The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Three: Charm, Crowd, or Magic Number?


May 7, 2007

Two major events this weekend, both deserving of comment in this space. Each totally unrelated to the other, but that’s the beauty of the Blog milieu.

First, in France, Sarkozy wins (or, if your French is not up to par, ici). I should be excited, or disappointed, but really, all I can muster is an emphatic “Eh.”

Second, in New York, Rodger Clemens is back. That should make at least one member of this blog (named PTJ) giddy with excitement, tingling from his head to his toes, dreaming of October baseball in the Bronx. Again, Eh.

And yet, there’s always something interesting and notable in each story, which is why I paid attention to both despite my disinterest. Explain that one…

For Sarkozy, I’m a bit surprised the French elected someone vowing to bring the worst elements of Anglo-American globalization and capitalism–to curtail strikes, the horror!–to France won so convincingly over a candidate emphasizing the sanctity of the 35 hour work week and lifetime employment. He’s also rather pro-American, which, if you recall, was once enough to lose you an election in Europe a few years back. But, he was the exciting candidate and Royal, as the CW now goes, never caught fire as a candidate.

Also interesting, and relevant for Hillary Clinton’s presidential run was this bit in the IHT report:

Royal had repeatedly appealed to the women of France to vote for her in a show of female solidarity. But Sarkozy, a conservative who made his reputation as a hard-line minister of the interior, got the majority of the women’s vote, according to Ipsos, an international polling company.

Perhaps the ‘women’s vote’ is more complicated than just assuming that they’ll vote for the woman in the race.

In other news, yes, Clemens is back, and hope springs eternal for every Yankee fan out there. Surely The Boss would bust out his checkbook to fix the Bronx Bombers and right the Yankee Clipper ship. (oh, and am I the only one who is not happy that they abandon the Columbus Clippers as the AAA team? I have fond memories of trying to do a Ferris Bueller and ditch out of school for a Clippers game my senior year. Columbus Clippers, ring your bell, yes we had cowbells we rung…)

Cashman strikes fast, and you get a dramatic announcement from the owners box, at the Stadium, by The Rocket himself, that he’s un-retiring for the 3rd time to become a Yankee.

Now, if they do make it to the playoffs, yes, he’ll have his fairytale ending as the savior of the great franchise.

But, I don’t think it will be all that great for him in NY this time. Yes, he’s like the greatest living and active pitcher in the game. Yes, sure-fire hall of famer. Yes, he was brilliant last year. Yes, the Yankees actually have an offense, so he’ll win some games.

But, consider this: Clemens is old. He’s 44, which is 3 months older than Jamie Moyer. That’s very old, in baseball terms. At some point, age will catch him. The nice thing about this argument is that I can keep making it and eventually be right.

More to the point, he’s only a 5+ inning pitcher at this point, so he still needs the bullpen to cover 3+ innings of work each start. Sure, there’s Mariano, but he’s become mortal this year, and the Yankees bullpen is seriously overworked as it is and thin in this vital middle relief area.

And, he’s now playing in the AL, not the NL, and the AL East, not the NL Central. He goes from one of the worst, lightest hitting divisions in baseball to the best. There’s no pitcher to pad his K numbers, instead there are DH’s like David Ortiz and Travis “Pronk” Hafner, two of the best hitters in the game. He’ll be facing offenses like the Red Sox, the Devil Rays (pitching, not hitting is their problem), and the white-hot AL Central teams.

Yeah, he’s good, but I’m so hoping not enough for the Yankees to make it to the post season.

And enough already with the comebacks. Three’s a crowd, not a charm.

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Dr. Peter Howard focuses on US foreign policy and international security. He studies how the implementation of foreign policy programs produces rule-based regional security regimes, conducting research in Estonia on NATO Expansion and US Military Exchange programs and South Korea on nuclear negotiations with North Korea.