Monday, June 24, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Ken Reitz, 62. Here's the thing: in 1975, there was just no way for the normal baseball fan to realize what a bad regular 3B Ken Reitz was. We had triple crown stats. That's it. And we didn't really have any framework for understanding the difference between, say, a 270/5/70 guy and a 230/25/90 guy, anyway. Oh, and baseball people really weren't much better informed. At any rate, I have nothing against Reitz as a person, and among all the baseball players in the world he was surely in the top several percent...but he got eight years as a major league regular 3B, and I'm fairly sure he wasn't one of the top 24 or 26 3Bs in the US in many, if any, of those seasons.

No surprise to regular readers, but I really enjoyed Whedon's Much Ado, and also this good stuff:

1. Dan Drezner, on the Fed and hegemony, among other things.

2. Matt Yglesias is right about this: it's unlikely that the House can do anything on immigration other than pass the Senate bill. Other, that is, than nothing, which is certainly possible. 

3. Nice item on the Iranian elections from Matthew Shuggart (via John).

4. All of this from Robert Farley about Snowden seems pretty sensible to me.

5. Sarah Kliff on 100 days until Obamacare.

6. And Andrew Sprung has been reading Neustadt, and has a few arguments with him. And fair enough; as a historian, Neustadt probably isn't to be trusted. It's absolutely correct, at least in my view, to read Neustadt as essentially all about being like FDR, which is problematic to the extent to which FDR wasn't actually a 100% perfect president at all times. But it's more than that; I think Neustadt is guilty of mistaking Roosevelt's particular, personal, style with the more general points about how a president goes about gaining influence (and why it's good for the system for presidents to do so). That, and not just lack of information which later historians have uncovered, explains how he overlooked Ike's successes. Overall, however, I think Neustadt holds up extremely well, once that a few other things are taken into account.


  1. Farley offers a curious combination of "genuine, socially productive whistle-blowing" and "I’m reasonably comfortable calling his leaks on these points 'espionage.'" It strikes me as odd to suggest that random government employees and contractors can release secret documents of their choice as long as they choose as he would.

    I do agree that the "war on leakers," if that's what it has been, is a complete failure. If the uptick in prosecutions was supposed to have a "chilling" effect by intimidating people into not publishing secret documents, it seems to have been more of a "thawing" effect, instead.

  2. Now, now, picking on Ken Reitz? Really, he won the Gold Glove in 1975 so he must have been more than just a middling offensive player, which explains his longevity. I'd agree he wasn't the best 3b but to say he wasn't in the top 24 or 26 in most of those years? Who were the benchwarmers you think should have played instead?

    1. Oh, I don't know. But just looking at the Cardinals...

      Ron Hunt retired after 1974, his age 33 season, in which he posted a 372 OBP. No idea the story here, but still.

      They could have retained Joe Torre at 3B, and then played lots of guys at 1B -- including Jose Cruz, who mostly sat around before they traded him to the Astros.

      Roger Freed played a bit of 3B in the minors. He could hit some, never really got a chance.

      Dane Iorg could hit...again, not a 3B, but played a little there.

      Joel Youngblood? Really couldn't play 3B later, but maybe when he was younger? Don't know.

      That's just from the Cardinals, and guys whose names I recognized. I'd bet there are at least two guys out of that group who could have contributed to two seasons apiece (extra) better than a typical Reitz season.


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