Monday, November 20, 2006


Big day in the paper of record on November 19. Several articles on the front page, race in sports, then an interesting only-in-New-York piece on the Yankees.

First, there was an interesting article on the state of the Yellow River in China. It seems from the article that the Yellow may be iconic for China like the Mississippi is for the United States, or the Rhein for the Germans. However, apparently the Yellow is now so controlled, with so little regulation of diversion for irrigation that aquifers are being drained downstream, and the river often does not reach the sea. This is sort of like the Colorado River in the U.S., except that the Colorado's use is heavily planned and regulated. It is distinctly possible that China, in its current boundries, may simply not be able to sustain the growth it needs for its population. If that's true, the great issue of our times may be China's efforts to get these resources. I'm looking at you big, rich, empty Siberia.

Second, the Times had a great article about the growth of the wine industry in Iowa. Yes, Iowa. The grapes are different varieties than the California grapes, or the European grapes, but apparently some of the wines are decent. To me the most interesting thing about this is the interplay between two kinds of foodie snobbery. First, there are the buy fresh, buy local types, as exemplified by the James Beard Foundation and the Chez Panisse types. On the other hand, there is the snobbery regarding wine from flyover country. Which snobbery will win? Can people bring themselves to drink a decent, rustic wine that is local? This will be fun to watch.

Murray Chass had an interesting piece on the disparity in treatment between fired minority and white managers in Major League Baseball. It is interesting that Tony Peña, Luis Pujols, Carlos Tosca, Jerry Royster, Lloyd McClendon, Jerry Manuel, and Davey Lopes have all managed, been fired, and not gotten a second chance to manage. Also, guys like Dusty Baker and Don Baylor are without third managing jobs right now. Meanwhile, there are white guys who seem to never be without jobs, no matter how much they sucked. In fairness, several of those guys seemed like stretches when they got the jobs. Lloyd McClendon and Davey Lopes were both pretty undistinguished in their tenures. Dusty and Baylor are both cursed by being former Cub managers, so they are done. Still, some of the other guys are inexplicable.

Finally, the sports section had an article saying that the Yankees are pulling back on the "win at any cost" mentality that they have exhibited since 2000 or so. One cited piece of evidence? The Yankees bid "only" $30 million for the right to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Red Sox "won" this competition by bidding $51.1 million. This is only for the right to negotiate a contract with the guy. Also, keep in mind that the entire Devil Rays payroll in 2006 was $35.4 million. While the Rays are no model for professional sports, the fact that the Yankees are pulling back by bidding the Rays' payroll is not good.


Blogger Patrick said...

Chez Panise rocks.

6:29 PM  

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