World Series Wrap Up

There’s not much to say on this topic that hasn’t already been said by people who write about sports for a living. For example, if you haven’t stumbled across this article from the Kansas City Star, it’s a classic.

The Giants are having their celebration parade today and it’s raining. You would think that’s a bad thing, but far from it. California is experiencing an epic drought, so the rain is very welcome. When things are going your way, not even rain on your parade can spoil it.


I love obscure pop culture references, so yes, the title of this post riffs off the song “Lola” by The Kinks. This post is not really about Ebola, though. It’s about the varying reactions to the cases of Ebola that have occurred in the US.

The first thing that strikes me is how the public’s reaction is so different than the various government agencies, at all levels. The second thing that strikes me is how there is no coherent response between the various levels of government. But let’s take the public’s reaction first.

You can read polls and listen to people on television, but my visceral sense is that the public is, by and large, scared shitless. You can argue about whether the public’s reaction is rational based on the actual nature of the crisis (or argue about whether, in the US, it even is a crisis), but nothing I’ve seen so far can convince me that people are remaining calm and going breezily about their business. And I have a theory as to why people are so frightened.

It’s not so much that they’re afraid of the disease. They’re afraid because the integrity of the institutions that are supposed to be looking out for their well-being continues to erode, as it has been for probably twenty years now. This is not a political statement, by the way. This is an Equal Opportunity Observation from someone who has seen this erosion continue regardless of which party is in power. So pick your favorite reason. Was it the flawed justification for invading Iraq, or was it withdrawing all our soldiers so we could “end the war” only to see the place descend into chaos? Was it the repeal of the federal law (Glass Steagal) that kept retail banks separate from investment banks, or the fact that no one seemed to realize what that meant until the collapse of 2008? Was it the lack of focus on Al Qaeda prior to 9/11, or was it calling ISIS a JV team wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey? See what I mean?

Anyway, add to that the current response to the Ebola situation, with its myriad confusions and policy prescriptions that don’t reconcile with each other and it’s no wonder people are afraid. I mean, on the one hand you’ve got the governors of New York and New Jersey (bi-partisanship at last!) calling for mandatory quarantines for people returning from the hot zone, and on the other hand you’ve got the Feds saying that’s a bad idea. Unless, of course, the people in question that have been in the hot zone happen to also be in the US military, in which case they are not only quarantined, but not even allowed to return to the States. They’re being quarantined in Italy. Italy!

So pardon me if I don’t quite buy it when my local mayor, or my governor, or my congressperson, or my President, tells me not to worry. I think it was Mencken who said, “When they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.” That’s kind of how I feel right now about Ebola. When they say don’t worry, we’ve got it under control, run as fast as you can to the cleaning aisle, load up on bleach, then jump headfirst into a vat of hand sanitizer.

Game 7

I’m still watching World Series Game 6, but let’s acknowledge that KC 10 Giants 0, it’s pretty much over and now we can look forward to game 7. I think this is a perfect ending to a great playoffs. Momentum swinging back and forth, now residing with the Royals. It’s been great, and I have no prediction for tomorrow. There’s so many elements involved; so many moving parts. And that’s why baseball is so engrossing this time of year. I love this stuff, and I’m looking forward to the game tomorrow. Who should win? My rooting interest, it’s balanced more than ever after tonight. I’m just waiting for the denouement.

To my friends who live in places other then the states (US), wherever you are, if you’ve never watched baseball and you are curious, tune in on Wednesday. I have no idea what will happen, except that one of the two teams will win the world championship.

World Series Game 5, and Mega Meta re: My step-niece’s wedding.

First, just a brief acknowledgment of Madison Bumgarner. Like I said before, I’m not a huge Giants fan, but I am a fan of Bumgarner. What a performance! Seems like a nice guy, too; very unassuming.

Now I’d like to share a photo from my step-niece’s wedding. But before I do, let’s have a meta-level discussion of the propriety of doing so. I downloaded the photo from Facebook. Does that make it OK to post on my blog? I think if you post photos on Facebook, with the knowledge that your FB friends can share the photo with others, then you’ve sort of given broad permission for it to live on the internet. So I think I’m in safe territory there. Next question: is it exploitive to use the photo in furtherance of my blog thoughts? On this one, I’m not sure it’s as clear cut. But I think whether or not it’s exploitive sort of depends on the narrative context of the blog post.

So, before I post the photo, let me just say that I wasn’t at the wedding and wouldn’t have known it occurred if I hadn’t seen the photo on Facebook. That’s OK, because I don’t see that part of my family very often, so I had no expectation of receiving an invite. I’m glad they shared the moment on Facebook so I could feel involved in some small way. Let me reiterate my comment on Facebook on the off chance that the happy couple see this blog post: “Good on you both, and congratulations!”

Now, here’s the photo in the featured image box.

In case you are wondering, they’re both female. Obviously, that’s legal in California and I have absolutely no moral objection to same-sex marriage. My step-niece is the one in the tux. She’s a very nice person, though I must say that I have only met her a few times.

So what’s the big deal? Why am I blogging about this particular photo? Because same-sex marriage has not been uniformly accepted in this country, or even in California, and I have a theory and a rather audacious policy prescription that might reframe the issue for some people who find same-sex marriage problematic.

See, I think that some people have a problem with same-sex marriage because their religion tells them it’s not OK. And I think that their objection may stem from use of the word “marriage.” Some people confuse the legal part of “marriage” and the social compacts attached to that with the socio-anthropological meaning of the word “marriage” as regards religion, etc. Is there a way to un-knot the two things? Is there a way to convey the same rights to same-sex and opposite-sex couples, without running into the semantic problems that, for some people, flow from the meaning of the word “marriage?”

Here’s where the policy prescription comes in to play. When you think about it, why is the government, the law, involved in something that is not only a legal status, but also a socio-anthropological status? In other words, why do we need government to sanction “marriage,” regardless of the sexuality of the parties involved? What if there were civil unions, not just for same-sex couples, but for opposite-sex couples as well? Civil unions for everyone. That way, you avoid the semantic problems that come from trying to define “marriage” one way or the other. Everyone has the same rights. If you then want to have a ceremony of a religious (or secular) nature to celebrate the union, that’s fine. Some churches will sanction it and some won’t, but you’ll still have the same benefits under the law.

Feel free to comment, especially if you disagree with that idea. On a practical level, it would be very difficult to effectuate (just the implications for tax law alone would be enormous). But the current situation is far from ideal, so maybe it’s worth a try.

Again, congratulations to the happy couple! I hope if you’re reading this that you know I wish the best for you in your lives together.

The nexus of momentum and pressure.

Last night’s game four of the World Series exemplified everything I love about baseball. More focused, it emphasized my perception of the connection between momentum and pressure when it comes to competition. Like I said in my previous post, I have a mixed rooting interest in the outcome of this series, so my reaction to last night’s outcome is not a function of fandom.

On a tangential note, it was bliss to watch a great baseball game without the stress of caring, though I did find myself rooting for the Giants in the 5th inning. My reaction to that inning has less to do with being a fan of the Giants (I’m not), and more to do with the arc of that particular game.

I was in England for a week this past summer and they don’t have baseball on TV in your hotel room (at least not in our room). I pointed this out in a pub and got mixed reactions; one guy saying they have it on ESPN (which may or may not be on your hotel plan) and another saying that baseball is boring. I didn’t engage on that one, because, subjectivity aside, baseball is not inherently boring. It may or may not be boring in any given instance. Last night’s game was objectively not boring. I challenge anyone to argue that it was boring.

So the point of this post is that I thought the Giants were dead and buried when the score was 4 to 1 Royals.

Somehow, someway, they clawed back to a huge win. How did that happen?

I don’t presume to know, but if you recorded the game it seems like the 5th inning was informative. That was when the tide turned. You can look at the score card and decide for yourself, but watching it on TV? I think I saw the precise moment when the pressure got to the Royals. I’m not going to identify that moment, because this is a general comment and not intended to flame anyone. I’m just saying’.

When that happened the whole thing collapsed as concerns KC. I don’t presume to know the outcome of this series, but I think it’s advantage Giants. Only because they’ve been through it before. Go KC, sort of.

My first blog post.


When I thought about writing a blog I wanted it to be expansive but also to avoid annoying people unnecessarily. Maybe that’s an impossible contradiction, but I’ll let readers decide whether I’m succeeding.

Let’s take the World Series, for example.

I’m primarily a fan of the Oakland Athletics. The home team experienced a major fail this year. Is it annoying to point that out? Is it annoying to share my opinion on the mid-year trade of Yoenis Cespedes for John Lester, which seems to have had a deleterious effect on the team? The answer is: yes, it probably annoys some people to point these things out.

So instead, I’ll write about my experience watching this year’s World Series. You see, as an A’s fan and resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I have a mixed rooting interest. On the one hand, I guess I should root for the Giants because they’re sort of the home team. A lot of A’s fans hate the Giants. I’m not one of them, although I don’t really consider myself a huge fan of the Giants. The first time they won the World Series was fun to watch; that’s undeniable. But I don’t tune in to their games much during the regular season. On the other hand, the Royals beat the A’s in the wild card game, so you might assume that I want the Giants to beat the crap out of the Royals, but it’s not that easy. Now that the Royals have made it to the World Series it would be great to be able to say, well, they beat the A’s, but hey, that year they beat everyone. Complicated. And not annoying. At least not intended to be annoying, with some thought put into that aspect. That’s sort of my goal for this blog.

Thanks for reading.