The Fall Classic Cometh – Go Nats!

Wow!  I can’t believe it’s been a year since we posted the following piece on the World Series, which begins tonight.  The Houston Astros take on the NL champs, the Washington Nationals in the best of seven games.   Washington, D.C. hasn’t hosted a World Series since 1933 when the then Senators lost to the New York Giants.

The Stock Market and Washington World Series

For the superstitious and those into spurious correlation,  1933 was the Dow Jones Industrials Average Index best year ever, increasing 63.7 percent after the FDR government came to power.  Much of the price action was a big bounce and snapback after the big losses in the prior four years.

World Series

 

Taking the Nationals Senators   

Since attending graduate school and starting my career in the nation’s Capitol,  I have always had an affinity for D.C. teams.  Washington did not have a baseball team at the time so to get my horsehide fix I would travel 40 miles north to Baltimore to watch Cal Ripken and the Orioles play.

Shortly after arriving in Washington I purchased a Senators shirt to workout in and did so religiously during my 5 years in the Capitol.  I still have that shirt.

The original Washington Senators moved to Minnesota to become the Twins in 1960, and the new Senators franchise moved to Dallas in 1972 to become the Texas Rangers.   The Nationals were created in 2005,  born again from their previous life as the Montreal Expos.

Our money is and has been on the Nats at 20:1 (before playoffs began),  as we believe know good pitching always stops good hitting.   The ‘Stros have an excellent pitching staff but if Strasburg and Scherzer are on,  nobody can touch them.

Foreign Players From Shithole Countries

We are betting many Yankee fans are wishing President Trump’s tough immigration policies were in place when Jose Altuve, the smallest player in baseball, who beat them with a walk-off home run on Saturday night, came to the U.S. from Venezuela.

As a teenager in Venezuela, he was cut from an Astros tryout because the organization considered him too short. According to a 2014 Sports Illustrated profile, Altuve’s father coaxed him to return to the next tryout, where he earned his way into a deal with Houston and a signing bonus of $15,000, a small fraction of what the top amateurs typically receive.  – Atlantic

During this Fall Classic, we paraphrase Emma Lazarus’ poem, The New Colossus, which is etched at the foot of the Statue of Liberty.

“Give me your tried, your poor baseball players
Your huddled athletes yearning to play in the World Series,
Send these, the home run hitters, to help entertiain me,
I lift my lamp to the Fall Classic!”

Of the 50 players on the Nationals and Astros roster, 18, or 32 percent are from either Venezuela, the DR, Cuba, Mexico, or Brazil.

I am not going to feel ripped off or exploited by the Latin American countries as we watch the Dominican, Juan Soto and the Venezuelan,  Jose Altuve battle it out for the next two weeks.  Nor will we be upset that those two players “stole” a job from an American, they earned it!

The U.S. runs a yuuge trade deficit in baseball talent with the rest of the world (ROW), and thank goodness for that!   Our guess is much of data, if any,  probably shows up in the balance of payments data as foreign remittances as the players send some their earnings back home to family members.  We have to think about and research this more but don’t wait for it. 

At the end of the day,  it’s much more fun and satisfying being both an American and a citizen of the world.  If you’re not, try it, and enjoy.

World Series_2

During the 2016 season, Americans have watched a real World Series, with players born in at least 13 different countries. According to data made public by major league baseball, the leading country of origin for players on 2016 Opening Day rosters (and disabled lists) was the Dominican Republic (82 players), followed by Venezuela (63) Cuba (28), Mexico (12), Japan (8), South Korea (8), Canada (6), Panama (4), Colombia (3), Curacao (3), Brazil (2) and Taiwan (2). (Note: Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth.)

Today, approximately 26% of major league baseball players are foreign-born, a more than five-fold increase from the 1940s. In the World Series, the Chicago Cubs have 6 foreign-born players and the Cleveland Indians have 5 foreign-born players on their rosters.  – Forbes

Long Nationals, short nationalists.

Repost

Mr. October And Me

Check out our personal story about Reggie Jackson, Mr. October.

Ahh, the Fall Classic!

We’re not talking about October stock market corrections but the World Series!   The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers square off tonight to begin the 114th October Classic.

 

Reggie_3

 

The last time the two teams met was in 1916 when the Dodgers were test driving a new nickname, the “Robins.”   The Red Sox beat Brooklyn four games to one.  Casey Stengel starred for the Robins, and Babe Ruth pitched thirteen shutout innings after giving up a run in the first inning to win the fourteen-inning game two.  The winning players share (World Series bonus) was $3,910 ($87,500 in 2018 dollars) versus the last year’s Astros’ player share of  $438,901.

Mr. October

No baseball player is more synonymous with the World Series than Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson.

 

Reggie_2

 

Jackson earned the nickname “Mr. October” with his performance in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Down 3-2 in the fourth inning, the Yankees outfielder hit a two-run home run and did the exact same thing in the fifth inning. Then in the eighth, he hit another home run to put the Yankees up 8-3. His performance secured the win and the series for New York.
Athlon Sports

 

Reggie and Me

I have truly lived a Walter Mitty life.

The first twenty-five years of my life was baseball, 24/7, an obsession that almost compares to today’s techno-addicted youth.

My baseball career ended due to an injury, but also mainly the lack of emotional maturity and the ability to pull out of an ugly hitting slump.  Nothing worse for your confidence than cruising along during the season hitting .350, then to fall into a 2-for-50 tailspin.  Then comes the vicious circle thinking you will never get another hit.  Ironically, baseball players can fail 70 percent of the time, and still hit .300, making  it to the Hall of Fame.

It’s very similar to what happens to your psyche and P&L, trying to trade crude oil and natural gas against the ‘bots.  You gotta shake off the bad ones and move on.   I could’ve been somebody, damn it!

I did have a headstart in baseball as a young teen working with the Los Angeles Dodgers, first as a batboy, then batting practice pitcher, and adjunct bullpen catcher.  Later, I would spend some time with the Atlanta Braves and Oakland A’s.

I caught Tommy John (TJ) — the real one, who had the surgery named for him – for almost the entire season he was out before his remarkable comeback.  He could barely extend his hand after the surgery but refused to give up.  I would try to hide in the outfield before games but would soon hear Red Adams, the Dodgers pitching coach, calling me to come to the bullpen.

TJ was very wild when he first started on the comeback trail, bouncing curveballs in the dirt, which too often ended up smacking me in the family jewels.  It was a painful year, and it’s  amazing that I could still have children. Tommy John is one of the greatest human beings ever.

Reggie

One winter or spring during the off-season, can’t recall,  I get a call from my boss to come to Dodger Stadium for a few days as Reggie Jackson was going to film a television commercial.  He said the production company might need a pitcher or catcher and I should be around to help Reggie around the clubhouse and stadium.

I wasn’t in the union so being in the commercial was out.

Over the next three days,  Reggie and I became very close.  He treated me like I was his little brother.  Reggie had this larger than life image, with a reputation for a larger than life ego.

…it all flows from me. I’m the straw that stirs the drink – Reggie Jackson,  Sports Illustrated, May 1977

He took a lot of heat for that quote, and still denies it,  and I certainly didn’t see the Reggie ego the media often portrayed.   He was super kind, friendly, down to earth, always made time for you, and was just a great guy to hang out with.  He made you feel comfortable and not conscious you were in the presence of one of baseball’s greatest stars.  It was very much like a good day hanging with your big brother.

Self-centered egomaniacs don’t treat the little people like that.

One thing that really stood out over our three days together was how Reggie spoke.  He sounded like an university professor, very intelligent,    Later I found out he has an IQ of 160, the same as Steven Hawing!   That is genius zip code.

Pumas  

What really sealed the deal was when Reggie finished filming and was about to leave.  He handed me a piece of paper with an address and phone number:

22 Yankee Hill
Oakland, Ca
(415) xxx-xxxx

He said when I was in the Bay Area; I would never stay in a hotel but with him.   I believe that house burnt down in the 1991 Oakland Hills fire.

He then asked for my shoe size and address.  We shook hands and parted ways.

About a week later five boxes of Puma tennis shoes came in the mail.  Thank you,  Reggie!

Baltimore Orioles

The next season,  the A’s traded Reggie to the Baltimore Orioles as a rental.  He was playing out his option and Charles Finley, the A’s owner, would never pay Reggie’s new market rate.

Reggie

My little brother idolized Reggie, so when the O’s were in town, I took him to a game.  After the game,  I went down to the dugout to say hi as Reggie trotted in from the outfield.  He invited me into the clubhouse.  I asked Reg if my little brother could accompany me.  He said absolutely.

I had told Reggie about my brother, and when we get into the clubhouse, he points to his locker and says,  “Geoff, anything, take anything you want. My uniform, glove, anything.”   Big egos and the self-absorbed don’t treat little people like this.

I love Reggie Jackson.

Pete Rose

Pete Rose was the same way, by the way.  Always thinking and caring about the little guy.

The commish of baseball,  Bart Giamatti, my favorite actor’s father,  died just eight days after banishing Charlie Hustle from baseball.   Just sayin’.

Let’s play ball.   Dodgers in six.

 

 

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