Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Name:
Location: Illinois, United States

Sunday, November 13, 2016

By the Numbers

By the Numbers
©2016  Ross Williams



Sociology is a soft science.  Similar to psychology, economics and history.  Hard Sciences are biology, chemistry, physics and geology.  The hard sciences are "hard" due, according to Carl Sagan, to the "rigorous standards of evidence and honesty."  In other words, when a physicist adds 2 and 2 and arrives at 22 he is wrong, and will be ever after considered a quack.  Unless, of course, he can sell his 2+2=22 idea to Hollywood and have them place the notion of nuclear winter in the collective psyche of the masses, in which case he'll be forever seen as a visionary.

Other such visionaries are the neo-malthusian Paul Ehrlich, the pre-neo-luddite Rachel Carson, and the doubly ethically blind Stephen Schneider.  Being proven wrong is not necessarily an impediment in the hard sciences.

In the soft sciences, however, being proven wrong is typically requisite for the soft scientist to attain and maintain professional credibility.  Just ask Paul Krugman, acolyte of the also-proven wrong John Maynard Keynes.  There's always an excuse for why being wrong was actually right, usually having to do with the entire world refusing to accept the soft scientist's egoistic declarations and discounting reality.

And vice versa, for what it's worth.  Being right often ends up wrong.  The "stop and frisk" model of civil order grew out of the "broken window theory" of economics.  If police want to reduce future major crime before it happens, they should address more thoroughly the minor crimes as they occur: the broken windows and graffiti.  New York City implemented this notion and major crime was indeed reduced.  Politicians wanted to reduce major crime even more, so they implemented further and further tweaks to their policies, incrementally reducing major crime along the way, and voila! they arrived at stop and frisk.  Never mind that it operates at right angles to the legitimate power of government in this constitutional republic, and imposed a police-state.  Right became wrong.

Right becoming wrong played a significant role in this last election cycle, as well.  Donald Trump won, as I knew — and said [ref: "None of the Above"] — he would.  A number of others including, interestingly, the moron Michael Moore, "had a feeling", and several trend-watchers predicted the outcome based on "enthusiasm" and other non-quantifiables.  But the pollsters, almost to a bean-counter, missed and they missed wide left.

This makes the second time in a year that, worldwide, pollsters got reproved by the reality they don't fully understand how to measure.  European pollsters declared that British voters would vote overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union; they did not … overwhelmingly.  And US pollsters declared that Hillary Clinton would occupy the White House with ex-President and First Philander Bill.  And they shall not.  Considering where the polls predicted we would end up and the reality that arrived in its place, the pollsters missed by a significant double-digit margin.

I previously hinted at why and how this occurred: a significant portion of those who ended up voting for Trump in the primaries were discounted by pollsters as "not likely to vote".  That was the biggest reason that Trump came in ahead of the standard republican party selections in defiance of the polls.

Opinion research polling is a major sub-discipline in the field of sociology; sociology is what I did in grad school.  Analyzing and quantifying the results of polls was a large part of the practical course work involved; the impractical course work was mainly given over to learning how to construct arguments as to why reality is wrong when it differs from sociological theory.   Despite refusing — outspokenly — to supplant reality with sociological theory, I maintained a straight-A GPA.

Among the knowledge I carried away from grad school was how pollsters determine who is likely to vote and who isn't.  If anyone has answered the phone from August to early November in an election year and answered twenty minutes of questions from a bored mumble-mouth making minimum wage, you will probably recall that after all the questions relating to the candidates, the issues, their relative importance to you, how likely you are to vote and when was the last time you did vote, you were given a final series of questions, "…and now for statistical purposes, what is your age, your race, your gender, how much money does your household bring in before taxes, and do you consider yourself to be republican, democrat or independent."

The answers to these last questions are used to calculate — along with "how likely are you to vote", and "when was the last time you voted" — whether the pollster will throw away your responses or add them to the final tally they publish.  For better or worse, those over the age of 30-35, whites, males, middle class who have a history of consistently voting are going to be most likely to vote this time.  Those who are younger, or non-white, or female, or poverty class, or super-rich, or do not consistently vote, you are less likely to vote this time.  Furthermore, depending on several topical factors, being democrat or republican alters the equation, and independents are always less likely to vote.  How much less likely is the relevant question.

Donald Trump consistently outperformed his polls in the primaries.  And I explained why.  The republican party has operated for the last generation in a manner dedicated to spurning a large and growing portion of its historic voter base — the fiscal conservatives — in favor of the minority ideologue religious tight-asses.  Fiscal conservancy deplores "free trade" bargains that benefit other nations and ends up selling US jobs to second- and third-world countries; allowing foreigners to come to the US illegally and siphon any amount of US government largesse provided by taxpayers or [most likely] China, who will one day demand to collect on our debt to it; and tax policies that incentivize US companies to move to second- and third-world countries so they might, then, be able to profit from our "free trade" agreements that screw the American pooch.

These issues are what Trump spoke to, and the fiscal conservative republicans who vacated the republican party since the mid-80s heard him and came back in the primaries to vote for him ending, sometimes, decades of voting drought.  But the pollsters, upon learning that the guy they were polling hadn't voted since 1992, or even 2000, threw away the response which read, "I am voting for Trump because he wants to allow me to get my decent job back; he wants to stop selling my job to India; he wants to stop my company from moving to Mexico."  Trump voters were underrepresented in the results of the polls —by design, but not out of malice or political imperative.  And because large wads of inconsistent voters voted in the primaries, Trump outperformed his numbers.


Trump outperformed his numbers in the general election as well, and inconsistent voters voting were a small part of the reason for it.  The bigger, and probably the biggest, reason is, like the Brexit vote in the UK, explained by one of the undergrad exercises Sociology Departments undertake at — I've got to believe — every college and university in the world.

I wasn't in the undergrad program so I never got to participate in the exercise, but I got to hear all about it in my graduate seminars when we discussed the pitfalls and pratfalls of public opinion measurement.  During one of the many university festivals taking place each year, the Sociology Department set up — under the cover of a fictitious ethnic or cultural diversity program — a food stand that gave away an unlikely sample of street food from a foreign culture.  In the exercise that I got to hear about, the street food was Laotian or Cambodian, and they gave away two sample of ethnic food: a mini pork kabob, or a mini dog kabob.  Each customer was allowed to pick just one.

Those who lined up for the free food were funneled in at one end, and had to funnel out at the other.  In between, they were regaled by carefully choreographed protests of animal cruelty staged by other members of the Sociology Department who were not working the kabob-stand.  Sometimes the staged protests were joined by other students, unaware that it was a con.  And of course the University administration — who were well aware of the entire production — received many complaints about the group of animal abusers serving dog meat.  The University would dismiss them, saying "Thank you for bringing this to our attention, we will look into it."

But there was nothing to look into; it was all pork grilled on a hibachi.  It didn't matter if you asked for the free pork kabob or the free dog kabob: you got pork.  Those giving away the kabobs kept track of how many of each they handed out.  It was after you got your free food — and they gave away a lot of free food; these were college students on a budget — and you were funneling out the far end of the free food stand, where the sociological experiment reached its conclusion.  You were asked one question and one question only, right in front of the carefully choreographed protesters: did you get the pork or the dog?  …and you had to answer the question or else they'd hold you up and not let you out.

Ninety-five percent of those who went in for free food reported getting the pork.

However, twenty-five percent of the food given away was dog.

…which means that four out of five people getting the free dog kabob lied about it.

Why would people lie?  Apart from having masses of presumptuous ideologues screaming in their ears about how horrible they are for the choices they make, even if the screaming is staged … I can't think of a single reason.

But that brings us back to the inaccurate polls and the Trump victory: being told you're racist when all you want is to not lose your job to China; being told you're a homophobe when you don't want to have your tax dollars being handed — in any amount — to people who refuse to follow immigration laws in coming here when you do your damnedest to be law-abiding; being told you're islamophobic when you don't want your company to move to Mexico and take your job with it; being informed by the smug and sanctimonious that you are deplorable and bigoted for wanting to provide for yourself and your family and be left alone to do it … is not simply presumptuous, factually insupportable, and serves no purpose apart from stoking the self-righteous egos of the faux-pious who make those assertions.  It gets in the way of understanding what people in a democratic society want, need and expect from that democratic society, and the government which runs it … as measured by the pollsters who try to find it out.

If a democratic society refuses to understand what its people want, need and expect because sneering contempt and demonizing denunciation masks those wants, needs and expectations, it will cease being democratic.   Crack a history book.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Contrasts

Contrasts
©2016  Ross Williams



One of the best parts of being a libertarian is that I can observe democrats and republicans and criticize both without having anyone be able to level charges of partisanship upon me; they still do, but it's not supportable.  When I criticize republicans it's not because I am a reflexive democrat lashing out; it's because republicans are doing something worthy of criticism.  When I criticize democrats it's not because I'm a knee-jerk republican with a jerky knee; it's  because democrats deserve being kicked.

Around sixty million Americans voted for Donald Trump, whom I've been calling Donnie Combover since early in 2016, and who I may start calling Prez Cheeto due to a comical internet meme I ran across this week.  In this picture, our recent presidents were depicted as six saltine crackers, an oreo, and a cheeto.  It was a deliciously racist swipe that covered all bases, and it leaves me wondering what's next.  My money's on a gummi worm.

But now that we mention racism, of the sixty million Americans who voted for Trump, every single one of them has been called a racist.  This is because democrats by and large do not know how to engage in meaningful public discourse with anyone who disagrees with them, and they resort to silencing dissent before it occurs by branding critics as unworthy of holding valid viewpoints; no discussion is necessary.  …which is the essence of the prejudice and bigotry that they are railing against.

Even so, there are indeed racists who voted for Trump, just as there are racists who voted for Clinton.  Sexists as well.  How many women — Lena Dunham — declared that a woman must vote for Clinton because she's a woman?  That's sexism.  And there were millions more women voting for Clinton because she's a woman than men who refused to vote for her ditto.

It's now the first weekend after the election, right when the democrats feared an uprising of racist attacks against innocent, peace-loving, love-loving, love-trumps-hate vomiting democrats.  And there are indeed reports of this.  Hundreds from across the country.  Notwithstanding that all but a few dozen have been shown to be hoaxes or events from months or even years ago being regurgitated today as current events — as if the Trump Train travels effortlessly through time — there's still the matter of the nearly sixty million racist Trump voters [less the two dozen or so verified activists] who are not doing their part.  They're either not racist, or least no more racist than democrats, or they're lazy.

And frankly, lazy is not a viable criticism of those who vote republican.  Say what else you like, you might be correct.  But they tend to hold jobs.

Even so, of the dozens of actual, verifiable incidents with racist overtones perpetrated by assumed Trump supporters occurring since the election, only three [thus far, in my browse of news sites] involve violence of any form, all of it excessively minor and all individualized.  The rest are incidents where someone said or wrote something that is rude and impolite. …like "all Trump voters are racists."  …or "half of all Trump supporters are deplorable."  Things like that, but going the other way.

Once again, I feel I should remind people that I'm a libertarian.  Liberty means, in part, being able to say and write what you want, even if what you want to say or write is undiluted assholery.   …like "all Trump voters are racists."  A few dozen racist idiots driving around college campuses full of weepy, larval democrats shouting gloating taunts through bullhorns can, accurately, be described as assholery.  But in a free country, assholes are the price of freedom.

Yes, it's bigotry and prejudice, but it's no more bigoted and prejudicial than the actions of the few tens of thousands of anti-cheeto idiots doing, essentially, the same thing.  I say "essentially".  That means there are pertinent distinctions between the two groups of assholes.  Distinctions which I shall point out.

Assholes using free speech upon self-pitying democrats did so exclusively by taking the message to the target, putting themselves at risk in doing so.  One such asshole was dragged from his car and fairly severely beaten for his efforts. 

Assholes using free speech upon President Cheeto and his voters, on the other hand, usually did not talk to their target.  Yes, there were several hundred who formed a human centipede around various Trump Towers in major cities, but most of the meemies did their screaming in Portland Oregon and Oakland California, and other safe spaces where republicans are virtually nonexistent.  When a staple of your political philosophy is the procedural  obliteration of the Second Amendment, and the people you are shouting slanderous comments toward do not subscribe to compulsory disarmament, why take unnecessary chances?

And they did not limit themselves to screaming.  In Oakland they set fires by throwing gasoline bombs, toppling cars, breaking store windows and … hey, since the windows are broken, let's not waste the opportunity.  Nothing says we're against greedy corporate bastards elected president who we've labeled as automatically racist like fulfilling racial stereotypes and looting everything you can stuff in your pockets or otherwise carry away.

In Portland, they threw rocks and bottles, and at least one trash can, at cops [hitting none, sadly but not unexpectedly], smashed dozens of windshields in nearby parking lots and one vehicle being driven by a woman caught in the middle of it all who was trying to get to "an emergency" of unspecified significance.  But they did all this while shouting "peaceful protest!!", so that makes it all right.  Apparently.

Not content with inarticulate rioting and mayhem, the political philosophy given over to sensitivity, inclusion and an end to school bullying beat a California high school student for having posted pro-Trump comments online.  It was a girl who was beaten.  By another girl.  One was black, the other white.  I'll give you less-than-even odds at placing them.  The attack was recorded — for posterity, undoubtedly — by a friend of the attacker.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the standard disposition of in-school assault in this affluent California school district is expulsion.  But given the circumstances, "officials" are looking to make this a "teaching moment" by instructing the victim of the assault on the motivations her attacker had in committing assault and battery.  And if this sensitivity training is anything like the rest, the victim will be required to attend, and will be compelled to acknowledge fault and responsibility when it's over, and then promise to never do it again.  Failure to do these will result in punishment.

In a similar vein, my wife reported, on Wednesday evening, that a number of her friends from high school she keeps in touch with online have children that just couldn't bear going to school that day, out of fear.  I initially thought they were the children of tear-stained democrats taught by their schools and/or parents to be irrationally paranoid, but now I must conclude them to be Trump supporters presciently wary of the children of irrationally paranoid democrats.

These are exaggerated examples of the same infantile behavior seen nationwide, most notably, at Yale University.  The election coincided with their midterms, and one economics professor made the exam optional for those students so traumatized by learning they were in the electoral minority that they couldn't get out of bed and stop crying.  Because, as so eloquently stated in 2008 by the new president we acquired then, elections have participation trophies that convey equal power and privilege to the loser.  Or something along those lines.  Which is why we saw millions of bawling, blubbering sick-calls in to the office on the first Wednesday in November of both '08 and '12, made by republicans who couldn't bear to face the day when their guy lost the election.

Except we didn't.  The only million moron march visible today is populated by democrats.  In 2013, after Elizabeth 'Pocahontas' Warren successfully ran for US Senator in Massachusetts, she complained that the system was rigged against outsiders in favor of insiders and incumbents — a well-known and accurate pan-historical reality of all politics built on democracy.  She was right, for possibly the first and absolutely the last time in her life.  Earlier in 2016, Donald 'Cheeto' Trump made the same claim, and millions of democrats, led by Pocahontas Warren, circled around him and claimed he was an outlaw unwilling to accept the results of the election that was indisputably going to be decided in favor of Hillary 'Medusa' Clinton — the insider and [proving that once is not enough] incumbent-once-removed.

Fast forward to early this morning, and the online petition demanding that the Electoral College abandon its Constitutional presumptions and elect, instead, the Former First Lady Macbeth has exceeded two million signatures.  One-in-thirty of those who voted democrat are declaring that they are not content being assholes about the election, or even moved to violence by the election, or simply driven to puerile catatonia by the election.  One-in-thirty democrats are declaring they cannot accept the results of the election.

Democrats make a number of assertions about those who are not democrats.  Yet every sin they accuse others of perpetrating are committed, first and primarily, by democrats themselves.  Projection apparently serves democrats in the place of introspection and self-awareness.


Saturday, November 05, 2016

One Oh Eight

The One-Oh-Eight That Nearly Wasn't
©2016  Ross Williams



I seriously don't have what it takes to be a decent manager of a decent baseball team.  I'm far too temperamental.  I'm far too easily provoked.  I'm far too intolerant of pitchers who can't find the strike zone, hitters who don't recognize pitches that are outside the strike zone when they flail at the plate, and umpires who refuse to call the strike zone as defined by the rulebook.  Ask my wife.

The most common phrases heard at my house — and for several hundred yards around it —during baseball season are "Throw the goddam ball over the goddam plate!  The plate is the white thing laying on the ground!!"  "What in the hell are you swinging at?!"  And … well, let's just say I exercise the hell out of the profane sections of my vocabulary when I scream at umpires.  I would do the same from the dugout and probably all over the field if I were a manager.

I am cut from the mold of Earl Weaver and Lou Piniella, so it's not simply loud profanities which would be all flying over the field.  Bats, balls, bases, helmets, clipboards …  Umpires who refused to do their job at enforcing the rulebook as written in preference to their own inept comprehension of it would be particularly at risk.  Clue, boys: knees to nipples over the plate.  If you can't see a pitch and project the spatial geometry of the strike zone in relation to it, then perhaps a bat to the back of your skull would help.  Frankly, it couldn't hurt.

There'd be only a handful of umpires left standing at the end of a season with me as a manager.  But for some reason, demanding that umpires follow the rules they are there to impose on others is considered bad form.  I wouldn't last a season, but I'd make a mark — not to mention a few dents — and be entertaining as hell.

I'd probably also inspire open revolt among the players under me.  For some other reason, players paid multiple millions of dollars to consistently throw a ball through an invisible rectangle suspended above a white pentangle, or hit a ball thrown through same, or hit the cutoff man, et cetera, don't like being screamed at because they cannot consistently do what they are being paid multiple millions of dollars to do.  And — after all — it ain't my manager's money they are being paid under false pretenses, is it?

So to anyone wanting to bitch and whine at me because I think I know so much more than managers that I can do their job for them, you can keep it to yourselves.  I've already conceded that I don't.

But I'm a Cubs fan.  Have been since I was 7 years old in '68 and I went to my first real baseball game at Wrigley.  The Cubs lost — to the Giants, I recall.  As a Cubs fan I'm used to having the rug pulled out from under me.  Sixty-nine was a vague blur in my childhood.  Eighty-four was appalling, losing to a clearly inferior Padres team due to panicked ineptitude.  But if the inferior Padres could take the pennant in '84, the Cubs could take it in '89 from the superior Giants — the only team I actually loathe.  Nope; couldn't.  Ninety-eight was a Cinderella dance.  But '03 … more panicked ineptitude.  Oh-four, the bloom was off the rose and they were simply not as good.  Oh-seven and -eight, the superior Cubs lost to inferior others due, in no small part, to astoundingly inept umpiring that should have resulted in occipital contusions bearing the "Louisville Slugger" imprint, — and would have had I been in a position to accomplish it.

Twenty-fifteen was a really good team finding its feet.  They made a pathetic showing against the inferior Mets in the Pennant series, and I refused to watch any of the games after the first two inning of game one, simply because I didn't need the aggravation it would cause.  They can lose without me, I told my wife who, gamely, put up with watching them on TV.  And lose they did.  She'd come to bed and jostle me awake; I'd ask how bad it was, she'd tell me.  We'd go to sleep.

Twenty-sixteen, however, was The Year.  They were clearly the superior team in all of baseball, even — arguably — in historical comparison.  They had the pitching, they had the hitting, and they had the nerve to generally ignore the panic that sets in during pivotal games and the crucial times within them.  And that is the consequence, in truly major fashion, of the not-me-like manager they have: Joe Maddon.

"Trust your guys" is what Maddon preaches.  For 161 games of the regular season [one was rained out and not rescheduled], for 4 games in the division series [bad name for the first round] and 6 games of the Pennant series, he practiced that philosophy.  Hell, even for the first five games of the World Series, "Trust your guys" was going strong.  Even when they got shut out 1-0 by a third-rate starter who, by all accounts, should have given up four runs for every six he pitched against the hitting the Cubs have.

The Cubs were down three games to one going into the final World Series game at Wrigley, where they'd dropped two straight in pathetic fashion.  Maddon, trusting his guys, led them to win game 5 by a score of 3-2.  Back to Cleveland.  And Maddon stopped trusting his guys.  He indicated a single-minded devotion to the pitching tandem of Arrieta and Chapman prior to the game, apparently forgetting that he'd used Chapman — a one-inning guy — for two and a third in game 5. 

Arrieta was spectacular in game 6 — the hitting was even better; he pitched into the seventh and had two on with two out and looked to be running out of steam.  In the Six Degrees of Separation game, we stand at 3 with Jake Arrieta: he is the cousin of the wife of our Orkin guy.  With Arrieta limping to get out of the seventh and with a 5-run lead, Maddon had an entire bullpen at his disposal, some of which hadn't seen action in the Series, and most of whom had seen very little.  Any one of them is capable of getting one out and possibly pitching until ineffectiveness in the 8th or 9th inning in order to save bullets for the now-virtually-inevitable Game Seven.

But no.  Maddon's single-minded devotion to Arrieta/Chapman, despite a 5-run lead, was not about to change.  Circumstances be damned.  The fact that he'd just used his one-inning guy in three innings two days before, and had a well-rested bullpen besides, didn't alter that.  Arrieta, then Chapman.  "Trust"?  Pfffsh!

So in comes Chapman — the one-inning guy — to pitch his fourth and fifth innings in three days.  He starts leaking, exactly as I knew would happen.  "Maddon is trying to 'cute' his way to disaster" is how I described it — fairly loudly — on my way upstairs to seethe in front of the mlb.com version of the game and spare my wife the profanity of me being in the same room.  The first step of the three-step plan to lose the series by overthinking it.

An inning later the Cubs added two and the Indians added one and the final score was 9-3.  It was a blowout that had not needed the closer to do more than emerge from the dugout at the end and high-five the team coming off the field.  Yet he had pitched another inning and a third, spanning two innings.  I was glad the Cubs were going to Game Seven, but fearful of the consequences if it wasn't another blowout and the one-inning closer was actually needed for his role.

The scuttlebutt prior to the final game of the Series was Maddon's selection of Hendricks/Lester/Chapman as his preselected pitchers.  I immediately got chills. 

The Cubs were up 5-1 in the bottom of the 5th, and Hendricks walked a guy with two out.  Never mind that ball 3 was a grooved change-up that an umpire who knew the strike-zone would have called for the final out of the inning.  A feeling of dread came over me as Maddon emerged from the dugout.  "Give him five, give him five…" I muttered at the TV.  "He's doing great."

Discussion on the mound, all too brief.  Dread turned to nausea.  "He's one out from qualifying!  There's a four-run lead!!" I screamed.  Maddon took the ball, he signaled for the lefty.  I felt ill.  Step two of the three step plan to lose the series by overthinking.  I stomped upstairs to fume in front of mlb.com.  Is this how you trust your guys, Joe?

Sure enough, Lester — despite being the legitimate ace that he is, but unused to relieving and cold in what would be his between-start side-session day — allowed another runner on a twenty-foot dribbler that Grandpa Ross, now in as the personal catcher for Jon, yanked down the right field line.  Two outs and runners on second and third.  For godsake, if that's what you wanted, Hendricks could have done that!!  Then came the wild pitch that managed to get thrown, oh, all of 45 feet before it plowed into the turf and caromed like a pinball behind home plate.  Two runs — yes, two — scored on that monumental  ineptitude.

Jon Lester got the third out, settled in to pitch three full and — the end of the fifth notwithstanding — otherwise good innings, Ross hit his career-ending homerun in his first at-bat.   I came back downstairs to watch the game on TV.  The Cubs were up 6-3 in the 8th when Lester — on his off-day — wore out.  Apparently he wore out, anyway … he gave up a two out grounder that went for an infield hit.  I say "apparently" because, as with Hendricks in the 5th, Lester was one out from pushing it to the next inning  and was, despite having a runner on, doing quite well.

Maddon emerged from the dugout.  I immediately felt ill.  Step three of the three-step plan to blow the series by overthinking.  He's going to bring in Chapman — the one-inning guy who's thrown three and two-thirds over the last three days, spanning five innings.  I was incoherent in rage.  "Trust your guys"???  Even my normally placid wife was up and pacing in what passes for disgust in her cool demeanor.  "He's getting too cute," she muttered.  I grabbed a melatonin from the cupboard because otherwise I'd be too agitated to sleep for the next several days; I stomped upstairs, and caught, on mlb.com, Chapman giving up Lester's base runner, and then a two-run homer to tie the game.  Exactly what I expected out of a one-inning guy who'd been used four times too much over the past three days. …when the rest of the bullpen had been used not-at-all.

I stomped and shouted, livid, watching as once again the rug was being pulled out from under me.  They can lose without me.  Thank you, Joe, for trusting your guys.  It could have been a 6-3 game into the 9th by letting Lester finish the 8th.  It could have been 5-1, with Hendricks getting the resume- and confidence-padder of a World Series victory if you'd have waited another out before pulling the starter.  Several relievers could have gotten a jolt out of throwing a few pitches if they'd been called on in the game-6 blow-out, and who knows, you might have discovered a thing or two about some of them.

I went to bed.  With a melatonin in me and being emotionally drained, I fell asleep.  At some point my wife came in the room.  "Are they done losing?" I asked.  She looked annoyed but didn't say anything.  I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Some time later I was awoken from fitful dreams of unlikely alternate and heroic endings to Game Seven by a piercing "WHOOOOO HOO!" coming from downstairs.  I stumbled down the steps to see on TV the Cubs players crawling all over each other in the middle of the diamond.  "What the hell happened?" I asked, still two-thirds asleep.  My wife was misty-eyed and couldn't speak.  I heard the insufferable Joe Buck prattling away saying who-knows- [and who-cares-] what, and watched a slow-motion replay of Kris Bryant grabbing a grounder, heaving it and sprawling, and then Anthony Rizzo bounding into the air.  I saw the final score — 8-7.  Cubs.

No shit?

The Cubs won despite the distrust shown in them over the last two games by the guy who manages by trusting his guys.  I'll be damned.  As it turns out, the bullpen needed to be used after all, the rest of the guys needed to be trusted, and they pulled it out.  We rewound the DVR by a full inning.


You needed to trust your philosophy, Joe.  You needed to trust your guys.  It didn't need to be this difficult.  You're the better manager and I shouldn't need to remind you of this.  Don't let it happen again.