Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quick Hits For October 21 (Political and Baseball Spikes)

(1) Last week I was surprised to see a huge spike in readership for this blog- it more than doubled over its average on Wednesday (October 15) and remained much higher than average (close to 200 views higher) on the following day. Today I found out why when I checked out the GOOGLE diagnostics.

The previous Monday (October 12) I wrote an entry Star-Ledger Endorses Daggett, and when the largest daily newspaper endorses a third party candidate it does tend to cause some very large ripples. New Jersey readership of this blog surged, and across the board there seemed to be more interest in this story, and in related stories about the Chris Daggett, Chris Christie, and Jon Corzine campaigns.

And its going to get even more interesting in New Jersey before its all over. The latest polls show the breakdown as 39% each for Christie and Corzine, with Daggett holding at 14%. So if these trends hold, no matter who wins in New Jersey, the next governor of New Jersey will take office with 60% of the population voting against him. That is hardly an endorsement of the last four years under Corzine, nor would it be a triumph for the Republicans on the national stage- all it would mean is the Republican base was solid and were able to pick up just enough independents to snatch victory at around 40%. And if Daggett can continue to sway votes away from either candidate.....does the name Jesse Ventura ring any bells?

(2) The Yankees beat down the LA Angels last night behind the strong pitching of CC Sabathia and the continued remarkable hitting of Alex Rodriguez, 10-1 in Anaheim. The Yanks now have a 3-1 lead in the best of seven series, with Game 5 tomorrow night in Anaheim. Sabathia, working on only three days rest, allowed only one run and pitched a strong eight innings while A-Rod had a single, a double, a home run, scored three runs and drove in two. And number nine hitter Melky Cabrera drove in four runs and had three hits.

A-Rod has now driven in at least one run in eight straight post season games, tying an MLB record. His five post season home runs ties him with the legendary Reggie Jackson for second most for a season in Yankee history. In this year's ALCS Rodriguez is 6 for 16 with three homers and five RBI's.

We are on the cusp of seeing a career defining post season, one that could be talked about for a generation. This is getting to be fun.

(3) It looks like the Phillies will close out their NLCS against the Dodgers....though its wise never to count a Joe Torre managed team out. But still, can you imagine the fans in Los Angeles who had visions of a Freeway Series between the Dodgers and Angels, now watching both of their teams on the brink of elimination?

(4) And for that matter, if it does become Phillies- Yankees in the World Series, it could be dubbed the "Jersey Turnpike" or "I-76 Series". They've only met once before for a World Championship- that was back in 1950 (Yankees won). Its nice to get to together every century or so for a World Series.

(5) Still no arrest has been made in the murder of Jasper Howard, the UCONN defensive back who was stabbed to death early Sunday morning. And once again, Bill Stewart, West Virginia's head football coach, proves to be one of the classiest individuals in the game. Stewart referred to Howard as a fallen brother.

And there are other tributes to follow. Click here to read more, from ESPN's Brian Bennett.

(6). I loved seeing Olbermann's take on Fox News "falling out" of the their #1 perch as far as 24 hour news nets. Reasoning that they are not a news organization but a branch of the Republican Party, only MSNBC, CNN, and HLN are left to duke it out for supremacy. And if that's the case, MSNBC would be the new #1 on the strength of its evening lineup.

Makes sense to me.

(7) And what about George HW Bush, in a radio interview following a speech asking for a return to civility, calling Keth Olbermann and Rachel Maddow "sick puppies". OK, he's a dad sticking up for his son, who just managed to break a few things in the old China shop. And Keith can be kind of blunt and pointed in his criticism...but Rachel? Is there a person alive who can rip someone to shreds but do it in such a classy intellectual way that is so lacking in malice, or individual hurtfulness? I think the first President Bush has been watching too much Fox News.

But wait...they aren't a news organization anymore....I think I covered that already.

(8) And in closing...its great to see Julianna Margulies back on series TV, now on The Good Wife on CBS. Its the story of a former political wife who returns to practicing law after her US attorney husband is convicted of corruption and sent to prison. There is a lot of psychological undertones and nuances in the scripts and in the performance- if you want to see subplots spelled out in the conventional way, this is not the series for you. But like the SOPRANOS and MAD MEN (and my fave British import, ASHES TO ASHES), everything is significant- there are no throw away lines or scenes. Chris Noth plays her husband, and the great Christine Baranski is one of her antagonists, a managing partner in the firm she works for.

And obviously...Julianna is as stunning as ever.

That's all for now.


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