for the visit and comment.

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