Archive for the non-de Jesus related Category

Karl Marx on Minor League Baseball

Posted in non-de Jesus related on July 2, 2016 by wechslerh66

Big industry constantly requires a reserve army of unemployed workers for times of overproduction. The main purpose of the bourgeois in relation to the worker is, of course, to have the commodity labour as cheaply as possible, which is only possible when the supply of this commodity is as large as possible in relation to the demand for it, i.e., when the overpopulation is the greatest. Overpopulation is therefore in the interest of the bourgeoisie, and it gives the workers good advice which it knows to be impossible to carry out. Since capital only increases when it employs workers, the increase of capital involves an increase of the proletariat, and, as we have seen, according to the nature of the relation of capital and labour, the increase of the proletariat must proceed relatively even faster. The above theory, however, which is also expressed as a law of nature, that population grows faster than the means of subsistence, is the more welcome to the bourgeois as it silences his conscience, makes hard-heartedness into a moral duty and the consequences of society into the consequences of nature, and finally gives him the opportunity to watch the destruction of the proletariat by starvation as calmly as other natural event without bestirring himself, and, on the other hand, to regard the misery of the proletariat as its own fault and to punish it.
–from Wages, December 1847


H. R. 5580

To clarify certain requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 with respect to minor league baseball players.

June 24, 2016
Mr. Guthrie (for himself and Mrs. Bustos) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce

To clarify certain requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 with respect to minor league baseball players.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

This Act may be cited as the “Save America’s Pastime Act”.


(a) In General.—Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 213) is amended—

(1) in subsection (a)—

(A) in paragraph (18), by striking the period and inserting “; or”; and

(B) by adding at the end the following:

“(19) any employee who has entered into a contract to play baseball at the minor league level.”; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

“(k) Subsection (a)(19) shall not be construed to require the provisions of section 7 to apply to any employee who has entered into a contract to play baseball at the major league level.”.

(b) Applicability.—Section 16 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 216) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(f) In any action or proceeding commenced before, on, or after the date of enactment of the Save America’s Pastime Act, no employer shall be subject to any liability or punishment under this Act on account of any violation of section 6, 7, or 11(c) with respect to any work performed before, on, or after such date of enactment for which the exemption under section 13(a)(19) is applicable.”.
–full text of the Save America’s Pastime Act (H.R. 5580), introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives 6/24/2016


On Mike Condon and the Habs

Posted in non-de Jesus related on November 13, 2015 by wechslerh66


Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman writes in this week’s 30 Thoughts on how the Canadiens are proving everyone wrong:

A lot of us figured they’d drop without Carey Price. Instead, they’ve got eight of a possible 10 points, with no regulation defeats. Mike Condon is showing why the organization chose him as the understudy over Dustin Tokarski.

And it’s not just the goalie:

The Canadiens do one thing you have to do (control the puck in the offensive zone) and one thing people frown on (throw it out of your zone). But they turn that supposed negative into a positive, because it plays to their strengths. And it gives a clearer idea of why they are more than a one-man team.

He may be right–and honestly, I’m willing to defer, since I haven’t watched a single minute of a single Habs game all season, and I suspect Elliotte Friedman has.

But the Habs are 13-2-2. A league-best 13-2-2 and 28 points (the Rangers and Stars have 24; the Rangers only have two losses as well and have two games in hand), but they’ve only played 17 games. That’s 20.7% of an NHL season. In baseball, that’s 33.5 games. In baseball, this is early May.

Joe Sheehan, baseball’s self-described “sample-size police,” observed this past April that

baseball fans would be smarter if no one paid to write about baseball wrote a thing before May 15 or so. Myself included. Baseball is hard enough to figure out in season-long chunks, and most timeframes less than that are, as much as this has become a cliché, a small sample size. We can get fooled over half a season, and certainly over two months or a month


[T]eam performance is volatile…Past performance is a leading indicator of future results, but it’s by no means gospel. Teams can fool us for a month, for two months, for four months. That’s a feature, mind you, not a bug. It’s one of the best things about the game.

Hockey isn’t baseball, of course. (Canadians don’t even play baseball, right?) But Sidney Crosby has 2 goals. He, Claude Giroux, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Marleau are tied for 107th in the league in scoring with Francois Beauchemin and Jared Spurgeon. Joel Ward and Dale Weise are tied for fifth in goals, two behind the league lead. Reto Berra leads the league in goals against (1.50) and save percentage (.952). It’s November, and it’s early.

I don’t think the Habs will collapse, or miss the playoffs, or not make a run. I picked Tampa (now 7-8-2 with a negative goal differential) to win the division, and still think they can, but I picked Montreal second, and they were my East finals pick (losing, correctly, to the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks) only a year ago. (Don’t worry, I went back to picking the Blues again this season.) And Condon is a great story so far, undefeated (in modern terms) at 6-0-2, .936, 1.73. But it’s November, and it’s early. And regression, like the snow, can be merciless on poor old Montreal.

Image courtesy of Semiotext(e) Canadas, Autonomedia 1994.

Rosa Luxemburg on the 2015 Astros

Posted in non-de Jesus related on October 19, 2015 by wechslerh66

We find the same logic of the error as an internal condition of truth with Rosa Luxemburg, with her description of the dialectics of the revolutionary process. I am alluding here to her argument against Edward Bernstein, against his revisionist fear of seizing power too soon, “prematurely,” before the so‑called “objective conditions” had ripened. This was, it is well known, Bernstein’s main reproach to the revolutionary wing of social democracy: they are too impatient, they want to hasten, to outrun the objective logic of historical development. The answer of Rosa Luxemburg is that the first seizures of power are necessarily “premature”. The only way for the working class to reach its “maturity,” to await the arrival of the “appropriate moment” for the seizure of power, is to form itself, to educate itself for this act of seizure. And the only possible way of achieving this education is precisely by “premature” attempts. If we just wait for the “appropriate moment,” we will never live to see it, because this “appropriate moment” cannot arrive without the subjective conditions of the maturity of the revolutionary force (subject) being fulfilled. That is, it can arrive only after a series of “premature,” failed attempts…The opposition to the “premature” seizure of power is thus revealed to be opposition to the seizure of power as such, in general.
–Slavoj Žižek, Lacan and the Subject of Language (Routledge, 1991)

i.e. haters (Texas Rangers fans).

Slavoj Žižek’s playoff picks

Posted in non-de Jesus related on October 18, 2015 by wechslerh66

Symptoms are meaningless traces; their meaning is not discovered, excavated from the hidden depth of the past, but constructed retroactively. The analysis produces the truth, i.e., the signifying frame which gives to the symptoms their symbolic place and meaning. As soon as we enter the symbolic order, the past is always present in the form of historical tradition, of interwoven traces which constitute a synchronic network of signifiers. The meaning of these traces is not given; it changes continually with the transformations of the signifier’s network. Every historical rupture, every advent of a new master signifier, changes retroactively the meaning of all tradition, restructures the narration of the past, makes it readable in another, new way. Thus things which don’t make any sense suddenly mean something, but in an entirely other domain. What is a journey into the future if not this “overtaking” by means of which we suppose in advance the presence in the other of a certain knowledge‑knowledge about the meaning of our symptoms.
–from Lacan and the Subject of Language (Routledge, 1991)

In other words, Cubs in 7.

Yogi Berra

Posted in non-de Jesus related on September 27, 2015 by wechslerh66

Yogi Berra

Writer friend Rob from Iowa remembers:

Funny how the mind works. I was around twelve, late 1950’s, on the third base side middle deck Yankee Stadium, kind of bored I guess watching a ho hum game, lets say Yanks behind 4-1 in the 8th. There was a guy sitting behind me who, sensing my discontent, leaned over, poked me and said something like, “Eyes front, Yogi’s due for one.”

And sure enough after a pitch or two Berra squared into one, a towering fly down the right field line. We had awesome line of flight. The crowd roared and rose to its feet. It landed upper deck foul by the slimmest of margins. Huge groan in the Bronx.

I never forgot that moment.

My response:

I was in Cooperstown once, the Friday of Induction Weekend in 2006. I went not because it was Induction Weekend (I may not have known) but because my Dodger-obsessed friend from LA was in town and she had never been either. We made a day trip out of it, which, Cooperstown isn’t really a day trip from Philadelphia, but I was taking Adderall at the time, so it was a quicker drive than it probably should have been.

Anyway, we saw Yogi Berra sitting and signing autographs at a small foldout stand in front of a store on Main Street (which is actually called Main Street, because it’s America).

Embarrassing fact #1: I thought it was Phil Rizzuto at first. I only figured out it was Yogi Berra (only after walking away, I think–we didn’t get any autographs because everything started at $20 or so, which was more than the museum, if I remember correctly) because I realized Phil Rizzuto was dead.

Embarrassing fact #2: Phil Rizzuto wasn’t dead (in summer of 2006– he died the following year).

But I’m pretty sure it was Yogi Berra.

Your story’s better.

I wrote Dodger-obsessed friend Carol separately about our Berra sighting. Her response:

We did? I don’t remember.

RIP, Yogi Berra.

Photo courtesy of

The Ballad of Hideki Irabu

Posted in non-de Jesus related on January 23, 2015 by wechslerh66

Hideki Irabu

I should have stayed in San Diego
No one hates in San Diego
You can hear Tom Waits in San Diego
I never saw the morning till I stayed up all night

New York’s a sad and lonely town
when Velvet Elvis no longer comes around
No one bothers to boo when you take the mound
till moments seemed years, torture and solitude
Prometheus Unbound

Sometimes I feel like a fatherless son
& the men I know scare the shit out of me
I want to become what I cannot not hate
I know why Kurt Cobain sang “beat me out of me”

At a bar in Osaka I contemplate time
wondering when I left West LA
or maybe I’m nowhere, nowhere like home
I’m a lonely frog, I ain’t got a home

& Ryujin the dragon god hangs on the wall
someone to watch over me
Someday my luck will change for the better
Someday these demons will leave

I was banished to Montréal like the Spaceman Bill Lee
Told Texas Sayonara like Sparky Lyle
Made a comeback with Kochi but it all went wrong
Owned an udon joint far from the Miracle Mile

Now the lights are out & I’m all alone
with these weeping willows & this hanging tree
Sapporo, ramen, & these beckoning ghosts
Angels & Indians on satellite TV

Hideki Irabu career (MLB): 34-35, 5.15, 514 IP, 175 BB, 405 K, 4 CG, 2 ShO, 16 SV, 89 ERA+
Hideki Irabu career (Japan): 72-69, 3.55, 1286 IP, 558 BB, 1282 K, 43 CG, 3 ShO, 11 SV

Also worth reading:

“Pitching from behind: The sad road of Japanese pitcher Hideki Irabu” by Robert Whiting

“Irabu spent final days lost, without purpose” by Robert Whiting

“Attitude, lifestyle contributed to Irabu’s demise” by Robert Whiting

“Irabu’s impact on MLB-NPB relations profound” by Robert Whiting

“The Complicated Life and Death of Hideki Irabu,” by Ben Reiter

Hideki Irabu card courtesy of

Epaminondas and Ned Yost

Posted in non-de Jesus related on January 2, 2015 by wechslerh66

One day Epaminondas visited his aunt, who gave him cake to bring home to his mother.

He held it tightly in his hands as he walked home. When he reached home with nothing but crumbs, his mother scolded him, telling him the proper way to carry cake is to wrap it in leaves and wear it in his hat.

The next time Epaminondas visited his aunt, she gave him a pound of butter to bring home to his mother.

He wrapped the butter in leaves and wore it in his hat as he walked home under the hot summer sun. When he reached home covered in melted butter, his mother scolded him, telling him the proper way to carry butter is to wrap in leaves, cool it in water, and carry it home in his hands as quickly as he can.

The next time Epaminondas visited his aunt, she gave him a puppy to bring home to his mother.

He wrapped the puppy in leaves, cooled it in water, and carried it home in his hands as quickly as he could. When he reached home with a wet dog, his mother scolded him, telling him the proper way to carry a puppy is to tie one end of a string gently around its neck and lead it home with the other end.

The next time Epaminondas visited his aunt, she gave him a loaf of bread to bring home to his mother.

He tied one end of a string around the loaf of bread and took the other end in his hand, dragging it home in the dirt. When he reached home with a dust-covered loaf of bread, his mother scolded him.

This is why Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland will combine to pitch 40 percent of the 2015 Royals’ regular season innings, requiring season-ending Tommy John surgeries by mid-June, and Ned Yost will be fired by July.