Fall Classic

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The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
27 October 2015

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I. The Fall Classic

This is a passport photo of my father, taken prior to a time when the words “Mets” and “World Series” had ever shared the same sentence. He had been a Brooklyn Dodgers fan – as were many African-Americans once Jackie Robinson was signed – but upon the west coast relocation of the Dodgers and the New York Giants, he was left without a local National League team to follow. So come 1962, he became a Met fan. Were he still alive I know he’d be happy. Let’s go Mets.

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Fast forward to 2015, when his son and grandson attended a Met game.

I doubt either of us thought the sight of the Mets leaving the field after a victory would happen more than half the time, and I’m certain neither of us expected the Mets to be where they will be today without tickets. I’m absolutely certain no one on earth expected a Met playoff series run to be fueled in large part by a six-game consecutive home run streak by Daniel Murphy, who has never hit more than 14 in an entire six-month season. A free-agent to be, Murphy’s timing couldn’t have been better…but that said, Murphy plays a position – second base – where it can be argued that defense is more of a priority than one’s offense, unless you’re a Joe Morgan, consecutive-MVP type, which Murphy is not. So I totally understand management’s thought to let him walk if a better defensive second baseman is in the pipeline…but Murphy is certainly making the decision a lot more difficult.

II. Donnie Baseball

Perhaps I would feel differently were I living in Los Angeles, but it sure does seem to me that winning three straight NL West division titles should have gotten Dodger manager Don Mattingly a better reward than a pink slip. (Sorry, Magic.)

III. No Fun League

Shout out to Doc Benson, the writer/director/producer of “Seven Deadly Words,” a great film I saw at the inaugural Churches Making Movies film festival in New Jersey in 2013. As the story progresses, the viewer learns that these seven words are “we’ve never done it that way before.”

http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/page/instantawesome-BautistaBatFlip-1501014/let-take-closer-look-jose-bautista-epic-bat-flip

Come on, MLB…don’t become the new No Fun League. Even in the conservative original No Fun League, NFL players spike balls after touchdowns, dunk the ball over the crossbar, and leap into loving Lambeau Field end zone fans. Regarding bat flips and other expressions of joy, I understand “we’ve never done it that way before,” but this is a new era, with new players who have a different way of showing their enthusiasm. Get over it.

IV. Say It Ain’t So

Kinda sorry Joe Biden isn’t getting in the presidential race. The Republican race is turning out to be major comedy relief, especially at the top, but anyone rooting for the D party would hope that their process will lead to the strongest candidate emerging. I’m sorry because there’s a possibility that that strongest candidate may be Biden.

This is not to diss Mrs. Clinton, for if the truth be told, she will be difficult to defeat. With her on the ballot, a bunch of button-wearing, card-carrying Republican women will close the curtain and vote Democratic.

V. The Nightly Show

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Saw a taping of The Nightly Show with Larry Willmore. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so real soon!

VI. Can’t Touch This

There are articles all over, from the Washington Post to various internet sites, about how Terri Upshaw, the widow of NFL legend Gene Upshaw, was disowned by her San Francisco family when she told them of their relationship because Upshaw was an African-American. Their family owns a classic San Francisco restaurant, Tadich Grill, but I’m guessing that as word gets out about this, they will soon learn that Oakland Raider great Upshaw and Raider Nation in general is more beloved in the Bay Area than Tadich Grill.

VII. By Comparison

If Paul Ryan is thought of as the sensible choice to unite the Republican House members, that party is way out there.

Worst Persons

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The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
5 October 2015

I. Media Matters

Hey, it’s October and we’re going to be talking a lot of baseball, but first here’s a story of some William Paterson U. football players. Glad this was publicized…because it certainly would have been had these young men been thieves.

http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/story/23349958/nj-teen-rewarded-after-paying-for-items-at-store-with-no-clerk

II. Then Fall, Caesar

The Philadelphia Phillies ruled the National League East for the better part of ten years, winning the World Series in 2008 and returning the following year, only to lose to the Yankees. The front office architect for much of their run of success was the recently-fired general manager Ruben Amaro, who has my sympathy now at year’s end. Certainly upper management directed him to blow it up and discard the remnants of their wildly successful years, and now after having followed orders, he gets the boot for having a young and inexperienced rebuilding team on the field.

III. While Feeling Sorry…

As the New York Mets prepare for their first post-Madoff playoff series, I am also feeling sorry for Jose Reyes, the best shortstop and the only batting champion in the franchise’s 54-year history. Reyes was a member of the AL East champion Toronto Blue Jays until a mid-summer shortstop for shortstop trade for Troy Tulowitski landed him in Colorado…which now means that Reyes – a witness to so much collective futility in New York – misses the postseason again.

IV. Clean Up The 7 Line

The Twitter accounts of the public transportation systems of New York and Los Angeles have gone back and forth at each other, most humorously, in anticipation of the Mets-Dodgers playoff series, with the LA system urging the MTA to clean up the 7 line which runs to Citi Field. Perhaps they haven’t seen the new 34th St Hudson Yards station, quite possibly the cleanest station I’ve seen among several cities and two countries.

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On the field, the Mets cleaned up their act, making the playoffs for the first time since 2006…and as much as I have bashed GM Sandy Alderson for their aforementioned futility and his penny-pinching with one of the most valuable franchises in the game, I must congratulate him for keeping their young pitching core together and on point. Offense gets you on the highlight shows, but pitching and defense wins rings. Assuming general good health, I see a real possibility for a ring for the Mets inside the next 3-4 years.

V. The Omen

For you Met fans discouraged at the team’s being no-hit yet again last week, take heart – the 1969 Mets were also no-hit during the last weeks of the season…and look what happened then.

Then again, there’s a good omen for the Yankees as well, who basically backed into the postseason, losers of 7 of their last ten games. The 2000 Yanks lost their last seven, but recovered to win the World Series. As for the Blue Jays, they haven’t seen the playoffs since 1993…but they did win the World Series when there in 1992 & 1993.

VI. An A-Bomb…by A-Rod

Who would have known, pre-April, that Yankee broadcaster John Sterling would have 33 occasions to give his famous home run call…or 31 occasions for a “Tex Message” call after a Mark Teixeira home run? It’ll never happen, but these two guys should share Comeback Player of the Year. As for how their team will do, my predictions are as follows:

Wild card round:

Yankees over Astros, Pirates over Cubs.

Division Series:

Yankees over Royals, Blue Jays over Rangers, Pirates over Cardinals, Dodgers over Mets.

League Championship Series:

Blue Jays over Yankees, Dodgers over Pirates.

World Series:

Dodgers over Blue Jays.

VII. Worst Persons In The World

The bad news is that Alabama is closing motor vehicle offices in numerous counties where African-Americans comprise large majorities, potentially making it difficult for those residents to get a driver license, which is an acceptable voter ID in Alabama.

However, the worse news for Alabama Republicans may be that they seem to have failed to read the paper or at least phone a friend. As the 2012 election approached, Republicans tried all kinds of methods to suppress the African-American vote in several states. Had the Alabama Republicans checked the Internet they would have found that not only did such efforts fail to achieve the desired results, they backfired greatly, as African-Americans in those areas were outraged and voted in large numbers despite the barriers placed in their way.

The worst news for Republicans is that they don’t have winning strategies with respect to communities of color outside of cheating.

(With the election season in effect…miss you on the air, Keith.)