Friday, April 29, 2005
Something that hasn't happened in 113 years happened in Houston this evening; two NL pitchers who've each won 300 games -- not to mention eleven Cy Young awards between them -- matched up at Minute Maid Park this evening, and the Astros lost. Again.
This is your final warning: stop spending so much time with your e-mail.
With the bragging dispensed, let me work in a little history:
-- if you are a Texas Monthly subscriber there's an excellent article there, but it's hiding behind their most invasive registration. (You not only have to sign with the usual personal data but you have to enter an access code that only appears inside the magazine. And there's a different one each month.) So I'm going to sample a bit from it for you:
The chance of a Democratic upset in the 2006 governor's race is about as likely as, well, Bill Clements winning in '78. Or Mark White winning in '82. Or Ann Richards winning in '90. Or ...
... Although political pros believe that Republicans start out with a built-in ten-point advantage over Democrats in any statewide race, a battle for governor is so high-profile that it can transcend party loyalties. It happened in Texas when Republicans were on the way up, and it could happen now that the shoe is on the Democrats' foot. Deeply red states like Wyoming, Montana, Kansas, and Oklahoma have recently elected Democratic governors. "It's a high-visibility race," notes pollster Richard Murray, of the University of Houston. "There's more independent voting for governor. Independents can swing one way or another, and voters don't like living in a one-party state. The minority can win."
You might also have heard about this little redistricting thing that happened down here in Texas, which resulted in among other things Bell losing his seat in Congress, and then he filed a little ethics complaint against a certain House Majority Leader, and then things got a little vitriolic from there.
Don't mean to put much emphasis on the diminutive ...
You may, in addition, be aware of the pleasantries already being exchanged between our state's top two former cheerleaders -- Rick "Goodhair" Perry and Kay "Bighair" Bailey Hutchison -- despite the Senator's so-far-missing announcement that she is running for the Governor's seat. Standing just outside the ropes in case Bighair gets cold feet is state treasurer Carole Keeton McClelland Rylander Strayhorn (Cougar Mellencamp), whose nickname is "One Tough Grandma". (Can't you just visualize the lime green tights, the raccoon makeup, the black cape with big orange letters -- "OTG"?)
Sooooo, the GOP primary is well under way, whether they want to admit it or not, and dammit, I don't think we've popped enough corn.
Into this environment then steps the former Houston city councilman and former Congressman, whose wife Alison just happens to be undergoing chemotherapy at the moment. Suffice to say that meeting the two of them last night was a privilege, and not just because I'm a bit of a local party activist. (Last disclosure: Bell represented me in Congress prior to redistriciting.)
Bell brought to light a statistic I hadn't heard before; that 40 to 55% of Republican primary voters in Texas consist of the party base. The GOP base, for those who've been missing out, are the most rabid, fanatical Republicans you can find anywhere in the nation. In the Texas legislature, for example, their representatives can currently be found pushing legislation that outlaws gay foster parent adoption, that quashes campaign finance reform, and a host of similarly bad laws.
These folks love Rick Perry, because Rick Perry is far and away the most reactionary conservative governor this state has ever had. Which makes it entirely possible that KBH might beat on him badly (the governor's popularity statewide plummeted during the redistricting fiasco); she could certainly force him to spend millions and millions of dollars, and she could still lose. Which would leave Perry bloodied and staggering just in time for the general election.
Hypothetical chess matches aside, Bell intends to wage a campaign where his top priority is public school education (and not just the appropriate funding of it). One of my favorite phrases of his is: "Budgets are moral documents." Which highlights the fact that the decisions our lawmakers make significantly affect peoples' lives. That people actually do live, or die, according to the dictates of the state. Indeed, Bell cited a case (at a Democratic club meeting last month) of a San Antonio child who had starved to death because the state's funding cuts to CPS had left that department too short-handed to intervene in time. "What would Jesus do? I don't think he would balance the budget on the backs of poor children," Bell said.
Bell also declared that those of us who shared his concerns about the state of our state -- and our nation -- were the "new mainstream".
I like the sound of that, too.
Update: Eddie at The Red State has a take factoring in the Kinky effect.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Marc Olivier has a report with pictures. Salon has more on the current iteration of the former Senator (not on his Houston speech specifically). There is a transcript here of a recent speech which he sampled from in his talk last night.
Tonight we get to spend some time with Chris Bell.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
(Well, what did you expect from a blog that is admittedly full of crap?)
With about thirty in attendance, Radnofsky used the hour to clarify her views and answer questions. There were some skeptics at my table; there's been a lively discussion here which serves as your backstory.
While my friend KG might have been more discreet had she poured gasoline on her head and lit a match, the fact that Ms. Radnofsky was responsive to her aggressive questioning -- and proved worthy of the challenge -- was far and away the highlight of the evening.
A few of the prospective Senator's positions:
-- Social Security: she objects to the "privateers" moving in on the nation's pension plan. (A great word to use, since it was also employed two hundred years ago by Jean Lafitte's PR man to try to reframe themselves as something besides criminals.)
-- Healthcare: one of Radnofsky's hot buttons is the surging number of uninsured children in the country. She counts the insurance companies as obstacles to solving this problem for all of us, but the kids need to come first.
-- a category I'll call global hegemony (because she didn't): Radnofsky detailed her father's involvement in his generation's war as a backdrop for her stance on the current campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. I thought I heard some objection to a draft in a references to "Bush's future wars", but the candidate generally comes down in the Howard Dean camp -- the so-called "Pottery Barn rule".
-- recent Cabinet confirmations: Radnofsky "probably" would have voted to confirm Condoleeza Rice, considers herself "uninformed" about John Negroponte, and would have opposed Alberto Gonzales' nomination to be Attorney General.
-- electronic voting: she strongly supports open source code and a voter-verifiable paper trail at the ballot box, and believes that anything short of transparency at the polls imperils democracy.
-- bankruptcy legislation : "never should have been proposed, much less passed".
Barbara Radnofsky has kept to a rigorous schedule of speaking before local Democratic clubs as well as locations throughout the state. I urge you to attend a meeting so that you can assess her candidacy in person. I'll have my own views cobbled together so they're coherent at a later time.
Monday, April 25, 2005
It is with great sadness that I must withdraw my name from the race for District 22. As you all know I devoted 2 years of my life to win and placed my law practice on hold. With the prospects of having to spend another 2 years winning a primary and then challenging DeLay, my family’s financial situation is not the rosiest. My wife is expecting our 5th child in August and I feel that I must devote my time to getting my financial house in order. I think the biggest issue this county faces is our national debt and for me and mine to be facing debt that could quickly become unmanageable is irresponsible and unwise.
My mother and children's grandmother has also been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas. She has vowed to me that she will fight it every step of the way and I have committed to help her with that fight. I ask for your prayers for her and my father.
I am not giving up my fight. I will continue to stay active and work hard for Democrats. I ask that you do the same. Tom DeLay is bad for democracy and bad for America. If I can be so bold, I demand that each one of you will commit to work as hard for Congressman Lampson or Councilman Quan as you did for me. Democracy will suffer if you slack off even one bit.
That last part, naming the two presumptive challengers, is most revealing.
In the past couple of days I was made aware of two different blogs established specifically to counter Morrison's candidacy. Despite his strong words of just three weeks ago ("I'm willing to spill Democratic blood" was the quote), it seems to me that he has chosen a more noble course by not running now.
My best wishes for Richard and his family.
Update: The Houston Chronicle has a summary, and Burnt Orange Report has more opinion and speculation that the field is being cleared for Lampson. Here's a link to Richard's Daily Kos diary.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
This continuing assault on the middle class in favor of the moneyed class is what defines the GOP today. This fiduciary deconstruction of the working class American -- another example is the freshly-signed bankruptcy legislation -- will be the lasting legacy of Tom DeLay's Republican Congress.
Unless they can be stopped.
It's no surprise, then, that Democrats are lining up to knock off King Cockroach, and likewise that the GOP is looking high and low for someone to run against him in the primary, so worried are they about the image of their Majority Leader going down in flames.
Candidly, though, there's no good reason why Richard Morrison and Nick Lampson and Gordon Quan should beat each other up for the right to defeat La Cucaracha Grande. (Every Democrat in the country ought to be running against Tom DeLay -- tied around the neck of his GOP opponent -- anyway.)
Lampson's motivation is that part of the old 2nd Congressional District he represented -- an area surrounding NASA -- was redistricted into the current 22nd, so he has a little name recognition and some base of support -- certainly a few folks living there who've cast a ballot with his name on it before. Quan is a popular but term-limited Houston city councilman who senses the rise of the Asian-American Democratic bloc in southeast Texas, acknowledged in Hubert Vo's recent statehouse victory over Talmadge Heflin.
But neither Lampson nor Quan actually live in the 22nd District, and that fact could work hard against them in a general election. DeLay -- or some other Republican -- could paint them as a "carpetbagger". One thing the disenchanted conservatives in Sugar Land won't do is vote for a Democrat they perceive is an opportunistic outsider.
My idea is that Lampson ought to consider running for Congress in the 14th (Ron Paul is retiring, allegedly, and that district also overlaps some of Lampson's old one in Galveston County) and Gordon Quan should challenge John Culberson in the 7th -- where Quan's residence lies. Three good strong campaigns against two significantly weakened GOP opponents and one open seat -- potentially a three-seat switch for the Dems -- would go a long way toward nullifying the DeLay-engineered 2004 gerrymandering.
That would be a good start toward taking our country back -- wouldn't it?
Friday, April 22, 2005
Tuesday morning I drove up to east Texas to visit my father and stepmother at their vacation place at Lake Sam Rayburn. We played golf (Robert Trent Jones-designed course) but the most relaxing part of the two days was simply being out of the rat race. I had brought along my laptop on the chance that Rayburn Country had moved into the 21st century, but no dice. Oh, I could've plugged in and dialed up, but as those of us who've been on the Web's autobahn for a few years know, that's the surfing equivalent of the circus clown riding a tricycle. Not only are you barely getting anywhere, you're not enjoying the ride much either. So I imposed a blackout for two days, and loved it.
But it was the wildlife I enjoyed the most.
I saw a murder of crows harrassing a squirrel. On the ground. They hopped and flapped after him as he ran away -- not as fast he could have, either -- which led me to believe this was an exercise without much intensity on either side. Some kind of game they were playing with each other, or a way to pass the time.
I saw black squirrels (jet black; black as a cat) bounding along the fairway and the side of the road. They flirted with the grey squirrels and fox squirrels with no obvious discrimination practiced by either party. As cats and dogs might do, or even people, mostly.
And a large pileated woodpecker -- that's the one that would remind you of Woody Woodpecker; red crown, black face, black body with white neck and stripes -- clutching sideways to a porch railing, hammering away. During the middle of the morning, with people in the house watching and with us walking by less than fifty feet away. Which struck me as either brazen or desperate. And this bird didn't look hungry, though I knew he was searching for a tasty bug in the wood. He was nearly three feet long from tip to top, and well aware of our presence.
On my return to Houston I stopped in at the Alabama-Coushatta reservation. They are doing quite well since their casino in neighboring Louisiana opened a few years ago. Lots of new buildings; a museum and entertainment hall for visitors, a multi-purpose center for tribe members, a spanking-new convenience store on the highway, and an obviously thriving tribal economy. I intend to return for the pow-wow in the fall, when the dancers perform.
And yesterday I spent the day in a legal research project, examining a racial discrimination lawsuit against a large corporation (remaining details of which I am restricted by confidentiality agreement to reveal) . Suffice it to say that it was most interesting.
So I'll have my nose back on the grindstone soon enough. Right now I'm going to Google up an image of a woodpecker. BRB...
Update (already!) : After my own nature post, it was nice to see this in the Chronic this morning. There's pictures of koalas and prairie chickens on the front page of the paper (at the moment) .
Monday, April 18, 2005
Banjo Jones details the latest milestone reached by the Astros' sparkplug:
If Craig Biggio gets hit and killed by a bus after the game today in Cincinnati, he can go to his reward satisfied that he tied Ted Williams at #63 on the Major League Baseball all-time career hit list.
Biggio likely would have tied the record at home in Houston since Astros manager Phil Garner gave him the day off today, but Biggio was called on to pinch hit in the 7th inning and delivered a single. (That) gives him 2,654 base hits, which he's gathered during a 17-year career that likely will continue a year or two after this season. Williams played 19 seasons.
The fact Biggio started out as a catcher, moved to second base, then moved to the outfield and now has returned to second base only adds to his impressive hitting resume'.
Other names you might recognize on the all-time hit list that are within Biggio's reach are: Nellie Fox (who ended his career with Houston), 2,663 hits; Luis Aparicio, 2,677; Billy Williams, 2,711; Rusty Staub (who started his career with Houston), 2716; Lou Gehrig, 2,721, and Babe Ruth, 2,873.
He ought to be voted in on the first ballot.
Charles Kuffner has a take on the movie, "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" , which is having its Houston (and New York) debut this Friday.
And voir dire begins today in the trial of five former Enron Broadband officials. It's considered an opening act to the Big Show -- Lay and Skilling, center ring -- potentially on later this year.
I knew a handful of fellas who worked for Enron and Duke Energy and El Paso Energy during the go-go-days. They weren't the smartest guys in some rooms, but they most certainly thought they were, and that hubris made them the most arrogant guys in any room.
Very reminiscent of another group of megalomaniacs...
Sunday, April 17, 2005
The coming week's focus will also be on Bill Frist's judicial jihad and the Social Security Baboozlepalooza and John Bolton and God knows what else.
This post seems to strike the right tone:
Personally, I'm getting a little tired of all this making fun of conservatives. When you think about it, they deserve a lot of respect.
First, they have to believe whatever the Bush administration or lesser congressional-type republicans tells them to believe. Yea sure, I know, that sounds like something any idiot could do, but those beliefs often change from day to day and often end up diametrically opposed to what they were the day before. It takes an incredibly agile mind to constantly change core values and beliefs without ever acknowledging the contradictions.
Next, they have to disbelieve absolutely whatever a certain other class of people believe. This includes democrats, independents, moderates, the educated, the scientists, the French, and just about everyone else in the world.
Then to top it all off, every piece of art or entertainment must conform to the daily beliefs, whatever they are, or it must be boycotted, burned, or banished (not stashed under the mattress, no, no, no).
And finally, they have to disbelieve, and disbelieve passionately, easily observable reality. Those people being tortured, they're not feeling any pain. South Park? Karl Rove couldn't have written it any better.
It's not easy being that fucking stupid. It really takes a lot of work. Show some respect, people.
I believe someone has already said it was 'hard work'...
Both sides keep firing away. The most interesting news here is that the GOP in Sugar Land is quietly fishing for a primary opponent for the Bugman.
We're going to need more popcorn.
Update: This link (if registration is required then go to BugMeNot and get a User ID and password) will show you the report from last night's evening newscast of local CBS affiliate KHOU.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
-- Would you like to see some cool satellite photos of Area 51?
-- Those crazy madcap handicappers at Paddy Power have established German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as a 7/2 favorite to be elected Vicar of Christ. He's being challenged on the backstretch, though:
(...) France's Jean-Marie Lustiger has come from nowhere to join him at the top of the list. "Lustiger was at 20-1 two weeks ago but they've started betting for him in just the last three or four days," a spokesman at Paddy Power said.
Can you imagine how pissed the Bush Administration is going to be if there is a French Pope? More here.
And Jesus' General reports on the unholy alliance between the House Majority Leader and Mr. Wu of HBO's Deadwood.
It might be apropo to post now the epithet assorted Deadwoodians utter at least ten times per episode, but it won't be as funny if you don't have cable.
In the Comments, perhaps?
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Hey ass hole (sic). Tom Delay happens to be my congresman (sic) and I am happy with the job he does for me and my district. Why don’t you get the F@&* out of our district and leave us alone. Better yet, come speak to me personally and I will show you what I think of you.
Pealrand (sic), TX
(Cell Phone # Redacted)
The City of Pearland subsequently scrubbed their website of references to Councilman Cole, but this screenshot contains the missing biographical data, among which is listed his position as Deacon of First Baptist Church.
Go read the whole hilarious thing.
Update: I forgot to mention that Councilman Cole shares certain ethical characteristics with his Lord and Master (and I ain't talkin' 'bout Jesus).
Update (4/16): Councilmember Cole's bio has been returned to the City of Pearland's website, but quite a bit of editing has been performed on it. And according to a commenter at the Think Progress site (where this escapade began), Cole has disavowed to his pastor and others sending the obscenity-laced e-tirade. And Banjo Jones reports his own first-hand experiences with "Banty Rooster" Cole.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Now for those of you who haven't been introduced, Culberson has been carrying BugMan's water -- make that chlorine and hot towels -- for as long as he's been in the U.S House. He's spent the requisite terms in anonymity, and with the increased media attention his mentor's been getting, has been summoned from the shadows to help his master in these times of trouble.
Barbara also has some thoughts on Culberson's recent MSNBC appearance.
This is the sort of Texas Republican who might rise up in place of a fallen Sugar Land Sith Lord.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Sen. John Edwards will speak at the South Texas College of Law, 1303 San Jacinto, on Wednesday, April 27th at 5 pm. The event is free and open to the public, but you must reserve space by sending an e-mail (one ticket per e-address) to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Tom DeLay will give the keynote address at an NRA banquet being held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston this Saturday, April 16 at 8 pm. BAND (Bay Area New Democrats) is leading the charge to plan a peaceful protest aimed at DeLay (NOT the NRA). They want to be sure to give Delay the big welcome he deserves. Protestors will gather at 6:00 pm at the Hilton Americas, 1600 Lamar (adjacent to the GRB), to be in place by 6:30, and protest until 8:30 pm or so, then go out to celebrate. Most local media will be present. For more see the DU Meetup board.
The Harris County Democratic Party's Brown Bag Lunch is Tuesday, April 12 from noon to 1 pm at party HQ, 1445 North Loop West, #110 (exit Ella Blvd). The topic is "TRAFFIC!" Ned Levine, PhD., safety coordinator for the Houston-Galveston Area Council will discuss red-light cameras, Safe Clear and regional transportation issues. Bring your lunch; HCDP provides the soft drinks.
The Progressive Action Alliance (PAA) will hold its monthly meeting at Leisure Learning Unlimited bldg., 2990 Richmond, 6th floor on Thursday, April 14 from 7 to 9 pm. PAA promotes progressive candidates, ideas, and issues through action, advocacy, education, and networking. Come early -- 6:30 to 7 -- to socialize and network; bring something to eat if you wish.
Tariq Ali and Laura Flanders will appear at Rice University on Tuesday April 19th at 7:30 PM in the Grand Hall in the Student Center. Ali, radical icon and charismatic polemicist, is the author of Street Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties and Speaking of Empire and Resistance. His startlingly prescient observations turn a sharp eye on the American and British invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. His provocative ideas explain not only Anglo-American motivations, but the sense of betrayal and powerlessness that has led to the international surge of terrorism that Americans now claim to fight.
"In order to justify infinite war, they have invented this enemy, which -- I'm almost tired of pointing this out -- they created themselves at the height of the Cold War..."
Flanders is the host of "The Laura Flanders Show", heard weekends, 7-10 pm on the Air America Radio network. Bushwomen, her new book, is an investigation into the women in George W. Bush's Cabinet. Publisher's Weekly called Flanders' best-selling book "fierce, funny and intelligent." Flanders writes regularly for TomPaine.com, the Nation, Ms. Magazine and Znet.
A small donation is appreciated. Funds raised by this event will go to support Houston Indy Media, KPFT Pacifica Radio, Houston Global Awareness, Houston Peace and Justice Center, and the University of Houston’s Young Democrats.
Alison and Chris Bell will host a Happy Hour and Update on his exploratory gubernatorial campaign on Thursday, April 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the State Bar (on the balcony), 909 Texas Avenue at Travis. Valet parking is available at the adjacent Rice Hotel. RSVP at the Chris Bell for Governor website.
And the Houston Democratic Forum will host a reception and discussion with candidates Chris Bell and Barbara Radnofsky on Thursday, April 21 from 6:30 to 8 pm at the Houston City Club, One City Club Drive in Greenway Plaza. There will be a cash bar and validated parking. For more information, contact Mark Yzaguirre: email@example.com
Friday, April 08, 2005
This is the best update on the Texas Governor's race, from all angles, and it's from the perspective of Tim McCann, who is the operations manager for Chris Bell's exploratory committee.
The House Majority Leader is assaulting the judiciary again this morning.
The junior Senator from our Great State joined in, then backed off, but still doesn't understand what he did wrong.
And the Whiskey Bar (damn I'm glad that place is open again) has the last word on the Schiavo "GOP talking points" memo. But some folks are having trouble getting that also.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
There was the occasional whiff of insecticide in the air.
But we didn't spend a lot of the time stepping on cockroaches.
Morrison spent an hour with us answering questions about how he can win in 2006, against DeLay or some other Republican, and assuming he advances from a potentially strong field of Democrats in the primary, possibly including another former Congressman. Besides the obvious (getting more votes, raising more money) he must do a couple of things much better in order to win: he must take on Tom DeLay in his own backyard, Fort Bend county, where the Majority Leader ran an appallingly low 52%; and he must not just run against the Bugman but he must run on some core issues important to the voters in the 22nd, which he identified as health care, mass transit -- specifically light rail -- and the environment.
He talked about the Catch-22 struggles he had last year ... that in the beginning, because his name recognition was nil, the Democratic power brokers wouldn't take or return his calls, and when he got them on the phone they wouldn't donate to his campaign because they had never heard of him or were waiting for a bigger name to jump in the race, and so on. But those are hurdles Morrison has already cleared for 2006. Thanks to his own hard work and the contributions of the Left Blogosphere and lots and lots of committed people, Morrison has name recognition and money starting to flow and the attention and the respect of the movers and shakers who make the difference in this early going. And because of his success -- and of course, the ongoing meltdown of La Cucaracha Grande -- there have been murmurings that another Democrat is going to take advantage of the water he has carried, jump in the fray and challenge a now-obviously weakened DeLay. Be that Gordon Quan or Nick Lampson or someone else, Morrison intends to run hard against any primary opponent. "I'm not 'considering' (the race)", he said.
(In the interests of full disclosure, I worked on Richard's campaign last fall; I donated money, made phone calls and handed out push cards for him at a Pasadena polling place on Election Day. And at least half a dozen voters at that precinct sought me out and recited some variation of: "You know, I voted for Bush and mostly all the other Republicans, but I couldn't vote for that a**hole DeLay, so I voted for your guy." The numbers bear out this diminished enthusiasm among the GOP, as Kuffner has more exhaustively detailed.)
I've spent a lot of space railing against Tom DeLay, and many others do it deeper and better, so in the months ahead I'll probably link to them and spend my time talking about Richard Morrison's news, views and issues.
One is the "birth tax". More on that later.
Update: Gary Beason at Southpaw has more.
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Maureen Dowd's got her indignant on, and as usual it looks sexy on her:
This is the fourth exhaustive investigation that has not answered the basic question: How did the White House and Pentagon spin the information and why has no one gotten in trouble for it? If your kid lied and hid stuff from you to do something he thought would be great, then wouldn't admit it and blamed someone else, he'd be punished - even if his adventure worked out all right for him.
When the "values" president and his aides do it, they're rewarded. Condoleezza Rice was promoted to secretary of state. Stephen Hadley, Condi's old deputy, was promoted to national security adviser. Bob Joseph, a national security aide who helped shovel the uranium hooey into the State of the Union address, is becoming an undersecretary of state. Paul Wolfowitz, who painted the takeover of Iraq as such a cakewalk that our troops went in without the proper armor or backup, will run the World Bank. George Tenet, who ran the C.I.A. when al-Qaeda attacked and when Saddam's mushroom cloud gained credibility, got the Medal of Freedom.
And another Republican blogger says it's time for Tom DeLay to go, and lays out the compelling case (yes, most of us know this already, but those with their heads in the sand will find it shocking news). Don't miss the comments, either. And John Zogby via the Houston Chronic gives La Cucaracha Grande the bad polling news.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
I'm in seven different leagues again this year, and this website has consistently proven to be the most helpful in terms of who's healthy, who's not, who's winning a position coming out of spring training, who's going to close for the Dodgers now that Eric Gagne has gone on the DL, and so on. Unlike most sites of its type, it's also free. But it's the high level of sarcasm that I really enjoy the most. Look at this post about Danny Graves, the Reds closer:
Danny Graves has been wearing vision-enhancing contact lenses.''They help you pick up the ball more easily,'' Graves said. ''Nike makes them. You can see every blade of grass. It's like a picture.''
The benefits of this are obvious for a hitter, but what exactly does it do for a soft-tossing closer, let him see the gopher balls he serves up more clearly?
You gotta love that (even if you own Graves).
Update: From another good site for this sort of thing, Fanball:
Padres pitcher Jake Peavy completed four innings of work against Single-A Lake Elsinore on Saturday. He allowed six hits and three runs and struck out four. Peavy is scheduled to start in the Padres' home opener on Thursday.
No word on if Doug and Bob McKenzie were playing for Lake Elsinore, but that's not really important, eh.