How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Mission Possible: How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Times are a Changing in Baseball and Politics

Baseball is fast becoming a hit or miss sport. Either the batter hits a home run or he strikes out. This past year the Bronx Bombers broke the all-time record for home runs with 267 and for the first time in baseball history, there were more strikeouts (41,207) than hits (41,119). More home runs were hit this past June than any month in baseball history (1,142 vs. 1,119 in August 2017). At the current pace of an average of 2.73 home runs per game, we are on pace to see a record 6,624 home runs.

Baseball mavens, based on analytics, crave power – both from their pitchers and at the plate. General Managers seek to put together power-based rosters composed of players with blazing bat speed and pitchers who can throw a hundred miles per hour. No longer coveted are hitters who can “put the ball in play” and who can “move runners over”. So-called “small ball” is increasing eschewed, as are tactics like stealing bases, the hit and run and the sacrifice bunt. Teams prefer to wait for someone to jack-it-out of the park and are afraid that one of the previous mention tactics will fail and take the bat out of the hands of a potential home run hitter.

The problem with this approach is the power game can be boring. There are bursts of action, but little sustained action – prolonged rallies rarely occur as players throughout the batting order try to hit home runs. The combination of strikeouts, walks, home runs is devoid of action. More than a third of all plate appearances end with one of three outcomes – a walk, strikeout or home run.

In order to speed up the game, there is talk that in the future, all pitchers will be required to face three batters to deal with the constant replacement of relief pitchers. While I understand the motivation, it will eliminate another tactic: bringing in a pitcher to face a batter he has had success with. This will in all likelihood lead to even more home runs.

Having been born in the shadows of the big ballpark in the South Bronx, I am a long-time devout Yankee fan. I can name the entire starting line-up for the 1955 Yankees, but can’t remember my K-2nd-grade teachers. My Yankees recently made the wrong kind of history. They struck out 18 times in a game against four Detroit Tiger pitchers, setting a club record for a nine-inning game, in a 2-1 loss at Yankee Stadium. Two players had three strikeouts and five had two strikeouts. My gut tells me that the 18 strikeouts are a foreboding of what’s to come from a strikeout perspective.

In the past, the ability to “make contact” was a highly valued characteristic in baseball and in old-school retail politics, but times are a-changing in both baseball and politics. Nancy Gibbs in a recent article in TIME entitled Whose standards will Democrats embrace, wrote the following about allegations from multiple women that Joe Biden had touched them in ways they considered inappropriate. “Biden has long been famous for taking the traditional grip-and-grin of retail politics – a pat on the shoulder, a touch on the back – too far at times. His physicality has been the subject of late-night comedy routines, and the biennial swearing-in ceremonies in the Senate, which Biden presided over as Vice President, were peppered with awkward moments.”

In an accompanying article, Jennifer Palmieri, director of communications for Hillary Clinton, wrote the following about Biden, “I saw him express physical affection for women and men both, and often greeting me warmly with a hug or a kiss on the forehead. It was unusual for a work setting, yes, but in my experience, his overly affectionate behavior was his way of putting more love and support in the world. That was not every woman’s experience, though. He clearly made some women uncomfortable, and now he is facing the consequences.”

This description of Joe Biden’s behavior says it all. Probably too much hugging and handiness, but it is not sexual harassment or sexual assault and it should not disqualify him for being the President. It pales in comparison to what President Trump has done to women and said about women.

What should come about as a result of Lucy Flores and Amy Lappos coming forth with their stories is a clearer set of parameters as to what is unacceptable touching behavior on the part of candidates for public office and officeholders when it comes to “pressing the flesh.” Rubbing noses, sniffing hair and kissing the forehead and the back of the head probably should be off-limits.

Joe Biden’s presidential aspirations depend on it still being okay to be a back-slapping, hand raising, baby-kissing, glad-handing pol. The jury is still out as to whether Biden’s historic “old school” approach may not resonate with voters in 2020.