The Phillies have had a tradition of strong defense up the middle and especially in center field that has been the core of their success. They have had two of the best defensive center fielders in modern baseball history: Former Secretary of Defense Gary Maddux and the recently departed Shane Victorino. While watching Rever’s highlight reel, he reminds one of watching Mike Trout, Victorino– and when he goes back on the ball– does one dear say?– Willy Mays. He even engages in some Ozzie Smith type acrobatics from time to time which one does not see in outfielders.
That all being said, the Phillies gave up a king’s ransom to get Revere– something not addressed at all by any sportswriter or Phillies blogger that I read. More soon.]]>
It seemed like a minor adjustment. To comply with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in 2003, the state Registry of Vital Records and Statistics said it needed to revise its birth certificate forms for babies born to same-sex couples. The box for “father” would be relabeled “father or second parent,’’ reflecting the new law.
But to then-Governor Mitt Romney, who opposed child-rearing by gay couples, the proposal symbolized unacceptable changes in traditional family structures.
He rejected the Registry of Vital Records plan and insisted that his top legal staff individually review the circumstances of every birth to same-sex parents. Only after winning approval from Romney’s lawyers could hospital officials and town clerks across the state be permitted to cross out by hand the word “father’’ on individual birth certificates, and then write in “second parent,’’ in ink…
The practice of requiring high-level legal review continued for the rest of Romney’s term, despite a warning from a Department of Public Health lawyer who said such a system placed the children of same-sex parents at an unfair disadvantage.
Crossouts and handwritten alterations constituted “violations of existing statutes’’ and harmed “the integrity of the vital record-keeping system,’’ the deputy general counsel of the department, Peggy Wiesenberg, warned in a confidential Dec. 13, 2004, memo to Mark Nielsen, Romney’s general counsel.
The changes also would impair law enforcement and security efforts in a post-9/11 world, she said, and children with altered certificates would be likely to “encounter [difficulties] later in life . . . as they try to register for school, or apply for a passport or a driver’s license, or enlist in the military, or register to vote.”
The video I am now putting up is for this portion of the story:
The next month, Romney delivered remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington in which he decried the state Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling and its effect on child-rearing. He outlined his misgivings about the request from the Registry of Vital Records.
“The children of America have the right to have a father and a mother,’’ Romney said in his prepared remarks. “What should be the ideal for raising a child? Not a village, not ‘parent A’ and ‘parent B,’ but a mother and a father.’’
Romney also warned about the societal impact of gay parents raising children. “Scientific studies of children raised by same-sex couples are almost nonexistent,’’ he said. “It may affect the development of children and thereby future society as a whole.’’
Romney expressed similar beliefs during a speech in 2005 to socially conservative voters in South Carolina, as he was beginning to be viewed as a serious candidate for president.
“Some gays are actually having children born to them,’’ he declared. “It’s not right on paper. It’s not right in fact. Every child has a right to a mother and father.’’
Video of Romney’s remarks in Spartanburg, South Carolina and his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee can be found here:
A truncated video clip of Romney’s remarks in South Carolina is here:
Earlier, also in the Boston Globe, “No mention of ‘Bisexual’, “Transgender’ Under Romney,” June 12, 2012.]]>
“Anthony Shadid, a gifted foreign correspondent whose graceful dispatches for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The Associated Press covered nearly two decades of Middle East conflict and turmoil, died, apparently of an asthma attack, on Thursday while on a reporting assignment in Syria. Tyler Hicks, a Times photographer who was with Mr. Shadid, carried his body across the border to Turkey.
Mr. Shadid, 43, had been reporting inside Syria for a week, gathering information on the Free Syrian Army and other armed elements of the resistance to the government of President Bashar al-Assad, whose military forces have been engaged in a harsh repression of the political opposition in a conflict that is now nearly a year old.
The Syrian government, which tightly controls foreign journalists’ activities in the country, had not been informed of his assignment by The Times.
The exact circumstances of Mr. Shadid’s death and his precise location inside Syria when it happened were not immediately clear.
But Mr. Hicks said that Mr. Shadid, who had asthma and had carried medication with him, began to show symptoms as both of them were preparing to leave Syria on Thursday, and the symptoms escalated into what became a fatal attack. Mr. Hicks telephoned his editors at The Times, and a few hours later he was able to take Mr. Shadid’s body into Turkey.
Jill Abramson, the executive editor, informed the newspaper’s staff Thursday evening in an e-mail. “Anthony died as he lived — determined to bear witness to the transformation sweeping the Middle East and to testify to the suffering of people caught between government oppression and opposition forces,” she wrote…”
His obit in the Times.
Steve Coll in the New Yorker: “The foreboding and ambivalence that the characters he wrote about expressed was striking at the time, but as the years have passed and Iraq’s initial crisis has yielded to the ambiguous mess we know today, it is evident that the middle-class, unofficial, urban Iraqis he chronicled had envisioned their own future very accurately. As in so many other cases, Shadid was willing to sit still, away from the main story, and listen.”
Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/02/postscript-anthony-shadid-1968-2012.html#ixzz1me3QdNtn]]>
(Reuters) – National fundraising committees for the Democratic and Republican parties, President Barack Obama, and other major politicians have declined to return campaign donations totaling $1.8 million from Houston financier R. Allen Stanford, now on trial for allegedly masterminding a $7 billion Ponzi scheme.
The court-appointed receiver charged with returning money to Stanford investors obtained a federal court order last June against five Democratic and Republican campaigns. But they haven’t returned the money. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee received $950,500; the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), $238,500; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $200,000; the Republican National Committee $128,500, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) $83,345.
The contributions to the campaign committees and candidates were given by Stanford himself, Stanford executives, and a political action committee associated with the financier.
The receiver, Ralph Janvey, is also trying to claw back money Stanford donated to individual politicians. The list of his recipients reads like a who’s who of Washington, including President Obama – who received $4,600 from Stanford in his 2008 election campaign – Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the chairman of the NRCC, and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. Janvey is seeking these funds informally, and has not filed lawsuits.
Money has already been returned by House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. John McCain, among others. But the roughly $154,000 recovered from elected officials is a fraction of the $1.8 million still outstanding.
The $4,600 Janvey is seeking from the Obama campaign reflects only direct contributions from Allen Stanford himself. The total may be as high $31,000 when Stanford’s contributions to Obama’s other campaign committees are included, along with money from senior Stanford executives, and the Stanford Financial Group’s now defunct PAC, according to campaign finance records and an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.
“ROBS THE STORE”
The Obama campaign donated the $4,600 contribution to charity on February 18, 2009, just days after Stanford’s alleged fraud came to light. The Obama campaign officially has no comment on the matter, but a source familiar with the campaign’s thinking told Reuters that it does not intend to return the money to the receiver or Stanford investors.
Read the rest of the story here. Read my last story on Stanford here. Also Slate, Daily Beast, and Daily Caller.
Other Reuters Stories by Murray Waas:
Murray Waas, “Obama, Politicians Decline to Return Campaign Contributions,” Reuters, Feb. 13, 2012.
Murray Waas, “How Allen Stanford Kept the SEC at Bay,” Reuters, Jan. 26, 2012.
Murray Waas(with editing by Claudia Parsons), “Disgraced John Ensign Back in Legal Jeopardy,” Reuters, May 26, 2011.
Murray Waas, “Tea Party Candidates Only a Democrat Could Love,” Reuters, Oct. 27, 2010.
Nick Carey and Murray Waas, “Virginia Veteran Report Shows High Depression Rate,” Reuters, Sept. 27, 2010.
Murray Waas (with editing by Jim Impoco), “Wellpoint Routinely Treats Breast Cancer Patients,” Reuters, April 24, 2010.
Murray Waas (with Lewis Krauskopf), “Insurer Targeted HIV Patients to Drop Coverage,” Reuters, March 17, 2010.
Murray Waas, “Insurer Targeted HIV Patients to Drop Coverage,” Reuters, March 17, 2010.]]>
The family of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry has retained former Arizona U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton to determine if there is any legal action to take in connection with his slaying.
Charlton, Arizona U.S. Attorney from 2001 to 2007, said the Terry family asked him to review the facts surrounding the events that led to Brian Terry being killed on Dec. 14 in a shootout with suspected border bandits near Rio Rico.
Two Romanian-made assault rifles were recovered at the scene that are believed to have been sold to straw buyers in Phoenix and tracked into Mexico under a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Mexican gun-smuggling investigation, according to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., have led an inquiry into the ATF operation, called “Fast and Furious,” leading to a June 15 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
At that hearing, ATF special agent John Dodson told members of Congress on Wednesday that ATF agents in Arizona regularly allowed guns to be bought that they knew would be delivered to Mexican cartel members.
Charlton said he will be reviewing all the facts surrounding the events of Terry’s death, including which weapons were used in the shootout and where they came from.
“How those weapons got there are obviously going to be very important to us,” said Charlton, who is now a lawyer with the Gallagher & Kennedy law firm in Phoenix.
Meanwhile, Todd Graves, the fired U.S. Attorney from Kansas City, Missouri, and who I profiled shortly after his firing became known, also has a new assignment, according to the Kansas City Star:
After enduring three weeks of criticism over its response to sex crimes allegations, the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese on Thursday appointed a former U.S. attorney to investigate how it handled such cases.
Bishop Robert W. Finn said the appointment was one of five points in a sweeping plan to deal with recent alleged sexual misconduct in the diocese.
Todd Graves, who was U.S. attorney for western Missouri, has been named to conduct an independent investigation of issues related to a priest charged with possessing child pornography.
In addition, Graves will lead a review of the diocesan ethical code of conduct and sexual misconduct policies.
I am not sure why the management of the Philadelphia Phillies have not been taking my advice on this. True, they have one of the best foursome of starting pitchers ever in the history of baseball– albeit, Roy Oswalt might be seriously hurt. But Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Holladay, are a trio for the history books. They will win a lot of games without much offense and the team right now has the best record in baseball.
But their offense this season is pitiful. You can’t have a great team where your corner outfielders are not producing. Raul Ibanez is way past his prime, Bren Francisco is not cutting it, and Dominic Brown might light fire, but that is far from clear. Had the team been smart in the preseason, they might have been able to have gotten Hunter Pence, Carlos Quentin, or Lance Berkman, and be ten games ahead of any other team in the majors. Those players are not available, but Ryan Ludwick still is… and he is the perfect fit for the Phillies.
Let’s start with his spectacular defense. Shane Victorino in center field is one of the great defensive outfielders in the game. And Werth, before he defected, was far above average. But Raul Ibanez, in left, is only getting older each day and is currently ranked one of the worst fielding left fielders in the game: He doesn’t make a lot of errors, but his range is now poor. And even if were hitting— which is he not– he should be relegated to part time or platoon work for his defensive work alone.
The Phillies are one of the best defensive teams in baseball: Short stop Jimmy Rollins is a former gold glover and still one of the premier defensive short stops in the game, Polanco at third is great, Utley is way above average, and Ruiz is one of the great defensive catchers in the game. Add Ludwick to Victorino in outfield and you have one of the best fielding teams in baseball, if not the best.
Opposing batters put the ball in play less than players facing any other teams— Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Madson, Bastardo, and Stutes strike out about one batter, or even more, for every inning they pitch.. Therefore, when defensive wizzards like Victorino and Ruiz and Rollins do their thing they have fewer runners on base to contend with. That is, I believe at the core, of the Phillies’ success. Erase Ibabez in left field, and add Ludwick, and you are helping the team exponentially with their defense.
Offensivley, Ludwick is at a minimum going to hit .260 or .270 with 15 to 20 homeruns. That is such an upgrad over Raul Ibanez or Ben Francisco that it seems insane that the Phillies already don’t have Ludwick. Bite the bullet– give up a prospect or two. And the Phillies won’t have to give up a top flight prospect because Ludwick’s contract is over this year and without being able to keep him beyond this season, no team is going to give the Paders that much. Supposedly, the Seattle Mariners and the Cincinnati Reds are in the hunt too, but it is hard to believe they would give up all that much for Ludwick.
But consider this: In 2008, not that long ago, Ludwick hit .299, 37 HR, and 113 RBI, along with 40 doubles to go to boot. That might have been an outlier season. But is it similar to Jayson Werth’s best season. The difference is that the Phillies lost Werth to the Nationals who now pay the former Philie $22 million a year, while Ludwick would cost the Phillies the equivalent of about half of the five million to six million is still owed over the course of the rest of this season. (Ludwick’s contract is over at the end of this season.) And if Ludwick were to simply have an average season, belting 15-18 home runs, while playing his stellar defense, the Phillies investment in him is well deserved. If the Phillies like how Ludwick plays, they could try and sign him to a long term contract during the season or sign him as a free agent in the off season. On thing is not in doubt: In the meantime, he will helped the Phillies win a pennant– and maybe even a World Series.
But even if Ludwick has even a mediocre season, he is going to win a lot of ballgames for the Phillies.
And one last thing to consider: Ryan Howard is faltering with anyone substantial hitting behind him. Ibanez and Francisco do nothing to intimidate opposing pitchers to throw strikes to Howard Ludwick would.
Finally, there is some talk about the Phillies get Josh Willingham or Mike Cuddeyer. Willingham is a bad idea… more on that later. Cuddyer might fit, but in terms of value, he has far less for the Phillies than Ludwick.]]>
Career federal law enforcement officials who worked directly on a probe of former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) said they believe that word of the investigation was leaked by senior Bush administration political appointees in the Justice Department in an improper and perhaps illegal effort to affect the outcome of an election.
At the time of the leak, Renzi was locked in a razor-thin bid for reelection and unconfirmed reports of a criminal probe could have become politically damaging. The leaked stories — appearing 10 days before the election — falsely suggested that the investigation of Renzi was in its initial stages and unlikely to lead to criminal charges.
In fact, the investigation had been ongoing for some time and had already amassed enough evidence of alleged criminal misconduct to obtain approval from the highest levels of the Justice Department, including then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, to seek an application from a federal judge to wiretap Renzi. In February 2008, a federal grand jury indicted Renzi on 36 felony counts of money laundering, extortion, insurance fraud and various other alleged crimes.
But the disinformation leaked to media outlets in October 2006 had the desired effect: Renzi won reelection by the narrowest of margins.
In defending the firings of the nine U.S. attorneys and countering other allegations of the politicization of the Justice Department, Gonzales and other former senior Bush White House officials have emphatically claimed that no political corruption investigations were ever compromised in any way.
This previously unreported episode, however, directly contradicts that claim and constitutes the first evidence that a political-corruption investigation was stymied for political reasons during the Bush administration.
As part of an apparent damage-control effort to assist Renzi’s reelection bid, information was leaked on the same day to three major news organizations: The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Associated Press. The articles reported that although there was an ongoing probe of Renzi, it was only in an early stage, no evidence of serious wrongdoing had been uncovered, and it might end up being much ado about nothing.
Yet Gonzales had already approved a request by the then-U.S. attorney leading the investigation, Paul Charlton, to seek an application from a federal judge to wiretap Renzi’s telephone.
Charlton said that while he could not discuss the particulars of the Renzi case because the congressman is awaiting trial, he could comment generally: “Any time you have a wiretap up and the subject or the target becomes aware that there is an investigation, the value of the information you glean from that wiretap will almost certainly be greatly diminished.”
Other sources and court papers filed by Renzi’s attorneys indicate that very little information was obtained as a result of the wiretaps being compromised by the leak. A federal law enforcement official directly involved in the Renzi probe said, “Who is going to talk openly on their telephone if they have read in that morning’s New York Times that they are the subject of a federal criminal investigation?”
The same official said the information gleaned from wiretaps on the telephones of impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) underscores the value of wiretaps in federal corruption investigations and why the compromising of wiretaps in the Renzi probe was such a serious offense.
“What if someone had tipped Blagojevich to the wiretaps? We might not have the evidence to indict him or for the legislators to impeach him. We very likely would have never found that he was attempting to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder. The crime could have likely gone down — the selling of [President] Obama’s Senate seat — without anyone the wiser.”
Blagojevich has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence.
Several federal law enforcement officials said in interviews that they believe the Renzi leaks might have constituted a violation of the federal obstruction of justice statute. Now that a new attorney general, Eric Holder, leads the Justice Department, the officials said they hope there would be a formal investigation of the matter.
Solomon Wisenberg, a former federal prosecutor and deputy independent counsel in the Whitewater and Clinton-Lewinsky matter, echoed those sentiments: “If someone knew that there was a wiretap going on and they leaked this information to the press — that is a potential obstruction of justice and that should be thoroughly investigated.”
Wisenberg said that even if the leaker’s motivation were to help Renzi or the Republican Party politically, rather than simply tipping Renzi off as to what investigators were up to, that would make the offense no less egregious. “If someone leaked this to tip off the target of an investigation that there was a wiretap up, that is a crime. If someone leaked the information with the intent to manipulate voters before an election, I don’t think that is any less worse. In some ways, that is worse.”
Charlton, again emphasizing that he could not speak to the specifics of the Renzi probe, said, “Any career federal law enforcement person knows that if you leak the existence of an investigation right as you have a wiretap go up, you are going to do great harm to what you are doing.”
So far, there has been no formal investigation of the leaks related to the Renzi probe. However, the episode did figure in a broader investigation launched by the Justice Department’s inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) into the firings of the nine U.S. attorneys. The two internal Justice Department watchdog agencies examined allegations that Charlton had been dismissed because of his aggressive pursuit of Renzi. The investigation concluded that Charlton had been fired for other reasons.
But in the process of examining the circumstances whereby Charlton and the other former federal prosecutors were dismissed, the agencies addressed the issue of the Renzi wiretap leaks in some detail in a report they made public about the firings. The report did not say who the investigators believed was responsible for leaks to the media. Justice Department officials say that uncovering the identity or identities of the leaker or leakers as well as their motivations was not a mandate of their probe.
Sources close to the investigation say that investigators working for the inspector general and OPR — mirroring the beliefs of prosecutors and FBI agents who worked the case — concluded that it was most likely that political appointees leaked the existence of the Renzi probe and had a political motivation in doing so. A spokesman for Justice’s inspector general declined to comment, and OPR similarly did not respond to inquiries for this article.
At the time the Times, Post and AP stories appeared, Election Day for the 2006 congressional midterms was only 10 days away, and Renzi was in a highly competitive race. A prominent political blog in Arizona had falsely reported that an indictment of Renzi had already been brought but was being held until after the election. A member of Renzi’s staff called Charlton’s office asking whether there was indeed an ongoing investigation of the congressman.
Then, on Oct. 20, 2006, a reporter for the AP called the Justice Department’s then-deputy director for public affairs, Brian Roehrkasse, and asked whether Renzi was under investigation, according to information disclosed in the inspector general and OPR’s report about the firings of the nine U.S. attorneys by the Bush administration.
The inspector general’s report said that shortly after the telephone call from the AP reporter, Alice Fisher, then the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, directed that her then-chief of staff brief Roehrkasse about the investigation, although the report leaves unclear whether this occurred.
The inquiry from The Associated Press reporter was then discussed by other senior Justice Department officials. Only days later, the inaccurate stories in the Times, Post and AP appeared, which proved helpful in bolstering Renzi’s reelection bid.
“This had to be done by a person with some expertise and long expertise with dealing with the press,” a senior federal law enforcement official involved in the Renzi probe said. “You have the same story given out the same day saying the very same thing, and it is not even true.”
Moreover, a public-relations maxim of the Bush White House and its press officers was to shorten the lifespan of any bad press to make sure that it got out as widely as possible to as many major news organizations on the same day. For example, in February of 2006, after learning that The New York Times was going to run a story about an administration program to covertly obtain bank records to track down potential terrorists, the White House briefed reporters from the competing Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times so that they would all be able to publish the story that same night.
The case study of what occurred in that instance became the playbook for how public-relations specialists for the administration handled minimizing the impact of bad news and putting their own spin on it: Get everything out everywhere at once, get it out to authoritative news sources, and get your version out first.
In the case of the Renzi leak, pre-emptively leaking to three of the nation’s most authoritative news organizations would limit whatever damage the disclosure of the investigation would do to Renzi politically to only a day or so. And the false assertions that the investigations were in an early stage and Renzi might not have done anything wrong at all were even more crucial in securing Renzi’s reelection.
Meanwhile, career federal law enforcement officials were unlikely to set the record straight in any case, because they didn’t want to do anything that might further compromise their investigation.
Especially damaging was the fact that the stories disclosing the existence of the investigation came only one day after Charlton had obtained formal permission from Justice to seek the application for a wiretap of the congressman.
The lede to the Post story reported that the probe was only in a “preliminary stage.” (The Post story also sympathetically quoted Renzi’s attorney, Grant Woods, a former Arizona attorney general, as saying: “When I was attorney general, we dealt with this all the time in the last 30 days before an election, when candidates came to us with an accusation. We had to look at it, but it was designed to use politically.”)
The AP similarly quoted its source saying that the Renzi probe was “in the very early stages,” citing that source as a “law enforcement official in Washington” — seeming to indicate that he or she was not one of the career federal prosecutors or FBI agents who were working on the case in Arizona.
Three weeks after the news stories about the Renzi probe appeared — and also not long after the congressional elections — Charlton received a telephone call from a senior Justice Department official directing him to resign.
After Charlton’s firing, there was speculation in the media that it may have been due to his pursuit of Renzi. (Charlton himself never publicly suggested that that was the case.) Yet the report into the firings of the U.S. attorneys concluded there was “no evidence” of that.
Charlton was targeted, the report said, because he clashed with Gonzales over a death penalty case. Charlton wanted the Justice Department to foot the bill for recovering a murder victim from a landfill to make absolutely sure the forensic evidence supported the conviction. Gonzales refused. “I didn’t want to be left to wonder a year later, or 10 years later, or 20 years later whether a life might have been taken unjustly just to appease some political paradigm,” Charlton said.
Gonzales did not comment for this article.
The federal grand jury indictment alleged that Renzi embezzled more than $400,000 from an insurance company he owned so that he could finance his first campaign for Congress.
Later, while a sitting member of Congress, the indictment said, Renzi allegedly engaged in the extortion of a mine owner who wanted federal legislation enacted to benefit his company. After the land deal was completed, more than $733,000 of the proceeds were then funneled to Renzi, the indictment charged.
Renzi has denied any wrongdoing.
The congressman, who did not seek reelection in 2008, is awaiting trial, which will begin in September.
Rick Hertzberg in the New Yorker today on Rick Perry.
You have to have a reference point sometimes to get the joke: The Dalai Lama doesn’t get a Dalai Lama joke, as Emily Lodish explains.
Did Goldman Sachs help create the food crisis?
My hometown ranks second.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to be weakened?]]>
ALLENTOWN – Next stop in Brian Gordon’s dream season is Yankee Stadium.Gordon celebrated his release from the Phillies organization Tuesday night after learning he would be pitching for the New York Yankees…
Gordon, 32, was understandably emotional as he left Coca-Cola Park with his wife Amanda and three children. He started his career in 1997 as an outfielder with the Arizona Diamondbacks and hit 118 minor-league home runs over 10 seasons before asking Jackie Moore, his manager with Houston’s triple-A Round Rock team, if he could switch to being a pitcher in 2007. Moore and the Astros approved the switch, and he prepared for it by working with Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, who owned the Round Rock team…
Moore is now the Rangers bench coach and Ryan is their owner, so they will both see Gordon’s first career start Thursday…
Gordon, who had made only 13 career starts in his first four seasons as a pitcher, made the most of his opportunity. In nine starts with Lehigh Valley, he was 5-0 with a 1.23 ERA. He struck out 53 and walked five in 51 1/3 innings. His overall ERA of 1.14 was the best in the International League.
Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20110615_New_York_Yankees_sign_Lehigh_Valley_IronPigs_pitcher_Brian_Gordon.html#ixzz1PMAjFafX
My comments: So this guy was a washed up utility outfielder who never quite made it. About the time most other guys would have given up, he goes to his manager and organization and asks to pitch. He throw a few games in the minors… but throws like Cy Young. And all of a sudden, he is going to start a game for the Yankees.
Imagine if he pitches well, and stays in the Yankee rotations, and he helps get them into the World Series against– the Phillies…. seems far-fetched, but no more far-fetched than the story thus far.
The team he is coming from is the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs? C’mon– this really wasn’t made up by a Disney screenwriter?
Gil Scott-Heron, who died late Friday at the age of sixty-two, was among the very first musicians to understand the power of declamatory singing, of holding forth above a line of percussion and blending words into the rhythmic peaks and recessive contours of beats. He did not discover this, he heard the Last Poets do it, but he used their form to his own purposes and produced singular and scornfully brilliant observations such as “Whitey on the Moon,” and “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” which sound as vital and scornfully brilliant now as they did when he recorded them nearly forty years ago. The more cerebral rap and hip-hop artists knew his work the way British blues aspirants such as Eric Clapton and Keith Richards and Mick Jagger knew the work of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.
The challenge for anyone in show business is keeping a career afloat after the public’s attention has moved elsewhere. Scott-Heron just missed being embraced by the mainstream. It may be true that no pop artist is embraced—from Frank Sinatra through Bob Dylan, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Sean Combs, and Lady Gaga—who isn’t desperate to be embraced, and Scott-Heron was indifferent to what people thought of him. (I learned that writing a Profile of Scott-HeronThe New Yorker last year.) He believed that courting attention was lowering. He was a reader and a thinker and a social observer, and his mind produced ideas, not opportunities for commerce. He loved being onstage and being the center of attention, but he wanted to be left alone otherwise. He was too thorny a character to fit entirely into a persona calculated for success. for
He had been a prodigy of a kind; before he left college, he had published two novels and a book of poems and made two records. Instead of promoting them, he became a college English teacher. He took a leave of absence to go on his first tour, assuming he would return once the interest in his work played out. Something went wrong for him, however, during the eighties—his mother said it was the result of his making too much money—and he began taking drugs. Crack is what he preferred, and he went to prison for it twice and another two times for parole violations. Prison he treated as a kind of retreat. “I’m happy in jail,” he told me. “First thing I had was a subscription to Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News, and I would go to the library every couple of days and get enough books to keep me busy. I just kept up with my life.” He made friends with a man serving a manslaughter conviction, and when the man got out, Scott-Heron loaned him money to start a leather business.