Friday, April 7, 2017

5 Things on a Friday: The Battle for Number 2

This turned into an unexpectedly interesting week.  Let’s get to it, shall we?

Cruise Missile Clipart!
Who knew?
President Trump said Thursday night that the United States had carried out a missile strike in Syria in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack this week, which killed more than 80 civilians…
“Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed, and failed very dramatically,” the president said, referring to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. “As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen, and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.”
It’s amazing because I agree with everything the President said, and yet this strike still shocks me.  Coupled with Steve Bannon’s removal from the National Security Council, it looks from the outside like LTG H.R. McMaster is finally finding his footing with the new Administration.  This is a very good thing.  Moreover, lots and lots of the President’s most deplorable supporters are turning on him this morning--because he went against their man, Putin--which again can only help the country long term.  I actually think Trump has a moment here to reboot and recapitalize his presidency, and I desperately hope he takes it.
Look, the guy clearly wants to WIN.  At the same time, he is married to no specific ideology.  That’s fine.  However, he’s been on a straight losing streak with his current team, and you can bet that he knows it.  I suspect that he is not only looking for new people, he’s looking for new approaches as well.  Crossing Assad and Putin following an obvious war crime is a good start.  Making a bipartisan deal with Democrats on infrastructure would be an excellent second step.  From there, he would again be in a position to dictate terms to the traditional G.O.P.  
The fact that Trump’s not a “traditional Republican” is what gives him a chance here.  However, he’s been hewing pretty close to the traditional party line so far… and getting the traditional results.
To be clear, I support the President’s decision to strike Syria wholeheartedly.  This was a very limited strike made in retaliation for demonstrable, big league war crimes.  The U.S. struck only the base from which the chemical strike originated, so the meaning was unmistakable.  This strike doesn’t necessarily portend anything save that the U.S. won’t tolerate further chemical weapons use.  This is longstanding U.S. policy and should be expected by foreign actors.  Reinforcing international norms is extremely important.
My belief that the President will start drifting in the direction of overall mainstream thought is as much hope as actual belief.  But.  If you want to WIN with the American People, you have to do the things that the People themselves support.  
We may yet see that play out.
Yankee baseball is no longer quite enough to fill all the seats in the Bronx, at least not for a new generation of multitasking, jaded fans. That overdue admission has led to restructuring of both the facilities and the ticket pricing at Yankee Stadium, where attendance has been creeping downward and the starting rotation features more potholes than the Grand Concourse.
So on Tuesday the Yankees unveiled the stadium’s new features, which include a picnic area, refreshment terraces, charging stations for personal devices, a lounge equipped with televisions tuned to other sports events, and a children’s playground complete with breast-feeding facilities. The idea is to offer more options and to cater more to families, officials said, in response to surveys sent out during the past few seasons...
The Yankees have also introduced so-called dynamic pricing, which alters the cost of tickets based on supply and demand. In this way, purchasing a seat at Yankee Stadium is not unlike buying a ticket on United Airlines. Prices for the same seat may vary, day to day, according to how many of them are available. The actual opponent matters less than the projected vacancies.
I so want to go to a Yankees game now just to see all of this.  Plus, dynamic pricing!  It’s totally doable.
Romo has apparently completed his last pass for the team. After losing his starting job last season, he is retiring as a player to become the lead football analyst for CBS Sports, replacing Phil Simms.
I’m glad Romo got out without getting killed.  I was worried about him, truth be told.  When we the last time he played a full season?
4.  Bridgeport Bluefish Update

Opening day is just around the corner, and the team’s roster is slowly but surely coming together.  We also got word this week that the Veracious Brewing Company will be running the beer garden this season, and  I couldn’t be happier.  Veracious is my favorite of Connecticut’s craft breweries, and the Ballpark at Harbor Yards is one of my favorite places to drink beer.

I sent in three or four names for the new, custom-brewed beer.  Alas, no word yet on whether or not I won the naming contest, though.
5.  2017 Spring Practice: Hopkins emergence (Army Football Insider)
More than midway through spring practice, Hopkins is challenging sophomore Chris Carter to be Ahmad Bradshaw’s backup this season.

“I think there’s a real battle for No. 2,” Monken said after Tuesday’s practice. “Chris probably has leg up just for having experience and taking more reps in practice. But, Kelvin has shown some good things. The things that Kelvin can do are he’s going to make every throw and he’s athletic enough and physical enough to be a good runner.”
I had a feeling that something like this was coming when Coach Monken moved Malik McGue, a kid he obviously likes, to slotback.  Army has a banger at quarterback in Ahmad Bradshaw, but I get the feeling that Monken would like to run a kind of two-quarterback system, with at least the possibility of bringing in a changeup who can throw the ball, spark the offense when the line of scrimmage is crowded, and run the team through two-minute situations.  That’s a very different skillset than the core requirements for the triple-option.
Heading into 2016, it looked like Chris Carter was going to be that guy.  But I don’t know that Carter ever managed to have that breakout game he needed to win over the coaching staff, and he certainly never outplayed Bradshaw last season despite multiple opportunities.  If Hopkins is throwing the ball accurately and has learned to run the traditional offense as well, however, he could potentially be an important player in the coming season.

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That's all I've got except to note that today is National Beer Day!  

Let's get on that, people!!!

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