Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Friday, July 08, 2005
 
Outrage Drought The Mets blew a big one tonight in a big way. Lost a 4-run lead in the ninth to the lowly Pirates, and blew the game in the 10th on an error -- all after some ugly baserunning cost them at least a run in the top of the ninth.

I should be disgusted. I should be furious.

But I'm not. The baserunning mistake was a screwup, no doubt, but it wasn't laziness. Cliff Floyd's error in the ninth that allowed the tying run was an honest mistake compounded by an extra-effort to recover that went awry.

Besides, my capacity for outrage has been pretty well used up this week.

Does this mean the terrorists have won?


Thursday, July 07, 2005
 
No More Screwing Around Reed Hundt is right. Get Osama Now.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005
 
Hope Lives in the Wrong Dugout As a Met fan, part of me is clearly heartened by the Washington Nationals' success this year. After all, the core of the team was assembled by current Mets General Manager Omar Minaya while he held the same position with the then-Montreal Expos over the past three years, giving me confidence in Minaya's player judgements and a strong conviction that good times are ahead for the Mets.

But man, the waiting is the hardest part.

I mean, take tonight's game. Pedro allows two earned runs in seven innings, watches the rest of the team generate zero offense for most of the game. Then, when they finally get something going in the ninth -- two runs home, tying run on third, two out -- who's the imposing pinch-hitter they turn to to seal the deal?

Brian Daubach. Yes, that Brian "out-of-the-league-for-more-than-a-year" Daubach. He popped out to end the threat and the game. Mets fall 10 games behind the East-leading Nats, and one game under .500.

Dear Omar: I know the ex-Red Sox thing worked out OK with Pedro. But Jose Offerman? He was done when I lived up there four years ago. And Daubach? If you have to get kids up here, do it -- I can live with them failing. But these bums are just stealing Mr. Wilpon's money.

And as for Carlos "0-for-4" Beltran, to whom I have shown remarkable patience... time to repay the confidence, buddy!

What to Watch For Outings like this are the kinds of things that seem likely to prompt Pedro to take one of his famous "summer breaks" -- watch at the end of July, when he has some "nagging injury" that needs time off, and he heads for the Dominican to recuperate. As long as the team's winning and producing for him, I wouldn't expect him to go, but a couple more anemic offensive showings like this and all bets are off...


 
Nattering Nabobs of Negativism Last week, longtime Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz told Washingtonian magazine that "he never expected to stay on the same beat for so long." If Monday's column is any evidence, perhaps it's been too long.

Kurtz seems to think that the media is going overboard in warning readers about the potential risks from a bubble in the nation's housing market in an effort to atone for their sins in cheerleading for the Nasdaq before the stock-market collapse.

His prime source? "Financial commentator" James Glassman, who is described as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. What Kurtz neglects to mention is that the last time most of America saw Glassman was in 1999, when he was flogging his book, "Dow 36,000." Since then, he's been plying his craft as a leading conservative "thinker," mostly through his TechCentralStation web site, which is known primarily for its unshakable advocacy of pro-big-business policies.

Oh, Kurtz would probably argue that no less a luminary than Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan agrees that the housing market isn't worthy of much worry. He quotes him as saying the housing market merely contains "froth." At best, this seems to be a misinterpretation -- Greenspan's comments were widely construed as sending up a warning flare about housing values.

For my money, the risk of a bubble in housing, especially in certain concentrated geographic markets around the nation (California, NYC, and Florida for starters), is real, and the media is acting responsibly in highlighting the danger. Indeed, Kurtz's column notes that many of these articles explain the importance of local conditions to real-estate values, as well as how factors like the large transaction costs and long time-frames involved in a home sale discourage a disorderly selloff.

But if you want to take some of the profits you made by following Glassman's advice and buying stocks in the late 1990s and invest them in real estate, be my guest.

Blogger Proliferation The problem with the never-ending proliferation of bloggers is that you have to be even faster to get something original out there. After penning this post, I decided to check Technorati's blog indexes to see if any of the blogosphere's leading lights had questioned Kurtz's use of Glassman. Sure enough, Robert Weissman has posted it to Arianna Huffington's new group blog. Great minds, indeed.